Converts/Reverts Conversion Stories and Fellowship


#1

I think there is no substitute for the stories of how we all converted or came home and I also wanted to open a place where we can post those conversion stories and then also discuss the various things we went/go through along the way, including responding to family, friends and opponents who take issue with our Catholic faith.

So…here goes. My Testimony is posted elsewhere here at CAF but I also have placed in my own blog for ready access.

I look forward to sharing fellowship and faith with all of you and, though this place is “officially” for converts and reverts, it is also my hope that cradle Catholics can learn the skill of being able to steal a page from the n-Cs and learn to compose a clear and concise “testimony” that will help you to be able to do what I call “counter witnessing”, which is really handy when you run into someone who seems to feel the need to “witness” to you. (It will also help you share your Catholic faith those who perhaps have no church home and are seeking the Lord.)

Hopefully, if we Catholics can communicate our faith both by the way we live and with clarity and charity in our faith sharing, we will have a better chance at accomplishing two good things.

  1. We win souls for Christ, and
  2. We help to cultivate a better understanding of our most holy faith with those who perhaps have suffered misinformation or misunderstandings of our Catholic faith.

#2

I’ve just posted a longer version of my story on my blog. Comments are welcome!


#3

Thanks Dan!

That really is good.

I hope others will add their stories to these and discuss where they are at now and how they came to be here.

I’m glad the Mods moved this here to apologetics because I had posted it in BackFence, but that forum seems a little too light hearted to get much for responses.
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


#4

Do you think maybe they’ll move my “Superbowl Predictions” thread to Apologetics?

By the by, as not to derail the thread, I’ll post a story later this week.


#5

All I can say is that I was sooooo messed up with sin. I was a non-practicing Protestant-not thinking I needed God in my life. I was all over the place on the internet-porn, immoral emails, etc. My wife found out and confronted me. As was my practice in the past when troubled times came, I turned to our Savior. Nearly immediately, I renounced my former practices. It wasn’t an addiction, but just me wanting my own way. I sought out a priest (my wife is Catholic) to ask how I should reform. I discovered through our conversation exactly how selfish I was. He gave me a book, basically a Q&A about the Catechism. The first page contained the words of the Beatitudes. At that point, I determined to do things as God wants, not as I want. I started RCIA, changed jobs (which contributed from my isolation from family, which started me down the whole road I had been on). I have missed daily mass only a handful of times in the time since my baptism, confirmation, receiving of the Eucharist (and prior to that, my marriage convalidated the same week!), and now fill my time with landscaping at my parish, lectoring, catechist to our current RCIA class, and soon to be Eucharistic minister, attending bible study.

I do still love football, and root for the only team a real Catholic can-the New Orleans Saints.


#6

The long version of my conversion story is in the link on my signature. I started writing it three weeks before I was brought into the Church, and it has a sequel that I wrote shortly after the end of the Mystagogia period of my RCIA.

What I’ve found over the last six or seven years is that my conversion is an ongoing experience, and that I am continually learning more - it really does get better and better - one’s capacity for happiness seems to actually increase, the more one participates in the Sacraments and in the life of the Church.

On the other hand, I also find that things I thought I’d left behind forever continue to haunt me. It’s not just the obvious things - habitual sins that just won’t let go, or that seem to grab you out of nowhere after seemingly disappearing for six months - but also attitudes of mind. I still, for example, have the hardest time communicating with people and making my needs known. Even though every time I don’t do that, I get burned. :shrug:


#7

Mystagogy never will end. The highlighted is so true. I do not miss any of my former life. I don’t even watch Desparate Housewives :rolleyes: ! In fact, I see everywhere the potholes I drove through, from societal attitudes toward sex (they use it to sell everything!) to the period of life when I grew up. But all you have to do is face the Lord and let Him lead you.:thumbsup:


#8

my reversion story was posted here a little while ago. i reverted to the faith after many many years of being away. i was a jw as most of you know already, so there is no point to add it here again. suffice it to say, it was a long road back, and iam glad to be home!


#9

A link would be good TC. :slight_smile:

Boy, can I identify with all the things that you guys are saying.

Question: How has your testimony been received by those you’ve shared it with? Do n-Cs seem surprised that they have encountered a Catholic who can elucidate their faith experience?


#10

d on c’s? :confused: as for the link, whee, i’d have to go through my entire prof to look for it. gimme a bit of time.

here it is in a nutshell: ( take note, that i wrote this for an ex jw woman and another person who is still in the society and is just coming to Mass now, the woman was having a hard time so i wrote this for her and for the other person to help them see that they were not alone in what they are going through)

a long time ago, i was clouded in darkness. everywhere i went, i felt blue. i felt like my life was a series of closed doors. sometimes, i felt like i was in prison. sometimes i felt like a stranger on the outsie looking in. sometimes i felt my spirit crushed and beyond repair. everytime the holidays would come, my spirit would be crushed all over again. i would grow deeply sad, remember the joyous times with my family, celebrating the birth of our Lord. wondering in awe as the Blessed Virgin was holding baby Jesus, and Saint Joseph near by. i would walk by a church and see the nativity and feel a sorrow beyond sorrow because i was trapped. i had felt like i was in chains. like my soul was beyond repair. the love of the Christ Child i would see in the mangers at the churches as i would walk by would not be there for me. i felt no love embrace me at all. i felt like this dark cloud was constantly over me and the depression would sink even further.

then it tightened to a strangle hold on me. i would not want to go anywhere or see anyone that i was accustomed to seeing. i would go to their house of lies faithfully 3 times a week. joylessly celebrate with and learn with them because it was only a sense of duty and nothing else. i would stand in the blistering sun and the brutal cold to help spread their message of lies and false prophecies. never once being joyful in my heart or soul.

i would see people going to church and exiting joyfully after Mass and feel a terrible lonliness in my soul. i would often think of better times in my life before i got involved with this lying organization that was sucking the life out of me. i used to be full of life, joy, happiness, serenity. but then i met this man that told me what he believed was the truth. i did not believe it for awhile, but then his parents hated me when they found out i was catholic. then the torture of my soul started. i was baptized as one of them to make peace. that did not work. then the downward spiral into the pit of blackness started for me and lasted 10 years.

every year, i would sing Christmas songs because i was lonely. i missed my faith. i missed my family, and i missed God. i would cry. i would plead, and i would only come away from it empty and sad. a birthday of a beloved friend or family member would come and go. and i would not be allowed to be there to wish them well and celebrate joyfully with them. thus my spirit descended further into the pit of despair.

one year, i put up a Christmas tree. this was one year into the marriage. i put it up. the former husband was terribly angry with me for it, and he threw it out. i was sadder than i had ever been in my life. i never questioned him again after that as to why he did it. i put only one more up and that was a few years later. i took it down because of the terrible guilt i felt.

one day, the pit of despair came to a head. i had begun to grow extermely disillusioned by being lied to and treated badly. and tired of missing my family, and not being allowed to associate with them. not being allowed to celebrate the birth of our Lord. i had grown a backbone i never knew i had! i started to feel light at the end of the tunnel! i started to see myself free once and for all! i felt joy again! i had spoken my then husband and we agreed that the marriage was not going to work, and i left. i packed my stuff and he drove me to my moms place, and i just left. we never tried to reconcile. we knew to many things had happened to make it work. for the first time in my life in over 10 years i felt free! i felt intense joy! when i started growing that backbone i think God was making me strong to leave and not return and to find my way home to Him!

it was a slow road of discovery! but every step i took on that road led me closer and closer to God. and i felt joy and no longer in a pit of despair, no black cloud hanging over my head. no intense sorrow when the holidays would come and go. now, i can see the nativity and feel joy! and awe! i can feel the love of the Christ Child envelop me! today, iam a happy woman, married to a wonderful man who is on the same road of discovery that iam on. and we are doing it together! we are coming home to God together! and that is a joy from God that has surpassed all my other joys in my life!

God, I love You! I love Your One True and Holy Church, the Apostolic Church! Thank you kind loving Jesus for showing me the way home! Thank you most kindly Lord of all creation! thank you most Blessed Mother for comforting me in my times of need and darkness!


#11

Okay…where’s the rest of you guys? :slight_smile:
**
BTW, the poll is multiple choice in case more than one thing applies.**


#12

Well, I’m here :stuck_out_tongue:

In your poll I said the last choice. So I’m not good at this. And so I’ll just read everyone elses stories. Mine is pretty boring anyway. :blush:


#13

Elizabeth, they aren’t boring. :eek: I love reading conversion stories!

One reason that I created this thread is to give folks like you who may feel that their story is boring a chance to read those of others and perhaps see how they can compose their own in a way that will make your faith sharing easier.

We really don’t have to be “good at this”, there is a promise of Christ for help in sharing our faith.

Luke 21:15 for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.

So don’t be discouraged. The Lord has promised us help. :slight_smile:


#14

Not sure if I’m allowed to post as I have not yet officially converted.

I was born into an agnostic family, though I was baptised/christened in the church of Wales, which is part of the Anglican communion.

I had never really considered God at all, though if pushed, I may have aknowledged a belief in a higher power. When I was 18, I met someone who was to become my wife. She was a Christian who attended a C of E church, though had recently became ‘born again’ at a youth event.

I was still pretty agnostic at this point. It was only when we moved away from the North of England, down to the South that we came across some young people who were singing Christian songs late one summer evening. We all became friends and it was not so long after that I said the ‘sinners prayer’. I became quite active in their Fundementalist church, eventually becoming a youth leader.

Eventually, my wife and I moved back to the North of England and began church shopping. After a largely unsuccessful shop - one that because of the anti-Catholic teachings preached at our Fundementalist church didn’t even include the Catholic church 10 mins walk from our house - we ‘settled’ on attending the Anglican church my wife had attended as a girl.

We were there for 10 years, attending church once a month (yes lads and lasses that’s once) and this just became the norm for us. My faith was practically non-existent and I was literally going through the motions. Then about a year ago I started to pray to God again, asking Him for some direction. Unbeknown to me at the time, my wife (in a little prayer group at her work) had began praying for me too, asking for the same thing.

Following lots of prayers and without really understanding why, I started to become interested in the Catholic Church, despite not really wanting to. I went on-line, found CAF and soon began to realise that what I had been fed during my time as a Fundementalist had been false.

What began as an interest, soon became a complusion that was -and still is - the strongest feeling I have EVER encountered. When I told my wife of my feelings, she was shocked. Unfortunately, this shock has since turned to anger and is particularly prevelent when I arrive home from Mass on Sundays.

Despite this, (it’s not the first time I’ve been in trouble with my Wife and I’m sure it won’t be the last) I should be starting RCIA any day now and honestly cannot wait for the Easter Vigil. My hope and prayer is that my Wife will be inspired to re-assess her faith as I didand come to Mass with me - though at the moment, she thinks she’s got it about right.

All in all, I am excited about becoming Catholic and taking a full part in Mass and the Church; it’s been along journey for me, one which, I believe may only just have begun.


#15

EDKidd,

Of course your story is welcome, and it is an excellent one!

It is amazing to read the depth and scope of all these stories and yours is a fine example.

I also know exactly what you mean when you say that you respond without really wanting to or fully understanding why. I can look back on my own journey of faith and see the influence of the Holy spirit or the hand of God when at that time I couldn’t see it at all.

Thank you for sharing it with us. :slight_smile:
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


#16

The only people interested in hearing why I’ve converted are other Catholics. We no longer talk to anyone from our old church (and the failure to communicate isn’t on our side), so we haven’t had much opportunity to share with non-Catholics.

On the other hand, I’ve been able to use portions of my conversion story to help Catholics (and even one Orthodox) defend themselves when questioned by anti-Catholics. A Catholic co-worker recently sought my advice on how to help an Orthodox friend who was being accosted by someone from my former church!


#17

Interesting…what were they saying to the Orthodox guy, and how did you guys formulate your response?


#18

The Orthodox lady is expecting her first child, and she’s married to a Lutheran man. There’s a conflict about the baptism, since she wants the child baptized in the Orthodox Church, but they won’t allow non-Orthodox to be godparents (which makes sense to me, considering the expected role of godparents). So her husband’s family is upset because they aren’t eligible to be godparents.

So, this co-worker from my old church says, “Well, you could just bring the baby to MY church and have her dedicated, then let her decide to be baptized when SHE wants!” (obviously, they practice ‘believer’s baptism,’ and don’t accept infant baptisms as valid).

The lady asked my buddy, “So, what do the people at this church think you have to do to become a Christian?” I was able to respond with many of the standard evangelical objections to Catholicism, which also happen to be things we hold in common with Orthodoxy. The Orthodox lady doesn’t know a whole lot about Protestantism aside from her husband’s Lutheran church, so everything I shared was a complete surprise.

Knowing that the gentleman from my former church is into apologetics from the evangelical perspective, and that he’s either a deacon or elder at that church, I expect more questions like this to come in the future. About the only thing the evangelicals don’t have against Orthodoxy that they have against us is the papacy and the celibate priesthood, so we can help her out with just about every other objection he’s going to throw at her.


#19

I am a cradle Catholic AND a bit of a revert as well, so I didn’t know which category to click on.

**Anyway, ****I come from a very large family (13 siblings – I am #10). **My parents were very devout Catholics and raised us all in the Church.
During the 70’s, some of my older sisters dated non-Catholics and some outright non-believers.
During that time, one of my sisters dated a nominal Protestant who converted to the Catholic Church in order to marry her. Withing a couple of years, his grandfather brought him back to the church of his childhood and along went my sister.
**They worked on my older siblings over the years and, one by one they left which caused a great deal of pain and strife in the family. He wound up going to the seminary and became a minister. They became very anti-Catholic and started their own Evangelical church, taking even more of my siblings with them. Even I got to a point in my life where I considered leaving the church to follow my siblings. **
For me, the 80’s were a time of confusion and less-than godly living. Eventually, I became a little bitter towards my sister and other siblings for having caused my parents so much pain each time one of them left, but I had no way of refuting their beliefs.
Anyway, I got married to a wonderful Catholic girl in 1990, although neither of us was very devout. That is, until one particular Good Friday, right before our 3rd anniversary.
**Led by my sister, some of my siblings decided to “witness” to us Catholics at my mom’s house. I was frustrated because I couldn’t answer many of their claims. Later on that evening, my younger brother and I vowed never to be caught in that position again. From then on, we studied the faith and devoured all of the book and tracts we could find. **
It was around that time that my cousin, Jesse Romero was a budding lay evangelist. He turned us on to Catholic Answers and even arranged for Karl Keating to speak at our parish, which was a real eye-opener. Shortly after that, my brother and I started a bible study at our parish and got even deeper into the Word.
**True to my vow (whether or not it was instigated by self-pride) I have never been in a position where I couldn’t defend my Catholic faith with some eloquence. In fact, my sister has since stated that she has “agreed to disagree” with our Catholic position. **
They are not as rabidly anti-Catholic as they used to be and she and her husband are respectful enough of us now to where they won’t spew any of that venom at us anymore. Maybe they also realize that we aren’t going to take it anymore. He (my sister’s husband) has since received a Doctorate from Masters College - founded by rabid anti-Catholic, John MacArthur.
**Since my father’s death in 1996, my siblings and I have been pretty tight, despite our different religious affiliations. **
Today, there are only 4 of us Catholic siblings left but we’re on fire for the Lord and His Church.


#20

Greetings to All,

I have been on these forums for, I think, two years, in the course of which so much has happened in my life in terms of personal struggles. I have, quite often, been very vocal about my anger towards the Church, some of which was legitimate but certainly not all.

The point of this post is to tell everyone here that, having been away from the Church since my early adolescence, I have now decided to become a practicing Catholic. I have returned to the Confessional and the Mass, renounced my Gnostic heresies and religious eclecticism and firmly oriented myself to God through Christ’s Church. Instrumental in this process is Orthodox Judaism, an Anglican friend thinking of turning to Rome, a wonderful professor of mine who is a practicing Catholic and theologian and the resources of Catholic Answers.

This decision was not made overnight, but is the culmination of a long spiritual journey. I noticed my ideology changing, my extreme liberalism dying, my faith in political institutions fading and my desire for a historical and traditional religion growing.

Quite frankly, I am floored by the implications of Christian and specifically Catholic doctrine in terms of the dimensions and depth of the human person- both our failings and our potential. What other faith so boldly proclaims the darkness of humanity while, at the same time, lifting it past the stars?

I would like to note, however, that not everyone on these forums has helped me come to this decision. There is a certain bastion of posters who have made this decision more difficult for me through, what I consider, a poor Catholic example. I don’t appreciate the kind of arrogance that I see in portions of Catholicism (as in all religions) that does little else but dictate its authority and superiority. I reverted to the Faith, not because I had people constantly exclaiming why the Church is the “one true Church” and belittling all opposition with insults instead of arguments. My reversion to the Church stems from the subtly of the Catholic intelligence. The beauty of Catholicism was left open for me to appreciate and consider, not hurled at me with threats of hell fire. The truth of the Church was not forced on me, but almost secretly presented in a manner that only myself could come to such a conclusion, and when I did so, it made Catholicism my own.

The resources of this site have been excellent. I formally almost always sided with the Protestant view of Christianity (while also rejecting it. I find Protestantism almost self defeating in this way. I could accept everything it taught as Christianity and yet not believe it. Yet the proper understanding of Catholicism would not permit me that freedom ). The information offered on this site, when assessed honestly, is very convincing in terms of history. It has lead me to consider Catholicism as the most comprehensive and wholistic consideration of the Christian Gospel (as that’s what one would have to expect from anything claiming to be the true Church).

From here on I greet you all as brothers and sisters in Christ. I am going to request that I have my screen name changed to something more Catholic.

Peace in Christ.


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