It was not a “wham-bam” moment. There were no lightning strikes from heaven. The roar of thunder did not deafen my ears. Light did not pierce a room of darkness. I was not on my knees all night. My conversion to understanding, living, and loving the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was not a significant experience in physicality; instead it was one of the most joyful and inspiring moments of my young life. My ability to know a plain and precious truth was the result of a child’s lifetime dedication and a particular instant of responsiveness.
I was raised in an active Later-Day Saint family. My parents come from sturdy pioneer ancestry and are the epitome of the classic BYU romance. My parents and grandparents have collectively held nearly every calling within a stake and each position multiple times. Church teachings have been a part of my daily life since infancy. We travel to Church History sites for vacation and write letters to missionaries for fun. Needless to say, we strive to be a righteous family.
As a high school student I became increasingly nervous and worried that I had not ever experienced a conference talk conversion. I did not remember anyone sitting me down and asking my opinion or understanding levels. I had never had an experience to challenge my faith so severely it required deliberate and deep soul searching. I also realized I had never knelt down to ask my Father in Heaven regarding the promise in Moroni 10:4 – “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Worry set in and nudged at my heart constantly. I began to wonder if I was living a lie: professing to live and know, without ever actually discovering the truth for myself. God knew better. He prepared me to be in the right mindset on that day, with that lesson, and the unsteady heart needed to move forward.
I don’t even remember the topic. I don’t remember the teacher. I do not know who was there. All I know is that I became lost in my own world of thought and I began to wonder why I had never formally asked my Father in Heaven about my life. Well, why shouldn’t I ask him? Am I too prideful that I won’t even ask? That’s silly. Ask him. Now? Yes now. In the middle of class.
I sat there in a daze. Wondering why I had been so silly to wait. Why was I silly enough to even ask. I folded my arms for the closing prayer, but my mind was a far way off. Now what? When does an answer come? Do you feel silly yet? I shuffled out the door and routinely turned toward the central courtyard of our strange but beautiful, ocean-view church.
Then the sunlight reached my eyes: I emerged out of a physical and spiritual shadow and saw the rays of sun fill the garden and my heart. I heard the giggles, and I noticed the children skipping, running and squealing for joy. I saw an older sister comforting a toddler. I saw the oldest and most devoted couple holding hands. I watched the flowers bob and the palm trees sway in the soft breeze. You already know. You’ve always known. It is true. Look at the joy here in front of you. Look at the joy in your heart. This is the happiness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Embrace it as you always have. My swelling heart began to glow as the light penetrated my soul. I know.
A conversion does not have to be ground shaking flash. A conversion needs to be a spiritually defining moment, however small or personal. It does not require your bosom to burn and quake so strongly that emotion and tears flood your eyes and spill out into the physical realm. A conversion requires a moment with you, the Lord, and a sweet prompting from the Holy Ghost. It is whatever and however the Lord speaks to you. For me, I saw joy and I knew.