Starting with No


I thought we were all children of God. Did my friend think he was better than me?

My conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started with the word no. It doesn’t sound like a very good place to start anything, but those two letters changed my life. I never dreamed that such a negative word could bring me such joy. I especially didn’t know it at the time.

There was going to be a dance at school, so I asked a friend of mine if he would accompany me. He turned me down. He explained that he was a Mormon and that he had a personal standard to only date young women who were LDS. I was very upset, and I thought he saw me as being beneath him since I wasn’t a member of the same religion. I had been raised to believe that we’re all children of God, and I didn’t understand his view.

He’s not a bad person and he knew I had been hurt by his response, so he called me on the phone so he could explain. We talked for 45 minutes that night. It was strange because I opened up to him completely. We chatted like old friends. He asked me if I would read the Book of Mormon if he gave me a copy. Reluctantly, I said I might (not really believing that I would). He gave it to me the next day, and I got through Second Nephi the first night. I finished it two weeks later. Shortly after that, I wrote this in my journal:

I went to sacrament meeting today and it was one of those meetings where the members bear their testimonies. It was really moving. I wanted to go up and say something, but I couldn’t. Then my heart started pounding and the Spirit moved me and I knew I had to go up there and speak. I did and I was crying, but I felt good.

I met the missionaries for the first time that night, and a few weeks later I decided to be baptized. After some trials I was baptized. When the day finally arrived, this is what I wrote:

Tonight was my baptism. The water was really warm. Then the bishop confirmed me and then there were lots of people hugging and congratulating me. It finally happened! It really was such a brief wait and I know it was worth it. This has been an amazing day. I have been so blessed.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Roger Motzkus