(Dr.R.K.) Conversion Stories - Jennifer Marie Borgen

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Jennifer Marie Borgen from Newark, CA recently was baptized on Nov 17, 2002. She wrote this a month later, almost to the day.

Jennifer's Conversion Story

I grew up in what I call a Christmas-Catholic home. Translation: My whole family claims to be devoutly Catholic, but only attend services at Christmas, if that. To make matters worse, my folks don't exactly treat me as nicely as they probably should. For those who don't get it, yes, there's abuse in my house. But that's not what I want to discuss.

So I grew up as a Catholic school girl, and went to private school. I always had a faith in God, but it was shaken when I was 13. While at school (And on our way to confession, of all times) one of the girls decided to pick a fight with me and put her hands around my throat, and briefly cut off my oxygen supply. When I told the teacher, she had the girl walk me to the office and along the way she threatened me again if I told anyone. At the time, I didn't have any friends in my class, and I was the loner, so I took this intimidation straight to heart.

Needless to say, I backed away from Church after that. I still believed in God, that part was fine. But I highly doubted he cared about me. After all, how could he let so much happen to me? I was a good kid (Honor roll, academic awards, intelligent, etc.) but still I was in a sad situation. It stayed like that for almost 8 years.

The last year was the toughest I've ever been through. I was highly depressed, and at one point suicidal. I was hitting lows I never thought I could reach, and almost every day I would cry or be depressed over some trivial little nothing. But that was about to change.

Over the summer I got a job where I tutored kids in summer school. There I ran into a girl I knew in high school. Well, because we only worked when there were kids, the two of us constantly brought books to read, and the book she brought was "The Work and the Glory: A Pillar of Light". Well, I noticed that she CONSTANTLY read that book, and I couldn't understand why. It was about a fictitious family that follows the founding of the LDS church. She told me it was a really good story, and since I wanted to read something, I went ahead and read it.

Well, needless to say I loved the book and started asking her questions about the church. So, she decided to invite me to go see the Temple Pageant in Oakland. I accepted the invite and went, and I loved the whole thing! I went home feeling really energized and excited; I've never felt that great about anything, especially not about something so wholesome!!

I also went to one of the Sunday services, and met the missionaries briefly. It was a nice experience, but I couldn't see myself joining. I was Catholic after all!! Well, in September, I received a call from someone who suggested I meet with the missionaries. When I explained about how I was Catholic and that my parents were totally opposed to the idea, she suggested I meet them at the girl's house. I thought about it, and I really did want to learn more about the founding and history of the church more than actually converting, so I tried it.

I started my missionary meetings on October 6th, a little shy and quiet at first, and just listening to what they were saying mostly. But then, after one of the Elders left, another one replaced him, and at that point, everything just clicked. I became more talkative, I had more questions, and I called them and even debated a little with them. I had a blast with my missionaries and enjoyed every minute I was with them. But they did give me a warning that things would try to deter me from my quest for knowledge, and they did.

When my parents found out I was meeting them and going to church, I hate to say, they literally tried to beat the spirit out of me. They told me that I was going to go to hell and all sorts of horrible things. It got so bad, that all I could think of was my two missionaries, and how I would see them soon and they could teach me something new when I did. I can't say that my parents didn't hurt me, but they didn't take me from my path.

On November third, I came home from Church late, like around 6. My mom was fuming and mad that I hadn't stayed home to clean, or something equally unimportant. She screamed up such a storm that I ran out of the house, down the street to the lake by my home. Now, my town's quiet, but you never go through the lake at night, because it can be pretty dark with all the trees. I've always been afraid to go there alone, but something made me do it that night. As I walked around, I remember thinking to myself that I'd have to call my missionaries and tell them what happened (They knew about my folks), and I replayed what my mom said, and how I could explain to them that maybe I couldn't go with them anymore. Then, at the darkest part of the lake, something my mom said had sunk in:

"I don't give a damn what you do. You're going to do whatever it is you believe in anyway."

And right there, it hit me. I started to cry, and I realized that everything I'd been taught was true, and I just felt relieved. I told them the next day and they put me on speaker-phone because all the missionaries were having lunch there that day or something, because I heard them all in the background. It was great to tell them, because they were so happy for me, one of them dropped the phone to put the other one on the line.

Two weeks later, on November 17th, I had what I call my second birthday, and I haven't been this happy since... well, EVER!! Nothing around me has changed. My folks still don't accept that I've been going to this church (They don't know about the baptism, either), and there's still lots going on. But I have been smiling a lot more, and no matter what's been thrown at me, I still feel so happy inside, and a lot of people around me notice. Whenever anyone talks to me about what's made me happy, I tell them about the church. I haven't converted anyone yet, but I've gotten into a few discussions with some people, and if God sees it, I would love to go out into the world and teach the gospel just like my missionaries did with me. I think it would be great to share my experiences with the church.

There are so many little coincidences to this story, they can't all have been by accident. I ended up in a great church with people who love me, although because of boundary lines, I should have been assigned to another church. Since my coworker lives on the other side of town, I met with their missionaries. Honestly, I truly believe that if it weren't for them I would have never done it. I love them like brothers, and they know more about me than any church members and even a lot of my friends. One of them recently got reassigned, but oddly enough just to another church down the road about two miles. So we're all still around. Had I not met my coworker, none of this would have been possible.

And as a final note: Someone told me that, when he prays to God, he thinks he doesn't get an answer. Well, I told him he gets an answer, but not one he might want. Heavenly Father doesn't give us what we want; rather, what we need. And he'll go to great lengths to help us get that, and guide us through our journey, because he loves us.

And to think, all this started because I wanted to read a good book.

Jennifer can be reached via email at:

Brought to you by: R.K. Owen,Ph.D.
This page is http://rkowen.owentrek.com/LDS/converts/jennifer.html