Lottery winner's misfortune leads to Mormon conversion

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • crunchem Cedar City, Utah
    July 17, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    "Jackson was unaware that he could claim the ticket by going to the store where he had purchased it before midnight."

    amazing that somewhere on the back of the ticket there wasn't some language that stated this fact.

    all's well that ends well, I guess

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    July 6, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    I am currently in the same ward as Clearance...just a great guy.

  • laVerl 09 St Johns, AZ
    July 5, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    The imagery of a winning lottery ticket held up side by side for comparison with a temple recommend will remain in my mind forever as a superb discussion and teaching tool. Thank you!

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 5, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    Speilberg, like all Hollywood elitists, is clueless about what true happiness is.

  • roberto Moses Lake, WA
    July 4, 2013 2:30 p.m.

    Holy cow Chris, I used to get ticked reading some of your posts. Now I just feel sorry for you. This is a great story. We'd all do well to relive our own conversion stories. For those of us who don't have one yet, we'd do well to follow the same path(minus the lotto ticket) such as read and pray.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    July 4, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    He makes good choices, I was afraid it was going to say he was republican. Now I want to meet him and vote for him.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    July 4, 2013 6:37 a.m.

    How much better off he would have been if he'd won the lottery AND embraced the LDS religion after the fact. THAT would make a great story even better.

  • Kennyray Ft. Worth, TX
    July 4, 2013 6:16 a.m.

    Amazing. Here's a feel-good story about someone [right, wrong or indifferent) that had something pretty cool happen to them after a bummer and the hater just got to go off on him and the Mormons. Seriously -- some of all y'all need to get a hobby!

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:09 p.m.

    I have never been a fan of lotteries. I believe they are immoral and prey on peoples desire to get rich quick. What that in mind I suggest that if someone does win the lottery make them wait 30 days for the loot. Maybe up to 100 grand up front no more. Mandate meeting with a CPA, estate attorney or highly competent financial planner before any more payout. Maybe even have the winner and family meet with a professional counselor and discuss the ramifications. If I ever won a lot of money I would pay my debts, set some aside and give the rest to charity.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    July 3, 2013 8:45 p.m.

    Spielberg's producer on Schindler's List was Gerald Molen, a Mormon, who also produced The Other Side of Heaven, a movie about John Groberg's first mission to Tonga. So it is possible that Spielberg could see the discovery of happiness in religious faith as a happy ending. Certainly religious faith is important for many African Americans. Maybe Snoop Dogg could play his cousin.

  • Just an Observer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 3, 2013 8:01 p.m.

    I agree with dtlenox, and will add to that. I have told my children--precisely because I have done an extreme amount of questioning myself--that they will find things that will make them say, "there's no way the LDS Church could be true." On the other hand, they will also find at least as many things that will make them say, "there's no way the LDS Church could not be true." The deciding factor is. . . (drum roll please) . . . in living the Gospel the best they can. As they do that, they will see the most important things in their lives--relationships with spouse and family members--becoming better than they could ever hope for otherwise. On top of that, they will have a supreme clarity of understanding, and see themselves becoming far better people than their natures would indicate being possible. They will see that they really do have the potential to go beyond the human toward the divine. And that, of course, is the underlying doctrine of the Church, which confirms the truthfulness of all their considerable efforts.

  • JMH Provo, UT
    July 3, 2013 5:08 p.m.


    I am LDS and I fully understand the the leaders in the Church are mere men and they have their faults and they are certainly fallible. It is the doctrine that I believe. It is a doctrine of hope and a doctrine that inspires me to be a better person. I find some of these things in other religions but I never feel some need to tear them down or denigrate them in any manner. The founding principle of this great nation was the freedom to practice your religion. I have to agree with an earlier poster that you have some nagging issue with the Church and you have become the epitome of the old adage "You can leave the Church but you cannot leave it alone". You may never have been a member but you certainly feel some compulsion to attack the Church at every opportunity.

    I would hope that you find some happiness in your life and let go of this feeling that you have to challenge the Church at every point.

  • Cleetorn Fuaamotu, Tonga
    July 3, 2013 3:52 p.m.

    Contrary to popular opinion, everyone – Church member or not – is highly encouraged to seek truth and discover discrepancies as they may be. There is a problem, however, when people listen to the prophets and take them solely at their word.

    Prophets, Apostles and other called Church leaders are people – just like you and me. To ascribe them as more is a great mistake often made by the uninformed. They have their own opinions that may or may not be entirely true. It is only when the Prophet speaks in the name of the Lord that he is to be taken completely at his word. Don’t confuse the two. Doing so can result in what you perceive as inconsistencies that only exist in your mind.

    So, go ahead, investigate to your heart’s content. Just remember that an opinion is not necessarily doctrine – although it may well be. “. . .ask God . . . in the name of Christ . . . and . . . he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

  • Samuel B Martineau Bountiful, UT
    July 3, 2013 3:51 p.m.


    Your statement is incorrect. Church leaders do encourage honest investigation of the church, but they encourage you to investigate with the highest authority: God. If I truly believed in God and believed that He answers prayers (I think we can agree that leadership in the LDS church do believe those things) then I would definitely not go telling people to pray about the truth of my work if I didn't know what the answer was. The constant encouragement to develop a personal testimony and relationship with God in the LDS church is a sign of extreme confidence. As for anti mormon literature, I have never known a person to be punished for reading it.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    July 3, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    So when will Snoop Dog or Snoop Lion as he is now called be baptized?? That would be awesome. Plus, Snoop's kids play football. Maybe BYU could start scouting. I would love for Snoop to become a big donor.

  • dtlenox Olympia, WA
    July 3, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    To Chris B,

    I disagree with your statement that the LDS leadership frowns on honest investigation. You are apparently looking at it from a much different perspective than I. I think what the leadership (and most members) frown on is when someone comes to a conclusion contrary to the basic doctrines of the church and then, as a member, tries to persuade other members to come to that same conclusion. There is nothing wrong with honest investigation in and of itself. I have done a fair amount of it myself, and come to much different conclusions than it seems that you have. I have found that in this type of evaluation, one must consider the positive as well as the negative evidence, and weigh them in the balance. I happen to find that the positive evidence far outweighs the negative, coming to a conclusion in favor of the basic doctrines and beliefs of the LDS faith. For the non-basic doctrines and beliefs, such as those open to speculation, one can come to one's own conclusions and keep those opinions for an appropriate time and place (i.e. in private conversation and not usually in a church meeting)

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    July 3, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    Another triumph for old names in the Area Book...

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    July 3, 2013 12:36 p.m.

    Great story!

    and Chris B...

    The money does not guarantee anything remotely close to freedom. As in all things earthly, they are temporary.

    As the altar boy I know you are, (by your own admission by the way), I'm sure you're just yanking us around.

  • Daniel Leifker San Francisco, CA
    July 3, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    Bravo, Mr. Jackson. I've always believed that one of the greatest gifts you can give others is to set an example of how to be strong in the face of adversity. The effects of this gift will echo, ripple, and reverberate for years.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 3, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    Now wait, before everybody starts beating up Chris. He didn't say which does what.

    From what I have seen in the lives of people that go from poor to rich, the money will "One brings countless limits and no freedom". Think of it those that get rich quick after being poor. They end up with all sorts of habbits and debts that limit their freedoms.

    The LDS Church is the "One brings limitless freedom". Even though we are taught not to do something it is still a choice. We tell our members to avoid habbit forming chemicals, and encourage them to get out of debt. We still have the choice. Those with the bad habbits and huge debts have lost that choice.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    July 3, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    So his cousin is Snoop Dogg? Cue the "Snoop Dogg is Mormon" rumors...

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    July 3, 2013 11:17 a.m.

    @ Chris:

    Even when living life at lower levels of spiritual consciousness, your statement is not even close to being true. Money, even millions of dollars, has never bought "limitless" freedom. Never. In fact, in multiple surveys, most lottery winners admit their lives were worse off 4 years after winning the money. It brought more complications than anyone who never has won it seems to be able to consider... you included.
    Divorces, envy from former friends, always being hounded for handouts by everyone, etc... . It brings an easy-come, easy-go mentality that leaves most lottery winners broke a few years later.

    As opposed to bringing more limits, finding and embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ takes away all kinds of worldly limits... things that people without it seldom can understand... apparently you included. As Christ himself stated, His gospel "brings peace that surpasses all understanding". And it really does. But apparently from your statements, it's still beyond your understanding. But there's always hope for the future, Chris. Someday that light may shine for you... and shine brightly, if and when you become open to it.

    One of your statements is very true. It's "not even close".

  • chase SL Salt Lake City, UT
    July 3, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    Fascinating story. Thanks

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 3, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    I'd take the money any day.

    Not even close

    One brings limitless freedom

    One brings countless limits and no freedom

  • Mike in Sandy Sandy, UT
    July 3, 2013 10:37 a.m.


  • Tuffy Parker Salem, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    Knowing that there are countless experiences shared by big lottery winners that winning brought misery, distrust and depression, coupled with the peace that the Gospel brings, Jackson has ended up in an infinitely better position indeed.

  • DodgerDoug Salem, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:27 a.m.

    What a wonderful story with a "happy ending", even if Steven Speilberg doesn't agree! :)

  • abtrumpet Provo, UT
    July 3, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    I met Clarence as a missionary. He took all the missionaries out to pizza in New Haven. Was a really nice guy.

  • Jessica Gillespie Gilbert, AZ
    July 3, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    Wow. This article is so powerful. I really believe in the worth of souls and this brought all of my beliefs about God's infinite ability to recognize and reach souls to the front of my mind. Thank you for this beautiful story.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    July 3, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    What a great story of contrasting short-term temporal things versus long-term spiritual achievement. The comparison is an interesting story in and of itself. I admire this guy for his choices and spiritual maturity. His conversion story is a great missionary tool.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    July 3, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    So Snoop Dogg's cousin is a Mormon. Whose story I can relate to a lot, actually. This I would never have guessed…