When he was baptized a member of the LDS Church in 2014, John Marshall was excited about his new faith and wanted to share the gospel with others, especially as the then 19-year-old noted others his age were serving full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Southern Utah University basketball player became a missionary, just not in the way he expected.
John and Lexi Marshall, who shared their spiritual journey with the Deseret News in January, followed through on their plans to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in April. What the couple didn't anticipate was how that special event would ultimately result in John's parents and brother deciding to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"That weekend was so special," Lexi Marshall said. "We will remember it forever."
Surrounded by family and friends, the Marshalls received their endowments and were sealed April 8-9. John's parents, John Sr. and Rosie Marshall, and brother, Damin, came to Temple Square to support the couple, but as nonmembers remained outside the temple. They didn't realize the process would last several hours, Lexi Marshall said.
While waiting, they explored Temple Square, toured the visitors center and became acquainted with a pair of sister missionaries. When the Marshall family expressed interest in knowing more about the church, the sisters referred them to missionaries serving near their home in Arizona, Lexi Marshall said.
John Marshall Sr. and his wife, Rosie, grew up as Christians and allowed their children the freedom to choose when it came to their religious convictions, Rosie Marshall said.
"We challenged them to explore all religions, learn about them and make an informed decision," Rosie Marshall said. "It happened that we all explored the same church."
A few weeks later, the SUU guard and his wife visited his parents in Arizona and participated in their discussions with the missionaries. His parents were impressed by the church's commitment to the family but had several questions and doubts. Having John and Lexi Marshall there to answer questions and refer them to credible sources for more information made a big difference, Rosie Marshall said.
"It was beneficial to have (John and Lexi) present during meetings to bounce questions off them," Rosie Marshall said. "Most of all, it was a great family event and we shared a special bond."
The sister missionaries from Temple Square also called Damin twice a week to offer their support and answer any questions, the family said.
After much study, discussion and prayer, father, mother and brother decided to be baptized. The selected date was May 20, less than six weeks after the temple sealing. His family asked John Marshall to perform the baptisms, and although he was nervous, he was honored to do so, he said.
An accident early in his life left John Marshall Sr. in a wheelchair, so the LDS ward made special arrangements for the baptism. Those in attendance felt warm feelings of love and peace as each family member entered the baptismal font, the family said.
"Our baptism went on without any flaws and was a beautiful experience," Rosie Marshall said. "I absolutely love all the support we received from other members that barely knew us but welcomed us with open arms."
The Marshalls now look forward to three important events.
First, John Marshall's senior season at Southern Utah.
Second, the couple recently announced that Lexi Marshall is expecting their first baby in March.
Third, the day when they can go with John Sr., Rosie and Damin Marshall to be sealed as a family in the temple.
"I am excited to be sealed to my family one day and know we will be together forever," John Marshall said. "I want them to be able to go through the temple and feel the joy that I feel."
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