My husband and I were evangelical Protestant for the first 47 years of our lives. We were extremely involved in our churches, usually in attendance at some church ministry or social activity at least 5 days/evenings a week. That's what evangelical Protestantism is like for those who are committed. (Of course, it's possible to be a pew-warmer in the evangelical Protestant churches, too.)
In 2001, we were kicked out of our evangelical Protestant church, in spite of the fact that we were involved in several ministries and living an exemplary lifestyle according to the written and unwritten codes of the evangelical Protestant churches.
The church pastors and deacons convened a Tribunal, and we were tried and condemned by people that we didn't even know and who didn't know us. They told us to leave. We did.
The evangelical Protestant church that did this to us was not some fringey, cult-like, fellowship on the edge of town. It was a respected and admired evangelical church in our city of 150,000, an Evangelical Free church, in case you're wondering. The pastors were seminary graduates (not self-appointed, as many non-denominational pastors are). The people were well-off financially (at least two millionaires attended the church) and well-educated. The church houses one of the largest home-school co-ops in our city.
It was a dreadful, horrific time in our lives. I had nightmares about persecution and execution for a year, and in fact, just last week had one of those awful nightmares.
Both of our daughter rejected "church" at that time. They both said, "If they could throw YOU out, after all you've done for the church, then we have no chance."
Our lives were totally gone. All our lives, we had been immersed in our churches and various ministries. Now we had nothing to do. For the first time in our lives, we turned on the TV in the evening and watched shows that we had only heard of, never seen.
Our friends were totally gone, as the church ordered its people to shun us. Only one family from that church kept calling us, and a year after the ousting, they informed us that the church had just fired the woman pastor who had made false charges against us. She had been caught in a lie. But no one from the church board ever called us to apologize and admit that they had possibly been wrong about us. (I kept hoping they would.)
Our trust was completely gone. For a full year, I didn't read the Bible--unthinkable for an evangelical Protestant Christian! The men and women who had thrown us out had used the Bible as their justification. I felt that if men could twist the words of the Bible to do such evil things, then how could I be sure that I wasn't twisting the Bible words. So I stopped reading it. On the night of our ousting, as we ran out of the church (yes, we ran, in tears), I saw a vision of the huge Bible made out of mica or glass, and it was shearing away, layer by layer, and I knew at that moment that the doctrine of sola Scriptura was of the devil, one of his most evil and subtle plots against the Lord Jesus and the souls of men.
We prayed that the Lord would lead us to the real Church, a Church where people taught the truth and were honestly interested in knowing the Lord Jesus.
In the meantime, we had been attending an apologetics class at the Catholic Church down the street from our house. We just wanted to learn more about Catholicism so that we could be better witnesses to Catholics.
Now we started studying Catholicism more seriously. We read many books, including a lot of the writings of the earliest Christians. We attended Mass, and discovered that we recognized Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
It took three years of study--have YOU studied the Catholic Church for that long, Redman1986?
At that point, we decided that the Catholic Church was the True Church of Jesus Christ, the Church that He established on this earth. Both of us experienced separate callings, in which the Holy Spirit made it very clear to us that if we rejected this Church, we would go to hell because we were rejecting Jesus Christ.
We became Catholics on April 10, 2004.
Yes, there are aspects of Protestantism that we miss (the music, the alcohol-free socials), but we love being Catholic.
Redman1986, I would urge you to re-consider your decision. Read all of Scott Hahn's wonderful books. Read Thomas Howards Evangelical is Not Enough. Listen to the Tim Staples CDs that pop up on this site. Try to get hold of Michael Cumbie's great CDs.
All of these men, and there are others that I haven't mentioned, are modern apologists who are all converts to Catholicism from Protestantism. Their books are easy to read.
The one regret that my husband and I have is that we didn't know about the Catholic Church for the first 47 years of our lives. We wish with all our heart that we could have been Catholic while we were younger, raising our children.
My older daughter became Catholic two years ago, after a two-year course of study involving the reading of several apologetics books by women.
Our younger daughter and her husband still do not attend a church except on special occasions. When they do go to church, they attend the Cathedral in St. Louis.