Evangelical Convert: Russell Stutler
On August 14, 2011, at the age of 54, Russell Stutler joined the Catholic Church after being an evangelical Protestant his entire life. Russell currently resides in Tokyo, Japan.
I was raised in a Protestant Christian home in Akron, Ohio, and we went to church every Sunday. During my childhood my family changed churches several times. We went to the Lutheran Church, Church of the Nazarene (where I promised God I would become a missionary someday), United Methodist Church (where I was baptized), Presbyterian Church, and a non-denominational evangelical mega-church called the Chapel in University Park where I became a member in my early 20s. It was a great teaching church, and I studied the Bible and memorized parts of it, which was the norm for members of that church. I studied New Testament Greek on my own so I could get at the underlying nuances in the text. I was very active in fellowship and evangelism programs, and my sense of calling to be a missionary was re-kindled there. I even went to Japan on a summer missionary program in 1983.
Mormon Convert: Thomas Smith
Thomas was a former Mormon missionary turned Protestant minister who was received into the Catholic Church in 1996. Thomas lives on his family ranch in southeastern Idaho.
Born a 6th generation Mormon (LDS), I was convinced I was part of the "only true Church on the face of the earth" (Doctrines & Covenants 1:30). As we believed that only Mormons had the gift of the Holy Spirit and that the rest of the world was groping in the darkness for truth, I was equally convinced I was responsible to share our faith at every opportunity. Like many 19-year-old men, I was called by the Mormon prophet to be a missionary for two years in the southern United States, the buckle of the Bible belt, and was excited about winning converts to my faith. In the end, my missionary experience, led me to the conclusion that the Mormon claims could not stand the scrutiny of reason and Divine Revelation.