Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why do people join the Mormon church??

Why do people join the Mormon church? Joining the Mormon church may not be “the popular thing to do”, but neither was it popular to join Noah on the Ark, or to follow Moses into the Red Sea, or to even join with Christ when He was here on the earth teaching the truthfulness of the Gospel. So why are some people willing to do the “unpopular” thing?

We (Mormons) are blessed in our day to not have to deal with the persecutions that the early Mormons had to deal with in their day. The early Mormons suffered through so much injustice. Many of them lost all that they had. They were driven from their homes and suffered persecution beyond imagination. Life could have been so much easier and much less painful if they had just been willing to deny their beliefs. Yet because of their strong convictions and faith in God and the Savior Jesus Christ, they were willing to take the harder road and endure these horrible persecutions. They were not willing, under any circumstances to deny their beliefs.

A question for each of us to ask ourselvesDo you and I have a strong enough conviction in our beliefs (whatever our beliefs are) that we would do the same?

I love reading the conversion stories of others. Throughout this blog, I will include conversions stories that will answer the question…Why do people join the Mormon church?

Conversion Story #1:

I wanted to start with the conversion story of Parley P. Pratt who became a member in the early days of the church.

Although Parley and his family didn’t belong to a particular denomination, Parley grew up in a religious home with parents who taught their sons a respect for the Bible and the Christian faith. Parley was always interested in religion and began a serious study of the scriptures at age 12. As he grew older and continued to study the scriptures he began to become aware of the discrepancies between biblical teachings and contemporary churches and sought to find a Christianity closer to that which he found in the New Testament.

At age 18 he sought baptism by immersion from a Baptist group. However, during a delay in his baptismal date, he became convinced that the church wasn’t patterned after the New Testament Church. While continuing his search he heard the preaching of Sidney Rigdon, a minister of the campbellite movement which sought to restore the practices of New Testament Christianity. Parley felt that he had found someone who taught the “ancient gospel in due form.” Yet he still felt that “one great link” was missing-“the authority to minister in holy things-the apostleship.”

In 1830, at age 23 Parley met a minister in upstate New York who told him of a “strange book, a very strange book!” A book that a young man had claimed to have translated-the Book of Mormon. The very next day, Parley obtained a copy of the Book of Mormon and began eagerly reading it.

He wrote, “I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.”

“As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. [1938], 37).

Parley found what he had been searching for and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints on September 1, 1830. Parley spent the remainder of his days in missionary service.

"What's right isn't always Popular, and what's Popular isn't always right." (Howard Cosell)