Re: So why did you convert??
When I returned home, at the urging of some of the COC members, I attended one of their meetings. One of their practices was to call on the name of Jesus, calling out loud to him all in unison. It was so incredibly strange to me that I did not know what to do. Everyone was doing it and so I felt compelled to do it also. I started quietly at first, then in my desperation, I began loudly saying His name, asking in my heart for him to heal me. All of a sudden a rush of joy came into my heart that I had never experienced. I felt the sadness burn away and be replaced with a feeling of love and warmth. I was practically reduced to tears. I did not know what to say to anyone, so I sat quietly to myself until it was over. When I returned home, I sat down in my living room, saying nothing, just experiencing the feeling that was in me. It was the best thing I had ever felt, and I felt nothing but pure joy. No pain or sadness could touch me. I had finally gotten what I asked for.
Rachel immediately noticed the change in me, but was not so excited about it. She thought I was part of a cult (which in a way I was), and that something weird had happened. My personality wasn’t the same, my mannerisms were different. I was peaceful, calm and quiet. She became quite annoyed with me over the course of a few weeks. Coupled with the fact that I had changed, I was also talking of nothing but the Bible and friends from church. I was a stranger to her. Finally by the grace of God and much tears, she accepted me for what I had become and was happy for me finding God. She put up with so much from me, including my constant trash talking of Catholicism, a quality I was inheriting from my Bible believing friends.
After graduating I took a job in Dallas. I started to attend meetings of the local church in Dallas, at a home in Mesquite. I knew something was changing in me, as I started to feel more and more foreign to the people I was meeting with. Their beliefs and mannerisms did not agree with me. Their obsession with the Bible started to turn me away. I had heard some anti-Catholic remarks, but they never bothered me until now. The way they would read so deep into single sentences or even words of the Bible made no sense to me. I could attend no longer and stopped returning their phone calls.
About this time I had asked Rachel to marry me, and luckily for me she agreed. We attended marriage prep classes through the Catholic church, a fact I was not excited about in the least. Before I attended my first session, in which we were to fill out a 200 question survey about our beliefs, I had a horrible nightmare. In my nightmare there were people dressed in the habits of nuns, dancing around in circles, calling themselves “The Religious”. They had masks on that resembled disfigured faces. They kept asking me to join them. I woke up terrified, and carried that fear and resentment of Catholicism with me into my first meeting. I went to the church and took the survey with arrogance and also a strong urge to leave. I guess I still did ok because they let me get married. That night I was eating dinner with Rachel and told her about my dream, and also all my views on the Church. Amazingly, with her comparatively little knowledge of Catholic doctrine at the time, she still resisted me and did not give in to my anger and ignorance.
Eventually I got over the nightmare, and we continued doing our marriage prep. Every time we did some prep work I learned something new about the Church. I felt my bias being melted away. The biggest change came during the Engaged Encounter, which is when engaged couples come for an entire weekend retreat to focus on their future marriage. I started to really become interested in Catholic values, especially on marriage, but I was still resistant to the idea of ever becoming Catholic. In fact, I even told a man there who was my roommate for the weekend that he should stay away from the Church. I gave him the name of the church I was currently a part of, even though I really didn’t want anything to do with them anymore. For many protestants the view is, anything is better than Catholic. Oh blindness.