I love hearing the stories of people who have converted to Mormonism — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It seems like in every case, the person was seeking. Either the person was not getting answers from the limited teachings of other churches, or the person was seeking religion for the first time and praying to find the truth. Each can trace the path they followed to their conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ, and they know they were led by God along that path. Their prayers to find the truth were answered. I truly believe that the original longing they experienced came from God, as did the path to conversion, as did being guided along that path, as did the confirmation of truth through the Holy Ghost. I feel a deep and abiding gratitude for being led to and then guided along that path myself.
Hearing the teachings of the true gospel of Jesus Christ — Christ’s ancient organization and true doctrine fully restored in modern times — opened my mind to ideas I had never considered. First, was the Plan of Salvation. I had wondered if there were “more to life than this.” More to life than what was available in a worldly sense. It all seemed so limited to me, especially in the realm of vocation and worldly achievement. A few human beings had made great contributions to society, but the memory of most was lost. They lived and died in obscurity, and so what was the value of their earthly achievements?
The Plan of Salvation teaches that we are all eternal beings and that our sojourn in mortality is very short, indeed. We lived forever before we were born into mortality with a mortal body, and we will live eternally after we die. We were unique and individual “intelligences” before God the Father organized us spiritually. In fact everything that exists, including the earth, was created spiritually before they were created physically. God is, in fact, our eternal, loving Father in Heaven. He loves us with a love that cannot be found in the world. It surpasses the love of spouses, parents, children, brothers. God’s entire work is to lead us to true joy, where we can abound forever surrounded by this love.
The Plan of Salvation is also called the Plan of Progression. Mortality is the plane of existence that follows pre-mortal life as spirits in the presence of God. One of the main purposes of mortality is to obtain a physical body, as imperfect as it is. By forgetting pre-mortal life, we can learn to live by faith. God knows our every move, our every thought. The second our minds and thoughts reach out to Him, He is there to guide us toward Him. The idea is to draw closer and closer to God by communing with Him, that we desire only to do His will and become like Him, thereby to return to His presence.
God created all things through His Son, Jesus Christ, whom we all chose to sustain and support in pre-mortal life as the Savior of this world. The Savior was provided for us because of our fallibility. Father knew we would fall and stumble. The Plan gives us space to repent; the Savior gave us the atonement to remove all punishments as a reward for our repentance and willingness to keep God’s commandments. The fall of Adam and Eve was in the plan from the beginning. We all fall, but through Christ, we can be saved and exalted.
Learning about the Plan of Salvation was the most mind- and heart-expanding part of the gospel for me to learn. The young Mormon Missionaries who taught me were delighted (of course) when I readily accepted and rejoiced in this new information. But when they began to teach me about Joseph Smith, the first prophet of modern times, through whom Christ restored the power and authority to build up His kingdom again on earth, I could see their fear. Many investigators of the gospel readily received their teachings until they got to the Joseph Smith story, but then they could not accept that people could receive revelation in modern times. I could see the Mormon missionaries’ relief, when I told them the account of Joseph Smith’s first vision sounded completely logical to me. In fact, it was more logical than the mistaken idea that God freely spoke to men and women anciently but had completely ceased to do so.
Since joining The Church of Jesus Christ, I have sought to learn God’s will for me, to reconcile myself to Him, and to be obedient to His commandments. Repentance is an ongoing thing, and we partake of the sacramental emblems every Sunday to renew our baptismal covenants and renew our purity before God. Obedience (we are not obedient because we are blind, but because we see) leads to spirituality, and as spirituality increases, so do the miracles in our lives. I have had my own revelations for my personal benefit, for the healing of my family, and for major decisions and service to others. The longer I am a Mormon, the more grateful I am. All the greatest blessings I have ever received in this life can be attributed to finding the true gospel of Jesus Christ.