In October of 1986, I turned on the television and leisurely switched from channel to channel. General conference from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City was on one station. I heard the speaker say, “And the gospel will be taken to the gentiles of the earth.” That really interested me—I was of Jewish origin, and had never been called a gentile before. I listened intently as the speaker said things I felt I had heard before and had always believed.

When the speaker referred to a living prophet, my eyes filled with tears. All my life I had wondered, “Where are the prophets?” After listening carefully to the conference broadcast for twenty-five or thirty minutes, I ran next door to share my excitement with my mother-in-law. She was shocked when I told her I had been watching the Mormon conference. I was surprised when she said, “You don’t want to listen to that.” Back home, I turned on the television and watched the rest of the broadcast.

Afterwards, I was so excited that I wrote a letter to my mother to tell her that the Mormons had a prophet. Then I visited my friends, Will and Petera Powell, who were members of the Church. My first question was, “How could that speaker call me a gentile?” Luckily for me, Will and Petera were both returned missionaries; they answered all of my questions. They also gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon. By the time I finished reading First and Second Nephi, I knew the Book of Mormon was true. I read it from cover to cover in two weeks.

A few days later, I began the missionary discussions in the Powell’s home with the full-time missionaries. During this time, the Spirit of the Lord bore testimony to me of the truthfulness of the words the missionaries spoke, just as recorded in 2 Nephi 33:1 [2 Ne. 33:1]: “For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.” The doctrines I learned seemed familiar. I had believed in the principles of family history, family tradition, and unity all my life. However, what impressed me the most was that there was a living prophet on the earth today.

When the missionaries asked me if I was ready for baptism, I said, “Yes!” I was baptized on 8 February 1987 by Will Powell. For me, a person with Jewish heritage, the news of a living prophet has truly changed my life.

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  • Ann Nicodemus Christensen is a member of the Parowan First Ward, Parowan Utah Stake.