More Than Just a Myth
The day that LDS missionaries knocked on my door will always stand out as one of the most pivotal moments of my life. Not that I was “searching” for meaning---I had been deeply religious since childhood, spent seven years in the convent, left that lifestyle because it wasn’t bringing me closer to God, and was involved in my current church congregation with choir work and teaching of religion.
In fact, I had made a firm resolution not to discuss religion with any door-to-door missionaries, because of the spirit of contention that frequently arose when conflicting interpretations of scripture were under discussion. But the Lord in his goodness had prepared me for this visit. I had, a few months earlier, heard someone make a remark that connected the “Mormon” religion
to some book about the Quetzlcoatl mythology of South America, prompting me to want to investigate any light such a book might shed on the feathered-serpent themes of other literatures I had studied. I didn’t have any idea how much authority was behind the remark, or what I would find, but I had filed it for future reference, just to satisfy my curiosity. Sooner or later, I would read the “Mormon” book and check out its mythological validity.
Answering the door that day, I was not thinking about books or mythological themes. I was a busy young mother spending most of my energy nursing a small baby and chasing a very active three-year-old. But as I approached the door, my mind was overcome with a kind of vision, a mental picture of Abraham going to the door of his tent, on the day angels brought him an important message. I was impressed with the premonition that opening that door would bring a message of some importance.
Nevertheless, I was confused when all that stood there were these two young men, well-labeled as LDS missionaries. If it hadn’t been for the “vision,” I would have politely said good-bye and shut the door. I decided, instead, that I needed to find out what sort of message they had for me.
It started out all wrong. One of them asked me if I believed in prophets. Of course I did, since personal experiences of prophecy had occurred in my own life, and I was familiar with such experiences of other people. But when these young men enthusiastically presented me a photo of fifteen men in modern business suits and proclaimed that there was both prophet and apostles were currently on the earth, credibility was stretched to the limit. I had been brought up in a religion where clergy dressed the part, and business suits were not what they wore! So I decided, generously, to ignore the remark. And I searched, mentally, for some rational foundation for the “vision” still fresh in my mind.
I do not remember how I made the connection that “Latter-day Saint” missionaries might know something about a “Mormon” book. But once that thought crossed my mind, I was quick to pursue the topic. “Don’t you have some kind of a book?” I asked. They did. I told them I had not found it in the library, and did not know where to get it, and maybe they could help me. They could. They volunteered to come back with a copy the following week. And I made a mental note to be unavailable for religious “discussion,” so that they could simply drop off the book and leave.
When I finally did receive my copy of the book, I thanked the young men and agreed, again without any sense of commitment, that they could come back to answer any questions I had. Later that evening, with my husband home from work and the children somewhat settled down, I picked up the book to read. But nothing had prepared me for what I found in its pages, and it was with awe, shock, delight, and some confusion that I shortly announced to my husband my most amazing discovery: “This is a book of Scripture!” There was no doubt at all. I had done enough serious scripture study, and read enough of the world’s “sacred” literature, to become immediately aware that this book was not a record of myth, or an ancient history text, or anything other than the true Word of God. It spoke to me with that spiritual voice, and, as I began following footnotes and looking up topics that interested me, it gave me answers to many of the theological questions I had puzzled over for years. It was, without doubt, the most exciting book I had ever picked up, and it continued to amaze and edify me whatever page I opened it to.
When the young missionaries returned, as they had promised, I was home. And I had a message of great importance for them. I told them something I felt they needed to know: “Your book is a true book!” And I demanded to know why it was the property of their church, feeling that it was entirely in the wrong hands! At that point, I was ready to listen to what they had to say, and, after many months of historical investigation, acknowledge that this wonderful book had not only brought me light and knowledge beyond my highest expectations, but it had also led me to the fullness of the Gospel, the power of the priesthood, and the knowledge that those fifteen men in business suits were evidence of the true Church of Jesus Christ, present again upon the earth.
as published in Ensign magazine, April 2006