In his teens Richard Morgan was a Mormon missionary and in his young adult years became an atheist. After years participating in atheism discussions online he entered into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2012.
Growing up in the 1950's in a small village nestled sleepily in the hills of North Wales, I was sent to Sunday school in the local Congregationalist Church for much of my childhood. We were told Bible stories, sang songs and were given crayons to draw. That was the extent of my religious education.
When I was fourteen, I became seriously curious about religion so I went to see the chain-smoking, bachelor Congregationalist minister, thinking he might be able to answer some of my questions. I remember nothing of our conversation. I only recall emerging from his house with a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, my clothes reeking of cigarette smoke. I struggled several times to read the first two pages, gave up, then spent my entire adolescence boasting that I'd read the Bhagavad Gita (which sounded very "cool" in those days).
Two Mormon missionaries knocked at our door when I was fifteen. I was out at a violin lesson. My mother told them that she was too old to change, but that her son was interested in religion and they should come back one evening when I was home.
New Age Convert
After being raised Presbyterian Cari became involved in the new age movement while attending Michigan State. Cari Donaldson is a wife and homeschooling mother of six residing in Connecticut.
There are parallels between conversion stories and birth stories. Both start with a tiny seed, planted in darkness, result in the birth of a new creation, and involve blood, sweat and tears. And while I resisted writing the story of my conversion to Catholicism for a long time, it seems fitting that when I finally did so, it would be toward the end of my sixth pregnancy.
While writing this has involved slightly less blood than the birth of my children, it was accompanied by yelling and tears. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to convey your experience with the Word when it refuses to fit nicely into any words. So I ask you, like all mothers presenting their newborn to the public for the first time, please overlook defects of style and appearance, and focus instead on the potential, the innocence, the love that created, sustained, and labored to bring the finished product into the world.
Leonard L. Adams, Jr.
FROM PAIN TO PEACE
Leonard Adams converted to the Catholic faith in 2010. His story is a journey from Pentecostalism to Judaism to the New Age Movement to Atheism to Catholicism.
I was born in the ghettoes of Chicago's South Side in 1961. My first memories are of dilapidated apartments, window frames without windows, trash strewn on the streets, urine-soaked alleys, and a neglected-derived independence. As a three-, four-, and five-year-old, I remember many times coming and going from the apartment my mother, siblings and I shared while my mother, an active alcoholic at that time, had friends over from morning till night – days filled with card games, cigarette smoke and all the beer and vodka they could want. I remember someone giving me beer as a four- or five-year-old after having dumped fresh cigarette ashes in it, saying that the ashes made you get "higher."
This story of conversion is a story of one who longed for God before she understood what she was longing for, who searched for God and for so long he remained hidden from her, but who continued knocking upon the door and seeking (Matthew 7:7-8) until finally finding God within the fullness of truth. Upon finding that pearl of great price described in Matthew 13:45 she was willing to sell all in order to possess it.
My Pearl of Great Price
My mother likes to say that we were catholic with a small "c" meaning that our religious interests were varied. Although my mother and father were both baptized Christians, my mother converted to Judaism when I was about three years old. My earliest religious memories are of the reverence shown to the Torah as the velvet-covered scrolls were carried through the assembly in the Temple and of the poetic cadence of the Sabbath blessing my mother recited in Hebrew as candles glowed from our dining table. We didn't remain Jewish more than a year or two, but those memories became an anchor in my soul.
Libby Edwards is a former neopagan witch of fifteen years. She is happily married and has one eleven year old son.
I am often asked by friends and family why I converted to the Catholic Church. They don't want a simple answer; they want to know how and why the Church "sucked me in." For most of my family, the response is usually one of surprise, but they are so thankful I am at least Christian now that there's little argument against it. But for my friends, people who have known me since at least college (and sometimes longer than that), the response is often some combination of anger and bewilderment. You see, before my conversion, I was neither Protestant, or Christian, or Jewish. I was a Neopagan Witch.
But! I didn't start out that way.