Gerry Avant, Gerry Avant
Editor's note: This is an excerpt from "Why I'm a Mormon" edited by Joseph A. Cannon, which includes the testimonies of 53 influential members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I had a little experience with churches. I felt that my mom was spiritual, but her experience was with an African religion. Before I went to boarding school, I went to a church just across the street from where we lived. I really only went so I could learn English better, but it did give me joy. I didn't know why, but it just felt good to be at a church and worship.
I met my first Mormon where I worked during the summer when I was 16. It wasn't a very good start. He was my supervisor at a very busy downtown McDonald's. He was always on me.
He was a big guy, 6 foot 5, and would often pick me up by the back of my neck. He felt that there was too much fighting among the employees and that our language was bad. He told us it was very important that we get along together.
He also told us that our language reflected who we are and that there was a power in speech that could lift us and make us better people.
I had never heard anything like that. I asked him sarcastically, "Are you one of those God people?" He told me he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormons. I made the mistake of telling him I was not interested in his church. Now I became his project. He figured out a way to bring the gospel into every conversation.
He kept trying to find a way to get me to go to church, mostly by talking about the activities. One day he asked me if I liked American girls. I did not realize that this was a trick question until a few weeks later. When I got home from work one night two formally dressed girls were standing on my doorstep. I could tell by her accent that one of them was an American.
I let them in. I was only being polite. After a few minutes of friendly introductions, they told me who they were and a little bit about Mormon missionaries. They started to teach me some gospel principles. I think they could tell I wasn't paying much attention. The American stopped making her point and said, "Thank you for giving us the chance to be able to teach you about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the fact that He lived, and died, and after three days He was resurrected and lived again. Because of that we will all live again after we die."
I was stunned. My nightmares about death came flooding to mind. "What did you say?"
"We will live again after we die."
"How do you know that we live again after we die? Have you ever died? Do you know anyone who has died and lived again?" She said no. "Then how can you know?" I thought I had her.
Alex Boy was born and raised in London, England, and pursued a music career at the suggestion of a mission president. He is a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
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