Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Convert or Born in the Covenant?

by Anna Jones Buttimore

I have recently received a new calling as a Primary teacher, and it has got me thinking - again - about the many blessings of being born in the Church, as opposed to being a convert.

If you have grown up in the Church you have all the benefits provided by its programmes. You have been through Primary and know all the Primary songs. (When I was first called as Primary President in my old Branch I knew none, and knew nothing at all about how Primary operated.) You have been through Young Women or Young Men and you know all about the Church standards and how to live up to them day-by-day. You have done Seminary so you have a very comprehensive knowledge of the scriptures as well as having memorised lots of verses. You know how old a Deacon is, what PEC stands for, and how to make a centrepiece. You know the myriad of little rules that a convert must learn - things like not clapping in church, and taking the sacrament with your right hand. Standing up and speaking on very personal matters in front of 200 people doesn't worry you at all - you've been doing it since you were six. You never miss coffee, and fasting for twenty-four hours is second nature.

It's not so bad being an adult convert either, though. If you are a convert you know what alcohol and coffee taste like so you're not curious. You have "been there, done that" for many of the things you're no longer supposed to do, so you know from experience why they are wrong and, in many cases, are happy to have a fresh start. You know how much happier you are as a member of Christ's Church than when you weren't a member, and you have a wonderful new world of opportunity, challenge, friendship, social events and support open to you. You don't have to worry that your testimony is based only on what your parents or others have taught you, and you have a real actual conversion story to tell.

Which are you, what have been the particular blessings, and which would you rather be?

2 comments:

Kim said...

I am both. I was raised in the church, learned all the "rules" and such, and then became inactive. When I was 22, I re-discovered my testimony, and have never looked back.

Cheri J. Crane said...

I think we're all converts. ;) I was raised in a good home, but one that was considered "less active," with regard to the LDS world. At the age of 15 I set out to find out for myself if the Church was true. The testimony I gained as a result has been the glue in my life ever since.

Some of my friends who came from active LDS homes took the Church for granted. They had leaned on their parents' testimonies for years and some of them learned harsh lessons later on when "life" happened.

Bottom line: we all need to learn the truth for ourselves.