Atheist or Agnostic
"God Brought His Church To My Doorstep"
By Arthur Rangel
I'm a child of a single parent. It has been only
my mom and me for most of my life. I grew up leaning toward
Christianity, although hardly anyone in my family went to Church.
Eventually I began to have doubts about God. I became an agnostic.
However in December of 04 I was compelled to be
humble by the shadow of death looming ferociously in my face.
My lung collapsed on me and I had to undergo
surgery. The seeds of faith were planted in my heart at the
hospital. I read the entire New Testament epistles. They provided
great comfort during this time of illness.
Eventually I did regain a faith, however meager,
in the person and God, Jesus Christ. So the next natural step was to
At the time I was living at my Grandma's empty
house. She was living in a nursing home; therefore, I was all by
myself and going to work at Taco Bell.
During this time I checked the phone book and
called a couple of Churches to know their service hours. One day I
ventured outside to walk to a newly built Catholic Church on Nut
Tree road. It was a Mass.
Before it began the Bishop or whoever took me into
a private room and discussed with me for a minute about the service.
He forbad me from partaking of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.
It must be a Catholic custom that nobody can partake of it unless
they are a member of the Church. However, he said, I could sit and
watch if I wanted. I didn't feel very welcome, though.
I pulled out one of those knee cushions from out
in front of me and prayed to God. I forget what I actually said to
Him, but I know that I was trying to feel His presence there.
After I got home I looked up some other Church
numbers. It was mostly Protestant Sects, I believe. I wrote down the
Lutheran Church's number. I discovered there was another Church down
the road that I could attend next Sunday.
I also mused writing my Grandfather again to ask
him if he knew any church that I should go to. (My Grandfather was
once a minister.)
During this same time period of searching out a
church, one came to my doorstep.
One day my doorbell rang and I answered to two
nicely combed young men. They asked me if my parents were home so
they could talk to them. (Obviously they mistaked me for someone
younger than 19.) Thinking back now... I feel as if they were sent
My words were, "No... I live here alone, but I'm
interested in talking to you." They asked me my age. I was hiding my
torso behind the door due to the fact that I was only in my boxers.
They noticed this, so that's probably why they didn't think about
asking if I wanted to let them in to talk to them now.
They said that there was a young adults program at
their Church and that occasionally they played volleyball at one of
their buildings. (Wednesday nights.T
They talked about how it was a nice place to meet
people. I said, "and girls?" They laughed and said, "Of course." (By
the way, looking back, I can't remember a single instance in my life
being tract into by "Mormon" missionaries, except during this very
time in my life that I was seeking out a church to attend, that I
may know more about my God.)
After this I went to volleyball. I met and shook
hands with many people and their reception of me was warm and
loving. I felt very good there. I also had a fun time.
To make a long story short they taught me about
the Gospel...and how that Gospel was restored to the earth through a
man, a prophet, they said, named Joseph Smith.
I watched a movie called the Restoration. I felt a
warmth through my body during the film. I read their "Book of
Mormon" and experienced similar good feelings. My mind became
enlightened and many obscure things from the Bible I couldn't
comprehend suddenly became clear.
The first day of Church was also the day many were
going to see their so-called Apostle, Dallin H. Oaks, speaking at a
Fireside in Oakland. I went and again felt the Spirit immensely. I
said deep in myself... if this man isn't an apostle... then he
should be. I liked him a lot.
The Oakland temple was beautiful looking. Chris
gave me a ride there. I continued my studying of the Book of Mormon,
and the more I read it the more I felt positive that the book was
really of Godly origin.
I recognized some of the young, confused Joseph
Smith in myself at that time, with the same questions: "Why all of
this division in Christianity? And which Church is true?
There was one night where I had finished reading
some of 2 Nephi and some of the words of Isaiah. I felt very
peaceful and warm inside like I had been meditating for an hour or
something, although I was merely reading.
I kneeled and prayed, as I did this the peaceful
feeling increased and I couldn't contain tears. I asked God if this
book was really from Him. My feelings were unmistakable. The book
that I held in my hands during my prayers was of divine origin. The
words I had read were from God.
I know that He answered my sincere question in the
affirmative. I had many experiences like this and many, many
confirmations of the truth. I thank God that I began writing a
journal during this time in my life so you can see my exact
demeanor. I've posted some exerpts of my journal in my blogs.
Looking back, I know that God prepared me to
receive His truth, His words. I see the collapsed lung as a
blessing. Who knows... if I hadn't been compelled to be humble I
wouldn't have listened to the Mormon missionaries. I wouldn't have
even been searching for a church to attend. I would have still been
I know that God sent those missionaries in
response to my genuine effort to find a church to be a part of. I
found His Church amidst all of the churches of men.
Truly I recognize this as a pearl of great price.
I wouldn't trade my knowledge for the wealth of the whole world. I
didn't find God's Church........ God brought His Church to my
doorstep. May His name be praised forever!