Former Lutheran Church Member
"All I Am Or Ever Hope To Be"
By Larry D. Kump
Raised in a prominent local church in Hagerstown, Maryland, at age
12 I already was disturbed and troubled about the purpose of life.
My Sunday School teachers couldn't answer my questions, and my
several attempts to read the Bible left me even more confused and
frustrated (It probably didn't help that I began with the Old
Testament). I even made later inquiries into non-Christian religions
and philosophies, which intrigued but still dissatisfied me.
Finally, at the tender age of 14, I came to the reluctant conclusion
that either God really didn't exist, or, if He did, He just wasn't
interested in or accessible to me. I wavered between agnosticism and
It was at that time in my life that I became both mystified and
amused by my new next door neighbor and best friend Ray Geyer, who
only was 12 at the time. He was enthusiastic about his recent
ordination as an Aaronic Priesthood Deacon in The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and anxious to share the
Gospel with me.
After many discussions and arguments with Ray, I reluctantly sat
down with two LDS missionary Elders, and challenged them with my
questions. To my surprise and chagrin, Elder Wayne Platt Smith's
humble spirit immediately touched my heart, and, even more
surprising to me, he was able to readily answer all my questions
that stumped all the learned and experienced ministers from so many
Elder Smith warned me that neither he nor anyone else could convert
me to Christ, and this was something that I had to wrest for myself.
He also encouraged me to continue to meet with my parents' pastor
and anyone else, so that I could better sort out truth from fable
for myself, and not be led astray.
And so it was that I began to read the Book of Mormon to find out
for myself if all of this really could be true. Subsequently and
after reading the Book of Mormon and also the Bible (cover to
cover), and alone in my parent's home one hot Summer afternoon, I
confessed to God that I still had serious doubts about Him, but
nevertheless asked Him to tell me if He was real and if the Book of
Mormon was true.
The answer which came to me was both surprising, satisfying, and
immediate. Continued personal prayer and reading the Book of Mormon
then further opened the way for me to read the Bible with new
understanding and appreciation. One of my favorite Book of Mormon
passages is 2 Nephi 28: 29 and 29:3-13.
My parents were not supportive of my newfound faith, and refused to
give me permission to join the LDS Church, but, when I reached age
21, I was able to choose for myself and was at long last baptized a
member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As an adoptive and divorced parent, more than twice recovered cancer
victim, and one who has been through my share of personal trials, I
promise you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that the Book of Mormon is
the most correct of any book on Earth, contains the restored Gospel
of Jesus Christ (in tandem with the Holy Bible) as well as the
answer to your heartfelt prayers.
All I am or ever hope to be I owe to the Book of Mormon and a
childhood friend who took the time to lead me to the truth. So, this
is my response to those of you who have been curious about the
swimming pool photo of me and my best friend Ray, for whom my love
and gratitude exceeds all others.