O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


Conversions: From Southern Baptist to Mormon

posted by Jason Boyett

Friday means guests here at ye olde blog, and today kicks off a new series about conversions. I’ve always been fascinated with conversion stories — both into and out of a faith tradition — because religion is so all-pervasive. Major life changes like getting a new job, marrying, or having kids can certainly rearrange your life and priorities, but may not really fundamentally change who you are. But switching religions? That can involve changes at deeper levels. Religion helps shape our morality and worldview. It affects how we treat people and think of ourselves. It ties us to family traditions and, in many cases, defines our friendships.

It can be the box that holds all our marbles. What happens when you mess with the box?

I’m starting the series with a long-time friend of mine, Torie Brown Hunt. We grew up together, attending both the same church and elementary school. As a Korean with white parents, she was the first kid I knew who was adopted (making her, as she reminds me, “the only Korean in your childhood social circle”). We lost touch around high school only to reunite recently on Facebook, and I was surprised to learn my friend Torie — who always won the “best camper” types of awards at church camp — had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

That’s a pretty significant conversion, so I asked her to share it as the first entry in this series.

—————-

Bio:

Torie Brown Hunt, suburban Los Angeles housewife, doing housewifey things.


Conversion:

To Mormonism/LDS Church from a Southern Baptist childhood.

What led to your conversion?

I spent my youth attending a large, charismatic Southern Baptist church in Amarillo, Texas. I believed I was a true Christian because I listened to Amy Grant and wore t-shirts declaring my Team Jesus status. I frowned upon alcohol and rated R movies. I attended every available revival, camp, and mission trip. I worshipped God as outwardly as possible.

But behind the posturing, I knew I was a fraud. I desired a truthful relationship with Jesus Christ. At night, I sat in my bathroom floor1 pouring over my scriptures, kneeling in prayer. I knew Jesus was real. I knew God was real. I knew the influence of the Holy Ghost was real.

But there were empty spaces.

In high school, we watched a film about an African hunter-gatherer tribe. The tribe disappeared. They either left the area to follow the food supply, or they died. My heart pounded, and I think I even gasped aloud. If these people died, then are they in hell because no one told them about Jesus? They were good people. It’s not their fault some church group didn’t organize a mission trip to their hunting grounds. Would a benevolent, merciful God condemn them to hell for something of which they had no knowledge? The following summer I raised my concern with my church camp counselor. The answer I was given, “Yes, Torie. I know it’s sad. But they are in hell.”

That was an empty space indeed.

The next summer, I worked at an amusement park. One of my co-workers was Mormon. He liked to bring his scriptures to work. One day, I grabbed them, opened up to a random page, and began reading. It was an extract from the History of Joseph Smith. I read, “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description…One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JSH 1:17) While reading those words, the frenzy of the outside world became soft. Peace filled the room.

The empty spaces felt less empty.

At the same time, another co-worker knew I was reading the Joseph Smith History. So he also gave me a book. I don’t remember the title, but it was anti-Mormon. Essentially, it was a pocket guide to another book called, The God Makers. I read it. It made no impact.

Summer ended, and I headed off to college. There I found a building called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion. I registered for a class, “External Evidences of the Book of Mormon.” Here, I thought, I would find proof that the Book of Mormon is true. However, I found the class neither interesting nor compelling.

So, I continued my investigation, and scheduled appointments with the missionaries. Through our discussions, I was taught all the basic doctrines I already believed. Eternal Life is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Baptism by immersion is an essential step toward Heaven. The Holy Spirit is real. Yes, yes, yes, I got it. Then one day, we touched on a topic as radical as I had ever heard. Baptism for the dead. Upon hearing this phrase, my face did the same thing yours just did. Baptizing dead bodies? Yuck. But my curiosity was peaked. So, I listened.

The missionaries explained that many people die without the opportunity to hear about Christ. Gasp! Could this be the answer to my burning question from high school sociology? Are the African hunter-gatherers really not in hell? My ears perked up, and my eyes widened. They went on to describe a merciful, loving God who has prepared a way for all people to receive the blessings of the gospel. All who have died without receiving the message of Christ are given the opportunity to learn it after they have passed. Baptisms can be performed by proxy. They can then choose to accept or reject what has been done on their behalf. Finally, I understood. My beloved African tribe would be taught the message of Jesus Christ.

Empty space filled.

I was baptized on November 14, 1992.

Life is never as clean and tidy as an 800 word essay. Pose a question, receive an answer, live happily ever after. It never works that way. Life is complex. Questions and doubt remain. There is a great deal more to this conversion story. This was less a story of my conversion than it was a story of some of the events leading up to my baptism. Conversion is a lifelong progression. But that is a story for another time.

What kind of impact did your conversion have on your friends and family?

As a youth, my Southern Baptist church leaders taught me that Mormons belong to a Satanic cult. I feared telling friends and family of my conversion. But, funny thing about true Christians…they practice true Christ-like love. Not a single friend or family member rejected me. Perhaps they don’t understand my reasons for converting, but they love me with a pure love of Christ, and I adore them for it. (And they don’t think I’m Satanic.)

What advice would you give someone going through the same experience or contemplating a similar conversion?

Immerse yourself in the scriptures and prayer. Access to the Holy Ghost is essential. The Spirit can be felt in millions of other settings, but there is a 100% return of Holy Ghostness on your investment of scripture study and prayer. (Yep, that’s a real word.)

What are three things you have learned in the process?

• A true testimony cannot be founded upon external evidences. That’s why my class at the Institute didn’t bear fruit. I could see proof in front of me, but until I exercised faith, the confirmation could not come.

• Fearing my friends’ and family’s reaction was pointless. I should have placed as much faith in them as I did the Lord.

• Being kind trumps being right.

—————-

If you’d like to get in touch with Torie, you can find her on Facebook.

A note for potential commenters: We’re doing this series to show the thoughts and events that lead to conversion, not to try to convince others to turn toward (or away from) a specific faith or tradition. I want to hear from you, but this is not a proselytizing series. Nor are we doing apologetics or arguing about the supremacy or failures of any religious tradition. There are other places for that. I’d love you to comment on Torie’s story, ask her questions, or share your own experiences. But I’ll have a pretty low tolerance for anyone coming in and telling her why she’s wrong, or why you’re right, or bashing either the Mormon or Southern Baptist elements of her story. Keep it civil and gracious, please.

She said it best: Being kind trumps being right.

 



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Janet Oberholtzer

posted January 28, 2011 at 10:37 am


Jason … loved your last Friday series “Voices of Doubt” and I look forward to this one.
Torie … thanks for sharing your story. The question of what happens to people who have never heard about Jesus is one I’ve asked also (then again, there aren’t many questions I haven’t asked)
I don’t quite understand the “Baptisms can be performed by proxy.” Who is baptized for who?



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Daviud N.

posted January 28, 2011 at 11:28 am


Torie – Thanks for sharing. I am thrilled to hear that your evangelical friends and family have been loving and accepting of you during your conversion. Have you sensed from them any ongoing pressure or effort, however loving, to “reconvert” you? Did this go for a while and then stop, is it ongoing, has it never happened, etc? Thanks again.



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David N.

posted January 28, 2011 at 11:29 am


Um, yeah, I can spell my own name very well.



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Judy

posted January 28, 2011 at 11:51 am


Thanks for sharing that, Torie. It’s always so interesting to hear others’ conversion stories.
@Janet Baptisms for the dead are performed in LDS temples. Names and information (birth/death date, etc) for those who are dead are submitted by members of the church to the temple. Members who go there to perform this ordinance are baptized in the name of the person who is dead.



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Torie

posted January 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm


@Janet Members of the Church are responsible to see that temple ordinances are performed for their direct ancestors and children of these ancestors—families of their parents, grandparents, all of their great-grandparents, and so on.
Right of privacy laws make it mandatory that the rights of individuals be protected. Therefore, temple ordinance work being performed by proxy for those persons born within recent years must be submitted by a close relative or have the consent of the closest living relative.
The Genealogical Society assumes that persons submitting names for other than direct ancestors have obtained approval from the closest living relative of the deceased before submitting records of persons born within the last 95 years. This permission is needed to satisfy the right of privacy of living individuals who have the right of concern.
This means that a widow should be consulted before someone else submits the name of her husband for temple ordinance work, unless the husband is a direct ancestor; that a brother or sister should be consulted before a more distant relative submits the work, and so on.



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Torie

posted January 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm


@David I never received pressure from friends or family to return to the Southern Baptist church. That’s not to say it was never awkward. I know my parents were hurt and confused. They asked themselves, “Where did we fail?” But the truth is, they succeeded! They raised a daughter to seek her own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And they showed Christ-like love to her when they could’ve forsaken her. My family is stellar. The same can be said for friends. With the advent of Facebook, I’ve had to “come out of the closet” to my Southern Baptist childhood friends. Every one of them are sweet and nonjudgemental. They truly live with the light of Christ.
I have watched friends convert and consequently endure unrelenting pressure from family. It was heartbreaking for both sides. But the best we can do is live our lives, and hope our example speaks for itself. Ya know?



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Sam

posted January 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm


Torie, thank you for sharing your story. As I’ve grown up and gotten to know more Mormons as people and not just as “Mormons” I have cultivated so much respect for their beliefs and the way they live. I may not agree with certain doctrines but I feel deeply that we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s all that matters.



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Kimberly

posted January 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm


Thanks for being both my sister in Christ AND my Sister in Law. ;) And thanks to Mr. Boyett for a thoroughly interesting guest blog theme. I look forward to reading more. k.



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JamesB

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm


Loved this line: “Being kind trumps being right.” As a Christian, count me as one who not too long ago would not only have fought hard for “the Truth” (as I saw it), but would have tried to convince Torie “lovingly” that she was wrong. More and more, however, I’m becoming convinced that beliefs are only important insofar as it affects one’s actions and that Christ reveals himself in different ways to different people. Thanks for the story.



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Page

posted January 29, 2011 at 2:21 am


Torie, thanks for sharing your conversion. For me, one of the most poignant doctrines of the Mormon Faith is our relationship to God as his children. Is there a difference in how Mormons and Southern Baptists percieve this relationship?



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Torie

posted January 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm


@Page Perhaps Jason can help us out with this one. As Mormons, we believe we are literal sons/daughters of God. Jason, what is the Southern Baptist doctrine on this topic? I don’t think I really know. Because God is our Creator, is it safe to say other religions believe this too?



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Jason Boyett

posted January 31, 2011 at 7:34 am


@Page & Torie:
Not sure I’m versed enough in Mormon doctrine to answer this. Traditional Christian theology teaches that followers of Christ become “children of God,” in an adopted sense, upon believing (John 1:12). It also would suggest that, because God is creator, all humans are “children of God” in a figurative sense. That’s why God is referred to so often in the Bible as “Father.”
But I suspect this is different from Mormon teaching, which is that people are LITERALLY children of God, in that they existed prior to their time on earth as his “spirit children.”
If you keep it figurative, the belief is shared. But once you go literal there’s a divergence.



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nnmnns

posted January 31, 2011 at 2:11 pm


Don’t you wonder about a god that would create a universe where the default condition is that people go to Hell. Forever.
Doesn’t that sound incredibly petty? Why would you choose a religion where Hell is an option unless such a religion was inflicted upon you as a child when you were defenseless?
Please don’t inflict such a religion on your children. And please remember millions of us get along wonderfully without any such religion, indeed without any religion at all.
Peace.



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Page

posted February 1, 2011 at 1:40 am


@Jason
Thank you for your explanation. You are right, Mormons believe that we are literally spirit children of our Heavenly Father. We lived with Him before we came to Earth. Then we came to Earth as part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us to learn, grow, receive a body and choose to follow Him.
Such a wonderful website! I’ve added it to my favorites.



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confusedgirl

posted February 9, 2011 at 5:50 am


@Page
If we were once the spirit children of our heavenly father, how is it that many reject him here on earth and how come he allows his children to be born into families that do not know him. Consequently how can these children learn and grow?



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stella

posted February 9, 2011 at 7:21 am


i believe we are all children of god
and im not a mormon



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Birdie

posted February 9, 2011 at 8:14 am


i went from nothing to mormon to Christian. while i believe everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is Christian i no longer hold to the mormon faith. i am saved thru the blood of my Lord & Messiah, not thru the works i perform. furthermore, i now know only God can forgive me, thru Jesus Christ. i confess directly to Him. no one else.



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g

posted February 9, 2011 at 10:47 am


It seems, that in most conversion stories, mine included..the roots of the ‘searching’ are very similar if not the same.
1>Personal ‘I’ Feelings driven: I am lonely, I don’t understand (you name it), there must be something better.
2.fundamental belief that there is a ‘supreme power’ that can and wants to help me find ‘truth’.
3.Feeling that you are finding that truth because the ‘facts’ begin to line up with what you ‘want’ to believe the truth to be.
4. Convincing yourself that ‘better feeling’ + Doctrine that confirms what you want to believe = God and truth.
Fallacy with all of the above is that it leads everyone to as many conclusions as there are people searching.
So probably, no one has found the ‘truth’ They just moved to a different personal belief that conforms to what they need in order to find balance with their personality.
I find myself moving much more towards science in my old age and further away from ‘Religious’ belief and expression that marked my early and middle years.
2+2=4 is a truth that is so evident and no one can dispute it with theology.



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gayle

posted February 9, 2011 at 10:49 am


It doesnt make any sense for Jesus to come to this earth to be born thru the spirit to be made human to die for our sins if we were already born of the spirit and thru good works we could obtain favor from God…..Why send His Son for the propriation of sin….if the spirit of God lives in us we will not die….so why be baptized if favor has been granted thru the in-born spirit….God is not the author of confusion and it sounds like confusion to me….The Bible speaks clearly about the way of salvation thru His only begotten son Jesus and not John Smith….Jesus said “He that tries to take my place on earth…is not of me”.



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Pat

posted February 9, 2011 at 11:55 am


I was raised in a Christian home.My mother was Southern Baptist,however through circumstances in my life at 17 rebelled and went my own way.After many years and so many trials,I attempted suicide.That is when Jesus spoke to my heart and I began to seek Him and God’s Will for my life.I somehow found myself as a Jehovah’s Witness and during that time did read the book of Mormon and the history of Joseph Smith.In 1992,I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses because I had the desire to really study the Bible and found doctrinal issues not in line with God’s Word.The story of your conversion is nice,but how can the doctrinal differences of the Mormon’s be explained when it does not line up with the Bible?That is where I have a hard time accepting it.There are so many flavors of Christianity today and so many different ideas about what is true or false.When it comes right down to it all you really need is the Bible.At least that is what God intended(Rev22:18).



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Jellene

posted February 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm


I have a problem with the word “religion”, there are many types of religions but one God, one Son and one Holy Spirit. I believe in God and believe in His Word. As humans we often worry about our religious views. God is real and He will be here unto the end. He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Get ready, because the best is yet to come!



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Bob

posted February 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm


Torie,
I really appreciate your tender heart. After I got saved while attending college I wondered “why so many churches?” and started looking around talking to different people and looking into different churches and groups. That has never left my heart, “why so many groups” if Jesus came to earth that we might be saved and become His people, the Church. Neither Jew nor Greek but a new creation. Over the years I’ve had various dialogs with Mormons and found them to be loving people yet there is one problem. As a Mormon you have to ask yourself “what separates me from the rest of Christianity?” This is what I have been told by Mormons that because of the error of the Church (dark ages and all) Jesus had to appear to (the Indians for want of a better or more specific term)and basically “start over”. As I understand it, this was part of the revelation Joseph Smith received. So here’s the thing, Torie. In your experience haven’t you been taught that the Church of Latter Day Saints has the truth over the error of the rest of traditional Christianity? Having the priesthood, baptisms etc. that are distinct from traditional Christianity. Here’s the thing. There is only one True Church made up of Catholics, Mormons,Methodists (my background) Pentecostals etc. but all being born again and saved by the Blood of Jesus. We cling to Him and nothing else for salvation. It is purely in Him we hope. I also questioned God as a young believer, “how can you send people to hell?” The answer I found was not from theology but in trusting the Love of God. His holiness demands no sin can stand in His presence and if we were before Him in our sinful state (apart from the blood of Jesus) we would (as I believe C.S. Lewis postulated) cast our selves into hell. I believe Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses and others come about because man is always judging God and falling back into the original sin, eating of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil trying to “be as God” and not just resting and relying in Him. It is blasphemy to think that man can come up with a more loving approach to man’s sin than what God came up with. He not only loves but He is love! His plan is the preaching of the cross which is foolishness to those that perish but unto those that believe it is the power of God. Yes people will go to hell. Many are saved from it by trusting in Christ. Otherwise there is no need for a Savior (like Gayle has pointed out)so rather than change the Word of God because we judge God, trust in Him who gave us His Word and His Son to die for our sins that we might be saved. I think if you asked a Mormon of some standing in the church they would tell you that the rest of Christianity has been deceived, otherwise why have the Mormon church at all? Torie your faith I feel is in Jesus and you can trust His love for sinners because that is what He came to do, be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The last Adam that righted the disobedience of the first Adam by His obedience unto death, the death on the cross.Trusting His Heavenly Father to raise Him up the 3rd day, Hallelujah!



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Jim Lee

posted February 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm


Like Torie, I too converted from one religion to another in my youth. I went from S.Baptist (like Torie)to another religion(Catholicism)and then back to the S. Baptist religion of which I am now a member by choice and conviction. I even looked at Zen Buddhism while searching. One thing that I have learned a long the way is that it’s not about religion, it’s about relationship. A relationship based on faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God The father. Are you in right relationship to God or not? Do you have a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus, is the question we must ask ourselves? The Bible describes for us what our responsibilities in that relationship.
I would like to know how does Torie reconcile her decision to convert to Mormonism, following the teaching of Joseph Smith, in The Book of Mormon in light of Galatians 1:6-8 ” I am astonished that you so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”? The gospel of Mormonism is one of works, which contradicts the gospel of grace taught by Paul (Ephesians 2:8,9)(“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”) The Mormon gospel falls into the category of a “different gospel” (Galatians 1:8).
There is a scripture in the Bible(Corinthians) that says why are they baptized for the dead, but what does that mean? (Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptize for the dead?(1 Corinthians 15:29) This passage comes at the end of the section that begins “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen; and if Christ be not risen,then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain.(1 Corinthians 15:13-14)The similarity in phrasing indicates that these may be the start and ending of one thought. That thought is that Jesus rose from the dead. If there is no resurrection then Jesus was not resurrected.But that is one of the essentials of the Gospel.Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day and was seen after His resurrection.(1 Corinthians 15:1-8) If Jesus was not raised, we have no hope. The resurrection is the proof that that Jesus is the Messiah. Then comes the verse in question. Who is/are the dead in this passage? Is he saying that people are baptized on behalf of other people who have not died but were not baptized? That is what the Mormons believe.Or is he asking, as I believe better fits the context better, What will we do who were baptized because of Jesus, if He could not be raised? Why be baptized for a dead man rather than a resurrected man?” So, I believe “the dead” here is referring to Jesus, not any dead people.
Now regarding Tories’ initially stated reason for leaving one religion for another, I know there are many Christians who say that all those who die without faith in Christ will be relegated to spend an eternity in Hell-even though they have never heard the gospel preached. Apparently, her camp counselor was such person of this school of thought. However, while I don’t claim to speak for God to know His mind,I think Scripture suggests otherwise. I think the Bible teaches that we are judged on the basis of what we know and how we act upon it.Those who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have refused to believe and have rejected Him,will fall under the condemnation of God,because they have rejected His provision for our disobedience. I think this is in keeping with the nature of Christ, as revealed in the Scriptures. In this I choose to believe rather than some man made teachings of the power of baptism for the salvation of the dead.



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Lois

posted February 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm


As a Roman Catholic Christian I was never taught that the unbaptized/nonbelievers automatically go to hell Thank goodness. So often when I read these theological conversations, I think to myself that if the writers knew what the Catholic church REALLY teaches on a particular issue (NOT what they think it teaches or what partial-truth the media has disseminated about a particular topic) so many of their questions would be answered and their doubts would no longer exist. The Catholic church provides a theological system of belief that flows seamlessly and ends up providing logical answers that make sense.



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John

posted February 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm


The problem Torie experienced is common to those who listen to preachers instead of reading the Bible. More often than not, many preachers interject their own believes into their preaching, passing it off as the word of God. As an example, long hair on men, dancing, and the consumption of alcohol are thought by many backward preachers to be a sin, and they preach it as the word of God. As far as I know, I see no passage in the Bible that states, “If you don’t believe in Jesus you’re hell bound!” What it does state is that each of us has an appointed time of death, and after death, we will be judged based on the sins we commit in our bodies. Therefore, it is possible that you may find Jews, Budists, Hindus, and even Africans who never heard of Jesus in heaven. The Bible does state that he who believes in Jesus, and by belief I mean follows in his beliefs and teachings, will have everlasting life. It doesn’t state they will be the only ones to have it!
Unfortunately, Torie has not realized the root cause of her original misunderstanding and has since traded one misleading tale for another. The bible states nothing about the baptism of the dead. In fact, this seems like another fable started by another religious order that states you can pray, or in some cases pay a person’s way out of purgatory. If any of this were true, Jesus would have told us so. This is a fairly important topic for Jesus to forget to mention, don’t you think?
I am not trying to bash anyone’s religion here, but Christians need to beware of religions that are not supported by sound doctrine and a reasonable amount of logic.
God’s blessing to you and your family,
John



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g

posted February 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm


Bottom Line for any conversion :
Person has unsettling emotional/physical needs.
Person ‘heightens the discomfort of those gnawing needs by ‘Searching, Praying, reading, studying..in other words ;’Fixating’ on the ‘gap’, unhappiness, dissatisfaction etc. After a period of time, the human psyche and emotions demand a resolution from that imbalance and stress.
Enter a person or situation that appears to have the knowledge, action, answer, that can alleviate that heightened stress Tsuris. Irrespective of what that may be, if it doesn’t totally fall into a completely unacceptable( and for some people it can be unacceptable to societies norms)



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kristi

posted February 10, 2011 at 8:38 am


Thank you for sharing Tori’s story with us. I (like you) am always fascinated with conversion stories. I love reading them. I, myself am a conversion story. I was raised Roman Catholic, then as a teen I became “born again” and kind of bounced from different churches well into my late twenties, Baptist and non-denominational. And then stopped attending (even though I was still a believer). I am now attending a Lutheran church (with my husband and kids) and feel very much at “home”.



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Gary Mac

posted February 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm


Doesnt matter what denomination one is of they all have their laws to govern their beliefs, to goven their gods. I’ve been to one who tought you to be as Jesus was and walk as he walked have the same mind he had and same spirit in you who was in him. They teach contrary to him that you cant be. Once has the revelation of the Christ and who He really is, Christ in YOU and that YOU are the kingdom of God, then these religions come to light as to what they really are.
Gary



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Jae

posted February 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm


We all are children of God because He created us all. I don’t believe anyone not knowing God. He is the creator and He equipped us to perceive Him. That’s in our instict. Even if you don’t know his name as Jesus because you are living in an uncultivated society, you still feel the presense of the Creator and respect Him. You can go to the kingdom of God. How can Almighty God forsake those who haven’t got the chance to know His name. “Love the Lord your God with all your hear and with all your soul and with all your mind.” “Love your neightbor as yourself” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. God didn’t say we need to know his name. I believe in my God’s almighty power. Everyone on earth should know how to listen to God. Some of us just not doing it because we are full of oursleves. It doesn’t mean I can listen to God. I am still emptying myself and I am sure I will eventually listen to His Voice.



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Pam

posted February 12, 2011 at 1:02 am


I too was converted 30 years ago and belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It changed my life for the better. I agree that one has to read the scriptures intensely and pray to gain a testimony. One has to really want to know the truth in order to find it. I am glad that your family and friends did not reject Torie. My family was not happy about my conversion but they didn’t reject me either. John—-read 1 Corinthians 15:29 about being baptized for the dead. You are wrong about the Bible not stating anything about being baptized for the dead. I wish you the best Torie.



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Robert Hinze Sr

posted February 12, 2011 at 9:24 am


The Catholic Church is the church that Jesus founded. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Catholic Church produced the New testement. The fulness of truth is in the Catholic Church. The fulness of scripture is in the CatholicChurch. the fulness of God’s grace is in the Sacrements and the Mass in the Catholic Church.



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Page

posted February 13, 2011 at 1:55 am


@Confusedgirl. You bring up two really good questions. I think one of the key things that allows us to learn and grow is that there is opposition. Opposition also means that there are choices and people are able to choose not to follow Heavenly Father. The fact that we have the ability to choose make the choice to follow Heavenly Father that much sweeter.
As for your other question about why God allows people to be born and never hear about his gospel, I think that there must be experiences in their unique circumstances that they need for their growth. This takes us back to Torie’s conversion story. She points out that whether in this life or in the hereafter, all will be given the opportunity to hear the good news of Christ.
@Lois, that is really interesting. I guess I am a victim of the media. What do Roman Catholics believe about unbaptized or unbelievers in the afterlife?



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Page

posted February 13, 2011 at 1:57 am


@Confusedgirl. You bring up two really good questions. I think one of the key things that allows us to learn and grow is that there is opposition. Opposition also means that there are choices and people are able to choose not to follow Heavenly Father. The fact that we have the ability to choose make the choice to follow Heavenly Father that much sweeter.
As for your other question about why God allows people to be born and never hear about his gospel, I think that there must be experiences in their unique circumstances that they need for their growth. This takes us back to Torie’s conversion story. She points out that whether in this life or in the hereafter, all will be given the opportunity to hear the good news of Christ.
@Lois, that is really interesting. I guess I am a victim of the media. What do Roman Catholics believe about unbaptized or unbelievers in the afterlife?



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Duane

posted February 13, 2011 at 11:09 am


This is a GREAT subject and very good posts. Please tell me where the Bible says we were spirits in Heaven before we were born. The more I study the Word the more that is reveiled. Thank you for your answer.



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Duane

posted February 13, 2011 at 11:13 am


This is a GREAT subject with very good posts. Please help me in my study of the Bible by giving me the reference(s) that show we were spirits in Heaven before we were born. Thank You.



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Page

posted February 18, 2011 at 6:33 pm


@Duane
Eccl. 12:7 speaks of “returning” to God, meaning that we were with him before
Here are a few others that talk about God as the father of our spirits and how he knew us before our birth: Heb 12:9, Psalms 82:6,Acts 17:29, Jeremiah 1:5, Job 38:7
Hope that helps!



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Torie

posted February 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm


Wow, I haven’t been here for a few weeks. I did not realize there would be so many comments. I deeply appreciate everyone’s sincerity. Thank you, Jason, for creating a safe place.
Cramming one’s monumental experience into a tiny space proved complicated. It’s easy to trivialize the event because it was written in such a small space. But my conversion was neither quick nor easy. My conversion continues 18 years later. As with any meaningful relationship, my relationship with Jesus Christ is ever growing, ever progressing.
Some contributors questioned my belief in the Bible. I believe the Bible to be the Word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. Here is a list of Biblical Scriptures that influenced my conversion:
Heb. 11:1
James 1:5
1 Cor. 15:29
1 Cor. 15:40
The point of this piece is not to proselytize. But I make no apologies for my conversion. I boldly proclaim that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer, my Savior. Jason asked for conversion stories, and I happened to have one…and it was a good one! Ya gotta admit, a Southern Baptist Korean Texan turned Hollywood Mormon proved too irresistible to ignore.
Thank you for your comments. Thank you for supporting Jason. His blog affects change, triggers honest dialogue, and represents a microcosm of the world as it should be…a world of differences and respect.



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Stephen

posted March 14, 2011 at 7:55 pm


Hi Torie & Jason!
Thanks for this series…I’ve only read a couple so far, but wanted to comment here before continuing.
I found it interesting that for you, Torie, the most important issue was how God dealt with those who “hadn’t heard” the Gospel. I’ve often asked that question as well and basically decided that it’s not up to me to make sure that God’s message is heard by every single person… that’s God’s job. I know, this runs counter to what I (we) have been taught as Evangelicals, yet, to me it makes sense that God in his love and justice is not going to condemn anyone for not having been in the right place to hear the right words.
Now, as far as the Mormons decision to baptize the dead…my personal feeling is that they’ve based this doctrine on a pretty flimsy biblical base. But beyond that, as I began doing genealogical work online, it really bothered me to find that my ancestors…many of them devout Christians…had been baptized by the Mormons. My thought is, none of us has the right…or the wisdom…to know what someone else’s relationship is with God.
I’d like to hear anyone’s thoughts on the topic.



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