Inspired question, 'Book of Mormon' musical leads to former California mayor's conversion
After several unsuccessful attempts at locating the elders, Marcus logged on to Mormon.org with two goals — to find his meetinghouse and secure a visit from the missionaries.
He typed in his address. The results indicated that the closest building happened to be the same one he had been meeting in for the past 15 years as an active member of the local Scouting community.
“I had my first Cub Scout leader training at that church,” Marcus said.
With a feeling of encouragement that he was on the right path, he filled out the necessary information online for a missionary visit.
“Three days later, two angels showed up on my doorstep. Sister Davis and Sister Jones.”
They talked on the doorstep of Marcus’ home in Culver City for 40 minutes. Afterward, they prayed. Sister Jenna Davis then placed the blue softbound copy of the Book of Mormon into Marcus’ hand.
“You don’t know how much I’ve been waiting for this,” Marcus told the sisters.
He got choked up when the sisters had him read a passage from the Book of Moroni, which promised Marcus that if he would read and pray, he would be able to recognize truth through the influence of the Holy Ghost. Marcus committed to find out if the Book of Mormon was true.
And the answers came.
One of them was about his concern of living the Word of Wisdom, a belief that teaches members of the LDS faith to abstain from harmful, addictive substances such as tobacco and alcohol.
He turned to his new copy of the Book of Mormon. When he opened to a page in the book of Alma, this is what he found.
“See that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober.”
“You try and tell me this book’s not true,” Marcus said.
A few days after his first meeting with the missionaries, Marcus found himself praying about the Book of Mormon during his morning prayer.
“I don’t know from where, but this intensity came into me. I couldn’t even finish my prayer. I was so overwhelmed. I thought that maybe my head was going to explode or my heart was going to burst right out of my chest.”
Marcus drove to the Los Angeles Temple Visitors' Center where the sister missionaries were serving. He opened the book to a passage he found earlier that day, read them a portion of it and closed the book with a snap.
“This book is true,” he told them.
On Dec. 9, 2012, Marcus was baptized a member of the LDS Church, in the building he had first stepped foot in 15 years before.
During the services, Marcus was asked to share a few of his thoughts. As he stood in front of the group that had come to support him, he felt it only appropriate to sing one song — "Amazing Grace."
“I just belted it out. Before I knew it, everyone joined in,” Marcus said. “That’s the story right there, because I feel that I had been saved. You know the part in there about the wretch? That would be me.”
Since joining the church, Marcus has been called as assistant secretary of the high priest group, has taught lessons with the missionaries, has shuttled converts to and from church and has sung in the choir each week.
Marcus said all of this started with Gorbett’s simple question.
“You know I’m a Mormon, right?”
Now he does. And he is, too.
Emmilie Buchanan is an intern for the Deseret News with Mormon Times. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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