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The Church Is True And This Is My Conversion Story


Tony Frank

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I grew up Catholic, but I stopped practicing Catholicism after I graduated from a Catholic grade school. I was actually ignorant of a certain Catholic teaching for the eight years I was there. I always thought that they knew that God was three separate and distinct beings.

But when I was in the eighth grade, I heard a Catholic priest talk about God choosing to manifest himself at any given time as either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost. I brought up the Biblical details of the Savior’s baptism, which is when the Father spoke from Heaven while the Holy Ghost descended in the form of a dove. The priest stated that God was not three separate and distinct beings that existed all at the same time. I asked him to explain his statement in light of what took place when the Savior was baptized, and he got angry. It was then that I knew that Catholicism was not the truth.

Eight years later, in 1980, I confessed my sins to God and accepted Christ as my Savior. I believed in Jesus Christ and had faith in him since my childhood, and I knew that Christ died for my sins, but this was the first time I confessed to God that I was a sinner. It was then that I gained a testimony of the atoning sacrifice and forgiveness of sins by confessing to God that you are a sinner, which is usually known as “repentance.” Knowing my sins were forgiven, I considered myself a “Born Again Christian.”

I started trying to find a church to join in October 1997. It would be nine months before I would meet with success. I did, however, discover for myself that an apostasy had taken place and that the churches had “fallen away” from the true gospel.

I first had quite a negative experience with a certain church in November and December of 1997. After attending several of their meetings and hearing them talk about Jesus Christ, I found out that they did not believe in repentance. Even when I told a group of them that forgiveness of sins comes by confessing to God that you are a sinner, they still did not have a clue as to what I was talking about.

In January 1998, I saw ad on television for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that said they would send a free copy of the King James Bible. Since I took my Bible with me when I traveled on the bus, I thought it would be a good idea to have a second one in case I lost the one I had. I called the 800 number and ordered it, but I moved in February and never received it.

I continued to search for the right church, always praying to our Father in the name of Jesus Christ that He would give me guidance. With each church that I tried, the Spirit would tell me to keep looking.

By the second week of June 1998, I was getting somewhat desperate. I began fasting in addition to praying to find the right church. I would go without eating every Tuesday and Saturday from midnight to midnight.

Around the second week of July 1998, the Spirit told me to call that 800 number. I did not have the 800 number and I got rid of my television when I moved. I looked in the phone book, called the Church’s Washington Temple, and asked for the 800 number.

After I called it, they said it might take about 4 weeks to get to me. Well I did not want to wait, and I thought I would just go to the Temple and pick up a free Bible. (I did not know at the time that you could not do that. The free Bibles are either sent in the mail or delivered by missionaries.)

I checked the bus schedules and found out which bus I needed to take to get the Temple. I went about my business of trying to expose corruption in the government and, in the course of doing so, needed to take the very bus that would take me to the Temple. I was actually going to drop off some information with someone when I got on that bus.

As the bus traveled down the street, I could see the huge trees far off up ahead looking very tall, nice and sculpted. I could see something barely sticking up over one of the trees. (It was the very top of the angel Moroni!) It grabbed my attention and I could not take my eyes off of it. I had to know what was there that was so remarkably tall. Of course, as the bus got closer, it was not getting any easier for me to see.

The bus continued down Stoneybrook Drive, and as it went around the turn I tried to look through the heavy foliage to see what was there, but I could not see anything. The bus then passed the signs for the Temple and the Visitors Center, and I thought to myself, “That’s where it is! I just have to get off at that bus stop.”

I continued on to where I was going that day, and the next day I went and got on that same bus and got off at the Temple. As I walked across the parking lot, I prayed, “Father, in the name of Jesus I pray that I will know if this is the truth.”

I went into the Visitors’ Center intensely feeling the Spirit. At this point I was thinking that I needed to investigate the Book of Mormon, too. I told Elder Rich, who was serving a senior mission, about not wanting to wait for a free Bible and about my interest in the Book of Mormon. He said, “No problem. I’ll have the missionaries over there next week.”

He said to me, “Now, you are going to have to ask God if this is true.” I immediately started thinking I was in the right place because I had just done that.

I watched a movie about our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visiting Joseph Smith, and I took home a pamphlet titled “Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”

Elder Kevin Mills handed me the Book of Mormon on Tuesday, July 21, 1998. I did not know anything about the missionary “discussions/lessons” at that time and after we chatted for a bit, I said, “Well, I got to get started reading.”

Elder Mills said, “Oh! You have some reading to do?”

I said, “Yeah. The Book of Mormon.” I started reading it right away.

I had read the New Testament twice in my 9-month search for the right church, and I learned the criterion for true prophets and false prophets. It is in 1 John, 4:1-3.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

The Book of Mormon is all about Jesus Christ coming to Earth, taking upon him flesh and blood, suffering and dying for the sins of man, and being resurrected on the third day. The Book of Mormon clearly states that the way to find salvation is to believe in Jesus Christ and confess to God that you are a sinner. In other words, “repent” and accept Christ as your Savior. It goes into detail by page 19, and it keeps getting better after that.

On Thursday, July 23rd, two days after receiving the Book of Mormon, I called Elder Mills and said, “I know this to be the Word of God.”

I could feel the spirit at the other end of the phone line. He mentioned something to me about lessons, and I thought, “I’ve got the Word of God in my hands! I don’t need lessons.” I told him I would get back to him on that.

I prayed about it as I continued reading the Book of Mormon and the Spirit told me to get the lessons, so I called Elder Mills on Friday and said I was going to get the lessons. He asked me if I wanted to go to church on Sunday and I jumped at the chance, knowing that I had found the “treasure hid in a field” of which the Savior spoke in Matthew 13:44.

On Sunday, July 26th, I attended my first Sacrament Meeting and I was very far into the Book of Mormon at this point. There happened to be a baptism that day, and Elder Mills and I went to it. We were both filled with the spirit and the excitement about my already having a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon.

Elder Mills said, “We’re going to get all those lessons in this week and I’m going to baptize you next week!”

As I took the lessons, the spirit was prompting me on things to read in the Bible while I was at home, and God revealed to me many of his precepts that had been lost during the apostasy. I read John 5:19 and Revelation 3:21, and when I saw the Elders again, I pointed out that in Revelation 3:21, the Savior said, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

Then I pointed out that in John 5:19, the Savior said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”

I said that if the Son cannot do anything unless the Father has done it, and the Son overcame and was set down in his throne, then our Heavenly Father overcame and was set down in his throne, adding, “The Bible says so, and Jesus Christ said so.”

“Does this church teach that?” I asked. And the Elders nodded yes with wide-eyed astonishment.

The subject of the church not having any paid priests came up. Now, they had told me about the apostasy early on, and I had been prompted by the spirit to read Micah 3:10-11 in which the Lord specifically criticizes “priests” that “teach for hire.”

Not having priests who “teach for hire,” which is a Godly precept that is clearly explained in the Book of Mormon, was just more proof that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored.

I also read in Acts 8:14-17 about the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism, and when the Elders brought that up, it added to the proof that the Savior’s church had been restored on the earth in these latter days.

After attending my second sacrament meeting on August 2, 1998, I was baptized that same day. One week later, I received the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands. I have read every word of the Book of Mormon from beginning to end many, many times since being baptized, including more than twenty times in the first five years, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

It is through the gift of God that I know Jesus Christ has restored his gospel on the earth in these latter days, and it is through the gift of God that I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth. It is, as Daniel prophesied in the Bible, “the stone cut out of the mountain without hands” that will fill the whole earth.

I thank God every day that Jesus Christ, whom I had known and believed in since my childhood, revealed much more than what is contained in the Bible. He speaks to us today through his prophet on the earth, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thank you for reading my conversion story,
Tony Frank

 

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Thank you for sharing, Tony. :)  I love reading conversion stories. 

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