Former Lutheran Church Member
"Our Spiritual Journey!"
By Chad Nordenstrom
I don't remember a time that I did not believe in
God. I was exposed to the Lutheran denomination of Christianity as a
child. After my parents divorced when I was 2 years old I went to
live with my mom, we never attended church accept Christmas and
My mother, who had been Catholic, had a positive
attitude about Christ. When I was a young boy my mom and I where
driving down the road, when my mother rear ended a car going about
When this happened I was on the front seat with no
seat belt on. I can still remember what happened that day until this
When we hit I came completely off the seat and was
going to fly right through the windshield. Right at that moment I
saw a white bright light and a tremendous force right on my
shoulders pushing me back into the seat. I looked over at my mom and
I asked her…"Did you see that?" She said, "what?" I said, "the Angels!
At this time in my life I was 7 or 8 years old in
2nd grade. I did not go to church, I was not religious, it was what
it was and my mom is my witness.
When I turned 10 I went to go live with my father
and step mom, they sent me to a Lutheran church when I was in 5th
and 6th grade, they also always said prayers before meals and spoke
about the importance of Jesus in their lives and I think would be
considered non denominational Christians.
When I was 12 years old I moved to Silverstrand
Beach in Oxnard, California and I ended up getting baptized by a
Pastor named Scott O’Friel in 1991. I felt a very close connection
with the Savior at this time. I knew that he loved me, and I knew he
would protect and watch over me. I went to this bible study for
about 2-3 years.
I met my future wife when I was 15 years old, she
was 12! We were best friends right from the beginning. We went to
bible study together which helped build a strong foundation for our
marriage. I ended up getting married when I was 19 and have been
with my wife ever since.
From the time I got married until I was about 28 I
sort of fell away from the Lord. The only way I can explain it is, I
still walked in the light of the Lord it just wasn’t very bright. I
now know how much brighter the light can get, and I look forward to
even brighter times ahead.
When I was 28 I felt very inspired by a Christian
friend of mine named Debi Eastman. In my opinion she was one of the
best persons I have ever met. She made me know I could do better as
a person especially when it came to forgiveness.
There were so many things that had to happen to
land me where I am now, real estate deals gone bad, and deals gone
good. I know there was a plan.
One night I went to the St. George visitors’
center with my neighbors Mike and Sandy Stephenson. I remember when
I first really looked at the St. George Temple, it was at night and
the temple was brightly lit, it literally took my breath away!
At the time I really didn’t even know the
importance of the temple was. But I felt this strange connection to
it...I was in awe.
I now know why I felt the way I did, part of my
testimony to this being the true Church is the fact that members of the LDS
faith are the only temple building people in the world. I truly
believe that these are houses of God and I am yet to even step foot
My wonderful neighbors Mike and Sandy, Joel and
Sonya, Brent and Sheryl, Paul and Penny took me right under their
wing! They made me feel so welcome and so accepted right from the
start! They say people are "loved into the church" they aren’t
Well the next 3 months was whirlwind of learning
about the Church and attending Church services and activities. It
was fun and exciting as well as spiritually uplifting! I had found
my niche! That part of me that was missing was no longer gone.
For the first time in my life I looked forward
towards Sundays for something except Seahawks football. Even so,
being the skeptic that I was, I wanted to know for sure that this
Church was everything they said it was.
I did a lot of my own investigating, praying and
fasting, which the missionaries encouraged me to do. That's what
impressed me most....no one in the Church wanted me to "follow
blindly" they were very supportive of me finding my own answers.
One of the missionaries giving me my discussions
told me....."You don't have to believe what we tell you...YOU pray
and ask the Lord yourself if it's right or wrong!"....Well that's
what I did....and I got my answer. No, it wasn't as thrilling as a
'burning bush’ or anything....but when you feel the spirit of the
Lord upon you....well there's just no doubt!
This is what happened to me, it was the night of
Tuesday, March 27th 2007.
My missionaries Elder Ward and Elder Mathias were
at my house along with my neighbor Mike and John Southwick. We were
hearing the message of the missionaries and talking about the gospel
when somehow the subject got brought up about Joseph Smith being a
I must tell you I said I have never believed in
Joseph Smith. I have seen all the movies, I have heard the talks, I
have prayed with a sincere heart and I have had no answers. Earlier
that week I sent an email to my neighbor Mike that detailed my many
concerns I had concerning the Church. These were the type of
questions that even the very most skeptical person could ever ask.
That night ended with a not so good feeling in my
opinion. I was not mad or upset; I think I was just extremely
frustrated. I felt nothing for the prophet Joseph Smith. I knew that
without Joseph Smith the Book of Mormon was not true, and that made
me feel very frustrated.
When it came to Joseph Smith I went onto the
internet to find every negative thing about him I could find, and
believe me it is out there. Once you find this negativity you now
have to research the source, then you can try to come to some
I think Mike said it best when he said “If you
wanted to learn about Jesus would you go ask Caiaphas about him? Or
would you ask Peter, John, Luke, or Matthew?” This made a lot of
sense to me, but still I had no confirmation through my prayers on
whether or not Joseph Smith was true.
On this night I went out to take a Jacuzzi, it was
cold and windy outside so Sarah said that she would like to stay
inside. After I had got into the Jacuzzi I looked up in the sky and
realized just how grateful I was to have the life I had and how
blessed I felt. After I sat there for awhile I thought to myself,
right now would be the best time to pray. I sat there for the next
45 minutes in the deepest prayer of my life.
I closed my eyes and prayed to Heavenly Father
to please tell me if Joseph Smith is the true prophet, I continued
over and over and over, asking Lord please tell me or give
confirmation somehow Lord that Joseph is or is not the true prophet.
After about 20 very long minutes nothing happened!
So I went on praying about how I know Jesus is
true, and how I knew for a fact with all my heart that he had
recently been watching me very closely. I thanked him for giving me
the strength for the first time in my life to be able to cut alcohol
out of my life. I never knew what it was like to have a consecutive
30 days or so off from alcohol completely.
As I thanked him over and over I could feel this
very warm presence over my shoulders. It felt almost exhausting for
some reason. I felt almost if I could feel someone behind me just
over my shoulders, so I opened my eyes and no one was there just the
wind but I still felt something, so the next 25-30 minutes I started
praying to Jesus, then I started saying
Dear Heavenly Father and I continued to just go on
and on praying with all of my heart. I went into James, and Moroni
10:4 I asked over and over for anything that would bring
confirmation regarding Joseph Smith…nothing happened! At the very
end I was so frustrated that I told the Lord that I felt like maybe
that Joseph Smith was not a prophet and maybe the Church is not
So as a last ditch effort I said Lord, it says in
Moroni that if I asked you with a sincere heart I would get an
answer…I said I have run out of patience Lord. I guess I will just
watch conference with the elders and Mike and if I do not receive
any confirmation of Joseph Smith by the weekend I will return to the
Lutheran Church and continue my journey.
I then got out of the Jacuzzi with the intent to
come into the house and tell my wife Sarah my new plan and about the
lack of answers to my prayers. I then went into the house and for
some reason walked right by Sarah on my way to the shower.
All of this time still feeling a real presence.
When I got into the shower I went to turn on my shower radio…When I
turned it on the first thing I heard was “Joseph Smith the prophet
and seer of the lord has done more, save Jesus only, for the
salvation of men of this world, than any other man that lived in
I really thought I was going to faint for a second
but then I started screaming Sarah, Sarah, Sarah! My wife came
running into the bathroom and was like, what? I said, did you touch
my radio? She said no! I don’t even listen to that thing. I told her
it had been on my country station for 3 months!
I listen to the radio every time I shower. I only
get 3 clear stations. At this point she had no idea what was
happening! I jumped out of the shower to go out to my garage so I
could get into my car to find out what station I was listening to.
It happened to be 105.7fm. So, I came back into
the house and sat on the couch next to my wife with tears pouring
down my face and explained to her what I was just praying about in
Then, right there during the talk he mentioned the
verse Moroni 10:4! Now I know that this is a common verse, but! What
are the chances of that talk going on at that exact moment I got in
And how did my radio get to BYU broadcasting? This
radio was never even near 105.7 on the dial, it was on 99.9! Right
after the talk ended it returned to music.
At this time I was so emotional I just wanted to
go to bed. I woke up in the morning in disbelief of what had
happened to me. I kept thinking was this my sign? Was this my
confirmation? I thought could this be a coincidence?
Well, I went to
work, as I sat there I thought I need to find out who gave that
talk, so I looked up BYU broadcasting and got there number.
The girl on the phone showed me how to access that
talk and download it. She told me that this talk went from 9:07 to
9:53pm it was by Milton V. Backman Jr., it was a talk he did at a
BYU education week conference in 2004 on the Theological
Contributions of the prophet Joseph Smith.
I thought to myself what chance would there be of
turning on the radio even if you knew you were on 105.7 BYU radio
and having the very first things come out be, “Joseph Smith the
prophet and seer of the lord”? I bet I could turn the radio on at
random for the rest of my life and not catch that!
I know what I am telling you sounds unbelievable,
or to some it may sound quite coincidental but I am telling you that
I know what Heavenly Father had to tell me this night. I told
the Lord I could handle it if I saw a vision or an angel but I now
believe the Lord knew I could not.
This was the most powerful moment in my whole
life. It felt as if Heavenly Father spoke directly to me. He
knew what I needed to here. Now here comes the further confirmation.
Two weeks ago I prayed that I wanted to know if
the LDS Church was true. I got an answer in my head that was of my own
voice it was like that same voice that is in your head when you
think a thought and thought simply said Chad, In your opinion if you
had to see which people you see walk the most Christ like life which
faith would it be?
I immediately thought the LDS but it was later
confirmed when I thought about the cookies that our neighbors
welcomed us with, and the hygiene kits that were put together at
Sheryl’s house for the military and when Sandy had asked Penny
(Sarah’s mom) if she would like to sew.
I thought back to when I very first moved in and
Sandy asked what could we help you with? I thought about the times I
had with Joel and Sonya and the kids, riding motorcycles, eating
pizza together, it was just everything coming together if that makes
I know the Church is true with all my heart!
The Church has helped me so much and got me
through some very trying times....I know Jesus is my Savior...and
that we have a living Prophet guiding our Church today. I am
thankful for all the blessings that have come to me and hope I will
continue to live worthy of those blessings... and be able to share
my testimony with any who want to hear...