A great conversion story
Latter-day Saints love good conversion stories, but as this post by Julie at Happy Catholic proves, we certainly do not have any monopoly on them. I told her I liked the story so much that I would gladly post it on my own blog; and in my mind, there are three things that really stand out about her story, which make it well worth sharing here.
First, the saga of the house sale is one more illustration of something we often hear from the pulpit at sacrament meeting and General Conference, as well as from the title of one well-known book within our LDS culture -- namely, that faith does indeed precede the miracle, and not the other way around. Or as our own Book of Mormon puts it, in Ether 12:6, ". . . faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." In this connection, I am reminded of President Boyd K. Packer's story about the time he faced a difficult decision in his personal life, and was counseled by President Harold B. Lee that we sometimes have to take a few steps into the darkness before the light will follow us. (Although I am not providing a link to it here, he related this story once again in the talk he gave during the most recent General Conference. I first heard it several years ago, and have had occasion to reflect on it again and again.)
Second, the ripple effect. Her personal decision had a profound effect on a number of lives, without any conscious effort on her part. Everything we do has a way of affecting others -- a point made in a memorable fashion, for example, in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." We should all strive to do what we can to affect others in a positive way, and in our best moments, we often manage to do so without really trying. I'm sure Julie never expected this result, but hey, in my book, she done real good!
The third thing is the reminder that the most important -- and lasting -- knowledge we gain is through the promptings of the Spirit, rather than through our sometimes overly-vaunted secular learning. Paul says as much in the second chapter of First Corinthians. I think it is very significant that Julie, who is evidently as much of a bookworm as I am, acquired the most important knowledge she has -- and certainly that which she appears to cherish most -- without the aid of books. (I assume she was already a student of scripture, but that is not the kind of book learning I refer to here.) This is, of course, entirely incomprehensible to an atheist, to whom nothing can be known except through our five senses and our unaided intellect (which, incidentally, led to such horrors as the French Revolution, spawned as it was by the so-called Age of Reason.)
As always, feedback is welcome, although in this case she deserves it far more than I do. I admire Julie's enthusiasm for her faith and her willingness to share it with others, and I submit that she has set a good example for all of us, whether we be Latter-day Saints, evangelical Christians, or Catholics.