It Was As Though Scales Fell From My Eyes
By Anna Buttimore
I grew up in England as an Evangelical Christian
(born-again), attended several different churches of this type and
married an Anglican Vicar I had met through the University Christian
When my best friend joined the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints I was upset and angry. I thought she had
been brainwashed into a cult and I became obsessed with hatred for
I read every anti-Mormon book I could find and
became involved with an anti-cult group, eventually becoming its
Area Director for the North Wales area. As well as my research I
gave lectures to church groups, leafleted homes warning householders
not to speak to missionaries, and wrote a booklet about "Mormonism".
Five years after I started my campaign I received
a Solicitor’s [lawyer’s] letter on behalf of the LDS Church asking
that I cease my activities (some of which had been dishonest) or
they would sue me.
For some time I had known that many of my
arguments didn't stand up and that many of the anti-Mormon books
were very inaccurate.
I was also beginning to admire the way every
Mormon I had met was polite and loving and reasonable even when I
was yelling at them. So I decided to comply and resolved to have
nothing more to do with the church.
After some time I began to feel sorry for what I
had done in the past, so I met with the missionaries and asked them
to convey my apologies to the local ward. They discovered that I had
never actually read the Book of Mormon and they challenged me to do
I didn't actually read much at that time, but it
was as though scales fell from my eyes (Acts 9:18) and I realized
that the person I had been trying to convince that the Church was
false was not my best friend, or any of the people I lectured to,
I had felt threatened by the church because I had
never felt close to God in my own church, but all the Mormons I met
had a very real relationship with Him, and that was a huge challenge
to my own belief system.
When the missionaries taught me it was as though I
was hearing the gospel for the first time. It was extremely
difficult to say "I was wrong" and go to church that first time, but
not one person reproached me and everyone made me feel welcome.
I felt really loved and was finally able to feel
the spirit and know for certain that my Heavenly Father loved me and
heard my prayers.
Unfortunately my husband, who was a Vicar after
all, still hated the LDS church and soon forbade me to go to church
or have anything to do with it. No one was allowed even to phone me
or call at the house, and he burned my scriptures.
I went along to his church with him until he lost
his job due to his alcoholism, after which I went to a community
Evangelical church. As our marriage started to disintegrate I was
able to go occasionally to the local branch of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, and when we divorced I became fully
My testimony grew even through the years when I
couldn't go to church. I found huge strength in prayer and had many
reassurances from my Heavenly Father.
In particular I was promised that I would be
richly rewarded for my faithfulness (which surprised me, because I
wasn't living the gospel particularly well the whole time) and I
believe that reward came when I married a wonderful, intelligent,
steadfast returned missionary.
I often joke that I embarked on a five year quest
to find out what was wrong with the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, only to conclude "Nothing"; or I sum up my
conversion by saying "If you can't beat ‘em, join ‘em."
But that trivializes what really happened, which
was that Heavenly Father didn't turn his back on me, and even
through the hatred which filled me the spirit was able to reach me
and help me turn my life around.
I cannot begin to describe the joy which fills me
each day as I pray with my family, or spend time in my calling with
the Young Women who really inspire me, or just walk through the
halls of the church meetinghouse knowing that this is where I belong
and that this is right and good.
I do know that this is Jesus Christ’s church, and
I truly rejoice that I have the privilege of being a member of it. I
love my Savior and am so grateful for all that He has done for me.
And especially for his atonement which means that we can be
forgiven, no matter what we have done wrong in the past.