Former Presbyterian Church Members
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
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
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
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
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
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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Priesthood leaders called by those with
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.
- 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
- No disputations about doctrine within
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.)
- A prophet of God.
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.