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Curtis Brown's LDS conversion at BYU

By Talo Steves, Jedd Parkinson and Matt Hodge

Deseret News

Published: Monday, Oct. 14 2013 10:30 a.m. MDT

“It seemed like on Sundays I would be by myself in the apartment. They’d take off and go to church and then they’d come back and they’d be joking about what happened at church, or they’d break the fast or whatever. They’d have dinner over at this girl’s house and I’m like, ‘I feel left out.’” Teammate Matt Berry eventually invited him to attend church with him one Sunday, and Brown was overwhelmed by how welcome and loved he felt in spite of having just met most of those in attendance.

Wanting to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brown decided to talk to long-time BYU athletic trainer George Curtis.

“George Curtis had always been on my case about investigating the church and he said I seemed like a bright guy that he’d love to take under his wing,” Brown said. “I decided one day I wanted to learn more and I felt like George was the guy to go to because he’d keep it private and it was something that I could discover for myself and not have any other outside influences. So one day I went up to him after football practice and said, ‘Hey, I’d like to learn more,’ and he set it up to meet with the missionaries. I went through the discussions and eight, 10 weeks later I was getting (baptized).”

Asked about the conversion process that took place over those weeks, Curtis remembered a lot of prayers along with some struggles. “It’s interesting,” Brown said. “I don’t know if other people go through this, but it was more like it was revealed to me that it wasn’t not true. After every discussion they asked us to go home and pray about it, to pray to know if this gospel is true. I’d go home and I’d pray really hard and I’d read the scriptures they had me read. I’d sit there and at the end of the day I’m praying and I’m thinking is this true or is this not true, or give me a sign. And then at the end of it … after receiving the discussions, I hadn’t received anything negative but I hadn’t received anything telling me that it is true.”

Like many investigators before him, Brown was expecting the answer to come in a different form than it actually came. “I felt like everything was going well and I felt happy about it, but I was waiting more for (God) to appear in a dream or something like that. So, the night before I was supposed to get baptized I called up Matt Berry and I said, ‘Hey Matt, I’m having some cold feet.’ So he comes and he picks me up and we go over and park in front of the Provo temple."

Brown said he and Berry sat in the car quietly for about 10 minutes until his teammate finally broke the silence, explaining that this was a place he would go when he wanted to be alone and needed answers from his Heavenly Father. Berry asked Brown what his biggest fears were about joining the church.

“I said my ultimate thing is that this is a big decision and I want it to be the right one and I would hate to go through this process, get baptized and find out a couple of weeks later it’s not true and to have that regret,” Brown said. “He just told me that ultimately his personal opinion was that the church is true and he said that this gospel is so simple that anyone on this earth can comprehend it, but it’s so complex that only the strongest of men can make it through and be successful. Ultimately I took that as it’s something that is easy to understand but it’s harder to live.

“He said you’re never going to have all the answers. There’s going to be things that you’re going to continue to question. He said he’s been a member his whole life and there’s still things that he still has questions about. He said ultimately Heavenly Father will tell you if you’re making the wrong decision and if he hasn’t given you any negative feelings so far, then go with that. That’s when I realized that sometimes Heavenly Father is not necessarily there to tell us everything, whether it’s right or wrong. When we’re doing something good he’s going to continue to give us those positive feelings and that’s what I felt. I just felt that positive emotion over me every day. Every day I had an opportunity to meet with the missionaries and interact with teammates of the LDS faith, it was a positive experience. To this day I still have those experiences. I’ll never deny the gospel because I know that I’ve felt so positive about life since I entered into that covenant with Heavenly Father.”

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