Testimonies:Jewish to Mormon


I grew up in the Bronx in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. In that area, to be Christian was to be Catholic. We had Catholic friends. We came to their confirmations, they came to our bar mitzvahs. That was the extent of our religious interaction. They had their way, we had ours and I had no real interest in learning more about it. As I got older and studied history, I was appalled by Christian treatment of our people over the centuries and believed that the gap between the “supposed” teachings of Jesus Christ and Christian behavior was unbridgeable. Moreover, I did not understand the concept of a Savior, the need for atonement and other Christian concepts. Though not observant, I saw no rationale for a savior to come between my direct relationship with God.

 

A number of years ago, I had some time to kill before going to a concert in Lincoln Center in New York. At that time, the LDS Church had a Visitors Center across from Lincoln Center (where the Manhattan Temple is currently located). I thought it would be a good chance to learn something about the Mormons who I believed were just another Protestant sect. The Center featured a diorama telling the story of the Golden Plates. I came away with the distinct feeling that Joseph Smith did not make up the story. I was given a copy of the Book of Mormon, tried reading it, but was surprised by its Christ-centeredness. As strange as it may sound, I was more prepared to believe Joseph Smith’s story than the Savior’s. It would take a great leap for me as Jew to believe in Jesus Christ and I was not yet ready to take it.

 

I always maintained an interest in the Church, but at a distance. I came to a point where I felt I was losing any connection to God and seriously asked myself which religion was the only one where I felt that connection. It was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. At this point, I knew that I would have to seriously investigate. I read the Book of Mormon as President Hinckley advised -a couple of chapters at a time. I read it slowly, praying and pondering as I read. In a relatively short time, early in Nephi 2, I gained a strong testimony of the truthfulness of this scripture. Soon it all came together – the Fall, the Atonement, the Resurrection, the need for a savior, indeed the whole Plan of Salvation. It was through the Book of Mormon and our other scriptures, the Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, that I gained a testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. For if the Book of Mormon was true, than Jesus Christ is the Messiah, Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord’s Church. I am so grateful to the Prophet Joseph Smith for bringing forth and translating this great work which was the vehicle for my conversion and for the blessings that have followed and will continue to follow.

By M.O. – Staten Island, New York – A Latvian Jew and recent convert, he currently works for the Church.

#2

I was born and raised as a Jew. My greatest struggle was dealing with my sins and how I could be forgiven for them. I observed Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) faithfully each year, but never felt that I was forgiven by God for my sins and never received more strength to repent of them. Through reading the Book of Mormon and gaining a testimony of Jesus Christ as my Savior, I found that through His sacrifice, the sacrifice of His body and His blood, my sins could finally be atoned for. I found, through the Book of Mormon, that the only way I could access this Atonement was through baptism by priesthood authority. I testify that it was through baptism, in the Name of Jesus Christ, and not through fasting on the Day of Atonement, that I at last felt that my sins were forgiven by God. The Gift of the Holy Ghost I received fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Jeremiah: “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord, “I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33

I testify that the Gift of the Holy Ghost purged me of my desire to sin. God put the Holy Ghost in my heart to strengthen me and enable me to keep His laws always. It was not until receiving the Holy Ghost that I finally overcame the sins that had so easily beset me for years. I was pure and I can continue to maintain my purity through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I testify that Jesus’ Atonement is real and all the blood of animal sacrifices pointed to it. I am filled with joy on each of the Lord’s Days when I can partake of the Sacrament of His flesh and blood and renew my purity through His Atonement.

By J.O.

#3

My name is Nancy Goldberg Hilton. I was raised Jewish and not only did not believe in Jesus Christ but I feared his name due to the persecution I received growing up. In 1992, at a place called Rainbow Bridge, Lake Powell, Utah, I experienced a true miracle of God. My mind was open to the truth and reality of God and that his son is Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the Jewish people. When this miracle occurred I was filled with the spirit of joy that words cannot describe. I felt a strong and powerful connection to God and his son Jesus Christ. I remember feeling one with Them and everything around me. It was as if our world was in perfect unison, and everything was in order, God was at the helm. I discovered miracles had not ceased nor should they ever. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the same God whom I felt at that moment. The experience to me was sacred and wondrous. He reached out to me in love and awakened in me a suppressed memory of who He was. I was content to feel this connection to God. I knew that this connection had always been there but the knowledge of Him and His Beloved Son had been hidden from me. Now it was flowering and blooming and I wanted it to continue.

Four years after this miracle I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This church represents the gathering of Israel and is the restoration and fulfillment of my ancient Judaism.

(Nancy has written her story in My Burning Bush, Nancy’s Miracle from God, from Judaism to the Lord Jesus Christ. www.hiltonbooks.com)

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