How do I know if I should convert, cross posted


#1

I’m sorry if this isn’t the correct forum to put this question in or if its frowned upon to cross post. So if it needs to be moved or deleted, my apologies for the extra work.

This might be long, so bear with me please.

I grew up Protestant chuch of Christ (not mormon), which sprang from the anabaptist movement. I went to a Protestant school, baptised, the whole nine yards. I really didn’t learn anything about Catholicism until some of my religion classes in college (protestant), but was alway fascinated by Catholicism. I remember going to Quebec my sophomore year of hs and desperately wanting to listen to Saturday evening Mass, but no one wanted to stay with me.

At any rate, I recently read Rome Sweet Home. I’ve been listening to Catholic Classes’ Liturgy of the Hours several times a week and also using a Catholic based suggestions for Lenten readings. I love the peace that the readings give me, more peace than I think I’ve ever felt from any sermons or songs growing up, which while they have been edifying, haven’t filled the void. I want to know more though.

I’ll admit that some of my fear is for foresaking my up bringing. I’m terrified how my parents will react if I convert and the anger I will face (which is ridiculous that I’m not my own person at 26 years). I’m not sure what this will mean for my child or my husband, who doesn’t seem to feel the call to convert. And for that matter, I don’t know if I’ll agree with enough or every part of the doctrine, and if I don’t, does that mean that I shouldn’t convert?

How can I honor my husband and parents if I do decide to join the Catholic church?

Are there any book suggestions? What do I do? And how do I know if I’ll make the correct choice?


#2

I would proceed very carefully.

Your decision raises many questions.

All marriages are based on certain assumptions, and you have just changed one of the basic assumptions, that of religious belief and practice.

Given that your husband is not going to convert, you are making a big unilateral decision that could harm your marriage. It will certainly hurt your relations with your family.

How are you going to raise your child? What does your husband think? It’s his child too.

If your husband decides to convert and you agree on following all the doctrines of the RCC, you have eliminated one set of problems, but possibly raise another (See the long thread “Miserable on NFP!”).

A unilateral change of religion has broken up many marriages. Don’t let this happen to you.


#3

Have you been to Mass? I would start there, and look into RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). They usually start up their classes in the fall, so you may wish to experience Mass first, and speak to a priest for some of your questions one-on-one if you can. RCIA is the means by which most adults become Catholics. It is usually classes throughout the school-year, and those that feel called to do so, complete the conversion process at the Easter Vigil. You do not have to convert to participate in the program. In fact, at our church everyone is invited to these classes, including people who are already Catholic and just want to know more about their faith.

My feeling is that if you find, though prayer and discernment, that the Truth is in the Catholic faith, then how could you not convert? But of course, your family dynamics, specifically with your husband and children, need to be considered as well. Talking to a priest would be helpful in dealing with this aspect of your discernement.

As far as your parents go, it is perfectly understandable to be afraid you’ll disappoint or anger them. It doesn’t mean you’re “not your own person.” You have spent most of your life learning from them and following their example. But the fact is that you are an adult, and you may be led to join the Catholic Church. If that is the case, it is your obligation to be loving and kind and understanding of your parents’ feelings, but not to avoid converting altogether.


#4

The road to conversion is difficult - the benefits great!!!

I converted to Catholicism 10 years ago (after 50 years as an active Protestant). I was an adult Sunday School teacher in a Baptist Church, a music leader, active in the men’s group, with an uncle that is a Methodist minister. I was able to hide my conversion from my parents and family for four years (amazing). I didn’t quite ‘lie’ - if they asked about how my Sunday School class was going, I’d say “okay” (the class I formerly taught was probably okay …) - and changed the subject. We lived a long way from them. When we visited them, I attended their church. Finally, they came to visit me - and I told my sister first - who told them. Since it was significantly after the fact, they just accepted it. My parents know that I love Jesus - and don’t think I joined a cult - and by now know that I am dedicated to serving God - although in a bit different format.

It did take a lot of prayer and leading by the Holy Spirit. I was also attacted by Satan (“You don’t want to do this”, “This is the most stupid thing you’ve ever done”, “These are not your type of people”, etc.). I needed to draw closer to God - to trust Him.

Bruce


#5

Book suggestion:

amazon.com/When-Only-Converts-Lynn-Nordhagen/dp/0879733152/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205111767&sr=8-1

For speaking with CoC parents, always thank them for the foundation of faith that they gave you. Talk about what you have in common.

Let all of your family see that this is out of love for Christ, and that He is always the #1 in your life.

Call your Parish, someone there has been down this road.


#6

I would suggest David Curre’s “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” and Steven K. Ray’s “Crossing the Tiber” if you have read “Rome Sweet Home.”

I would also suggest prayerfully reading Scripture and time asking God what he wants for you and your family? Your eyes are being opened but you can not expect everyone else do find the Truth so easily.

After many years as a Protestant (Baptist until 16 and Presbyterian the past 22 with a short stinit as a Youth Director - but did work on a Catholic Youth Retreat in HS for 2 years) all my life the process was not an easy one, but as some have already said, well worth it.

I say not easy because of family situations. For me, the theological truths hit very rapidly once I started to understand, things all started making sense. Questions I couldn’t answer in my previous theology fell right into place. After years of joking about it I was ready, theologically, after about 6 months. Well before I contacted the local Parish or started thinking about RCIA.

When I did feel like it was time to start the process the problem was that my wife was about deliever our 3rd son any day. Not the time to spring, “Honey I want us to become Catholic” on her. After 10 days in the NICU after he was born though, I was ready to voice that and did. She took it well… better than I expected at first. In some ways she was expecting it from all my readings the previous 6 months. We started the inquiry period of RCIA when Gabriel was 6 weeks old (his first birthday was last week).

My father has passed but my mother is still alive and lives close. She had joined our Presbyterian Church which is more Presby-Baptist than Calvinistic. Truly her belifs were Baptist.

My wife’s paternal Grandfather is a Baptist Minister and most of her family is Baptist except for her Dad who is now Presbyterian as well. Her mother, they are divorced, goes to an Interdenominational Church but it’s beliefs are pretty much Southern Baptist.

While she didn’t object necessarily, my wife had a lot of questions. As those got answered the “what will my family say” set in. Her primary concern has been her Grandfather, whom we haven’t told (her father didn’t see any reason to bring it up). Everyone else in the family who know has been fine with it, especially if we actually get into theological discussions.

While she was professing she had never been Baptized (our former Pres Minister didn’t know this and I didn’t either for years).

I’m telling you all this because there will be ups and downs. There were times when she just wanted to walk away and go back to our old church. But she has kept through it, read, studied and prayed and I know feels more blessed and closer to God than ever before.

Almost a year since we formally began, I will come into full Communion at the Easter Vigil and my wife will be Baptized Catholic. We had our 3rd son Baptized Catholic back in November (the other 2 were Baptized in the Presbyterian Church).

There are some people who think we are nuts for doing all that we have done. Yet most of those who care and matter admire that fact that we weren’t just church shoppin’ and had truly spent a good deal of time making sure this is what God wanted for our lives. We know that it is what He wants for us.

Is it what He wants for you right now? Possibly, it may be His will to eventually bring you and your family home but take your time. Read the 2 books I suggest, they - especially Ray’s, will give you a lot of footnotes. Ask your husband to read one, maybe Curre’s before you do and tell you what he thinks? Has he read Hahn’s yet? He should at some time because it give you some insight into the difficulties when only 1 converts.

Finally let me repeat my statement about Prayer, that is the most important thing you can do. Let Him guide you and He will :slight_smile:

I’ll say a prayer for you guys and please let me know if I can ever answer any questions or anything.

Sincerely,
Joe


#7

Hi Dorm Mom!!!

There are a lot (and that is a great understatement) here at Catholic Answers.

Hopefully you have looked at some of the apologetics threads, at the Liturgy and Sacrament threads - and even at the Catholic Living / Family life thread. (I’m not sure you are ready for this one: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=106135 - about praying for your husband through St. Monica …)

Probably long before I converted, I ‘knew’ that it was going to happen (that I would eventually become Catholic. I read (devoured) almost anything I could find (and that is even easier now with more Internet resources). The Coming Home Network (chnetwork.org/) has great materials as well (as well as great conversion stories - Dave Armstrong’s Biblical Evidence for Catholicism - socrates58.blogspot.com/ (although he is selling some materials much is free) - or the Catholic Convert blog: catholic-converts.blogspot.com/ or Steve Ray’s blog: blog.catholic-convert.com/.

If I can be so bold - I think God is calling you to the Catholic Church - and you have a choice - to disobey God and keep your family happy - or to obey God and make your family unhappy. The first option can tear you apart; and the second option can tear your family apart (even to divorce). Many of us here at CAF are converts (look for signatures like “Tiber Swim Team 2003” indicating that they ‘crossed’ the Tiber river to Rome). Most converts will tell you (like I am) that it was worth it. There may be some that say it caused great pain and grief.

:signofcross: Heavenly Father, we pray for our sister as she considers the Catholic Church. May you protect her, guide her, love her and give her your wisdom, knowledge and understanding. May you wrap your loving arms around her and give her that perfect peace that only comes from you!!!

And … if you can, attend Mass. I found it was almost easier to attend daily Mass. Slip in - worship; pray; adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (without receiving communion) - and slip out.


#8

The suggestion to attend RCIA is an excellent one. I have been attending and have found it to be extremely informative and instructive. And, as has been already pointed out, there is no pressure whatsoever to convert. In fact, in my case, I have decided not to - at least not now.

“1234” has also raised a valid concern. The dynamic of your relationship with your husband could be fundamentally altered if you make a unilateral conversion. Would your husband be willing to attend RCIA with you? Maybe not for the purpose of conversion, but simply for the educational experience. If he would attend with you, perhaps the both of you could make a joint decision about the possibility of conversion.

Maybe I am misreading this, but the suggestion seems to be that it would be better to make a unilateral conversion even if it means tearing your family apart. IMHO, that would be a very ill-advised course of action. It’s one thing to disappoint your parents with your religious choices. But they’ll get over it, or at least learn to live with it. But the suggestion that divorce is preferable to not converting is ludicrous.

Best of luck with your spiritual journey.


#9

I’m not going to list a whole lot of things to read, do, or even say, because the journey can be long, however, it will be in God’s time.

Take baby steps.

Start sharing all that you feel and are learning with your husband. Don’t just hit up one day and say “I am converting”…some of us are in mixed marriages, I will be soon, however, my husband supports my conversion, is fine with raising the children Catholic, so…baby steps and spoon feed your husband.

God bless you on your journey!


#10

I started out Church of Christ too. I never thought my husband would convert, because he was raised anti-Catholic. But we decided to go through RCIA simply to investigate. We had been taught Protestant theology our whole lives, but had never really looked at Catholicism from a Catholic point of view. We felt it was only fair. A year later, we walked out of church after the Easter Vigil and I cracked up, calling him a Roman Catholic!!

God works miracles.


#11

Most importantly, you must pray for God to lead you in the right direction. The truth of the Church can divide families. Christ himself spoke of this. The book that helped me the most was The Lamb’s Supper, by Scott Hahn, because it opened my eyes to the Eucharist, which is what really divides the Christian paths. The Gospel of John was VERY helpful. Reading John…both his gospel, and the Apocalypse, in conjunction with The Lamb’s Supper can open an awful lot of doors and shutters in the mind, heart, and soul. You will know by the movement within you. Be true to yourself and your conscience. Speak with a local Parish priest. Attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) at a Parish near you. There’s bound to be one with a schedule that works for you. The beginning stage is a period of inquiry which is self paced. You’ll be interviewed periodically to see where you’re at, but no pressure. Really. The Holy Spirit is gentle and subtle often times. Sometimes you must close your eyes and listen carefully while in a state of prayer. In my case, it was more Paulian. Not very subtle at all. :wink: It’s different for everyone.

May God bless you in your journey. I will pray for your conversion.

Peace,

Steven


#12

God bless you on your journey!

I am on my way too. You will find much support here. Even just hanging around here and looking at life through the eyes of people in the Catholic Faith.

Share what you are learning with dh, just in a “look at what I read, what do you think” kinda way. My dh was born catholic but converted to independent fundamental KJV baptist when we were dating many moons ago. We were Lutheran after that for years. My journey has been a goofy, curvy way, but I am coming home, all I can say is that it just feels right.

I also recommend the book ‘Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic’. It was my turning point. It was a whoa doggy kind of eye opener. Also the catechism, I have read 'The Question & Answer Catholic Catechism" by John A. Hardon, S.J., “United States Catholic Catechism for Adults” and I am currently reading the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”. I recommend them all.

Once I ‘knew’ how right the Faith is, my conscience gave me no other choice but to convert.

Definitely attend mass. The peace found there is like no other I have ever experienced.

Having also attended a protestant grade school, I encourage you to take that knowlege of the scriptures with you on your journey. It will only help you.

As far as extended family, I don’t know what to advise. My mil and sils know (and are thrilled) but I don’t think my side of the family has recovered yet from us becoming Lutheran many years ago. One of my brothers is a Baptist preacher and my parents are very active in the lay outreach ministry through their church. I haven’t told them yet. I don’t plan on telling them until I am in full communion with the Church, mostly because I want to have the knowledge to be able to fully defend the Faith, as I am sure I will have to. But also cause I am a little scared. It is a rare conversation with my parents that doesn’t include at least one theological debate.

You will know, keep feeding that hunger for more information. You will know when.

May God be with you


#13

You know, I don’t worry anymore about my extended family’s reactions to our life decisions. We’ve had some terrible treatment from my dh’s family just because we had more than 3 kids. My last pregnancy ended in miscarriage. But, my husband was so relieved when he didn’t have to break the news to his family that we were pregnant. At that point, I stopped caring.

It just struck me that this was so wrong–to be so concerned with other people’s reactions that you are relieved to lose a baby.

Just be as kind and loving as you can be.

and, worry more about your relationship with God. It’s your soul. Not your dh’s or your kid’s.

I’ve had some problems with my dh due to our mixed faith life. It’s a pretty mild persecution compared to the Cross.

God bless. be at peace.


#14

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