Friday, January 26, 2007

Tell Me It Isn't True

The Ensign is the monthly publication by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. February contains the amazing and wonderful conversion story of Anthony Atkins, a priest in another christian chruch for 14 years, to the true church of Jesus Christ. This article is entitled "Tell Me It Isn't True."

Brother Atkins writes that on April 19, 2003 he noticed 2 missionaries in the audience during the church service. In order to find out why these 2 missionaries were there and to "let them know what true Christianity was like" he spoke to them after the service. The missionaries invited him to hear their message. Bro. Atkins accepted the invitation because, as he puts it, "an hour spent with me was one less hour they could spend with some unfortunate person."

At their first meeting, Bro. Atkins was suprised to here the missionaries teach about the "the same Jesus I had loved all my life." He recieved the Book of Mormon and began reading it together with the Bible every day. He said at first, he felt guilty and said he read a page from the Bible for every page he read in the Book of Mormon. Bro. Atkins said he promised the missionaries he would pray and ask Heavenly Father to reveal to him that it wasn't true. Bro. Atkins says that that God did not reveal it, but that instead, he "found the Book of Mormon to be a deeply spiritual book that testified of the Savior," As Bro. Atkins continued to read the Bible and Book of Mormon, he saw that both supported all the teachings of the LDS missionaries.

Bro. Atkins then relates the spiritual struggle he experienced within his soul. To get his answer to prayer, Bro. Atkins planned a spiritual day at one of his favorite places in the country side. After walking from his car down a country lane he sate with his Bible on a gatepost. He opened his Bible and read verses that explained about the Apostasy (2 Thes 2) and the Restoration (2 Peter 2). There, he pondered the words of President Hinkley in a talk entitled "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith," which extends the invitation: "To these we say in a spirit of love, bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it." Bro. Atkins recognized that accepting these new truths would mean leaving his current job and home. He pondered the scripture and hymn "Be still my soul." It is during this moment of contemplation that Bro. Atkins noticed a cow drinking from from a small algae-covered pond and looked up and saw soaring hang gliders soaring in the sky above him. At that moment, Bro. Atkins relates, "that he comprehended through the spirit that the pond represented his present beliefs, "but they were not the springs of living water the Savior was now offering me." He sensed that the Lord was offering to take him to a higher place.

Bro. Atkins continues to relate his conversion story. He attends a baptism two days later and says how he was again overwhelmed with the spirit such that tears flowed from his eyes. He also met a friend in the LDS faith who helped him explore an alternate career. Bro. Atkins begain training at a university in social work and left his profession as a priest. And then we was baptized in the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints and later ordained to the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods and then endowed in the temple. Bro. Atkins ends the article expressing his gratitude for the missionaries who did not give up on him.

This is how the conversion process works. There is no "brain-washing" involved here. The conversion for Bro. Atkins was a personal process of faith, reading, pondering, and prayer. He, on his own, recieved an answer to his prayer; a spiritual witness from God by the power of the Holy Ghost. And his witness was not an isolated event. Bro. Atkins felt the outpouring of the Spirit numerous times until it became a continual and constant presence.

No comments: