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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 outright atheism.

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 other faiths.

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.





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