In February of 2004 a friend invited my family to a party to celebrate her son’s birthday. My husband was unable to attend, but the children and I attended. We met many people, including a gentleman who had just moved to Kenya from Utah and wanted to know more about our country. I eventually invited him to join our family for dinner, and he came with his son.
When we offered coffee after dinner, they declined, citing religious reasons. I later learned from a friend that my guest was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Up until then, all I knew about the Church was sparse and negative. It made no sense for such a smart lawyer to fall for a false religion.
Over time, I met members of his family who were completely devoted to the Church. I knew we can “know [people] by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16), and these people were wonderful. They had an inner glow that could not be consistent with a false religion. They spoke comfortably about the principles of their gospel, and I could see they lived it.
In Kenya, religious education is part of the national school curriculum, and I had been assigned to evaluate a certain version of the Bible and recommend if it would be useful for schools. As I read commentaries on various verses, I found some offensive interpretations, so I called up my Mormon friend just to share my thoughts.
After a lengthy discussion, I was prompted to ask him why his theology and mine agreed even though I was not a Mormon. He told me, “Evelyn you are a Mormon, because I know you seek the truth; you just don’t realize it.” As soon as he said that, I felt a burning in my chest. I could not breathe and I did not understand anything I was experiencing. He said it was okay and that it was the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the truth to me. It was the most wonderful feeling! I did not want it to end.
After that incident I went home and pulled out the Book of Mormon. As I read it, I knew it was true; my heart was at peace. I knew that Joseph Smith was God’s prophet, and I knew beyond doubt that the Church is true. Weeks later the missionaries taught me, and I went into the waters of baptism on 4 September 2004.
My membership in the Church means I am on the path to my eternal home. Without it, I am nothing. It has blessed my family, especially my children, and for that I’m grateful. I try to be an example to others just like the stranger I met at the birthday party was to me.