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In My Own Words: My Conversion Story

By: Alison - April 07, 2009

In commenting on last Thursday’s post, Keepa’ninny Alison noted that that day was the anniversary of her baptism. She consented to share her conversion story here:

An atypically hot summer’s afternoon in a Scottish suburb found me looking curiously through the glass doors of a Mormon Church building. A kindly lady came out and asked if she could help me. I told her I wanted to join the Church, and, seeming a little taken aback (probably feeling a LOT taken aback), she invited me in and introduced me to a young man who she felt would be able to answer any questions I had.

His name was Jim, and he was preparing to serve a mission. His calling as ward librarian had fortuitously brought him to the meetinghouse that day, and he supplied me with copies of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, the last two of which I had been most curious to see for myself.

Some months before, I had started my own personal research project into “Mormonism,” using the resources of the public library system. Books such as The Mormon Story and Meet the Mormons, two publications geared towards nonmembers in the 1960s and ’70s, had given me a reasonable overview of the faith, and I yearned to know more. I consumed Talmage’s Articles of Faith and Jesus the Christ, borrowing every book on the Church that I could find. I was fascinated by the story of Joseph Smith, and unaccountably drawn to photographs of the temples published in some of these books.

My upbringing in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, while giving me a good grounding in Christianity, had not satisfied my spiritual seeking, nor had my investigations into the Baptist Church, or other world religions such as Judaism, although I identified very strongly with the Jewish faith.

That initial contact with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the direct result of the willingness of a family of members to be completely upfront and enthusiastic about sharing their beliefs with everybody they could. I had never met them, but they were a shining example of family life and clean living, excellent ambassadors for the Church and a byword for wholesome, American Mormonism. They were the Osmond family, and many years later I was able to meet their parents in person and thank them for helping me to change my life.

My parents, on the other hand, good, hardworking people, were completely thrown by my interest in this bizarre sect. They knew next to nothing about the Church, and while my father never did show any interest in learning more, my mother was anxious enough about what I was getting into to accompany me to a Sunday School service (yes, this was in the days before the block programme) to see for herself the kind of people that Mormons really were. She was astonished to meet a lady who worked across the street from her own workplace, and who through the years continued to demonstrate to my family everything that was good and positive about the Church. That encounter set my mother’s mind at rest to some degree; if somebody as “regular” as Sheila could be a Mormon, then it would very possibly be safe for me to have something to do with the Church, too.

However, this did not mean that my parents were willing to give their permission for me to be baptised. As I was only 14 at the time, they were naturally concerned for me, but I was equally concerned that here I was, trying to do the right thing and follow the Saviour, and it wasn’t happening. Several sets of missionaries and eighteen months later, the revelation broke upon me that this was, as Sister Dew so succinctly puts it, “only a test.” The Lord was allowing me to wait in order to prove I was sincere about joining his Church. Though countless attempts to persuade my parents to agree to my baptism had failed, I now walked through to the living room, asked them again, and after a short conversation, they signed the necessary paperwork. It was as simple as that.

That evening, a very wet, typically Scottish spring evening, I arrived late for sacrament meeting and was met by one of the missionaries. “How many people are getting baptised this Friday?” I asked him.

“Six,” he replied. (Those were the days, you British folk out there!)

“Make that seven,” I told him, and left him speechless as I went to wring out my raincoat.

That was thirty-three years ago last week, and not once, not even on the toughest of days on my mission in London, did I ever regret my decision to join the Church. From that has come all the things I hold most dear: the gospel of Jesus Christ and my testimony of it, my husband and son, my friends, my health and knowledge, and my understanding of what the Lord wants me to do in this life. The gospel has served as my bedrock, and like no other thing possibly could, it guides me and gives me hope. I love it!



19 Comments »

  1. Alison: Thank you for sharing your conversion story. I greatly enjoy hearing people’s conversions. They are always inspirational as was yours today. Thank you again.

    Comment by Steve C. — April 7, 2009 @ 7:22 am

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like a lovely experience.

    Comment by Researcher — April 7, 2009 @ 7:39 am

  3. Wow, Jesus the Christ and AofF at 14? I’m not even sure I was aware of those books at 14 or cared a bit what they contained. I can’t imagine being such a seeker at that age. I think I was more worried about pimples and geeky awkwardness. You were like Joseph Smith, thinking about things of eternal import at a young age. What a great story. Thank you for sharing it.

    Comment by Paul Reeve — April 7, 2009 @ 7:55 am

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Alison. Sometimes, it just clicks – and that still amazes me, even after all these years.

    Sorry, Ardis, for plugging another site (but you know about it, so it’s ok, right?), but Alison’s story will also be posted on a site dedicated explicitly to sharing conversion stories and experiences sharing the Gospel. If anyone has a story that they would like to share (or knows of someone else to whom they are willing to recommend the site), please send a narrative to (mormonpersonalstories at yahoo dot com) to be posted at:

    Sharing the Gospel: Personal Stories

    Comment by Ray — April 7, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  5. Alison, reading your conversion story was as if I was reading mine. The first time I ever heard about the Mormons was through the Osmonds. I was 14 at the time. I went on a search for books about this Church not knowing that there was a small LDS branch in the city where I lived. Not finding anything in our local bookstores, I abandoned the search. A few days later, two sister missionaries rang our door bell… and the rest is history as they say. My parents though didn’t give their permission for my baptism until I was 18. But that is another story. Now, 33 years later, I am still amazed how the restored Church came in to my life and I am still very grateful for all the blessings.
    Take care.

    Comment by Carine — April 7, 2009 @ 9:02 am

  6. Thank you Alison. A remarkable story!

    Comment by Mark B. — April 7, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  7. Nice work.

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — April 7, 2009 @ 9:37 am

  8. “I love it”

    Wow. And I loved your account, too. Thanks for taking the time to share it.

    Comment by Hunter — April 7, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  9. I really enjoyed reading this- thanks!

    It would be interesting to try to quantify (somehow- no idea how) the effect The Osmonds had (and continue to have- I personally know of at least one baptism resulting from an Osmond fireside in the last 2 years) on missionary work and baptismal rates here. I maintain you can walk into any unit in the UK and find at least one sister who first heard of the gospel through that family.If you recognise many of those sisters served missions and are now married with children of their own; many have children who also served missions and are now in their turn producing offspring, the drip down result is mindboggling.

    Comment by Anne (UK) — April 7, 2009 @ 10:36 am

  10. Alison, thanks for the story. I joined at 16 years old, about 33 1/2 years ago (Dec 75). So, I’m right there with you.

    Comment by Rameumptom — April 7, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  11. Alison, I was moved by your story and by the strength you exhibited as you searched and waited. And Carine, it seems that you shared an equally strong testimony as you waited for baptism. Thanks to both of you.

    Comment by Maurine — April 7, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  12. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It’s beautiful!

    Comment by Jami — April 7, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

  13. Exceptional Alison. I have known you for a long time, but I do not think we have ever shared our conversion stories.

    Comment by Sue — April 7, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  14. I love reading conversion stories. Yours was an exceptional one. Thanks for sharing with us. I’m so glad you found the church.

    Comment by Tatiana — April 7, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

  15. Wonderful, Alison! Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Ben Pratt — April 8, 2009 @ 1:30 am

  16. Love it. I also know some converts who were influenced by the Osmonds. I guess Donny is right. He did not need to serve a mission to help bring souls to Christ

    Comment by bbell — April 9, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  17. Alison I remeber it well and what a journey you have made. I for one am very proud to be part of it and it’s continuation. Don’t keep the faith-Share it, as you have done here. God Bless.

    Comment by Sheila — April 12, 2009 @ 8:07 am

  18. [...] Read the conversion story of a Mormon woman named Alison, shared here. [...]

    Pingback by First Person: Alison’s conversion story | Mormon Women: Who We Are — May 2, 2009 @ 2:41 am

  19. Thanks for sharing your story. Your faith, courage and determination at such a young age are inspiring.

    Comment by Amanda D — May 3, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

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