My 40th Anniversary

Today is an important anniversary for me. It was exactly 40 years ago today that I was baptized and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was indeed a memorable and exciting day for me. After 3 years and several sets of missionaries, I had finally been able to make the decision to be baptized. I remember the feeling of joy as I came up out of the water, and for days afterward I was happily reminding myself and others that I was a Mormon.

One week ago we all watched and listened as our Prophet, Pres Russell M Nelson, and other General Authorities, spoke to us in General Conference. 40 years, and 1 week ago, I watched and listened as Pres. Spencer W Kimball and the General Authorities spoke in the Oct 1979 General Conference.

That General Conference was a turning point for me. As I mentioned, at the time I had been investigating the church for 3 years. During that General Conference I received answers to my prayers and was finally able to make the decision to join the church. One week later, on Saturday Oct 13th, 1979, I was baptized.

I hope, likewise, that some of you were able to receive answers to your questions as you listened last week to our prophet and other leaders, or that you will receive answers as you review the addresses given in the coming weeks and months.

I have said a number of times in the past that I joined the church in 1979 and have never looked back. That’s not entirely true. Yes I was baptized in 1979 and although I have never looked back with regret of any kind on my decision to be baptized, I do occasionally look back with fond memories of those early days – as an investigator, then as a new member, and a year and a half or so later as a full-time missionary.

I was initially drawn to the church simply by the kindness, faith, and sincere expressions of love shown to me by the missionaries and members of the church. But then, as I investigated the church, I discovered so many things that just felt right.

Several months ago, I felt prompted to prepare a talk just in case I was asked to give one on short notice. I decided to title my talk “Why I love the church” In the talk, I wrote a little about my conversion story, and then listed the many things that I love about the church.

My list included the truths I learned about the nature of God and the Godhead, the restoration of the gospel including the restoration of the church as it was established anciently by Jesus Christ, the plain and precious truths that are taught more clearly in the Book of Mormon than in any other book of scripture, the need for continuing revelation from God, and the living prophet through whom that revelation comes, a clear understanding of the purpose of life and the plan of salvation, including the need for us to have and exercise our agency in choosing to act for ourselves, an understanding of the relationship between mercy and justice, and a clear understanding of the role of grace and good works as they pertain to our eternal salvation. I love the doctrines pertaining to the salvation of the dead, eternal family relationships, and the principle of eternal progression. Although I didn’t entirely understand the importance or need for the law of Tithing and the Word of Wisdom, I was impressed that faithful members of the church were willing to obey such strict commandments. And there were many other things such as a lay ministry, the missionary program, the welfare program, the humanitarian efforts, the twice annual General Conferences, and the general order and unity that I saw in the way the church was run that impressed me.

Why I love the church

How I received answers during General Conference and was baptized one week later.

 

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