From Unknown Lost Soul to Brother Jon – Continued
My second visit with the Elders was a little bit different. I went over to see if they happened to be there or not, and they were. My brother had found out that one of them was celebrating a birthday, so he invited them over for a Bar-B-Q and Birthday cake. I was impressed with this and felt the need to tell someone. I kept around for a few minutes and then felt the need to take off. Before I left the Elder that was having the birthday told me “If you ever need any help, doing anything let us know. We are young and strong and can handle it. And, we won’t even try to convert you.” Yeah, that’s how good that dude is. I took off and headed to the bar and told the bartender what was going on. She wasn’t as impressed with the situation as I was, saying something to the effect of “yeah, they’re probably just normal guys.” This would have been around early August.
I continued to drink and smoke, regularly. There were even a few instances where I showed up at Bruddah’s house drunk, trying to run into the Missionaries. It happened at least two or three times. During one of these times is when I promised to attend their Church, if they went to “ours”. I also promised to read the first chapter in the Book of Mormon. I’ve been reading ever since. I could sense that these guys were special, I just didn’t know what to call it yet. It took an awful night of drinking to convince me that enough was enough. It was a Thursday and I managed to drink All.Day.Long. Bar hoping, from one place to the next. Book of Mormon in my center console. Struggling between the natural world and the way of the Lord. I failed miserably that night in multiple ways, and I knew it. At the end of the night I became angry and headed home. During the walk to the car my anger turned into a deep, deep sadness. How I managed to drive home and not hurt anyone, I do not know.
After pulling up to my apartment I stumbled over to Bruddah’s and fell into the couch, completely breaking down. That was the beginning of my spiritual cleansing. I did go out that night again, sort of a last call if you will. A few days later I would try to choke down one last drink, but for some reason I just couldn’t do it. I knew that I shouldn’t be drinking anymore, so I just stopped. Smoking was a different story. I really liked smoking. It was a friend, a companion for when I was alone. Little did I know I could get that companionship from somewhere else.
At first I just liked hanging out with the Elders. Most of my questions were directed at Bruddah. Usual questions like what about this magic underwear and don’t they all have multiple wives? Bruddah was able to answer most of these questions, becoming the beginnings of my Testimony. After I got used to thinking that they were all pretty normal I started actively taking lessons. They would come over to Bruddah’s house everyday. We would talk about their day, my day, Bruddah’s day and everyone would calm down. It was very relaxing. At one point Elder W asked “why do you think us coming over is so calming for you?” I said it was because of them, because the Elders were over. He assured us that it was not just him and his companion, it was the Holy Spirit causing us to calm down.
They kept on asking us to pray for knowledge. Knowledge of the True Church. Knowledge of the Truth of the Book of Mormon. Knowledge that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. These answers came to me very easily. It’s the other kind of praying that was difficult. The kind where you have to humble yourself, where you have to admit that you have done wrong and you intend to seek forgiveness for these wrongdoings. It was very difficult the first few times. Asking was easy. Not knowing if you are worth that forgiveness was the hard part. Especially hard when thinking about whether or not a person (Not just Heavenly Father) would be able to forgive you. There were a few nights where I cried myself to sleep. The good thing is each morning, after those kinds of nights, were always the most refreshing. That’s when I knew I was forgiven, I knew I was on the right path.
Another thing we were asked to pray for was whether or not we should be baptized and if so, on what date. I had prayed for this many times, finally coming up with the date of October 1st. I had unknowingly picked the same day that General Conference takes place on. I believe this was another sign. I was prepared. I quit smoking about a month before this date, on September 2nd. The four weeks leading up to the baptism were pretty wonderful. The day of was especially great. Beautiful weather, wonderful company, and my first General Conference as a Member. But more of that to come.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ~ Ephesians 2: 8
I’ve decided to do a quick word association with all of the Elders that I’ve known that have served in our town.
Elder W – Boss
Elder B – UFC
Elder C – Chef
Elder V – Playwrite
Elder R – Runner
Elder M – Gentle Giant
Elder Y – Fact Giver
Don’t know the new ones well enough for this yet, but you will know as soon as I do.