Changes of the Spirit

From an interview with Harold Blanks of the Victoria British Columbia Stake

My parents were members of the Church of England, although they attended only christenings, marriages and funerals. With that, I had little experience in religion and my knowledge of the Bible was zero.

Eugenie's parents were confirmed Methodists. After we began dating, I decided to join the Methodist Church to increase their confidence in me. Ultimately, we were married in a Methodist church building in August 1950.

As we began to establish our new home together, we agreed that should any odd religious group come to our door, we would turn them away. We had no wish to change our Methodist traditions.

On a Monday in July 1956, two unusual things happened. The first was when a pair of Latter-day Saint missionaries came to our door, my wife suggested that they return the next evening when I would be home--contrary to our mutual decision. Then second was when my wife informed me of the matter, that I did not become irritated and express displeasure at her decision. In fact, I made a comment that the meeting might be interesting.

Our first encounter with the elders offered some new and unusual information that appeared to be correct to us so we continued to meet with the missionaries for several weeks. Then came the challenge, when the elders told us what we would be expected to do as members, such as speaking in church meetings, accepting teaching responsibilities and more. When we realized what was required, we thought that it was too much for us. From our background, it seemed that these types of things were what our minister was paid to do. We decided that the next time the elders came to the door, I would inform them that we had decided to remain members of the Methodist church.

When the elders arrived, I met them at the door. However, for some reason that I did not understand at the time, I could not turn them away. This scenario happened again some weeks later and I was becoming concerned with the whole affair.

Then one night, while my wife attended a Relief Society meeting and our two young sons were asleep in bed, I decided that I had to know for certain whether or not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the true Christian church. I knelt down and offered a deeply sincere prayer to our Heavenly Father asking to be told the truth in this matter. The result of this prayer was very definite. Before I prayed, the scriptures seemed to be undefined and the characters and events appeared to be disconnected. But in the days after that prayer, whenever I read any of the scriptures, I knew within my heart that they referred to real people and real events.

When I explained this understanding to my wife, she agreed with me that we should join the Church. We were baptized on 9 February 1957, in the old mission home at Ravensly in London England. Later that year, we relocated to Canada and in 1964, we were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.

Following our baptism into the Church, we attended every sacrament meeting possible. Also, we have participated in the ordinances at several temples as often as we could.

Many times we are prompted to put away our fears and excuses so that we can be gently led to the truth. I now know that it was the Holy Spirit who prompted me to let the missionaries continue to visit us and l shall always be thankful for this most important blessing.