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Former Baptist Church Member

 

"I Couldn't Deny My Feelings"

By Pamela Jackson

It all started when I was staying up late one night with my friend. We saw the commercial for the Book of Mormon on TV, & decided to call. I had seen it many times before, but never thought it was really free, so I never called.....but this time we had a cell phone, so we decided that if they started asking for money, we'd just hang up.

The lady was very nice and said that we'd receive our book in the next couple weeks. I proceeded to start checking the mailbox. Back then, I was never home...I was always hanging out with my friends all day, so I began getting home @ night and my friends giving me messages that someone named Elder McGee was calling me.

I didn't know anyone named "Elder, but a few nights later received a call from Elder McGee, he was from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and he was trying to deliver the Book of Mormon that I had ordered.

I FROZE. Although the voice didn't sound like it, I pictured an old man with white, balding hair and a suit...preparing to tell me how "kids these days are just horrible." I wanted to hang up, or tell him never mind, but I couldn't....see.....I have a problem telling people no.

So instead, we made an appointment. It was for the following day at 4:00. As soon as we hung up the phone, I turned to my friend Kayla and told her that we HAD to be gone tomorrow at 4.

It was a few days before I heard from Elder McGee again. I apologized for not being there the few days before, & made up some excuse like it slipped my mind. We made an appointment for Saturday at 1:00. When we hung up,

I once again turned to Kayla & explained that we must be gone at that time. The week continued and Friday night I threw a party at my house. We we all up until at least 6 or 7, so by 1, we were all sleeping.

My mom came in my room saying that someone was there to see me and that I need to get up and take care of it myself. After a few moments of utter confusion, it dawned on me...MISSIONARIES! I shook my sister out of my bed and made her go tell them we were asleep.

She did, and as they were going to their car, my friend, Kayla, peered out the window & exclaimed, "THEY'RE BOYS!"

I instantly jumped up and ran to the window. I saw a young, blonde haired guy. I made the comment that he was cute, and Kayla said, excitedly, "there's a dark haired one too." We looked at each other and though we both knew it, I said, "maybe we should let them come over."

A few days later, it was about 5:00 in the evening and Elder McGee called. We exchanged greetings and after he asked what my plans were for the night, and could they stop by. I was still very afraid to meet them despite their blessed looks.

I stalled, trying to think of a reason to decline, and kicked myself for revealing that I had no plans. After I realized there was no way out, I agreed and they said they'd be there around 7:00.

I hurried to straighten up the house, and fix my makeup, hair, etc. There was a knock at the door promptly at 7:00, I ran to the bathroom to check my appearance one last time, and let my mom answer the door. When I came back in the room, two of the most handsome men I'd ever seen in my 17 years were standing before me.

As they were saying "hello" I peered at their name tags & saw Elder McGee (the blonde), and Elder Owens (the dark haired one). I was amazed because, here I was, never hearing the name Elder, and now two guys in the same room have it (I didn't find out that it was just a title for a couple of weeks).

Anyway...the 1st lesson went so amazing. As they began to teach about families being together forever, my mother stopped the dishes, and pulled up a chair beside us. I remember the first thing that touched me was them telling us that we'll know our family when we die.

As a child, when my grandma died, I remember asking my mother if I'd see her in Heaven, my mother told me that I would see her, but I wouldn't remember how I knew her in life, this didn't seem right to me, and I remember thinking to myself that I wasn't like everyone else, I'd be able to remember, turns out I was right!!!

I also remember very clearly, the missionaries telling me how after Jesus was resurrected, he showed himself unto the people of the Americas. THIS MADE SO MUCH SENSE TO ME! Of course he wouldn't just stay on one side of the world and hope the news would spread across the seas.

Towards the end of the discussion, they invited us to church that Sunday. I readily agreed. Unfortunately, mom had to work. The missionaries arranged a ride for me. I remember them picking me up...I didn't have dresses back then, so I had on pick dress pants, a black shirt, black shoes, and my pink bible.

It was the beginning of January & I remember when Elder McGee asked me where my coat was, I explained that I didn't wear one because it didn't match my outfit.

The welcome I received in the church was different than anything I'd ever experienced. Close to everyone in the room introduced themselves to me, and though I'd been through that when I'd gone to a new church before, the way their faces just glowed with happiness and their words and welcomes had such a sincerity amazed me.

Sacrament was neat. It was fast and testimony meeting (I'll never forget, however, one man got up and told the story of how he and his wife had gotten together after her divorce.

To this day, when I invite a friend to church, I plan it on fast Sundays...I just feel the Spirit so strong there, and it also keeps the person from getting confused from talks about things they haven't learned of yet.

Gospel Principles Sunday School was so neat because we started on the 1st lesson and I learned so much! I absolutely love that book and I have my own copy.

When it was time for Young Women's, I panicked when the missionaries explained that we were going to separate. They saw this & asked me if I wanted them to come with me. I smiled from ear to ear & said yes.

Over the next couple of weeks, we continued with the discussions, and I remember when we were being taught the Word of Wisdom...they said that we weren't allowed to have alcohol, and me, in probably one of my silliest moments ever, replied..."oh, so you can only have wine?" Elder Owens looked at me with a smile, and answered "no".

This kind of confused me, because, when I met a girl my age at church that Sunday, she said we should hang out sometime, so I told her we were having a party on Friday and she said she'd be there (maybe she thought there'd be no alcohol).

Unfortunately, she came to the party already half drunk. This led me to the conclusion that we must be allowed to drink a little, and they just tell us not at all so we don't become alcoholics. (I learned later that this girl wasn't living the Gospel.)

Soon came the time when the missionaries began teaching about baptism. Then came the challenge. Oh my gosh! I was so afraid, I felt that there was no way I was good enough to be baptized...I was thinking maybe after 6 months of good behavior I'd be ready.

Those wonderful missionaries taught me that it doesn't matter what you've done...as long as you're ready to make the changes necessary, you're ready to be baptized. Even though I was so afraid of being baptized, but then getting caught up in temptation, I agreed.

We set it for the Sunday after the next. My mom set a date too, for two weeks after me (work had been making it hard for her to get to church. She's a nurse.)!!

The discussions continued, and I was halfway through the Book of Mormon, but I was still having parties. I was telling myself that it was okay until the baptism. The night before my baptism came I threw a really big party, I didn't drink very much.

I woke up the next day and my mom and I went to go buy a dress for me. The day was going really well until we got back from shopping. As I walked in the door, my brother, who had come home unexpectedly from college, slammed me against the wall and began asking what the heck I was thinking throwing a party in Mom's house. He told me how much of a hypocrite I was, and told me that I was no longer a part of the family and that he hated me.

At first. I just ignored him, looking off in the distance, but then I realized something...he was right. When he finally let me go, I stormed outside and yelled to my mom that the baptism was off. For the next couple of hours, I walked around town.

I decided I needed money, so I went back to my house to get it. As I came to the yard, my mom was on the phone, and somehow I knew it was with Elder McGee. I walked past her and into my room. She came in a few moments later and tried to give me the phone. I refused to talk to him.

She went in the other room and I heard her tell him that she was so sorry and she'd call him back if anything changed. I got my money, and on my way out, my mom begged me to at least call and talk to the missionaries.

After contemplating this for a minute, I decided she was right. I was going to call them and tell them never to bother me again!

I called over and over again but I couldn't get an answer. I was so angry! "shows how much they care if I get baptized" I thought to myself. I sat down in my room for a minute and all of a sudden I felt this overwhelming emotion come over me.

I had prayed about the Book of Mormon before, and I knew it was true, and at the remembrance of this, I dropped to my knees in prayer and the tears just poured out to my Heavenly Father.

I let him know how angry I was with him for letting Kelly, my brother, say those things to me. I cried and cried and then.....I began to ask why He had given me such a for sure answer about the Book of Mormon, but then let everything fall apart today.

As much as I tried, I couldn't deny the feelings I felt when I studied the scriptures, and took the discussions. I was very confused.

As if someone had whispered it in my ear, I suddenly recalled the missionaries telling me that no matter what bad things happen, not to let it get in the way of my baptism. HOW CRAZY!!! I finally realized that this whole thing was Satan's doing. I cried even more now and tried to call the missionaries to pour out my heart and let them know that I did want to get baptized!!

I tried over and over, but nothing. Then I began to pray again. I promised Heavenly Father that if He would just have the missionaries call me back, that no matter what, I'd follow the commandments. I no longer felt that the temptation would be too much. I covenanted with Him that I would not waiver!

I went in the bathroom and began to clean up my tears. As I looked at my reflection, more tears came, I began once again to talk to Heavenly Father. I told him that I think he thought that I made those promises on the spur of the moment without really thinking...I stopped and thought for a few minutes...then I began my prayers again and continued to covenant with Heavenly Father that I would follow Him in every way!

I prayed to Heavenly Father that if this was the right thing to do, then please let the missionaries call back...then, as if it were right next to me, I could hear the phone's other line beep in from the other room!

I looked up to see mom bringing me the phone! I was crying uncontrollably...this time...from happiness. I'll never forget Elder Owen's voice on the other line. I don't know how, but somehow he understood through my cries that I was ready to get baptized. They said they were on their way.

I was still crying when the missionaries got to my house, and I cried the whole way to the church...I tried to calm down as we went in...I put on a beautiful baptismal dress and soon...I was baptized!!! I'll never ever forget that day and I still continue to thank my Heavenly Father for answering my prayers.

 

 

 

 

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