Are you thinking about converting?


#1

Good Morning!

I am going to start a thread here, and I am going to need a little help to do it. Here is what I would like to do. If you are thinking about converting, or if you have ever thought about it but ran into a stumbling block, this is your place to post.

Here is what I would like from you. Tell us your story. Let us know where you are in the journey and let us help to show you the path.

By the way, maybe you happen to be a person that not only does not know the Catholic faith, but also does not even know God. Well, this is your spot too. Tell us where you are, and let us guide you home.

If you have ever thought about it…give me and my very good friends a shot. Thanks!


#2

I’ll start.

I’m 29 with a wife and two young children (5 year old and 13-month).

My Christian experience began at a church called “Christian Church.” I guess it was non-denominational. I was a kid and didn’t think much of it at the time. I attended with my grandparents and older brother.

To be bluntly honest, I hated it. We went through ministers very quickly and there was a lot of church politics. I never liked Vacation Bible School because it ate up my Summer break when I could have been playing baseball. One reason I truly disliked the church was probably because of my grandmother who was and is a thoroughly hateful individual. We’d leave church and I remember her verbally berating another church member. I never really felt any Christian love or charity there. I only felt grateful when it was time to go home.

Years later I attended a Lutheran church with my parents. I was much happier there. There was a standard liturgy and the pastor was caring and refused to enter into petty church politics. I was finally baptized (my brother was baptized as an infant, I was not). I enjoyed my time there. Communion was held every week and there was a liturgical calendar. I began to understand the importance of Biblical teachings and the relevance of the liturgy.

I left for university and life changed a lot for me. I stopped attending church, though I thought about it. I suffered from rather serious depression and an anxiety disorder (which I still have). I used (abused) alcohol for self-medication. I still did well as a student, but otherwise disliked life in general.

Meanwhile that same Lutheran church, which my dad still attends changed pastors. It went with a “contemporary service” which was much different. They still offer a regular service which my dad attends, but it is pretty much him and a small group of elderly people.

I got a little better and through some history classes was introduced to the Scholastic writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas and other Catholic intellectuals. Otherwise I’ve mainly followed my heart.

I’ve spoken with my local church about RCIA and was introduced to the Sister in charge of the program. I had a good talk with her and she was very nice and very informative. Unfortunately the classes don’t begin until September.

In the meantime I’ve been reading and studying the Catechism, which has been the book that is mainly responsible for my decision to finally do something about my desire to become a Catholic. I’ve also got a book of prayer and a Catholic Study Bible.

As for obstacles (I apologise for being long-winded). My mom is very much an evangelical and a German Lutheran (I’m half-German) who is a very caring person. Yet, she is as rabid an anti-Catholic as anyone I’ve ever met and I live in a state known for Pentacostals and Southern Baptists. She truly despises the Catholic Church and I don’t know if there is a personal reason for that, or what.

I’ll leave it at that for now


#3

[quote=Vaclav]I’ll start.

I’m 29 with a wife and two young children (5 year old and 13-month).

My Christian experience began at a church called “Christian Church.” I guess it was non-denominational. I was a kid and didn’t think much of it at the time. I attended with my grandparents and older brother.

To be bluntly honest, I hated it. We went through ministers very quickly and there was a lot of church politics. I never liked Vacation Bible School because it ate up my Summer break when I could have been playing baseball. One reason I truly disliked the church was probably because of my grandmother who was and is a thoroughly hateful individual. We’d leave church and I remember her verbally berating another church member. I never really felt any Christian love or charity there. I only felt grateful when it was time to go home.

Years later I attended a Lutheran church with my parents. I was much happier there. There was a standard liturgy and the pastor was caring and refused to enter into petty church politics. I was finally baptized (my brother was baptized as an infant, I was not). I enjoyed my time there. Communion was held every week and there was a liturgical calendar. I began to understand the importance of Biblical teachings and the relevance of the liturgy.

I left for university and life changed a lot for me. I stopped attending church, though I thought about it. I suffered from rather serious depression and an anxiety disorder (which I still have). I used (abused) alcohol for self-medication. I still did well as a student, but otherwise disliked life in general.

Meanwhile that same Lutheran church, which my dad still attends changed pastors. It went with a “contemporary service” which was much different. They still offer a regular service which my dad attends, but it is pretty much him and a small group of elderly people.

I got a little better and through some history classes was introduced to the Scholastic writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas and other Catholic intellectuals. Otherwise I’ve mainly followed my heart.

I’ve spoken with my local church about RCIA and was introduced to the Sister in charge of the program. I had a good talk with her and she was very nice and very informative. Unfortunately the classes don’t begin until September.

In the meantime I’ve been reading and studying the Catechism, which has been the book that is mainly responsible for my decision to finally do something about my desire to become a Catholic. I’ve also got a book of prayer and a Catholic Study Bible.

As for obstacles (I apologise for being long-winded). My mom is very much an evangelical and a German Lutheran (I’m half-German) who is a very caring person. Yet, she is as rabid an anti-Catholic as anyone I’ve ever met and I live in a state known for Pentacostals and Southern Baptists. She truly despises the Catholic Church and I don’t know if there is a personal reason for that, or what.

I’ll leave it at that for now
[/quote]

Wow…are we brothers? That story is so similar to my own that it sounds like we might be. I too started our at the "Christian Church. I too had the same experiences throughout my life, and I too started the conversion process at age 29. Finally, and this is where we differ, it was my Father who was the anti-Catholic.

It sounds like you are well on your way, so I will not belabor the point. I am thrilled to hear that you are going to go into RCIA in the fall. You will love it. The program is designed to start at ground zero and take you to a point of faith. The best part is that there is no pressure. You can use the experience to learn all you want without fear of obligation.

Now, there is some stuff that you need to know before you start. There are going to be people out there that are going to toss some stones in your general direction over this decision. My father told me this when I told him I was converting, “If you do this, I will be disappointed in you.” He then left the room, as he was too mad to talk to me. Ouch. It hurt…a lot.

But, I continued to pray. And, I continued to study. Eventually, he and I had several conversations about the subject. I got into the idea of defending my choice and I read some great books on the subject: Rome Sweet Rome, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, and Catholicism and Fundamentalism (my favorite). They gave me all of the tools to defend my position, and I learned a LOT about Jesus that I did not know. I too was one of those luke warm faithful when I was a kid, and it amazed me how little I really knew.

Well, Dad and I had a little chat, and I laid it all out for him. It took a while but it was worth it. Later in the spring he came to my confirmation. He and Mom have been back to Mass since then, and has even defended Rome to some of the more anti-Catholic people in his community. The moral of this story is that it CAN be done.

What questions do you have about being Catholic?


#4

I have recently begun RCIA. I feel like I started coming home to the Catholic church at least a decade ago, when I was a teenager.

I was raised nondenominational in a country church where the “preacher” wore overalls. We stopped going to that church when I was around 12 and I didn’t darken the doors of a church again for many years. When I was around 17, my dad, who has had a long-standing interest in the Catholic church because our ancestors were Catholic, took my family to St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, IN. I felt total and complete peace there. That sparked my initial interest. However, my mother is Baptist and was raised believing that Catholics were evil.

When I was 21, I found a fantastic Methodist church in Indianapolis. I joined that church and was a practicing Methodist for several years - until I moved back to KY. I loved the church but didn’t agree with a lot of the politics…and it was all very political there. All the while, I would visit St. Meinrad and the Monestary Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, IN, and be impressed with the nuns and monks and their way of life and their obvious devotion to Jesus.

I became involved with a cradle Catholic here in KY and we married four months ago. He was “fallen away” and had not attending Mass in years but told me that under no certain circumstances would he raise his children in any other religion but Catholicism. I refused to raise my children in a religion I wasn’t part of and did a lot of soul searching/reading/meeting with priests and nuns and finally decided that, after years of interest and fascination, I was going to become Catholic. My husband and I are now members of an amazing parish in Louisville, KY. Our priest is gifted and the ministries are wonderful. My mother is becoming more educated about the Church and realizing that a lot of what she thought she new about the Catholic Church was completely wrong. I still have a year to go of RCIA but I am truly looking forward to each and every part of it. I feel that God is calling me to join His true church. I know I am blessed!


#5

[quote=RHisComingHome]I have recently begun RCIA. I feel like I started coming home to the Catholic church at least a decade ago, when I was a teenager.

I was raised nondenominational in a country church where the “preacher” wore overalls. We stopped going to that church when I was around 12 and I didn’t darken the doors of a church again for many years. When I was around 17, my dad, who has had a long-standing interest in the Catholic church because our ancestors were Catholic, took my family to St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, IN. I felt total and complete peace there. That sparked my initial interest. However, my mother is Baptist and was raised believing that Catholics were evil.

When I was 21, I found a fantastic Methodist church in Indianapolis. I joined that church and was a practicing Methodist for several years - until I moved back to KY. I loved the church but didn’t agree with a lot of the politics…and it was all very political there. All the while, I would visit St. Meinrad and the Monestary Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, IN, and be impressed with the nuns and monks and their way of life and their obvious devotion to Jesus.

I became involved with a cradle Catholic here in KY and we married four months ago. He was “fallen away” and had not attending Mass in years but told me that under no certain circumstances would he raise his children in any other religion but Catholicism. I refused to raise my children in a religion I wasn’t part of and did a lot of soul searching/reading/meeting with priests and nuns and finally decided that, after years of interest and fascination, I was going to become Catholic. My husband and I are now members of an amazing parish in Louisville, KY. Our priest is gifted and the ministries are wonderful. My mother is becoming more education about the Church and realizing that a lot of what she thought she new about the Catholic Church was completely wrong. I still have a year to go of RCIA but I am truly looking forward to each and every part of it. I feel that God is calling me to join His true church. I know I am blessed!
[/quote]

You are blessed. I grew up in Indiana and I have also been to St. Meinrad. I too felt a great sense of peace while I was there. I could not explain that as a child. I did not experience it again until I joined the Catholic Church years later. I live in Indianapolis at this very moment, and my priest is a monk from St. Meinrad…who knew?

If you have any questions about the faith, feel free to ask. Sounds like you are on your way…thanks be to God.

Also, thanks for your story!


#6

My priest here in Louisville was educated at St. Meinrad too! I’m considering going to through the lay program to get my Masters in Catholic Life and Thought.


#7

[quote=RHisComingHome]My priest here in Louisville was educated at St. Meinrad too! I’m considering going to through the lay program to get my Masters in Catholic Life and Thought.
[/quote]

You should do so! I hear that it is great, and there is nothing wrong with a Masters degree. I am working on my PhD in Communication at this very moment.


#8

I am 26 and a current “Methodist”. I have never been (and still aren’t) a really “churchy” person but have always had the voice of conscience in the back of mind always telling me whether or not what I was doing was in line with what I knew to be right or wrong. I owe this to my parents who were very religious and very loving growing up. My mother: methodist, my father cradle - Catholic, but practising Methodist.( Never have really gotten the story on that one) We went to a Baptist church until I was a teenager becasue some of my friends went there, neither of my parents ever really believed the Baptist doctrines, they saw church as a place for fellowship and worship of the Lord, simply put. This instilled in me the view that denomination didn’t matter, it was faith and whats in your heart that the Lord saw and thats what mattered. I stopped going to church with my parents at 16 when they told me it was my choice and i could decide for myself. After that my parents went back to a methodist church.
I never really considered myself methodist, baptist, or anything, maybe non-denominational (not in the evangelical sense though) in the sense that I could pray in my home or in any christian house of the Lord. I believe this was drawn from the fact I found it ridiculous that there were som many branches that believed the same thing (my ignorance is showing I know). I was not really all that religious in truth, I have done all the bad things, drugs, sex, disrespect ad infinitum, but I always have believed in Jesus as my savior and God, the Trinity etc. I was just a misled teenager / 20 something I guess. After college I got married and still am to a wonderful, beautiful woman who is not religious(raised lukewarm Lutheran), maybe in some ways anti-religious for many of the same reasons I was non-denominational in my youth. At the time of our marriage it was not really an issue, she knew I was somewhat religious and I knoew she wasn’t. As time has gone on I went back to my methodist roots duue to the awakening her non-religiousness caused in me. I have been cautious because in many ways she feels we are growing apart because I am becoming more interested in church and morality, religion etc. and I do not want to shock her but kind of ease it in. This is due to my compulsive personality. If i came home one day and said I am going to be catholic and go to mass this week and everyweek and our children are going to be raised catholic etc: first of all she would recoil and say what!!?? and secondly she would think it was all due to my feelings at that precise moment and nothin more. So obviously this is a big issue for me right here. The thing or things that really made me come to the Catholic church are that it is the original, it makes more sense to me and I feel drawn to it (and in a way always have), and finally that it occured to me that since these protestant churches all believe different things and continue to branch out and change, they can believe anything and it seems they will in order to survive (ie. embracing homosexual marriage among other things) The big thing to freak me out has always been Mary and the Saints, I don’t quite understand although I am beginning to. IT IS JUST SO DIFFERENT FROM MY PROTESTANT UPBRINGING AND THAT IS WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS CONSIDERED CHRISTIAN, you know what I mean. I am still leary of going to mass with all the rules and strict schedule and all and I have never been although i think I will be able to work up the nerve soon, I know this sounds ridiculous. Even though this draw has existed for a few years in me, it was really sparked by listening to the catholic answers podcasts, that is where alot of the preconcieved notions i had about catholics were swept away. Sorry if this is too long, I welcome any feedback or omment as well. Thank you:cool:


#9

IT IS JUST SO DIFFERENT FROM MY PROTESTANT UPBRINGING AND THAT IS WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS CONSIDERED CHRISTIAN, you know what I mean. I am still leary of going to mass with all the rules and strict schedule and all and I have never been although i think I will be able to work up the nerve soon, I know this sounds ridiculous. Even though this draw has existed for a few years in me, it was really sparked by listening to the catholic answers podcasts, that is where alot of the preconcieved notions i had about catholics were swept away. Sorry if this is too long, I welcome any feedback or omment as well.

Ok, well lets deal with the good news first, and then we will have a big dose of some additional GOOD NEWS. First, you are pretty much the carbon copy of me. I grew up just the way you did complete with the sex and drugs part of thing. I was also a lukewarm interdenominational Christian who ended up a Methodist and a Baptist for a little while.

Now, the next thing that I need to tell you is that you are on a very cool path. It is going to be strewn with boulders that you are going to have to move out of the way…Mary being one of those. However, I can help you out along the way.

First, and you gotta understand this part before we move on, there is NOTHING that the Catholic Church teaches that is not fully supported in the Bible. Nothing. Period. I found that there were quite a few churches out there that could not make that claim. That was one of the main reasons that I became a Catholic.

Now, I was as lukewarm as you were at one point in my life, and I had that little voice in my head too. For a large portion of my life, I tried to believe that I could make the little voice shut up…you can’t. God is relentless!!

So here, is the deal. I know you are looking for answers, and I am going to offer you my services. Please send me a PM with any questions that you have, and I will answer them. Simple as that.

Oh, and I promise not to pressure you in any way. The decision is, and will remain, up to you and God.

Cheers! And may peace be with you!


#10

originally posted by jnderose
I am still leary of going to mass with all the rules and strict schedule and all

I was also! Plus, my whole family was (and still is - except for my grandaughter) virulently anti Catholic. (we were all also lukewarm lutherans)
but I heard the unrelenting call and one day just got up, dressed and went to a Mass at the closest Catholic church.
That was 7 years ago. I never looked back.


#11

I was born and raised in the Church of Christ. I loved going to church when I was a child; I even went to church camp. I fell away as a teenager, but returned, due in large part to my husband. Growing up I was taught that all Christians are part of one church, regardless of what denomination they belong to. I believed all churches worshiped and taught the same.

At fourteen though, I went on a class trip to europe. We visited many churches and I was awed by their beauty, having never set foot in a Catholic church before. Still, I believed their doctrines to be the same as mine. I had the wonderful chance to go to an audience with Pope John Paul II. It was a very moving experience that I will never forget. When I got back though, members of my church were less than thrilled with that I had been blessed by the pope. It was at that point that I was introduced to anti-catholic beliefs. Shortly after I stopped attending church altogether.

When I got engaged, my now husband had many religious questions that I tried to answer, and we began studying the Bible and going back to church. As a result of our study my husband was baptized. :smiley:

Two years ago, I began investigating the Catholic Church on a whim, really. Once I started I was unable to stop. I have been reading everything I can, and this website has been great. I have come to see that the Catholic Church is the Church established by Christ, and have just started RCIA! My husband is wary, having had poor experiences with catholics in the past. The good news is he is willing to discuss and listen. Please pray for us. I am still nervous and unsure about attending mass, but have gone several times. I am happy and scared. I long to come home to Rome.


#12

I’ll try to keep this short. I probably won’t be successful at that.

I’m a crade Catholic who grew up in a large (but liberal, post Vatican II) Catholic family. Rural parish with a folk Guitar mass and circuit-rider priests supplied by a local high school. Once a week catechism. Nobody sang, and there was very little Bible reading or teaching, and not much fellowship. About a third of the worshippers were heading straight for the exit as soon as they got communion.

The nuns, however, did teach the story of salvation through the Bible from Adam to Acts over 3 years. I knew the high points and big names pretty clearly.

When I went to college, I had a bunch of atheists or just plain lukewarm Christians as friends, as well as a couple of pantheists. My mass attendance dropped off and then just ceased, although I knew that was mortal sin. Or at least grew up believing to that point that it had been mortal sin. I had a girlfriend who was Lutheran, so I began attending the Lutheran church with her sometimes. That relationship ended but I kept going Lutheran. People sang, there was a weekly Bible study and it just “felt” more welcoming than any parish had to me.

I ended up marrying a very faithful Lutheran woman (not the same person who I initially dated who was Lutheran too). She was exceptionally active and faithful, reading Bible, attending Bible studies, always attended services, taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. She got me more interested in her faith as a vibrant thing. Her family, nearly all very conservative Lutherans has helped support that. We’ve been very active in Lutheran congregations wherever we’ve lived, and my wife is on the paid Children’s Ministry Staff at our current Lutheran church. Our kids go to a conservative Lutheran church, and we know hundreds of Lutherans. We’re also part of a very active Bible Study Home Group, which meets every 2 or 3 weeks on a Sunday night to eat and study scripture and pray. It’s a good life.

However, the past couple of years, I’ve been reading the early Church fathers, some Catholic Apologetics (esp. Scott Hahn), Augustine’s City of God, lots of history and theology. We have a great Catholic radio channel nearby, as well as apparently at least a couple of parishes that have reputations for being very active and welcoming, especially to converts. The pull to get back to the true Church is huge for me. The only thing holding me back is my Lutheran family and ties. My wife will be devastated, because she won’t follow me into the church – she sees it as mysterious, closed and unscriptural, despite my persistent but unsuccessful (and reasonably casual) attempts to gently show her otherwise.

I’ve been told I don’t even need to go through RCIA, that a simple confession is enough. The door is literally wide open. I’ve been holding off for months just knowing what a huge, monumental division it’s going to cause in my family (my immediate home, and my extended family too, not to mention nearly all my Lutheran friends assumedly distancing themselves from me at least a little.)

I guess I’ll be a revert. Me and Augustine. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading this so far. Prayers for my family would be most welcome.

MarkAA


#13

Small correction to my post, above:
My children attend a conservative Lutheran school. We’re all members of a conservative Lutheran church and attend together. Sorry about goofing that fact up in the post.
MarkAA


#14

I’m 22 and I grew up Southern Baptist. My family was(and is) very faithful to their local baptist church. In high school I was very involved with local baptist youth group. I was very pious and comfortable with my faith and enjoyed my protestantism. My senior year in high school and first semester in college I fell away from the faith and was more or less an atheist. Towards the end of my freshmen year though I got really back into the faith, joined a church at college and really got into calvinism and reformed theology. However towards the end of sophmore year I started having doubts about my reformed faith and church structure due to sola scriptura. Basically all the christian I fellowshipped with claimed sola scriptura but it was obvious to me that they had their own traditions and rules of faith that trumped sola sciptura- but they always claimed that as the standard. Over my junior year I wondered away from calvinsim and the reformation, began reading lots of catholic books and even visited mass a few times. I began to feel drawn and have been praying and thinking about converting to catholicism, or maybe orthodoxy. Now it’s my senior and thats basicially where I am. However I do have a few stumbling blocks. Although I really like catholic theology I feel that because I was raised baptist, and my family is baptist going back several generations that I am baptist for life and that I can never escape that. Catholic culture is very foreign to me, as I grew up in a very protestant part of the country. Also I have no idea how my family would react. They have never made many anti-catholic comments, but the pastor at my home church is very anti-catholic and they respect him so I do not know what would happen if my home church found out. Even though I now disagree with much protestant theology I still having many fond memories of growing up in church and many friends that are still protestant and it is really hard to leave all that behind. Sometime I feel like it is impossible for me to convert because of my past and upbringing. Sometimes I feel guilt about abandoning my baptist background. And then sometimes I am not sure about some catholic beliefs such as the assumption of Mary and penance. And then sometimes I am not sure if Catholicism or Orthodoxy is right. I have tremendous respect for both traditions. And then I have a protestant friend who is militantly opposed to me even investigating Catholicism and makes me feel like a horrible person for leaving my old church. Thats where I am right now. I don’t if I should convert, or even if I should visit mass again. Sometimes I wonder if I can embrace Catholic beliefs without actally converting. I am really confused but seeking the truth. I don’t know what my future will be. Any prayers would be great, as well as advice or your story. Thanks.


#15

For those of you going through RCIA, you will be in my prayers. Soak it all in…it is pretty great!!!

Also, if you have questions as you go along, drop me a line and I will answer them for you.

Cheers!!!

Brad


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