While visiting their homes, one
of the questions I frequently like to ask converts is
how they and their families learned about the Church and
how they came to be baptized. It doesn’t matter if the
person in that moment is an active member or hasn’t
attended Church for many years. The answer is always
the same: with a smile and their countenance
glowing, they begin to tell the story
of how they were found. In fact, it seems that
the story of conversion is always the story
of how we are found. Jesus Christ Himself is
the Lord of lost things. He cares for lost things. That is surely why He
taught the three parables that we find in the
15th chapter of Luke: the parable of the lost
sheep, the lost coin, and, finally, the prodigal son. All of these stories have
a common denominator: It doesn’t matter
why they were lost. It doesn’t matter, even, if they
were aware that they were lost. There reigns supreme
a feeling of joy that exclaims: “Rejoice
with me; for I have found [that] which was lost.” In the end, nothing
is truly lost to Him. Allow me to share,
this afternoon, with you one of the most
precious things to me–the story of how I myself was found. Just before I turned
15, I was invited by my uncle, Manuel
Bustos, to spend some time with
him and his family here in the United States. That would be a great
opportunity for me to learn some English. My uncle had converted to
the Church many years before, and he had a great
missionary spirit. That is probably why my
mother, without me knowing, spoke with him and said
that she would agree to the invitation
on one condition: that he did not try to
convince me to become a member of his Church. We were Catholics, and we
had been for generations, and there was no
reason to change. My uncle was in
complete agreement and kept his word
up to the point that he didn’t want to
answer even simple questions about the Church. Of course, what my uncle and
his sweet wife, Marjorie, could not avoid was
being who they were. I was assigned a
room that contained a large library of books. I could see that in
that library there were roughly 200 copies
of the Book of Mormon in different languages,
20 of them in Spanish. One day, out of
curiosity, I took down a copy of the Book
of Mormon in Spanish. It was one of those copies
with a sky-blue soft cover, with the figure of the
angel Moroni on the front. Upon opening it,
on the first page, there was written the
following promise: “And when ye shall
receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would
ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if
these things are not true; and if ye shall ask
with a sincere heart, with real intent,
having faith in Christ, he will manifest the
truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” AND THEN IT ADDED:
“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know
the truth of all things.” It is difficult to explain the
impact that these scriptures had on my mind and heart. To be honest, I was not
looking for “the truth.” I was just a teenager,
happy with his life, enjoying this new culture. Nevertheless, with
that promise in mind, I secretly began
reading the book. As I
understood that if I really wanted to get
anything from this, I had better start to pray. And we all know
what happens when you decide not only
to read but to pray about the Book of Mormon. Well, that just happened to me. It was something so
special and so unique–yes, just the same that had happened
to millions of others around the world. I came to know by the
power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of
Mormon was true. I then went to my
uncle to explain to him what had
happened and that I was ready to be baptized. My uncle could not
contain his astonishment. He got into his car,
drove to the airport, and returned back with a
plane ticket to fly back home, with a note addressed to my
mother that simply stated, “I had nothing to do with this!” In a way, he was right. I had been found directly by
the power of the Book of Mormon. There may be many
who have been found through wonderful
missionaries around the world, in every case through
miraculous ways. Or maybe they have been
found through friends that God has deliberately
placed in their path. It might be even
that they have been found by someone
from this generation or through one of
their ancestors. Whatever the case,
in order to progress towards a true
personal conversion, sooner rather than
later, they all must experience and
be found by the power of the truth contained
in the Book of Mormon. At the same time,
they must personally decide to make a serious
commitment to God that they will strive to
keep His commandments. Upon returning to
Buenos Aires, my mother realized that I truly
wanted to be baptized. Since I had, somewhat, a
rebellious spirit, instead of opposing me, she very
wisely took my side. And without even knowing it,
she did my baptismal interview herself. Indeed, I believe
that her interview was even more
in-depth than those that our missionaries conduct. She told me, “If you want to be
baptized, I will support you. But first I’m going to
ask you some questions, and I want you to think very
hard and answer me honestly. Do you commit to attend church
absolutely every Sunday?” I told her, “Yes, of course,
I’m going to do that.” “Do you have any idea
how long church is?” “Yes, I know,” I said. She replied, “Well,
if you get baptized, I am going to make
sure that you attend.” Then she asked me if I was
truly willing to never drink alcohol or smoke. I answered her,
“Yes, of course, I am going to comply
with that as well.” To which she added,
“If you get baptized, I am going to make sure
that that is the case.” And she proceeded
on in that way, almost, with every commandment. My uncle had called my mother
to tell her not to worry, that I would get over this soon. Four years later, when
I received my call to serve in the Uruguay
Montevideo Mission, my mother called my uncle
to ask him when exactly I was going to get over all this. The truth is that from
the time I was baptized, my mother was a happier mother. I came to know that
the Book of Mormon was crucial in the
conversion process by experiencing
firsthand the promise that “a man would
get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts.” Nephi explained the central
purpose of the Book of Mormon in this way: “For we labor
diligently to write, to persuade our children,
and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and
to be reconciled to God. … “And [so] we talk of Christ,
we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, [and]
we prophesy of Christ, … that our children may know
to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” The entire Book of
Mormon is imbued with that same sacred purpose. For this reason, any reader
who commits to a sincere study of it, with the
spirit of prayer, will not only
learn about Christ, but he will learn from
Christ–especially if he makes the decision to “try
the virtue of the word” and not reject it prematurely
due to prejudiced unbelief by what others have said about
things they have never read. President Russell
M. Nelson reflected: “When I think of
the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book
of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore,
succor, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls.” My invitation this
afternoon to each of us, regardless how long we’ve
been a member of the Church, is to allow the power of the
truths of the Book of Mormon to find us and embrace us
once again and day after day as we diligently seek
for personal revelation. It will do so if we allow it. I solemnly testify
that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of
the gospel of Jesus Christ and that the Holy Ghost
will confirm the truth of it time after time to anyone
who, with a sincere heart, seeks knowledge unto the
salvation of their soul. In the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.