Man Hugs for Robert T.


IHACD 3 stories

Converted on the Internet before it was coolMy conversion story starts on a precursor to the social media we know today: ICQ (ask your parents what that is, kids!)I was, as many 21-year-old males would do, seeking a female chat companion on this at-the-time-cutting-edge program. I also was watching a BYU football game, because football was on TV and I watch it when it is.
As I was seeking people for chat, I came across someone who was a BYU student. I asked her if she was enjoying the game, and she responded that she was writing a paper (this was unfathomable to me as a football fan, but I respected it). A friendship was struck.At the time, I was a Catholic who attended church every week. I say that not to denigrate my former faith, but to illustrate the upbringing I had in which I was taught Christian principles, combined with the discipline and rigor of Catholic school as well as the reverence and solemnity of Mass. It was a solid foundation that I appreciate more every day.My new friend one day said, “I have something I want you to read.” It was a link to this conference talk by Elder Richard G. Scott. I felt something about it that led me to read it again and again, and also to browse more of every day.I started to read the Book of Mormon online, and I told my friend about it. She said I should meet with the missionaries to learn more, so I called the toll-free number and arranged a meeting.

It really didn’t take long. The Spirit had already been working on me, and even though I wasn’t looking to change my faith, I felt the need to change some things in my life. I met once with the missionaries and they invited me to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

I followed the invitation, and I believe I received an answer to my prayer. If that were the only time I felt I’d received a confirmation of the truth of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, I might doubt myself, but it was the first of scores of spiritual assurances that I have received and still receive that this is the path my Father in Heaven wants me on.

It was a difficult summer for my family, as tragedy struck when we suddenly lost a young relative. I learned the power of fasting and prayer at that time, feeling comfort amid the sorrow. I know this is a principle many faiths practice that brings hope and communion with God in times of trial.

Later that summer, I declared my intent to be baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m going to tell this part of the story a bit differently than I’ve told it in the past …

I could have acted a lot better, more civil, more Christlike in the way I went about my conversion. I will never regret joining the LDS Church and always believe it was what God wanted me to do, but I do regret the way I acted toward members of my family who were opposed to the idea. I got fired up with the “I’m being persecuted” idea, while not taking the time to at least understand where they were coming from with their concerns.

My family, most of whom were opposed to the idea of me becoming a Mormon, was coming from a place of love for me. They believed (and still do) that their faith was the correct one and was the best thing for me. They gave me that foundation of faith, and I am grateful every day for it. I can’t in good conscience call their objections anything to the effect of Satan-inspired persecution. I hope people who read this and experience similar things can balance love for their family and a desire to be understanding and compassionate with the resolve to stay true to their spiritual conviction of the gospel’s truth.

I eventually was baptized and confirmed a Latter-day Saint. With the help of generous ward members, I served a mission in New Zealand. I was married a little more than a year after I came back to a wonderful woman whose sister’s family introduced us while I was attending a small branch in Pennsylvania, USA. We continue to learn and serve God’s children in the church together and teach our young boys the gospel.

I feel like I have been blessed immensely by the Lord, and if my children learn nothing else from me, I hope they learn how to make a connection with their Father in Heaven through his son, Jesus Christ, and feel their love through the Holy Ghost. I pray they will learn gratitude and humility, dependence on their Creator, and love for their brothers and sisters.

Robert t
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  1. I don’t know if I can give an e-man hug, but what about an e-high 5 from someone who is old enough to know about ICQ.

    I needed to feel the spirit today that I did while reading this. Glad to hear you have learned from how you dealt with family. I do hope others can learn and improve in this hard time for all.

  2. I really like what you said about your family just acting out of love. I think many times that happens for lots of different reasons and it is best to not take offense and just know that they really do think they know best.

    What a great story. So glad you shared. HUGE HUG!!

  3. Wow…Your perspective on how you acted towards your family when you converted is really eye opening. Helps me to see my siblings a bit differently.
    Thank you.

  4. What a really neat perspective! And such a good reminder that we need to be sensitive to others. Loved this!

  5. I once heard a sacrament talk that started “My father was a monk” Definitely got our attention! (the monk converted and married an LDS woman)
    I appreciate your comments on non-member relationships. It can be so hard to be different from those whom you love.

  6. Thank you for sharing your approach to your catholic upbringing. I find sometimes in our church the challenge of balancing the “only true and living church” doctrine with the wonderful things that can occur in other churches. I feel the spirit of your testimony- thank you.

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