Former Member Of A Protestant Church
I Was Prepared For This Calling
By Bonnie Howell
For many years I studied the Bible out of concern
for my own personal salvation and hoping that I would find the
answer to many of life's questions. You know those questions, Why am
I here? Why am I me? Where was I before I was born? And most
importantly, Where am I going?
I remember asking these questions when I was 10
yrs old. By the time I was an adult, I attended many churches and
became aware of the vast differences in church doctrines. I was
convinced that somewhere on this earth there was a church that
taught all of the gospel, not just part of it, the same Gospel that
Christ taught. After all, how could all churches be entirely true
and differ in doctrine?
I investigated religions and attended various
churches. Out of frustration and desperation, I prayed an earnest
and sincere prayer to my Heavenly Father. I asked Him to show me
where the true church was. The next day, two missionaries from the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to my door bearing
a copy of the Book of Mormon offering it to me for free.
My first reaction was "Oh, you're delivering it to
me in person!" You see, I had already ordered the Book of Mormon but
had not received it yet. It did not occur to me at that instant that
these young men did not know my physical address since I received my
mail at a post office box in a nearby town.
They looked at each other confused and informed me
that I was not on their list of people who had requested the Book of
Mormon. Then I explained to them that I had ordered the Book of
Mormon not once, but twice within the past 3 months and had still
not received it. I invited them in and agreed to take discussions to
learn about the church.
To this day, almost 17 yrs later, I have still not
received my Book of Mormon in the mail. All that study and prayer
had prepared me to receive the missionaries and, you see, Heavenly
Father was just waiting for me to come to Him in prayer to find out
where the true church was.
When I read the Book of Mormon, I cried tears of
joy because the Spirit whispered to me and I knew beyond a shadow of
a doubt that I was reading true scripture, written by prophets
thousands of years ago, just like in the Bible.
In fact, the Book of Mormon supported the Bible.
Ezekiel 37:16-22 explains that two records would be kept, one for
the tribe of Judah, which is the Bible, and one for the tribe of
Joseph, whose descendants traveled to what is now the Americas and
which is the Book of Mormon. John 10:15-16 testifies of this group
of people whom Jesus referred to as his "other sheep". Is. 56:8
speaks of "others" that the Lord will gather unto Him.
My favorite scripture reads, "If any of you lack
wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and
upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)" I did just
I found the Book of Mormon and the Bible to be
true and sacred and I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints on September 30, 1990 and immediately
afterwards received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of
hands by those having authority.
Since my baptism, I have been blessed
tremendously, both spiritually and temporally. I have never known
such peace. I have been placed in many callings which have helped me
to overcome many personal obstacles.
My self-esteem has shot "through the roof"! I am
now not afraid of public speaking because I have been asked to give
many talks before a congregation. I am an effective teacher,
something that I never knew I could or would ever be.
I have taught Relief Society lessons, Primary,
Young Women, and Sunday School. I had not played the piano for years
before joining the Church. The day of my baptism, I arrived early,
sat down at the piano and began to play "We Thank Thee, O God, for a
Prophet" and "Israel, Israel, God is Calling".
Within minutes, the meeting room was full and I
was playing for a congregation. I immediately received the calling
as Branch Pianist, although I received less than 2 years of formal
instruction as a child, I was 37 years old and had not played a
piano in over 10 yrs.
I sometimes think back to when I was 10 yrs old
when my parents gave me a small table top organ for Christmas. 27
years later, when we built the 2nd phase onto our meetinghouse, it
included a beautiful organ and I clearly understood that I was
prepared for this calling from an early age.
Someone not aware of my conversion commented there
was something 'different' about me, "Bonnie, you must be living
right. The Lord must really be with you." . A stranger said I looked
"as if I were at peace with myself". I knew that 'difference' was
the Holy Spirit.
I testify to you that I know Jesus is the Christ,
my Savior and my Redeemer, that He has a Prophet today who leads and
guides his church and that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the
word of God. I know that under Heavenly Father's plan that the
family unit can continue throughout eternity.
And thanks to the missionaries who taught me I now
have the answer to those questions that plagued me many years ago.
If you are wondering how you can have this much
peace in your life, just remember the next time two young men in
dark suits and white shirts come knocking at your door. Talk to them
and find out for yourself.