Former Baptist Church Member
The Book of Mormon Felt Good In My Hand
By Paul Thompson
I was baptized in 1996 at the age of 59. It
changed my life in drastic ways. As background information I started
drinking alcohol (mostly beer) at the age of 17 when I entered the
Air Force. I started smoking cigarettes at the age of 13. I drank
pots of coffee each day, not cups.
I grew up as a Baptist, but I had not been to
church in over thirty years.
One evening my son and I watched a made for TV
movie titled, "The Avenging Angel" that was supposed to be about
Porter Rockwell who was Brigham Young’s bodyguard.
My son worked third shift and when he went to work
he mentioned to a co-worker that he had watched this movie about
Mormons and that they could have all these wives.
This co-worker, Mike, told him that he was a
Mormon but he had only one wife. My son told me that Mike was a
Mormon. I was barely acquainted with his co-worker. For some reason
my curiosity directed me to Mike to ask questions about Mormons.
As I would ask a question he would answer bringing
about another question. After about two weeks of visiting with him
at his work place (retail store) I ask him if he could get me a copy
of the Book of Mormon. (I had seen one in the church lobby when I
visited their Family History Center some years back)
I attempted to buy one at several book stories but
had no success. He indicated that he would try to get me one.
A few days later on another visit he gave me a
copy. I offered to pay him but he refused and said it was a gift. I
took it home and started reading it.
I first noticed how good it felt in my hand. I
thought that a bit unusual. I would read a few pages each day and
after a few days I was back to see Mike with more questions.
He said he was concerned that he was going to get
into trouble talking to me so much at his job site but said that the
missionaries would be happy to visit with me and answer any more
questions that I had.
While I was curious about Mormons I certainly was
not interested in going to church much less joining a church and
specifically not the Mormon Church with all it’s restrictions about
drinking and tobacco and coffee and tea as Mike had explained to me
during our discussions.
Of course that did not enter my mind. I continued
to read the Book of Mormon while waiting for the missionaries to
call. After about two weeks they called and we set a time for an
appointment. I was more excited than I had anticipated when the time
At the given hour they arrived but had Mike and
another man with them. I thought to myself, "boy my reputation must
be pretty bad to have four of them come to visit me."
I was at my best behavior, not smoking or swearing
or even have had anything to drink that day. (I was proud of myself
inasmuch as I was a chain smoker.) After greetings we sat down at my
kitchen table and I begin to ask my questions.
As they would answer a question they would gently
direct me to their agenda. I would ask another question and again
they would get back to their agenda (in other words the first
I finally said, "I see you have an agenda so I
will quit asking questions and listen to you." They stayed exactly
one hour and left me with some scriptures to read and committed me
to pray for an answer as to whether Joseph Smith was a prophet. I
promised that I would do that.
They wanted to come back the next evening but I
told them I would let them come back in a week so I could ponder the
things they told me.
I lived up to my promise but as I read the Book of
Mormon I made every effort to convince myself that this was not the
word of God. I failed in this effort. After about two weeks and a
couple of visits I continued to pray for the truth.
One evening as I was walking my dog, it came to me
that Joseph Smith was in fact a true prophet and that the Book of
Mormon was true. About this time my wife began to take the
discussions. She too accepted the Gospel as taught by the Elders.
When we agreed to be baptized we were concerned
about the Word of Wisdom. We expressed this to them. Without
blinking an eye they said "You will have no problem with any Word of
Wisdom concerns." I thought to myself "how could a young 18 year old
know anything about a cigarette habit of over 43 years?"
The Elders faith became our faith. Well, my wife
and I had a knelling prayer that evening and asked the Lord for
help. The next day my wife went to work and it was just a normal day
for both of us until about early afternoon when both of us realized
that we had not had any coffee or cigarettes that day.
All of these habits were erased from our memory
and to this day we cannot remember having any of these habits. The
real miracle is that we suffered no withdrawal effects. We were
baptized the next week.
Since then (11 years ago) I have had many
different callings and I am currently a High Counselor. My wife is
currently in the Primary presidency in our ward. We both are Temple
Ordinance Workers at the Louisville, Kentucky Temple.
And by the way Mike turned out to be a Stake
Missionary during the time he was answering all my questions and
getting me the Book of Mormon!