Former Presbyterian Church Members
Two Years That Changed My Life
Bobby Van Rooy
My conversion took about two years, but I'll take it from the last 8
months. I was 27 years old and divorced already. Living in Hawaii
and a professional musician/entertainer.
While performing in San Diego I decided to go to the LDS church in
Mission Bay where I was staying. I was very depressed and feeling
guilty about things in my life. I was a bit late and the church
service was packed. I noticed the front pew was open, so I walked
down to the front and sat down. I didn't realize I came in on what
they called their once a month "fast & testimony" meeting.
I had not slept much lately and was a bit exhausted, I was listening
to an attractive young woman talking and, to tell you the truth,
can't remember one word she said. But as I listened, something funny
happened; I started seeing an aura, a golden aura around her.
As she finished and young man came up and expressed his gratitude to
his Heavenly Father and I remembered the tears welling up in my eyes
as I saw an aura around him too. He looked down at his wife and two
little girls and expressed his appreciation and love for them. It
truly touched my heart.
As the sacrament ended, I tried to duck as many Mormons as I could
to get to the exit door; I did remarkably well, until I got to the
As I started to walk past the cars and towards my apartment in the
space of one second that it takes for me to pass someone looking
into the rear-view mirror, this gentleman by the name of Delbert
Nichols saw me pass in that split second in his rear-view mirror. He
immediately got out of his car and introduced himself to me and I to
He asked me if I was a visitor and I replied I was. He asked me what
Ward I was from and I was not familiar with the terminology of
"ward" and I told him that I wasn't familiar with that term. He
said, "You're not a member of the Church are you?" and I replied
"No, I'm not, was it OK to come to your church?" and he said, "of
course, we love having visitors come".
Then he said the magic four words that all starving musicians love
to hear, "have you had dinner?" I replied "no, not yet". He invited
me to come to his house and I gladly accepted.
When I got to his house he asked me what religion I was and I
replied that I was never baptized any religion, but that my father
was Presbyterian and my mother Catholic and her mother 7th Day
Adventist and her mother a high voodoo priestess that used to heal
people. He got a kick out of that one.
He asked if I believed in my religion and I said "no" and he asked
me "why not?" So I explained that I had been searching for almost
two years. That the only religious knowledge I ever received was
from my maternal grandmother.
I told him that I felt lost, and that I was searching but I felt
that all religions where great money makers! I also felt that if
there really is a God he must have His church here on this earth
somewhere, but where? Then Del asked me, what made you come to our
LDS Church. |
This is what I said exactly: "Because you have the balls to tell the
world you have a Prophet and twelve Apostles and funny as it seems,
you're the only people I see that has a Church named after the very
being Christians worship, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints! Now either you guys are for real or you're another phony
Christian Church!" Del got a kick out of that one.
We sat and talked for over two hours as he proceeded to tell me
about the plan of salvation. As I sat there, I could feel my brain
absorbing about as much as I could in those two hours and had to
stop Del from going any further and asked if I could come back the
next day and learn more, but as far as for today, my brain could not
I had learned more in those two hours I felt than I did in the 15
years I spent in schooling or on the road as a performer!
I noticed he had a Book of Mormon and a book called "A Marvelous
Work and a Wonder", by Le Grand Richards, and Del gave me both
books. I made a commitment to read both books.
Again let me lapse another 8 months and tell you that I read the
Book of Mormon, D&C & The Pearl of Great Price 3 times! So by the
time I went back to Hawaii I decided to go to a LDS church that I
saw in Waikiki at the end of Kalakaua Street. Mind you, this was my
5th year in Hawaii, the band I was in had worked with Don Ho at Duke
Kahanamokuís when we first got to town, opened up the Hawaiian Hut
and now we opened up the "Infinity Club" at the Sheraton Waikiki
We had been the opening act for a lot of top names in the music
industry and had also finished a tour with Burt Bacharachís
orchestra on a two week tour in Japan and back in Hawaii for a
concert with him and us.
So back to that Sunday that I decided to go back to the LDS church
in Waikiki that Sunday and walked in on a Sacrament meeting and even
went to Sunday school. As I approached the church they have an
outdoor baptismal font (where I was later baptized) and a bench with
two missionaries sitting on it.
One missionary was an Elder Judd and the other an Elder Powers (used
to think it funny that they were all called "Elder so & so", can you
imagine how hard I laughed when I saw an Elder Elder!! No joke, this
is true! Anyway, I approached the Elders and asked if they were
missionaries for the Church, of course I could see the look in their
face that was saying "DUH!!" couldn't have blamed them if they said
it out loud.
Hey, I figured I was about seven years older than they were, so I
asked them if they would come to my apartment and give me the
lessons, you should have seen the look on their faces then! Here I
was proselytizing them, what a moment if you can imagine. So we set
up the times and lessons, so now I'm going to flip the page ahead a
At about the 3rd or fourth lesson they challenged me to baptism, so
I turned the table on them and challenged them and this how I
thought I would ensnare them and their God too. I told them I was
not ready for baptism that I had made up my mind that either God or
his Angel(s) would have to let me directly know that the LDS church
was true (watch what you wish for).
Elder Judd & Elder Jones (guess Elder Powers had to be transferred,
didn't know at the time that that was a regular practice of the
church) asked, "What do you propose needs to be done for you to
receive such a blessing?"
I could perceive that they thought I was asking it out of arrogance,
I truly wasn't, I felt it was too important for me not to know,
considering I had such lack of knowledge in these matters. I really
truly needed to know the truth, because I knew in my heart that if I
was to stay true to any church or organization, it had better be
true! Not because I felt I deserved it.
So I challenged the Elders and asked them to give me a blessing that
the truth would be manifested unto me as the Book of Mormon.
promises in the beginning page which is Moroni 10:3-5. Elder Jones
said, "If you really believe you'll get an answer, we'll give you
I said, "If you really say you are the TRUE PRIESTHOOD on this earth
and the only Priesthood that is TRUE, then I will get an answer!"
Elder Judd the more seasoned Elder said, "We'll gladly give you the
blessing brother Van Rooy".
As they proceeded to bless me, they placed their hands upon me and I
don't remember the exact words, but I do remember them saying that I
would be given my testimony to the truth of all things pertaining to
the truthfulness of the Church.
A few days went by and each night my work schedule was from 10 PM to
3:45 AM entertaining in the night club with the band I was in. My
studio apartment. was close to work and could walk there, which I
did every night.
When I got home I'd either write or read until about 6 AM and retire
to bed and get up at 12 noon. This particular morning (noon for you
guys) I got up and started reading "No Longer Strangers", you may
remember this book had testimonies of converts in them and I was
quite fascinated by the stories.
Something strange started to happen; it got real dark in my very
small apartment. I didn't think anything of it at first; thinking it
was just a tropical storm coming and it would be over soon like it
But strangely enough it got pitch black dark and I got real weak and
tired and couldn't understand why or what was happening. All I could
do was turn my head to the wall of the apartment and I saw this
little circular bright light, ever so small and getting bigger and
bigger each moment or second, I think time stood still for me.
As the light took up almost the whole space of its area. Suddenly a
being walked through it, wearing what Joseph Smith described on what
Moroni wore the night Joseph was visited three times. I was a bit
frightened at first and dared not say a word until spoken too.
I stood up and could see we were about the same height and build (I
was a lot skinnier in those days) He had a book in his hand and
opened it up and faced it towards me, I couldn't read the writing,
the being asked me to come closer and still couldn't read it, then
he said, come more closer and I did so reluctantly and all I could
see was the page number.
He smiled, closed the book, and walked off back through that circle
as the circle diminished and disappeared and the blackness of night
faded as well.
Just a couple of things here, this being was NOT of Spirit, it was
flesh & bones just like you and I. Secondly, we communicated without
moving our mouths, my thoughts and his were readable to each other
(can you imagine judgment day! You cannot hide from the light!).
The angel did not come to judge me although I deserved being
chastised, but rather to deliver me a message that I had requested.
Keep in mind that this miracle didn't come over night to me. There
were times on my only day off I would kneel down and pray for HOURS!
I would purposely pray all day long unceasingly at times.
As the vision closed to me I was flabbergasted, needless to say, and
didn't know what to think of what I had just experienced. I quickly
grabbed the Book of Mormon thinking the page number was in there,
until I realized the Book of Mormon didn't have that many page
So I grabbed this pocket book Bible that was given to me by my
ex-mother-in-law who was Mormon by the way. It turned out to be
Isaiah 29: 11-15. I read the whole chapter and it seemed as I read
certain versus such as 11-15 it felt as though that someone was
behind me and touched or grabbed my shoulder.
I about jumped out of my skin and felt silly realizing there was
nobody behind me. But I underlined those particular versus not
really knowing the reason why.
Not sure how much time went by, but I called the Elders and said
"you guys got to come over right away". They were over within the
hour I think and I related my experience to them and you could feel
the Spirit in my little apartment was so thick you could cut it with
I told them I didn't quite understand why Isaiah 29 was so important
and the Elders scrambled for their scriptures and opened it up. I
noticed they had some markings on their scriptures on that
particular chapter. I requested to see their bibles and compared it
to mine. Lo and behold, they had the same versus underlined as I
did, I literally slipped off the edge of the bed where I was sitting
right on my keester and started to cry.
I said, "I am now ready to be baptized". I know the Gospel is true
beyond the shadow of a doubt.
I have been in the Church since August of 1975 baptized in the
Waikiki Ward. I have been married now almost 30 years and have three
sons. I baptized (while still a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood) 8
sisters, the eighth one became my wife Karen.
Karen has been a Relief Society President and I have been the Gospel
& Doctrine teacher for over 5 years now in the Los Altos Ward in