Is there ever a reason not to convert


#1

I posted this in Ask an Apologist, but I thought while I waited (or just in case they didn’t get to it) I could get some of your opinions.

My husband is a devout Catholic, while I was raised as a very devout Baptist. Since our marriage and the birth of our son, my views on Catholicism have changed; however, no matter how often I pray for guidance and wisdom, and as much as I want to, I do not feel I am being called to convert.

While I still have some differences in belief to work out, I feel it would be so much easier for our marriage and our children if we were all united in faith. But, I don’t want to convert out of convenience, or because I know it would make my husband happy. Every time I think about “if I converted” I see myself making it as small a deal as possible. I wouldn’t want any “welcome homes” or other comments, in fact, I would rather just blend in and hope no one even realized I converted. I definitely couldn’t see myself telling my family. I don’t see converting as the celebration it should be. I read about how excited people are about their confirmation day, and sadly I don’t think I would feel the same.

This just doesn’t seem to be the right mindset for someone joining the church. But what if this is how I will always feel? What is a person to do in this situation? If I convert to Catholicism, I want it to be for the right reason.

Any thoughts?


#2

Hi RyanL’s Wife-- nice to meet you. :tiphat:

You don’t mention if there are any nagging obstacles to your conversion—are there any? I don’t sense any bad will or heavy barriers, but it seems there must be something more to it than not caring one way or the other, or it being more trouble than it’s worth, or that making a move would not change much in your relationship to Christ. Any whopper-stopper issues keeping you from taking the plunge? :slight_smile:


#3

it seems that the Lord is calling you now. How will you answer? The doubt you feel is normal. I went through it too. My DW did nothing to assist in my converson, in fact she questioned it. She told me it was all or nothing.

So I say to you, are you willing to accept and follow the teachings of the Church and help teach them to your children?

I know it’s a lot to ask but you will not have to go it alone. I’m sure your DH will help you undersand the faith and, as always, you have us here at the CAF.


#4

[quote=RyanL’s Wife]I posted this in Ask an Apologist, but I thought while I waited (or just in case they didn’t get to it) I could get some of your opinions.

My husband is a devout Catholic, while I was raised as a very devout Baptist. Since our marriage and the birth of our son, my views on Catholicism have changed; however, no matter how often I pray for guidance and wisdom, and as much as I want to, I do not feel I am being called to convert.

While I still have some differences in belief to work out, I feel it would be so much easier for our marriage and our children if we were all united in faith. But, I don’t want to convert out of convenience, or because I know it would make my husband happy. Every time I think about “if I converted” I see myself making it as small a deal as possible. I wouldn’t want any “welcome homes” or other comments, in fact, I would rather just blend in and hope no one even realized I converted. I definitely couldn’t see myself telling my family. I don’t see converting as the celebration it should be. I read about how excited people are about their confirmation day, and sadly I don’t think I would feel the same.

This just doesn’t seem to be the right mindset for someone joining the church. But what if this is how I will always feel? What is a person to do in this situation? If I convert to Catholicism, I want it to be for the right reason.

Any thoughts?
[/quote]

It would be a bad idea to be received into the CC for reasons you know, or strongly suspect, are wrong.

Do you sense that it is God’s Will for you that you should change to being Catholic ? If you don’t - then don’t. God deals with each of us personally - not as members of a crowd - so what is appropriate for someone else, might not be right for you in your situation. Or not just now, anyway - later, maybe. ##


#5

You cannot become Catholic without holding to the required beliefs. That is only allowed for young children who have no formation but parents who agree to raise them properly.

Once you do become Catholic you must be willing to die Catholic, to suffer anything to stay Catholic, and to do so by your own choice. So don’t do something you will blame on someone else later on. It has to be your decision.

Don’t base it on feelings. Such an action is irreversible as far as your salvation goes. Once Catholic, you must stay Catholic to go to heaven. Someone who leaves the Catholic Church is worse off than someone who was never Catholic to begin with.

But also, don’t avoid it. You are obligated to inform yourself. And if you recognize the need to convert but put it off, your salvation is in jeopardy.

That you wish unity is good, and should be seen as a strong basis for you to look into the Church more seriously and deeply.

Have you heard of Pascal’s Wager? You could pretend to be Catholic for a year, and see if that helps you decide.

hurst


#6

[quote=[left]Fidelis[/left]]You don’t mention if there are any nagging obstacles to your conversion—are there any?[left]****[/left]:slight_smile:
[/quote]

Honestly, It depends on the day. At times, I say, it will be easier to assume the Church knows what it is talking about. And if that is the case it makes it easy to accept all that the church teaches. The problem with that is, I still haven’t quite accepted having to confess to a Priest. So if I find one thing I don’t agree with, it is hard to believe the rest of the stuff the Church teaches. (Does that make any sense at all?)
Then other days, everything I grew up knowing (Baptist teachings) makes more sense to me.
But to be honest, when I think about converted it has more to do with making my husband happy and not having to go to two churches every weekend. (and not confusing my child) That just doesn’t seem like a good reason to convert.
I also fear missing things…(praise and worship music, Sunday school, my mom’s happiness…to name a few)
I am still of the mind that my Protestant views aren’t wrong and neither are Catholic views… it is just that some of the Catholic things, while they aren’t wrong, are not necessary either. (I realize this is not what the Catholic church believes) But that is where I am at right now.
I just feel if this is what God wanted me to do, I would know. And I don’t. I was always taught God answers prayer with Yes, No, and Wait. I haven’t got a yes or a no…so I am stuck waiting. I just wonder if I will be waiting forever. (which is essence would mean remaining protestant.)

Don’t know if I answered your question or not, but I tried.

Thanks for your response,

RyanL’s Wife


#7

[quote=hurst]You cannot become Catholic without holding to the required beliefs. Once you do become Catholic you must be willing to die Catholic.
[/quote]

I realize this. And if I converted, I would do it believing all the Church’s teachings. Have no fear, if I do this, I will do it all the way.

The thing is, even knowing what I know about the Church, I still wouldn’t even consider converting, if my husband wasn’t Catholic. I have learned so much about the Catholic church over the last few years and I have a whole new respect for the Catholic church, but still, if my husband wasn’t Catholic, it wouldn’t even enter my mind to convert. That is where my problem lies. (Most of the time) I think I could accept the teachings of the Church if I just let myself, but the only reason I am considering it, is because my husband is Catholic. I just don’t know if that is the right reason. (I would think one would want to convert for the Eucharist or the other sacrament, but right now, those are secondary to being one in faith with my husband…somehow that just doesn’t seem right.)

I guess after writing all this, maybe I need to just wait and see what happens over time. I just hate not knowing what I am suppose to do.

Thanks again,
RyanL’s Wife


#8

[quote=RyanL’s Wife]… but the only reason I am considering it, is because my husband is Catholic. I just don’t know if that is the right reason.
[/quote]

Just distinguish between

  1. the reason to convert
    and
  2. the reason to consider converting

It is perfectly acceptable that you decided to consider it because of your husband. But then the reason you ultimately do convert should be based on what you discover on your own after you decided to look into it.

The same for returning to God. It is acceptable to turn back out of fear of hell. But you have to progress beyond that, beyond the fear of loss, and to the fear of displeasing God, to loving Him because He deserves it.

I think God provided a starting point for you. While you are waiting for direction, you should meanwhile start rowing - otherwise the direction wouldn’t matter. And I think you are rowing, if you are on this forum.

hurst


#9

One thing to consider: if you were an atheist and RyanL was a Baptist, can you think of anything that would make you convert to being a Baptist? Would you be able to accept Christ in that scenario, or would you hold yourself back because you only considered it in light of your husband’s faith?

If there is something you can think of that would have you convert in my hypothetical case, perhaps you could look for that in your current situation. If not, then you will have to make an active, willfull decision. Pray and study. Apart from this site, you may also want to try out Scripture Catholic.

Good luck and God bless.


#10

[quote=RyanL’s Wife]Honestly, It depends on the day. At times, I say, it will be easier to assume the Church knows what it is talking about. And if that is the case it makes it easy to accept all that the church teaches. The problem with that is, I still haven’t quite accepted having to confess to a Priest. So if I find one thing I don’t agree with, it is hard to believe the rest of the stuff the Church teaches. (Does that make any sense at all?)
[/quote]

Yes, as you stated it, it does make sense. However, there is a difference between not agreeing with something, and not completely understanding it. It’s possible you don’t have enough information to fully appreciate the depth of the Church’s teaching on this. Perhaps you could share what issues you have with this.

Then other days, everything I grew up knowing (Baptist teachings) makes more sense to me.
But to be honest, when I think about converted it has more to do with making my husband happy and not having to go to two churches every weekend. (and not confusing my child) That just doesn’t seem like a good reason to convert.

You are right; that would not be a good reason.

I also fear missing things…(praise and worship music, Sunday school, my mom’s happiness…to name a few)

As I’m sure you’d agree, none of these are essentials or intrinsic to either the Catholic or the Baptist Faith. If you converted from being a non-believer to a Christian, I’m sure you gave up much more than these.

I am still of the mind that my Protestant views aren’t wrong and neither are Catholic views… it is just that some of the Catholic things, while they aren’t wrong, are not necessary either. (I realize this is not what the Catholic church believes) But that is where I am at right now.

I’m afraid you might have to rethink this one. Some things are, indeed, mutally exclusive to the point where if you believe one, you can’t hold the other view. A prime example is that of authority. Sola Scriptura/private interpretation cannot be sqared with the Church’s claim to have been given authority by Christ. It is something that needs to be worked through.

I just feel if this is what God wanted me to do, I would know. And I don’t. I was always taught God answers prayer with Yes, No, and Wait. I haven’t got a yes or a no…so I am stuck waiting. I just wonder if I will be waiting forever. (which is essence would mean remaining protestant.)

I don’t think God will do that, I mean, make you wait forever. :slight_smile:


#11

****RyanL’s Wife,

Fear not. God wants you! He wants you to have and to experience the fullness of Christian Truth. He wants you to be Catholic.

Your marriage (the desire to make your husband happy) is leading you there. It should not be a surprise that God has chosen to speak to you through the sacred union you have entered with your husband. Cleave to your husband. It’s God’s call to you! Answer it.

My wife was baptized Presbyterian to appease her grandparents on her father’s side. Her Great-grandfather on her mother’s side was the founder of a protestant sect. No one was ‘happy’ when she converted. With one exception – God!

Our Children, my wife, and myself have been blessed in so many ways since her conversion. It brought a new level of happiness to our already strong and content marriage.

As for doubt… Satan is the author of doubt. I’m willing to bet he does not want you to be Catholic.

Blessings,
Robb Miller

[font=Tahoma]Heavenly Father, RyanL’s Wife has lifted her eyes to find you – to discern your will for her and for her family. Please allow her, in your great wisdom, to know that you have already found her. Please remove any doubt from her heart so she may receive the fullness and splendor of your truth. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen**[/font]
[font=‘Times New Roman’][/font]**



#12

Hello Mrs RyanL. :slight_smile:

I am a convert, and will try to keep this simple. My wife, a cradle Catholic, although wanting to be devout, did not know much about her faith. I was evangelized by a fundamentalist baptist and my ucle was also a souther baptist preacher for years. (not any longer affiliated) Anyhow, I was reading a lot of anti-catholic junk and actually believing it and almost asked my wife to leave the Church. What it came down to for me was truth. I prayed and prayed for Jesus to just show me where he was, Truth. Through much reading and prayer, I was led to the Church and am thankfull every day. Now my wife is much more secure in her faith also.

My point being, He will lead you and although rough, the journey is worth it. I recomend going to your local catholic book store (Under cover ofcourse :wink: ) and get a book or two of conversion stories. Surprised by truth 1 and 2 are good starters. You can also find them online. If you haven’t already read them, you’ll find several journeys and about everyone of them had to get over a major issue or more.

God bless you and your family, good luck and your answers will come.

Rich


#13

Dear Mrs RyanL,

It seems to me, in my humble opinion, that God is definately calling you to the Catholic Church. The wavering and doubts to and fro, present one day and gone the next, just sound like He is working alongside your free will and all that makes you who you are. You are not a robot, and your heavenly Father knows that. You are a person in time and space, who has all the same characteristics as every one else. (intellect, will and emotions).

Examining your motives is a good thing to do. You want to be sure you would make this change for the same reasons God wants you to, however wanting unity and stability in your family are also godly desires, and the Lord can use these in addition to your pursuit of true religion. In fact these may be being used as the initial process He is working through.

I found that everything falls into place once one realises that the Church that Christ founded with Peter as visible head is still here today, still retaining all the authority which our Lord vested in her. The one and only Catholic Church. It would be impossible for Christ’s Church to lead anyone into anything but Truth.

Also regarding being received into the Church, when my wife was received into the Church, she did not want a big fuss made. She just wanted to join (nevertheless out of sheer conviction that this was the true Church) . This is due to her quiet pesonality. She did not want a lot of attention. She is not ashamed of the Faith at all, and is a stalwart Catholic, but has never wanted to draw much attention to herself. We have found that in the CC there is room for all types of personalities. Just another reason it is truly Universal.

I can understand your worries and doubts from your original post, and commend you for your honesty. You are in God’s hands, and my prayers. Keep yourself open to His leading…


#14

Wow, suffering all the problems caused by staying Baptist (confusion with the child, two services each weekend, etc.) just to prevent a problem with your mother? That’s why a child shall leave their mother and father…

Seriously, would you consider taking RCIA classes for a year? You don’t have to convert at the end of the year and you don’t have to tell your mother!

Notworthy


#15

RyanL’s Wife,

The first thing I want to say is that I have a couple of personal observations. First off, I really like your husband’s posts on the forums. He has an excellent mind. Futhermore, you sound like a great match for him and I pray that you will always grow in love for one another. There is a verse in scripture that in some ways fits your situation. The verse is 1 Cor 7:14 and it says, “For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband.” Although you are both Christian believers, you do not have a complete sharing of the faith. Your attraction to the faith through your love of Ryan is perhaps part of the “consecration” that Paul speaks of.

Our sanctification comes through grace as it works within us. God accomplishes our sanctification by grace working in part through our vocation in life. Spouses contribute to one another’s faith and sanctification. Should you be in a hurry about all of this? The answer is “yes” and “no.” We all need to be in a hurry to know and love God, and to grow in our relationship with him. We should not be in a hurry, however, to make any rash decisions in our walk of faith. You sound like you are still in a time of discernment. Discernment frequently takes awhile and is only properly accomplished through prayer.

Give your heart fully over to God. Open every door to your heart and hold nothing back. There should be “nothing” in your life that you exclude from the Lord. True love of God and neighbor coupled with frequent prayer and reflection will help you through all of the questions you have. You may not have feelings and emotions propelling you forward, but they are not essential. Loving God is a choice and not a feeling. Let the Holy Spirit lead you through the prayerful process of discernment.

Focus on the truth. Everything that is true is by definition essential because the truth is of God. Study everything carefully and get all of your questions answered in the most complete fashion possible. Overcoming your own predispositions/bias, however small, may be difficult. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of confession to a priest, simply keep in my that your discomfort may have nothing to do with the truth. Your discomfort can, however, get in the way of appreciating the truth. Objectivity, especially in matters of faith, can be extremely challenging, but you can be sure of one thing. God wants what is best for you and He has his hand upon your shoulder.


#16

Hello Mrs Ryan L,
As you may have guessed, many of us here consider your husband awesome, and as such we know that you must be a wonderful woman. No, converting or not converting for convenience is wrong, but you already know that. Many people I talk to don’t just have misgivings about confession… they have fear, major fear! Let me tell you a secret… many Catholics do too. But, the funny thing is, there is no feeling in the world like the feeling you have when you have just left confession. It is truly a remarkable feeling. I would not want anyone to miss out on the experience! I know you have been praying for an answer, and it isn’t coming in the time frame you wish it to come, but God’s timing is more perfect than ours, you will have your answer when you need it most, not when you want it most or when you think it is time to make a decision, but in God’s time. I am sure that as long as you pray for guidance, God will lead you and you will know what to do and when to do it. Indeed, if you do convert it will be a celebration! For us, we believe that the church triumphant (those already in heaven) will be rejoicing with us. If you don’t believe that such a conversion would be a moment to celebrate, then you are not yet ready, from what I read (and I could be completely wrong) your reluctance to celebrate mostly stems from what your mother and other family members will think. Doesn’t your present faith teach that the husband is the spiritual head of the household? You’re very lucky to have a husband that sets a good example and is very knowlegeable in his faith. If I were you, I would take a serious look at what the Catholic church has to offer and I would also ask tons of questions to people who have the answers. One person here made the suggestion that you attend RCIA, I think that is a good idea, this doesn’t commit you to joining the church, but will teach you the basics and if nothing else, provide you with people you can address your fears and misgivings to. I will be praying for you to find the answers you seek and for God to guide you to him soon. Oh, and welcome to the forum…


#17

scripturecatholic.com/confession.html

also, let’s look at:

1 Cor. 11:

27: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

let’s take this a step further. what is Saint Paul really saying here? he is saying, that if you take communion while in a state of sin that you are unworthy. as Christ acts through the priest during communion, so does Christ also act through the priest during confession.


#18

Thank you all for your responses. I appreciated them so much. I will try to respond to each of your posts, it may take awhile though. (it is very hard to write posts with a needy baby beside me)

I will try to respond to a few reoccurring questions/comment first and then go from there.

First, let me say thanks for all the positive comments about my husband, RyanL. He truly is a wonderful and brilliant man. I couldn’t ask for a better husband. We are blessed.

Moving on…

A couple of you were concerned it was my family holding me back from converting. Let me assure you, this is not the case. No doubt, my mom will be hurt, and maybe a little worried, but this isn’t something that will come between us or cause me not to follow God’s plan for me. I mentioned my family because we are very close. I call my mom probably three times a week and we talk about everything. If something exciting happens, she is the first person I call. (assuming my husband already knows) My issue was, I couldn’t see my conformation being something so exciting that I would rush to call my mom. And I feel like it should be. If I can’t be excited about something, maybe I shouldn’t be doing it? That is why I started thinking I was considering converting for the wrong reason. I read all these posts about how excited everyone is, and I don’t think I would have that excitement…yet. But have no fear, my family is not what is holding me back.

Next, my problem with Confession is not what you would think. Many of you offered reasons and scriptures for confession and I appreciate that. However, I actually don’t have a problem with confessing to a priest (as an option). It makes sense. I have even thought about what I would say in my first confession. It isn’t something I fear as far as having to tell someone all my sins. There is, of course, a problem. I will try to explain. Baptists believe that sin separates you from God, so in order to regain that relationship, one confesses to God. I was taught, confess as soon as you realize the sin, so you can get right with God immediately. Here’s the problem, we believe that once you ask for forgiveness, God forgives you and that sin is gone. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9. However, if we confess our sin and then hold onto that sin, (continuously feeling guilty about it and asking again and again for forgiveness) then we are calling God a liar by not believing he forgave us when we first asked. (Does this make sense?) So the problem is, if I confess to God as soon as I sin and then confess that same sin to a priest later, I would feel like I didn’t trust God enough to forgive me the first time. In essence, I would feel like I was sinning by re-confessing my sins. Or the other option would be to save everything up until I could go make a confession, but then I would be separated from God until I could get there and that doesn’t sound like a wise choice either. So that is my problem with confession. Not the typical problem most people have, but there it is. I would love to hear comments on this one. This is the one thing my loving husband has yet to find a solution for…( love ya hon!) He can usually shoot down any problem or question I might have about Catholic issues…but we haven’t quite worked this one out, so any insight would be appreciated.

Again thank you for all your posts, I hope this answered some of your questions.

RyanL’s Wife


#19

when you ask God to forgive you, you are forgiven at that
moment…

but, remember, if you convert, you are becomming part of
a community… part of the body of Christ… so, your sins not
only affect you, they affect the whole body of Christ…
the church, the body, asks that you not only heal your
’piece’ of the body by asking God’s forgiveness , but to help
heal the whole body, thru the sacrament of penance and
reconciliation…

plus remember all that ‘confession’ entails… it’s not just asking
forgiveness, it’s recognizing that what we do affects others,
and taking responsibility for that… it’s also affirming that we
will try to do better, it’s a conscious, visible, sign that we
are trying to follow Christ…

i was raised Baptist also… i was sacred to death what my
mom would say… i told her i had found a place where i felt
closer to Christ than i had ever felt in my life… she said
she was happy for me… (((((( whew… )))))

and when i say Baptist, i mean… Mississippi, Missionary
Baptist… we talking BAPTIST… lol

and i’m still learning, so if this sounds to … simplistic, it’s
cause i’m a simple person…

:slight_smile:


#20

Dear Mrs. RyanL,
First off, I know what you mean about how hard it is to post with needy babies around, God bless 'em! :slight_smile:

Secondly, praised be to Jesus that you are Searching for Truth!!! He has promised, “Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” There is much peace to be found in that promise! Hold on to it, and believe it with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Also, as Hurst said, beware of basing ANY decision on “feelings”. You don’t “feel” excited. That’s ok, and by itself not a reason to hold back. We can’t always control our emotions. They can be very helpful and wonderful, but also very misleading. In fact, though you may “feel” scared or even apathetic about the “jump” into the Catholic Church, at some point as you progress in understanding the Church you will recognize a peace within yourself that is beyond “feelings”. You will recognize it b/c you’ve probably noticed it in other decisions you’ve made, like when you decided to marry your husband! It’s the peace that comes with doing God’s will.

And lastly, pray, pray, pray for FAITH. It is a virtue, one that can’t be “grown” ourselves, but which we must accept as a gift from God! I will pray for you, too!

-Consecrated

PS, I don’t know how you feel about the Blessed Mother, but she always leads us to her Son, if we let her help us.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.