When I was growing up, my parents never took my siblings and me to church. We were not a religious family. For me, Sunday was just a day off from school when we could play. I thought my life was complete. It wasn’t until a friend showed me what I was missing that I realized how empty my life had been.
When I was 11 or 12, my mother was baptized into the Church. She would often ask me if I wanted to go to church with her, and I always said no. When we moved to Texas the summer before my junior year in high school, I still didn’t go to church with her.
At the beginning of the school year I had no friends. After a few weeks, I became friends with Brad. He was in some of my classes. We would talk in class but never did anything outside of school.
One day my mom took me and my four siblings to church with her. I went, hoping to leave as soon as possible. When we sat down, I looked up and saw Brad preparing to bless the sacrament. Brad saw me as well.
The next day at school, Brad came to me and said, “I didn’t know you were a Latter-day Saint.”
I replied, “I’m not.”
Pretty soon Brad was taking me to Mutual, youth conference, and I was even coming to church every Sunday.
Having never read the Bible, I didn’t know much about Jesus Christ. Brad gave me a Book of Mormon, and I started to read it. From that time, there was a visible change in my life for the better. I knew what I was reading was true. The Holy Ghost bore witness of it. It was through the Book of Mormon that I came to know Jesus Christ and all He has done for me. I changed the way I acted. I started living the way the Bible and Book of Mormon told me I should live.
One day Brad finally asked me, “Donny, what do we have to do to get you baptized?” I had never thought about it before, but it felt like the right thing to do. On June 26, 2000, Brad baptized me into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Three months later, I baptized my older brother, Dan. We are both currently serving missions.
Looking back at how I felt about religion before, I have gained so much. Now I know my Savior Jesus Christ. I have the scriptures to guide me. And I have the gift of the Holy Ghost, who bears witness of the truth.