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My Journey To The Church

By David Frey

My journey to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints starts when my mother died when I was 7 years old. We were Presbyterian and attended church most weeks in the First Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico. My mother's death left my oldest sibling, Louise, to care for her four brothers. After my mothers death we stopped attending the Presbyterian church.

A couple of years later my father met a woman (Maria) who was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She had three children of her own. My father and Maria were married and we all attended the LDS church for only about a year or two.

Unfortunately, our "blended family" didn't blend too well, which kept us away from the church. However, I distinctly remember attending Primary when I was very young and learning about Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. Those teachings stuck in my head for many years.

I was to find years later that those teachings saved me from a life of sin, poverty, and unhappiness. In my teenage years I started to go down a rocky road. I started to hang around with the wrong group of people and began doing the things that they were doing. Very quickly I became a misguided, rebellious teenager who was failing in school and in life.

My father worked during the day running a gas station and held a second job at night as a maintenance man at the local hospital to pay the bills. I rarely saw him. My stepmother and I rarely talked with each other. She was the "demon" and I was the rebellious teen who she couldn't control. Eventually, while in high school, I left my home and lived in my ratty old, beat up car.

I simply couldn't stand living in my home with my step mother. Although I was still attending high school, I was failing in all my classes and hanging out in the wrong places with the wrong people. When the parents of a friend of mine found out that I was living in my car, they lovingly invited me to come and live with them.

I enjoyed sleeping in a warm bed than the back seat of my car. One weekend, my friend and I got into a lot of trouble with the law. I won't go into the details of it, but it was serious trouble.

I quickly found myself sitting down at the local police station across from my parents who, as you can imagine, were NOT too happy with me. This was the lowest point in my life. I was going no where very fast. I realized that. I didn't like who I was or where my life was going. I remembered the teachings of my Primary instructors many years earlier and how good I felt when I attended church.

I finally decided that I wanted a different life. I had no idea what that life would be, but I knew for sure that I didn't want to continue doing the things I was doing. I needed to change. So I decided that I would start attending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints again.

At first it was very awkward. I would slip into the back row of the church and then I would slip right back out when the meeting ended. Before I knew it, my senior year in High School had ended and I was in the Naval Training Center (boot camp) in San Diego, California.

I was given a small set of serviceman's scriptures before I left for the Navy. That is when I started to read the Book of Mormon. It was fascinating. I remember reading one chapter a night and learning about the many wonderful miracles the Lord performed for the people who lived here in the Americas before, during, and after the life of Jesus Christ.

I remember laying down in my bed, exhausted, but excited about the opportunity to read another chapter in the Book of Mormon. Little by little, I learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Six years later I was released from the Navy and immediately applied to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I was 24 years of age, a bit old to be a Mormon missionary, but it was something that I had wanted to do for so long. I received my mission call to the country of Bolivia. My first three months in the mission field were difficult, but they were also miraculous. It was there where the gospel of Jesus Christ really came alive for me. And it was there where I received a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon.

One day, my companion, who was Bolivian, had an appointment to teach a young man in his home. We arrived on time. I remember the young man had a cast on his foot because he had broken it playing sports. As we began teaching him, I could tell he had absolutely no interest in what we were saying. But like every good missionary, I paid attention to my companion as he was teaching, even though I had heard this lesson a hundred times before.

He picked up the Bible in one hand and declared that it was ancient scripture, written by prophets in the Holy Land and then he picked up the Book of Mormon and declared it to be holy scriptures written by prophets in the Americas.

As he did this, suddenly a feeling swept over my body that is hard to describe. It was an intense joy that I felt from the top of my head to my toes. And as this was happening an understanding came into my mind that the Book of Mormon was not only true, but that it was proof that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true.

It's hard to explain or describe - - much like wind, you know it's there, but you can't see it and it's difficult to describe, but it's real. What I felt was absolutely real. As I stand here today, I can proclaim that as a result of that experience, and many other spiritual experiences, I know the Book of Mormon is true.

It proves the truthfulness of the church. And as a result of my knowledge of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, I accept that Joseph Smith, the translator of the Book of Mormon, was a true prophet from our Heavenly Father.

Now, after 26 years as an active member of the Mormon faith, I'm reminded daily of my experience in Bolivia and the many experiences I've had since then that has built up my testimony of the truthfulness of this work.

I look at all the other churches in the world today and feel sorrow for all the problems they are experiencing. Most other churches are struggling with financial problems, doctrinal disputations, diminishing clergy, decreasing membership, fallen leaders etc.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experiences very few, if any of these problems. It's vibrant and swiftly growing every day. It's evidence of the true Church of Jesus Christ. To me, several other elements of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints signal that it is the only church that contains the fullness of the gospel plan in this world, such as...

  1. No paid ministry

    How can a church that is so well run, be managed by an all volunteer force? Getting paid to preach the gospel is considered "filthy lucre" in the scriptures.
  2. The establishment of sacred temples

    A sacred temple has always been the central part of Christian worship in the Old and the New Testament. That has not changed. The true church will ALWAYS have sacred temples where ordinance work is done.
  3. It's growing missionary force

    What other church has such a vast and growing, all volunteer, missionary force?  The true church has always been a missionary church. The LDS church now has over 50,000 missionaries in all parts of the world, and it's expanding every day (not diminishing).
  4. Priesthood leaders called by those with authority

    There is NO political maneuvering in the true church. There is NO voting on leadership. Leaders are called to leadership position by other leaders who have the authority to do so.
  5. The Book of Mormon

    The one sign of the true church is to have continuing revelation. Why would God not want to continue to speak with His children. The Book of Mormon, and other scriptures is a sure sign of continuing revelation.
  6. No disputations about doctrine within leadership

    Why do so many denominations have doctrinal contention of the same passage of scripture? Rarely is there ever a disputation among the leadership of the LDS Church about doctrine. That's because there is additional scriptures which clarify the doctrine in the Holy Bible. In addition, there is a prophet of God who interprets scripture correctly (just how it always has been throughout time.)
  7. A prophet of God.

    What other religions even profess to have a true prophet of God? Yet, every historical moment talked about in the scriptures, had a prophet that spoke with Heavenly Father for mankind. Why would that ever change?

    If you have read down this far, I thank you. I hope that you have benefited from my personal story. I feel that Heavenly Father reached his hand down from the heavens and picked me up out of the gutter and made something out of me that I couldn't have made myself. EVERY good thing that has come to me, my wife, my children, my education, my business etc. all have come to me as a result of my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I hope that you will join me in becoming a member the church and discover the many wonderful blessing of that the Lord has waiting for you. 





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