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A term used by members to refer to those who were not born and raised in Mormon families, but rather "converted" to the church through being taught the gospel. The person leaves behind his old convictions, repents of sins, and enters the waters of baptism. Converts contribute much to their congregations, because of their experience. They know what it's like to be without the gospel and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. They have often had profound spiritual experiences as they have asked the Lord if the gospel is true. They often overflow with gratitude over the change in their lives.
Investigators Most converts begin their journey to membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by “investigating” both the doctrinal and social aspects of the church. Such investigators are usually brought into contact with the church through contact and friendship with members, media exposure to the church in some fashion, or contact with the Mormon Missionaries (the Elders). Since the 1960s almost all investigators, no matter what the initial contact, have gone through a set of lessons taught by the Missionaries. Typically as well as meeting with the Missionaries in member’s homes or their own home they will participate in Sunday services at a local chapel or meeting house (church) where there are specific “investigator” classes in Sunday School that contain both new investigators and members who have recently been baptized. If so prompted the investigator may become converted to the church and its beliefs and become baptized.
Mormon Missionaries (the Elders) Two young men in white shirts and ties, with or without their suit coats on, walking or bicycling down the street is often the main image of the Church in the minds of many people world wide. The Church sends out young men (typically 19 to 23 or so years old) , young women (somewhat older) and retired couples to serve missions world wide, teaching the gospel for generally 1 to 2 years. As is true of all the “clergy” of the church they are not paid and they and their families have saved and prepared for this service to the Church. Their entire focus for their mission is to spread the gospel and testify of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, the Bible and Joseph Smith. The Elders are quite often the first people in the Church that people come to know very well, and they have the specific job of teaching investigators.
The Book of Mormon Though the Missionaries are caring and spiritual and the members are friendly and supportive it is very often the spiritual message or messages that come from the Book of Mormon that move an investigator to become a convert to the Church. In the last chapter of the Book of Mormon, written by Moroni, the angel who delivered the plates of the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith, we have this:
- Moroni 10:4-5
- 4 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.
- 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
This promise has touched the hearts and souls of millions of people and it is the testimony of the Holy Ghost that “converts” a investigator.