I joined the LDS Church in March 1972. In November 1980, Steve and I asked to be excommunicated. We felt we could no longer be associated with the LDS Church due to some very unsettling experiences we had while living in Salt Lake City.
Fast forward to December 2009. Steve and I are now attending Sacrament meeting. I find myself looking forward to going to church.
It is odd because I have not sought to be rebaptized, yet I feel I belong in the church. I haven't felt this way for a very long time.
When we lived in SLC, I felt I was not one with the Saints because I was a convert. It seemed to me that if you were not born into an LDS home, you weren't truly LDS. This was disturbing to me because Steve and I held numerous callings back in New York. It did not matter that I was a convert because I was in a ward comprised mostly of converts.
Today I've been wondering if there are other LDS converts who moved to Utah and felt they were not welcomed. I found this talk by President Hinckley from 1999 and realized that perhaps my feelings had merit. This is part of what President Hinckley said:
Find the Lambs, Feed the SheepMaybe one day I will be rebaptized and return to full activity. Time will tell.
Gordon B. Hinckley, “Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep,” Ensign, May 1999, 104
From a satellite broadcast given at the Salt Lake Tabernacle 21 February 1999
Strengthening New Members
Having found and baptized a new convert, we have the challenge of fellowshipping him and strengthening his testimony of the truth of this work. We cannot have him walking in the front door and out the back. Joining the Church is a very serious thing. Each convert takes upon himself or herself the name of Christ with an implied promise to keep His commandments. But coming into the Church can be a perilous experience. Unless there are warm and strong hands to greet the convert, unless there is an outreach of love and concern, he will begin to wonder about the step he has taken. Unless there are friendly hands and welcome hearts to greet him and lead him along the way, he may drop by the side.
There is absolutely no point in doing missionary work unless we hold on to the fruits of that effort. The two must be inseparable. These converts are precious. Every convert is a son or daughter of God. Every convert is a great and serious responsibility. It is an absolute imperative that we look after those who have become a part of us. To paraphrase the Savior, what shall it profit a missionary if he baptize the whole world unless those baptized remain in the Church? (see Mark 8:36).