Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord (Alma 23:8):
I grew up in Michigan suburb, never having met a Mormon. In fact, I didn't even know that “Mormon” was a church. All I knew was that they were a group of people that went west during the 1800's. I later learned that there was only one retired LDS couple that lived in my town, and there was not a single member in my school.
My first exposure to the LDS Church was when I was moving back to my college campus at the beginning of my sophomore year. One of my new roommates was dating a member of the Church. That Saturday, they invited me to lunch with them. This seemingly innocuous invitation had a remarkable effect on me. Never before had a perfect stranger invited me to eat with them. (In fact, I had spent my four years of high school largely eating alone and practicing being indifferent about it.) But at this point, I didn't connect their actions with the Church.
Later that day, I discovered that my roommate's boyfriend had gone to church to find a ride to church the next day. I was amazed that a person could just walk into a church they had never been to and expect that someone would be willing to give a complete stranger a ride. On Sunday, my roommate and I went to breakfast together, as her boyfriend was at church. My roommate also accompanied me to lunch, and I asked were her boyfriend was. When she told me he was still at church, I was completely dumbfounded. I mean, really, what can a person do at church for three whole hours?
I was so curious, I could not resist asking about it. But I knew that some people consider faith a private matter and that some churches were rather exclusive. I did not want to be rude or impolite. So I started out with rather casual questions. But those answers spurred something in me that I did not entirely understand. I perceived that this member truly believed. Never before had I met someone with such faith. I began to realize that I yearned to find faith, too. And there began my search for truth.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive(Ephesians 4:14);
To be continued…
What was your first exposure to the Church? And if you are a lifetime member, what is your earliest memory of the Church? What were the first sparks of a testimony in your life?