I’m Japanese, and my conversion took a place in Japan. Also I’m obviously not a native English speaker, so please pardon me with my imperfect English writing.
I’d been going to “Christian” church since I was in preschool age, and I was educated repeatedly by the church that Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and the Moonies were the evil religions and we should stay away.
When I was working for Handicaps, I was told that 4 Mormon missionaries were coming to volunteer and they would do so weekly. My first reaction was “no way”. But it was not my decision to accept them or not, so I told myself “I don’t need to talk to them. Just keep a distance, and protect my students from them”.
They came the first time in early September in 1991. That first day, two Elders were assigned to my class. I explained to them what they could do to help me and the class. After maybe 10mins in, I reached a box contained some materials on the floor, but one of elders reached to it too at the same time. Our hands on the same box, our foreheads almost touching, and I found myself saying “I believe in God” in English(!). He said “me, too”, and that was the beginning.
I couldn’t believe myself that I gave them a chance to talk about it (dah!!) and, of course, they offer me to come to the English class.[In Japan, missionaries hold English conversation classes once a week for free, as a part of their mission tool.] I loved English, so I did. And what’s happened? Of course they asked me to take lessons. My thought was “OK, I have nothing to worry about. I will find holes and faults in their teachings”. Got a copy of the Book of Mormon and gladly started reading. It must be fun to find faults in it, right? So I can teach them to be “a Christian”.
But as I read, I didn’t like the fact that what I read wasn’t really against our ONLY holy book. Not only that, it actually was supporting my Holy Bible. So I told missionaries that if the Book of Mormon was the true book, then it should have been mentioned in the Bible. So I started to search in the Bible. The missionaries pointed out a few places in the Bible that kind of mentioning the another book, but I wasn’t quite satisfied.
One day I was reading Jeremiah, and then, 30:2 hit me – Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.
I firmly believed God was, is, and will be with us. Then, why He only spoke to people in ancient time? He is living. Doesn’t He speak to us? Writing all the words He has spoken in more recent time makes sense, doesn’t it?
That was the moment I realized the truthfulness of the teaching that THE church was offering.
I got baptized on December 23rd 1991, a little over 3 months after my first meeting with the missionaries, and was endowed in January in 1993 in Tokyo Temple. I got married in May, 1993 at the Salt Lake Temple to the missionary who baptized me. And one of our wedding witnesses was the elder who gave me the confirmation blessing.
I think my conversion was supposed to happen that way, with negative feeling towards the church and missionaries to begin with (sad to say, though). Without it, I don’t think I would have aggressively studied and searched. At first I was always praying “please help me to find their faults”, but then it quickly changed to “please help me to know the truth”. God always works in a mysterious way.