So how does a Catholic kid, growing up in a small Kansas town, become a Mormon? With the Lord’s guidance and a friend who wasn’t afraid to share her testimony of Jesus Christ, I suppose.
My name is Chris Staggs, and I’m a happy Mormon. Raised in a Catholic home, I have always loved the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the summer after graduating High School. My wife was raised a member of the Church, and we are the parents of four busy boys. I have a full-time job that I love, and I also serve as the Bishop of our ward (congregation).
Being from a long line of Catholics, my plan as a youth was to become a Priest. I attended mass several times a week, and studied in my free time with the priests in the monastery next to the cathedral. That all changed my Junior year of high school. My parents divorced, and I started asking all the questions a kid asks himself when there’s a life change. Just what is the purpose of life? How can I be happy if my family is going through some rough spots? With so many churches, how do I know which one is right for me?
Shortly after graduating from high school, my friend, the ONE Mormon in town, asked me a question out of the blue one day: “What do you want most in life?” “To be happy,” was my answer. “…but I’m not sure what that means, honestly,” I continued.
Her response was simple: “Chris, that’s the purpose of life! And I have proof.” That day, I first held a copy of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. We talked for hours about what she had come to know for herself as truth. She told me the Lord had again put a prophet on the earth to lead and guide His children. The priesthood, or the proper authority to act in His name, had been restored. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, families could be together not just til “death do they part,” but for eternity.
She then invited me to meet with missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who could answer my questions and tell me more. The only problem was there weren’t any for hundreds of miles around. So I found out where they were, and drove to meet with them. Best gas money I’ve ever spent. Over the course of several weeks, I made the drive to where they were. They extended invitations to attend church, read the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and ask God if it was true. I learned that God answers prayers, and that the responsibility to find out answers to important questions was mine. I didn’t have to take someone else’s word for it, but I could really know for myself.
The rest, as they say, is history. “I’m a Mormon, I know it. I live it. I love it.”