This I Believe

Ben - Bowie, Maryland
Entered on June 14, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

One evening many years ago, my sister called long distance to tell me that she dreamed that the end of the world was near and that I needed to repent and be saved before it was too late. I was both amused and annoyed. I had spent years calling myself an atheist but I had gotten married in the Episcopal Church about ten months earlier and had joined the choir with my wife and had found it to my liking. All the old hymns and anthems I’d sung and heard as a child in the Methodist Church were starting to have new meaning to me. My wife would soon puncture my comfortable intellectualizing about religion by pointing to our newborn daughter, saying, “Look into this child’s eyes and tell me there’s no God!” Gotcha!

Anyway I argued with my sister on the phone and by letter until one day I simply wrote her that though my beliefs were somewhat different than hers, I had as much right to call myself a Christian as she did.

A couple months later, it was Christmas morning and my soon-to-be adopted 15-year-old daughter had gotten into a snit and had been sent to her room. Her brothers and my wife were very upset with her. I was trying to calm everyone down. Someone asked, “So you think we should just forgive her for ruining Christmas?” I replied, “Well, today we celebrate Jesus Christ coming into the world to forgive us of our sins, so I think we should forgive her too.” Everyone looked at me like, “What planet are you from?” but soon afterward, she came up and apologized and everything was wonderful again.

From that time forward, I felt something stirring deep inside of me. It was as though by calling myself a Christian and standing up for Christ, I had let Him into my heart. Several months later I was writing to my old atheist friends to tell of the transformation that was taking place. One called to ask, “So are you out on the streets preaching about Jesus?” I was not. He said, “Look, I don’t mind if you believe in God, just don’t take it so seriously!”

Well, I don’t know how to not take it seriously. If you believe in God, you believe that there is real meaning and purpose in your life. I finally decided to stand up and be counted and had myself confirmed a member of the Episcopal Church.

Some time later, my adopted daughter decided that she wanted to return to the Mormon Church, which she had been raised in before her mother’s divorce. I asked my wife what she thought of that and she replied that she wanted to return as well. So I had to find out what the big deal was. I was rather surprised to learn that Mormons believed in Christ the same way I did and I was baptized soon afterward.

Five years later I joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.