Hugs for Matt Newman (From Across the Pond)

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IHACD 3 stories

 

Prior to attending my sister’s wedding in 2006 I felt that there was absolutely no possibility that there could be a God. But as I was sat there at my sister’s wedding I felt something that I had never felt before. It was a feeling of warmth inside me and it freaked me out a little. Little did I know it at the time, but that feeling had set me on a long and winding path to finding my faith.

Several years passed and I kept getting a nagging feeling that I needed God in my life. I looked into a few Christian churches, and while I believed in God and Jesus Christ, I just couldn’t settle on a church that made sense to me.

About four years ago I started chatting with a woman called Becki on Twitter who worked with a good friend of mine from when I was at university. Becki told me that she was a Mormon and explained a little about her beliefs. I had heard of ‘the Mormons’ thanks to the Preston England Temple which is in the same town I was living in, but I didn’t know anything about their beliefs other than they didn’t drink alcohol. We decided after about a year of chatting through Twitter and email that we should talk on the phone for the first time.

Over the next couple of weeks we talked more and more on the phone and I noticed there was something rather odd about her that I hadn’t witnessed in anyone else in my life โ€“ she was different. She was different because she had a set of moral standards that I didn’t really know existed in society. I was used to people who pretty much did whatever they wanted, regardless of the consequences. I wanted to know more about her moral standards, so she sent me a PDF of the Church’s Gospel Principles manual, which I read from start to finish in a couple of days. It ticked every box I needed ticking, and it seemed to answer every question I had about the hole I was looking to fill in my life.

My enthusiasm surprised Becki a bit, but she started to teach me more about the gospel and the Church. She was worried I was doing it just to be with her, but in all honesty I was doing it because I felt I had finally found the truth about God and Jesus Christ.

A couple of weeks passed and we decided to meet in person and we hit it off really well. A week or so after that I had an overwhelming urge to contact the missionaries one night. I had no idea how to get in touch with them so I phoned the Preston England Temple. Nobody was answering the phone that late, so I phoned the next number I could find โ€“ the England Missionary Training Centre. They took down my details and explained that missionaries would give me a call back the next day.

The following day a young American chap gave me a call and asked if they could set up a meeting with me. I was hesitant, but told them I’d meet them outside the university library that evening. It was dark and really cold that evening as I sat sat on a bench with two young American missionaries discussing my faith, and I felt a prompting within me that I hadn’t felt since that day at my sister’s wedding years earlier. At the end of the 45-minute lesson I felt a prompting within me that was so powerful and felt so right that I simply could not say no to what came next โ€“ the missionaries asked if I wanted to be baptised. I instantly said yes.

The following day Becki and I had our second date, and she brought a copy of the Book of Mormon with her for me to read.

The following weekend was the October 2011 General Conference, and Becki and I sat down to watch the Sunday morning session. The copy of the Book of Mormon sat on my bedside table, unread. A man talking at General Conference started getting super emotional and I began to take notice of what he was saying. His name, of course, is President Henry B. Eyring and the talk he was giving was called ‘A Witness’. As he spoke I began to feel so overwhelmingly emotional, grabbed my copy of the Book of Mormon and cried my eyes out. I felt 27 years of frustration, sin, fear and hopelessness be lifted from my shoulders. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I knew without a doubt that the Book of Mormon was true without having read a word of it.

18 days after that moment I entered the waters of baptism after having regular lessons with the missionaries. That moment changed my life.

Two days later I received the Holy Ghost, was ordained to the office of Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, and two days after that Becki and I were engaged to be married. Seven months later Becki and I got married, and the day after I was ordained to the office of Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. We were sealed in the Preston England Temple in December 2012 and in March this year we welcomed our first child into the world.

My conversion continues to this very day and will continue for the rest of my life. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has changed my life beyond all recognition, which is something I’m so incredibly grateful for.

Matt Newman

 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. What a lovely conversion story. And yes, it can happen just that fast. I remember calling my mom to come get my booze because I was too frugal to throw it out. (There wasn’t much of it, but still…)

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