Conversion Stories

August 8th, 2012 by admin


Honoring Her Heritage

Honoring Her Heritage

Janice Freij

Janice was born into a Christian Palestinian family, but didn’t gain a deep appreciation for her heritage until she was a young adult. Now, as the Curator of Education for the Arab American National Museum in Michigan, Janice has daily opportunities to educate others about her culture. Balancing her Arab identity with her spiritual life as a Mormon, however, has been a challenging and isolating journey, even with the Lord’s continual presence in her life.

June 14th, 2012 by admin


As one of her polygamous father’s 47 children, Vilate Nielsen was never lonely. But as a young adult, Vilate chose instead to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which she felt has manifestations of truth that were absent in the religion of her childhood. Although she’s had to get used to not having her large family around her and sometimes being lonely, Vilate today wouldn’t exchange her church membership for anything.

June 4th, 2012 by admin


Personal Revolutions

Personal Revolutions

Rostya Gordon-Smith

As the 19-year-old daughter of a Communist leader, Rostya defected from Czechoslovakia in 1969 after the country was invaded. Although raised atheist, a powerful conversion experience while living in Brazil has led Rostya to a lifetime of dedicated service to the church abroad, culminating now in her position as Director of National Director for Public Affairs for Czech Republic. From Prague, Rostya vibrantly describes her life of faith and revolution.

March 5th, 2012 by admin


Always In Style

Always In Style

Jenny Sato

Trained as a doctor, Jenny Sato abandoned her medical practice when she left her native China to marry her Japanese husband. Now in Yokohama, Jenny is engaged in volunteer work and lending her varied talents to the expatriate community there. She focuses on her new membership in the Gospel and her 12-year-old son.

January 13th, 2012 by admin


Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood

Jana Riess

Jana Riess was baptized in her final year of study at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her career plan to be a Protestant pastor derailed by her conversion, she now is an editor for a religious publishing house, teaches college, and writes about religion. Her most recent book, Flunking Sainthood, is a memoir about a year’s journey through spiritual practices.

December 12th, 2011 by admin


A Measure of the Spirit

A Measure of the Spirit

Joumana Borderie

Although born and raised in Lebanon, Joumana left Beirut for Paris to complete her studies as an artist. But it was when she joined the Church, through a friend in Lebanon, that she came into her own as an artist. Today, Joumana’s stunning paintings are infused with gospel symbolism and a measure of the Spirit that makes them undeniably moving.

July 18th, 2011 by admin


Snapshot Portrait: Merinda Cutler

Snapshot Portrait: Merinda Cutler

Austin, TX, July 18, 2011

The first time I realized Heavenly Father loved me was when… I was in college, attending classes during the summer term when campus was quiet, slower, and a little lonely. In that extra time on my own, I started wondering if everything I had been taught all my life was really true, or if I’d just been brainwashed. I wondered if there was a God at all.

June 22nd, 2011 by admin


A Different Kind of Pioneer

A Different Kind of Pioneer

Bindu Sudhir Sabbavarapu

Bindu Sabbavarapu joined the church in her hometown of Visakhapatnam, India, in the face of cultural and familial barriers. She married another Indian Mormon and together they are striving to pursue lives that bear witness to their families of the goodness of the gospel. Soon after her marriage, Bindu immigrated to the United States, where she and her husband are pursuing advanced degrees and raising their 10-month-old baby girl. Although the gospel transcends culture, Bindu’s interview reflects the challenge of practicing a religion in a nation where Christians and Mormons in particular are a significant minority.

April 20th, 2011 by admin


Julia Klebingat grew up in Riga, Latvia, which was then part of the Soviet Union. Introduced to the Church when Brigham Young University’s Legacy Dixieland Band performed in her hometown, she married at 19 and attended Ricks College. Julia recounts the culture shock she experienced getting married, joining the Church and moving to the United States in such a short time, and the blessings that have come into her life since that time. She is preparing to move from Frankfurt, Germany, to Kiev, Ukraine, to serve alongside her husband, who will preside in the Ukraine, Kiev mission.

March 31st, 2011 by admin


Your Trial Is Your Greatest Treasure

Your Trial Is Your Greatest Treasure

Barbara Barrington Jones

A popular speaker to LDS youth and women around the world, Barbara Barrington Jones shares the events and lessons of her life that have allowed her to touch so many in her 24 years of public speaking. After a career as a ballet dancer and twelve years in an abusive marriage, Barbara married a much older man with whom she found the Church. With her trademark faith, strength and wit, Barbara tells her remarkable story and shares her pearls of wisdom.

January 19th, 2011 by admin


Although Nancy McNabb lost a 22-month-old daughter to SIDS, her greatest challenge has been raising her autistic son Stewart. Nancy describes her tireless work with her 19-year-old son, her secrets to staying happily married with a special needs child, the role the gospel has played in her journey, and her work at the University of Illinois in autism education.

December 15th, 2010 by admin


Arleene was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness in Southern California. Her parents converted to the religion after they moved from their home in Moroleon, Guanajuato, Mexico to the United States. She studied the Mormon faith for two years before being baptized, an action considered taboo by her family’s religion. She shares her experiences as she transitioned from her childhood thoughts and beliefs to her current testimony of the gospel. Along the way she has held on to her continued love of family and has found that the knowledge of the gospel has opened her mind and brought her new blessings.

November 10th, 2010 by admin


“Listen and Obey”

“Listen and Obey”

Teruko Tsuneda Nakayama

Teruko Nakayama was raised in a Japanese family in Hawaii and although her parents practiced Buddhism, she never had any formal religious training. Giving birth to her first child, though, motivated her to seek for truth. Now in her 80s, Teruko and her husband have served three missions for the Church.

September 22nd, 2010 by admin


On June 10, 1990, Galina Goncharova became the first member of the Church to be baptized in Moscow, in what was then the Soviet Union. In this interview she describes her journey to the Church, the ravages of alcoholism on her family, and how the gospel has helped her to forgive and given her power to change her relationships with others.

August 18th, 2010 by admin


Ties That Bind

Ties That Bind

Pauline Sanchez

Pauline Sanchez was born in her grandmother’s hogan on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. From the age of eight until graduation from high school, Pauline spent her school years living with a white family in northern Utah as part of the church’s Indian Placement Program. Pauline describes feeling lost within different worlds and how her native language helped her understand the value of her experiences. She is on the Advisory board at The Anasazi Foundation, a wilderness treatment program for troubled teens and their families. She, with her husband Ezekiel, were honored as the 2001 Arizona Parents of the Year, and in 2002 received the National Excellence in Parenting Award.

July 27th, 2010 by admin


From Dublin, Ireland, Gina talks candidly about her struggle with infertility. A lawyer by training and a convert to the Church, Gina overcame a fear of doctors and hospitals to complete IVF treatments, resulting in the birth of her daughter Ella. Gina reveals a deep gratitude for her supportive husband, although not a member of the Church himself, and their precious daughter.

June 23rd, 2010 by admin


As her name suggests, Ruth epitomizes wise, eternal choices: After being the only one in her family to join the church in her native Bolivia, Ruth came to the United States to pursue additional training as a dentist. The death of her first child was crushing, but she chose to endure two more pregnancies, each resulting in a healthy child although requiring months of bed rest. She is currently pregnant a fourth time. Ruth discusses how she uses her time while on bed rest, how she uses her dental skills for good, and how she appreciates being able to spend time with her children.

May 26th, 2010 by admin


Finding Refuge in the Saints

Finding Refuge in the Saints

Saroeun Phin Eav

From 1975 to 1981, Saroeun Eav fought for her life and the lives of her children as she suffered under the rule of the Khmer Rouge in her native country of Cambodia. In this excerpt from her life history, Saroeun tells of death-defying escapes, bearing children in labor camps, and, eventually, her escape to the United States where she joined the Church and raised her children in the gospel.

December 3rd, 2009 by admin


A Road to Redemption

Brittney Poulsen Carman

For almost four years Brittney has been writing about the 18 months she spent in Venezuela as a missionary. While she was there, her father, who was excommunicated from the Church when she was 14 and from whom she had been estranged for years, began sending her letters, photocopies from the journal he kept as a missionary in Colombia between 1973-75. This began a reconnection and reconciliation of their relationship which, by the end of her time in Venezuela, would become the most poignant and enduring conversion of her mission.

November 13th, 2009 by admin


The first time Faustina Otoo went to church, in Nigeria in 1985, the members’ love made her feel like she was in a “wonderland”. Since that day, Faustina’s journey in the church has taken her back to her native land of Ghana where she now serves as the front office receptionist at the Africa West Area office complex at the Accra Ghana temple. As the single mother of two children, Faustina is especially proud that her daughter is about to graduate from college.

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