Lutheran Convert

Nicole Motsch-DeMille

Nicole Motsch-DeMille was a graduate of Lutheran schools and an active member of her Lutheran parish until some casual research led her and her family into a major life change . . . and into the Catholic Church.

I am a forty-one year old wife and mother, former high school English teacher and native New Yorker who converted to Roman Catholicism after living my entire life up to that point as a devout and active Lutheran.  I attended private Lutheran schools from Kindergarten to twelfth grade.  I served Communion at my Lutheran parish.  I wrote and taught Confirmation curriculum.  I married in the Lutheran Church and baptized both of my children there.  I cannot say I was unhappy as a Lutheran, but I did have questions and unresolved issues, Scriptures that didn’t square with what my pastors and religious instructors taught, and a longing for something “more.”  


The Holy Spirit turned my head slowly towards Rome with whispers first, and then shouts.  Certain doubts about doctrine and Scripture always troubled me as a Lutheran.  I swept them under the carpet because any other denomination I explored looked so similar that it wouldn’t warrant a switch.  I never seriously considered Catholicism because, honestly, I didn’t know any practicing, well-catechized Catholics who could answer my questions or challenges.  To me, if I was going to start a serious search for another religious home, I would start after the Reformation, not before.  I visited Episcopal churches, evangelical churches, megachurches, charismatic churches, Methodist churches, and even read Kabbalah.  Nothing struck me as being new.  I decided to stick with my Bible.  “Sola Scriptura” would be my credo; in retrospect, I think sometimes I worshipped my Bible more than I did my God.

While pregnant with my second child, my husband, daughter, and I moved from New York to Northeast Ohio.  When I was searching for a new school for my daughter, I happened upon a small Catholic one.  Thinking I would only keep her in this school for one year and then find a non-denominational Christian or Lutheran one (anything Protestant would do!), I decided I still better do some homework about what Catholic theology really entailed.  I am that kind of mother; I cannot expose my kids to anything I have no prior knowledge of, lest I be unprepared to help them. 

My research yielded many surprises, some disturbing, some painful to acknowledge, and some wonderful.  I hadn’t been actively “lied to” as a Lutheran, but I had been selectively taught.  Chunks of early Christian history were omitted from my education, and now I knew why.  My impression had been that Martin Luther had the “real Bible” and the Catholics “added books” to it.  I had to confront the fact that Mr. Sola Scriptura himself actually had the temerity to expunge books from the Bible.  I was shocked, and reeling.  Before I knew what was happening, a decision had set itself like flint in my heart and soul.

My husband came home one night to see me sitting on the couch in the dark, surrounded by my new Roman Catholic Catechism and about a hundred papers worth of Internet research.  I stated the immutable fact to him:  “I’m converting to Catholicism and raising the kids Catholic.  Our marriage will have to be blessed, and I’ll have to attend RCIA every Wednesday night for two hours for the next nine months.” 

My husband is a wonderful man who was raised Catholic, but who had long ago abandoned what was to him a dry and uninstructed faith.  Now he is a revert who leads his wife and children to Mass weekly and goes to confession regularly.  Our daughter attends Catholic school and we are finally all in the fullness of the faith together.

The first effect of my conversion process was to strip me of pride completely.  I went from being a VIP in the Lutheran church to a nobody in the RC Church, from someone who administered the chalice to my fellow congregants to a silent observer, sitting in the back pew watching everyone receive the Eucharist while tears burned my eyes.  My husband felt sorry for me; he suggested one day, “You can always go back and receive at the Lutheran church.”  But I couldn’t.  That wasn’t the Eucharist.  That wasn’t the Real Presence. That was a church with no teaching on abortion, on what marriage and family is, on what being open to life is.  Protestantism, in its effort to distance itself from Roman Catholicism and stand on its own, had stripped away much of the beauty, truth, and graces of the Sacraments, and of Church life.  Today’s Protestantism was even a far cry from what Luther and Zwingli had tried to form; they at least had held Mary in high regard and revered her as holy.   I could NEVER go back.  I would have gone through five years of RCIA if I had to.  I was becoming a member of the one Holy and Apostolic Church by any means necessary.

Reading the conversion stories of people like Scott Hahn and Reverend Alex Jones helped me along; these were people who felt as I did, deeply and irrevocably, and they had one eye on home and had to get there somehow.  Along the way, I lost a few friends, but I gained so much that I cannot tell you with any sincerity that it upsets me at all to bid them farewell.  

God gaveme the most important and precious gift I could ever receive by bringing me into full union with His Church.  I have never felt such brotherhood with all of humanity, never had such a heart for the poor, never been so motivated to give of what I have.  I have a family of saints and angels in Heaven, a Holy Mother to come to my aid and comfort, and a “Papa” on earth to address the questions that arise as our society changes and evolves.  Without that guidance, individual interpretation of Scripture reigns, as does pride, and selective belief.  Protestantism has truly become a cafeteria, where people custom design a religion for themselves based on their desires, appetites, needs, weaknesses, political leanings, whims, even on the faith of a celebrity or pundit.  I can’t raise my children in a church like that.  Moreover, I now know Scripture better, and I no longer have to shrug off certain passages that don’t fit in with any current ecumenical paradigm.  I don’t have to be embarrassed that my church community is mamby pamby on issues like abortion.  I don’t have to wonder anymore why Jesus’ promise that He would leave behind a Holy Spirit-led, unified church was never fulfilled, because it was.  An umbrella title of “Christian” with thirty thousand denominations under it is not what our Savior would leave His lambs to: He left us His bride, His body, and a deposit of faith that will never change regardless of what human hands fall upon it.

Every day I strive to learn more about prayer, church history, and how to the world heal of wounds like poverty, abortion, and capital punishment.  These are the things on my mind and in my heart.  I keep Jesus always before me.  I owe a debt of gratitude to The Church and I intend to repay it with service.  I hope and pray that my story can edify someone in some way, whether that person is an intentional or unintentional (like I was!) seeker, or that person is a lukewarm Catholic who has fallen out of love with his or her religion.  I am here to tell you that you have already found the pearl of great price, and you are squandering it.  Please open your heart again, go visit Christ in His tabernacle, and enjoy the riches the living Savior offers you.

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22 comments

  • Comment Link floro Wednesday, 16 March 2011 12:35 posted by floro

    how inspiring and so true. welcome home sister!

  • Comment Link Kathy Vestermark Wednesday, 16 March 2011 23:37 posted by Kathy Vestermark

    What a great story, my friend! Glad that you have shared it with the world.

  • Comment Link Nicole Thursday, 17 March 2011 13:34 posted by Nicole

    Love you, Kathy. Thank you for showing me the Holy Spirit every day.

  • Comment Link Steve Monday, 21 March 2011 16:08 posted by Steve

    I converted to Catholicism when I married, I was the third member of my family to come from a strongly Methodist home to Catholicism. I liked your reference to the "Catholic books". As a Protestant, all I heard was that these were books added by Catholics, but actually they were books deleted by Martin Luther.

    We are in the middle of a Mission by Deacon Alex Jones. It is good to have a man like that to fire one up with their faith.

    Grace and Peace be with you.

  • Comment Link Libby Wednesday, 06 April 2011 17:51 posted by Libby

    Ohh, I loved this! So beautifully written! Isn't it funny how so many of us converts end up reading our way into the Church, and almost by accident, too! Of course, we know it's not--God works in mysterious ways, after all, and he really does have a wonderful sense of humor--but I love it how he sometimes takes the most normal, mundane, everyday things, like choosing a school for our kids, and uses them as signposts back to him.

    *hugs you to pieces!*

  • Comment Link JoAnna Wednesday, 06 April 2011 20:58 posted by JoAnna

    I'm a convert from the ELCA and I was nodding my head emphatically as I read your story. You have it exactly right!

  • Comment Link Ricky Wong Friday, 08 April 2011 22:35 posted by Ricky Wong

    What a wonderful story , let us glorify our Lord .

  • Comment Link Emily Monday, 15 August 2011 16:43 posted by Emily

    "sitting in the back pew watching everyone receive the Eucharist while tears burned my eyes. My husband felt sorry for me; he suggested one day, “You can always go back and receive at the Lutheran church.” But I couldn’t. "
    My gosh. This is my life. In a nutshell. We are so similar. I am so excited to be starting RCIA in September and like you, I was raised Lutheran (my grandpa is actually a Lutheran pastor). What an inspiring story.

  • Comment Link Gerard Thursday, 27 October 2011 23:26 posted by Gerard

    To my delight, I stumbled upon this when searching for something else. I'm very happy for you Nicole and wish you and your family all the best in your journey of faith.

  • Comment Link Biker Bob Thursday, 24 November 2011 02:41 posted by Biker Bob

    From what I'm understanding you were an ELCA Lutheran, which we all know is not a Christian religion but a satanic cult. If you were WELS, ELCor even LCMS I think you would have found what you were looking for, those Lutherans especially WELS is the closest to Catholicism. I was born and raised Roman Catholic and converted to WELS Lutheran because of the hypocrisy in the RC plus the openly homosexual priests allowed to be priest and be moved around to prey on innocent children.

  • Comment Link Joan Thursday, 09 February 2012 20:25 posted by Joan

    I liked your story but I question your husbands conversion

  • Comment Link Joseph A. Jimenez Tuesday, 14 February 2012 07:21 posted by Joseph A. Jimenez

    I loved your story, Nicole, having heard it on EWTN. I totally empathized with your mother's condition, as my own mother suffers from the same. Thankfully, Jesus has allowed her to return to the Catholic church, at one time my church attendance and faith being our sole compass. I, myself, returned in my late 20s yet was lukewarm for a few years and came back strongly in 2005, reading material and attending events having to do with our faith that I never thought I would be interested in.

    God bless your soul and your beautiful family.

    Joseph

  • Comment Link Tim Tuesday, 14 February 2012 21:45 posted by Tim

    Thoroughly enjoyed your conversion testimony on EWTN. It brought tears to my eyes. I converted 7 yrs ago after the teen years as a forced Jehovah's Witness. Swore off religion, then married a 'cultural Catholic girl. She went to Mass but didn't know why and neither did I.

    St. Augustine says "Our hearts are restless until they rest in God." So to make a long story short I became an Agnostic and a devout alcoholic. I came home one night liquored to the gills. I thought my wife asked for a divorce. The thought of losing my wife provoked a 'moment of clarity.' I joined A/A, the Holy Spirit softened my stony Heart.

    I entertained becoming a born again Christain and even told my wife so. She countered, "Before you do, could we go to Mass as Husband and Wife just once. I agreed. A copy of Patrick Madrid's "Suprised by the Truth" fell into my hands. I read half of it until 3 O clock in the morning. I threw it into the wall and mumbled, "I can't believe I'm gonna become a #*!!@#& Catholic.

    RCIA followed, my Wife became devout and I was welcomed into Mother Church on April 15, 2005. My Heart is no longer restless and I haven't had a drop of alcohol in almost 7 years. With frequent Mass, Confession an Adoration I hope to meet all of you in Heaven...peace... :)

  • Comment Link Dennis Wednesday, 15 February 2012 14:55 posted by Dennis

    As a "Cradle Catholic" , Nicole, All of Marcus Grodi's Guests , EWTN , Our Lord's Church and Her Catechism have me at a Beatific Boil.

    I thank Our Father for all this help and the "Fire Hose Grace" of the Sacraments as I watch the pagan celebrities of earth rise to new lows.

    My prayer includes the pagans especially those nominal Catholics (nocats) behaving like pagans because while their actions are comical to me, they kill the unborn , lead little ones astray and confuse the luke warm . But most of all because nocat souls are at risk.

    Suffering in the Joy of Salvation ,

  • Comment Link Angelo Wednesday, 15 February 2012 18:33 posted by Angelo

    Hi Nicole,

    I caught you on The Journey Home this week. Congratulations & welcome home!

    I wonder if the folks running Catholic schools realize the potential for evangelization the way it played out for you & your family.

    God bless you guys.

    Peace,
    Angelo
    Former Ex-Catholic (returned Lent 2000)

  • Comment Link Manny Saturday, 18 February 2012 04:32 posted by Manny

    Just saw you on The Journey Home. I really enjoyed the episode. It was uplifting. Thanks for sharing your marvelous story. God bless.

  • Comment Link Tim Anderson Wednesday, 22 February 2012 00:12 posted by Tim Anderson

    Nicole,

    Saw you on Journey home the other night. I was ready to go to bed, but got hooked and ended up watching the entire episode. I was truly inspired and was a good start to my Lenten journey. You should consider writing a book.

  • Comment Link Nicole Saturday, 17 March 2012 19:24 posted by Nicole

    I want to thank everyone for their responses from the bottom of my heart and soul. The Church has given and is giving me so much every single day. Every day gets better, it seems, no matter what "real life" brings . . . you all are a big part of that, just by showing an interest in my story. I hope it brings you closer to Christ and His Bride the Church.

  • Comment Link Dennis McDaniel Friday, 27 April 2012 14:40 posted by Dennis McDaniel

    Thank you Nicole. You have expressed so succinctly and beautifully the very struggles I have been wrestling with for years, and the very conclusions I have also reached. This Sunday, I will be received into the Catholic Church at the 11 am Mass after years of spiritual unrest, floating from one Protestant church to another. May the Lord bless you and your family abundantly!!

  • Comment Link Ray Petty Tuesday, 05 June 2012 11:55 posted by Ray Petty

    Hey Nicole, such an inspiring story. So glad to hear that you have true happiness. Reminds me of a beautiful girl I would have lunch with most days in the Rathskeller at St. Johns University. Oh she always gave me great advice with such a caring heart. God Bless

  • Comment Link Harry Thursday, 02 August 2012 02:24 posted by Harry

    I grew up, one of six children, and the only one of my siblings (currently) in a relationship with Jesus. Yes, we were raised Catholic, but it didn't seem "to take" even though we all attended parochial school through 8th grade and Catholic high school. For a fact, looking back, few of my classmates were actually spirit-led Christians. And none of us had ever read the Scriptures.

    Yet, I was a believer in Jesus as my Savior all that time. It wasn't until my mid-thirties that I trusted Jesus as the Lord of my life. There is a HUGE difference between believism and trusting your life. I know, I've been there.

    I attend a Bible-believing protestant church and I allow the Holy Spirit to reign in my life, though old ways are not easily changed and I realize that it is ALL the power of His grace and the prompting of the Holy Spirit that breaks the power of the world, flesh, and devil over my life. I claim no power to change myself. My only responsibility is to continually rely upon God.

    Having come from the Catholic tradition (and yes, it is RIPE with tradition...some good, some not so good) I could never go back. Do I miss the liturgical symbolism? Yes. But the Holy Spirit led me to where I am today. Just as the Holy Spirit leads others.

    What is important to remember is that we are all different and God leads us in the way to go, even when the path is different from others. No...I don't think Mormonism or any other cult is where the Holy Spirit leads us. I shall have more understanding when I reach heaven than I do today, and I'm convinced that the Body of Christ will not be based on ANY religion, but on our relationship with Jesus Christ who is the Branch and to whom we are attached.

    God bless all true believers, wherever they may be worshipping our Lord and Savior.

  • Comment Link Lydia Tuesday, 25 March 2014 21:56 posted by Lydia

    Can someone enlighten me on the Wisconsin Synod? Someone mentioned that it was "closest" to Catholicism, something I find strange (I strictly observe Catholicism in the traditional sense). I am hoping to bring someone (raised in the Wisconsin tradition) into full communion of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and would like to understand more about it in order to do so (and pray for). Thank you!

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