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Author Topic: Conversion Stories  (Read 16524 times) Average Rating: 5
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2012, 02:26:10 AM »

Thanks be to God, I was baptized on Janunary 2nd, 2012.  I am 37 years old.  I believed in Jesus Christ when I was 24 years old, was baptized an married in the Baptist church, began studying the Bible and history, moved toward the RC church but didn't go all the way because my wife's family are hard-core Baptists, went to an Episcopal church, wasn't happy with the liberalism, went to a nearby Methodist church, still liberal but had a little better theology, joined a traditional Anglican church while living in the south, moved back up north and joined a Missouri Synod Lutheran church, but for YEARS had desired to be Orthodox because I believed it was the truth.  When the time was right, and my wife was ready, we became Orthodox.  I'm still high.   laugh

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« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2012, 03:01:20 AM »

Thanks be to God, I was baptized on Janunary 2nd, 2012.  I am 37 years old.  I believed in Jesus Christ when I was 24 years old, was baptized an married in the Baptist church, began studying the Bible and history, moved toward the RC church but didn't go all the way because my wife's family are hard-core Baptists, went to an Episcopal church, wasn't happy with the liberalism, went to a nearby Methodist church, still liberal but had a little better theology, joined a traditional Anglican church while living in the south, moved back up north and joined a Missouri Synod Lutheran church, but for YEARS had desired to be Orthodox because I believed it was the truth.  When the time was right, and my wife was ready, we became Orthodox.  I'm still high.   laugh

Paul

Your heart is home!!!  Glory to God!   Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2012, 08:55:00 AM »

All Christians, Orthodox or otherwise, whether they were raised in the Faith or not, are converts.
One of the first sermons I heard by my priest Father Jacob Myers was to tell people that they had to embrace their Christian Faith for themselves
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« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2012, 06:38:43 PM »

Christ is Risen!  Hi, my name is Jason.  I'm currently attending catechumen classes and, God willing, plan to be baptized this winter Pascha.  I used to be a Southern Baptist, and many of my friends are Southern Baptists.  I feel particularly responsible for forging the hardcore "sola Scriptura" mindset of one friend in particular.  He and I spent 4 years discussing the faith daily.  He is now a missionary in an orthodox country.  The other day, I posted a note on my social networking site google plus.  I was sharing my celebration about finally finding a new church.  He responded and we had a bit of a friendly discussion.  He asked a lot of questions.  I hope I'm explaining things accurately to him.

One of my concerns is where I said, "The church had to determine the canon of Scripture... similar efforts were undertaken to establish true Apostolic tradition, and I think that is mainly expressed in the orthodox services like the divine liturgy and the creeds that are part of those services. I'm not sure about that though. I'm new to orthodoxy."  

How does that sound?  

If you're interested in reading or commenting on any other parts of the discussion, it is below.  I'm not asking anyone to read it by any means.

cheers,

----------------

Jason wrote -

I had a growing interest in orthodoxy back home, but I could never understand the services.  When I moved here to my new home, little did I know I would end up just a 5 minute bike ride away from my new church, finally an orthodox church that has services in English!  I'm really enjoying it. I'm so blessed. God is good.  It's so nice to finally have that feel like I have a church home again, to be able to stop wandering. For about the last three or four years I've been trying to find a friendly church where Sunday consists of little more than scripture, songs, the body and blood, some prayer, and hopefully a shared meal. I felt like I was constantly getting "preached at" and rarely found myself agreeing with what was being preached at me. For the life of me, I just couldn't find a church I was comfortable in. It was hard on me.

I had almost given up when I stumbled onto this place. Here, the entire service basically consists of the clergy and the congregation singing Scripture passages and prayers back and forth to each other in really beautiful four part harmonies and chants. They share the Eucharist, and then they share a friendly meal after. The "sermons" are just a couple of minutes long and for the most, from what I can tell, just allow the Word of God to speak for Himself. It is just exactly what was looking for. It must leave a lot to be desired for most people because it is really small. However, the people I've met there identify with my search and with the feeling I had when I found the place... so it is very... "homey" to us all.

Southern Baptist Missionary wrote -

Hey Bro, grats on your new church. "Open minded" and "counter-cultural" are absolutely nothing to worried about; as long as they are well supported with Scripture. I will stand behind you on the Word against anyone who teaches without Biblical proof. I hope you hear the Word of God preached and held to in your new church more than the churches you come from. Like you said, and I FULLY agree: The last thing you want is a church holding beliefs and teaching doctrines that are not supported by Scripture. As Jesus said in regard to all this:

“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:14-19 ESV)

So you see “counter-culture” and “Biblically based.” Praying for your growth in the faith!

Hey, just realized I missed your post before mine saying something similar. Yes, cold-preaching is not what you see in Scripture. You see fellowship around the Word with other believers, building each other up in the faith according to the Word. Yes, there are definite times of preaching, but that is not all and just preaching is not healthy. Our Sunday time together here in Macedonia has preaching, singing, prayer and then a lot of fellowship. Your post made me think of these two verses:

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14 ESV)

And

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16-17 ESV)

Jason wrote -

Brother! Christ is Risen! It's been way too long. Thanks so much for the encouragement and for sharing your thoughts. Great to hear from you. I hope all is well in Macedonia.

There was sometimes lack of biblical proof at my former churches concerning some topics. However, that can happen at any church since Scripture can be used to prove many different things depending on how it is twisted. So to be honest that wasn't even the main problem. My conscience just disagreed with much of what was said and done. For one example, one big problem for me was the that the words of the preachers' sermons by far outnumbered the words of Holy Scripture proclaimed in the services. My conscience was hinting that should not be the case for the service on the Lord's Day. I can't put my finger on exactly why. I just knew that deep down I wanted to find a church that primarily read, prayed, and sang through the Scriptures on Sunday with only a relatively short "sermon." A few Scripture passages in the New Testament lent me some support. However, like so much in Scripture, they are far from absolute proof. (they were 1 Timothy 4:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:27, and Colossians 4:16-17 if you're interested)

Every church that has human pastors and teachers will teach without biblical proof at times. Human pastors will even teach without divine truth at times. They're human like you and I. A sermon could someday be given at my new church that wanders from the truth. However, at least it will only last for like five percent of the service there (instead of sixty percent). The rest of the time will surely be filled with prayers, songs, readings from Scripture, and the testimony of ancient Christian art hanging all over the temple, testifying to the Word also. If I want more of the priest's or deacon's teaching, then I can just get it after the service.

You said, "The last thing you want is a church holding beliefs and teaching doctrines that are not supported by Scripture." To be honest, that's actually not the last thing I would want. I used to think a church needed support in Holy Scripture for all of its beliefs. Then I asked myself: since when? Like literally: "since what year?"

The early Christian churches, without complete Scriptures and sometimes without any Scriptures at all, still taught the Word’s Resurrection, His Divinity, the Trinity, the holy Apostles’ teachings, and many critical Christian theological truths. This went on for many years, sometimes many hundreds of years, before the Bible was finalized and became more widespread. Had you and I gathered with them, we would have seen churches that proclaimed the Word just fine without Scriptural support; they had no Scripture! This was possible because the holy Apostles taught followers of the Way to hold to the traditions they had taught them, whether by word of mouth or by written word (2 Thess 2:15, 1 Cor 11:2). The right churches had the right teachings, some by way of the holy traditions and others by way of the holy Scriptures. One job of the church was to to guard those right teachings, both the right traditions and the right written words.

So, to be honest, if a doctrine doesn't have tremendous support in Scripture that isn't the end of the world for me. Truth exists outside Scripture; He exists in a sun beam and in the early church traditions too. The last thing I would actually want is a church that relies *only* on Scripture or even *primarily* on Scripture. Scripture is notoriously hard to understand at certain parts, as the many divisions in Protestantism show. The holy Apostle Peter also warned us about this in 2 Peter 3:16. He noted that Scripture can be twisted easily at many points and can become incredibly destructive. Therefore, I want a church based on the Word's Resurrection primarily, then on the holy Scriptures and the early holy traditions together.

Thanks for sending me those wonderful passages. John 17:14-19 does show counter-culture. Not so much "biblically based" though. It shows "word-based," which means "God-based" since the Word is God. That's how I'm beginning to see the situation, at least.

I'm always grateful for your prayers. I will continue to pray for our growth in the Word together and for our salvation. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

Southern Baptist Missionary wrote -

Okay, in order to understand this better and to form a response, I only want to ask one question: What is truth? In order to express that question better: What would you say about passages like Acts 17:11-12, 1 Timothy 3:not just 16, but 17, 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 John 4:1, I too like 2 Peter 1:16-21? Scripture also speaks about carrying out the tradition given to you. How can you determine if something/tradition/a teaching is from God or of man? What is John 17:17 mean? And as a side note, if Scripture is not the basis of truth then why all the fuss over abstinence? Do you not know that that too comes from church fathers? I know you so I know this is not true, but I sounds like you are saying there are multiple sources of truth or even versions? The reason for different denominations is because it is so important to seek the one truth. After all, the Catholic and Orthodox churches split because of that.

Jason wrote -

Truth is a person; Jesus Christ. "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." God is Truth. We actually can't fully know all of the truth because God is infinite and we were created finite. That being said, we can learn and know some true things about God. We can practice his Life and become more like Him.

Regarding Acts 17:11-12, the Bereans are praised there for receiving God's Word eagerly. They examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true. Remember that for the Bereans 'the Scriptures' were the Old Testament. That is what they had. Therefore, this probably means they looked to see if the passages Paul cited to show that Christ is the Messiah were really in the Scriptures. Keep in mind that certain parts of the message Paul brought were not in the Scriptures they had, for instance the new practice of the Eucharist (or Lord's supper). So if we want to be like the Bereans, this passage is not saying we must examine the Scriptures to make sure every single thing that is taught to us is also in the Bible. It simply praises those who read and know the Scriptures, those who use them as an aid while they are guided by the Spirit and Apostolic teaching. The passage certainly doesn't teach the sole sufficiency of Scripture.

Regarding 2 Timothy 3:16,17, the first thing to note again is that Paul is referring to the Old Testament primarily. That is primarily what Timothy had. The New Testament had not been completed at the time this was written, its letters were not very widespread yet, and it would not be completed, canonized, and spread throughout all the churches for hundreds of years. Many Protestants use this passage to claim the sole sufficiency of the Scriptures. However, it then follows that Paul was basically saying the Old Testament alone is sufficient, perhaps with a couple of his own letters. In this passage, Paul is mainly affirming the usefulness and authority of the old testament to Timothy. By extension we can also apply it, now, to the New Testament. However, it is certainly not saying Scripture is the sole authority in Christianity as many different Protestant groups have claimed for the last 500 years or so. It says Scripture is useful for teaching and training the man of God. The result of teaching and training is that the man of God may be prepared for every good work. However, Scripture is not the only tool to be used to teach and train the man of God. The Spirit, for instance guides and trains. Also, the oral traditions Paul encouraged people like Timothy to remember in addition to his letters will guide and train.

Regarding 2 Timothy 2:15, Timothy is encouraged to "rightly divide the word of truth." I take this to mean "teach the Word of God correctly." (Or you could say, to teach according to orthodoxy since "orthodox" is actually just an old world that means "correct" or "right.") This is actually one of the verses orthodox Christians have been praying every Sunday as part of the divine liturgy for at least 1600 years, and probably much longer. They pray that God would grant their Bishops and Priests the continuing ability to rightly divide the word of truth.

Regarding 1 John 4:1, Christians must test the spirits. I think this refers to demons, angels, and people. Just as we may encounter angels and not even know it (Hebrews 13:2) I believe we also we may encounter demons. Evil forces often masquerade as good (see 2 Cor. 11:14). We should test every teacher and spiritual being that attempts to teach us to see if they really are of God, are evil, or are deceived. A test John suggests immediately is found in verses 2 and 3... ask if they acknowledge Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Early on one heresy Christianity faced was the denial of Jesus' incarnation. Certainly there are many other deceptions that evil and deceived teachers have attempted to fool us into believing since then. We always must test what we are taught and compare it to what Christ taught. In my case, for the reasons I mentioned a couple posts above, I think we should use Scripture and holy apostolic tradition to do that test as reliably as possible.

I think the point of 2 Peter 1:16-21 is that Scripture originated with God. The prophets of old spoke and wrote the words of God. The writings and traditions the Apostles passed down originated from sitting at the feet of Christ.

"How can you determine if something/tradition/a teaching is from God or of man?" It is a process of learning and study. The church had to determine the canon of Scripture, for instance. It took a great deal of time and effort to finalize and agree on the New Testament throughout all the churches. Similar efforts were undertaken to establish true Apostolic tradition, and I think that is mainly expressed in the orthodox services like the divine liturgy and the creeds that are part of those services. I'm not sure about that though. I'm new to orthodoxy. I personally study the scriptures and the early church fathers to test the origin of teachings. The later church fathers start to get messy, in my opinion, and many start to veer off on their own personal tangents, in this direction or that, from the central tenants of early Christianity.

"And as a side note, if Scripture is not the basis of truth then why all the fuss over abstinence? Do you not know that that too comes from church fathers? " [NOTE:  Here he is referring to an inside fact.  He knows that one of the things that led me away from Baptist-ism was their frequent repetition of the teaching that sex, and even kissing passionately, is a sin.  Due to problems that teaching caused in my first marriage I started to seriously question everything the Baptists had taught me.  I read the Scriptures and prayed for a couple years without going to a church.  Eventually, that led me to have a very "orthodox-y" theology.. which I joyfully then discovered in the orthodox church.]

The teaching that sex before marriage is a sin comes neither from Scripture nor from the early church fathers as far as I can tell. I haven't been able to find a single early Father that ever taught that it is sin. They certainly said to avoid "sexual immorality." However, as we've discussed before (I think) there is no biblical reason to think premarital sex is immoral (at least not in the context of courtship). So I don't think the Fathers were referring to sex during courtship when they said to avoid sexual immorality. Some priests may disagree with me. All will probably tell you it isn't the core of Christianity. For them, the core is expressed in Scripture, the creeds, and the services. Premarital sex isn't mentioned in any of those three places. I've recently re-written the article I once wrote on that subject, by the way. It can be found at http://www.unc.edu/~jasondm/sex.html in case you're interested.

There are definitely multiple sources of truth. Even the Spirit of God is a source of Truth; He can and does reveal himself to people without anyone's help. The Apostles passed along traditions as well as writings (Scriptures), two sources of truth. There is tremendous unity in the orthodox church regarding both of those sources. As far as why the Catholic and Orthodox churches split, I can't really speak to that. In the brief time I've looked into the issue I've concluded it came down to power politics and the pride of one Bishop (of Rome) who wanted to claim he had more authority than all the other Bishops throughout the orthodox cities and lands to make some changes to certain practices and creeds.

I don't know much. I'm no orthodox priest by any means. I could be wrong about some of this stuff. A book I found helpful is The Way: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church by Clark Carlton. He attended Southeastern Baptist Seminary as well. If you will send me your address I'd be glad to mail you a copy.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 06:45:35 PM by acts420 » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2012, 11:56:40 PM »

I am really proud of you for converting, Glory be to God! I always have a special sense of sympathy for Protestant converts. I too converted from Protestantism, right now I am a fifteen year old catechumen from a Protestant family. I can assure you that the journey is going to be hard and you are going to face much opposition from your old Protestant associates who usually misunderstand everything there is about Orthodoxy and sometimes even say or advocate things that are heretical or really offensive, even if they do not know. There are two things you are going to need to learn; first, to be able to defend your beliefs in front of them. However, judging from that conversation, you already know how and I commend you for it. The second thing you need to learn is how to be understanding and forgiving.

Like I said, there are going to be many times where your Protestant friends are going to say or ask things that can be extremely offensive to Orthodoxy; and the thing is, many times they will not even be trying to offend you or oppose Orthodoxy. In fact, sometimes they are trying to be polite but it comes out wrong! For example, after I converted, one of my old Protestant friends invited me to her 'Non-Denominational' Protestant Church, which is actually the one I attended before my conversion, and I had to tell her that I converted and that I no longer had any interest in attending that Church because I was now an Orthodox Christian, and her response was 'It is non-denominational! Don't worry, you can come!' I found this really offensive because it was like she was labeling Orthodoxy as a denomination even though we are pre-denominational; we are the oldest, true and original Church.

Denomination implies change or alteration from the original. But Orthodoxy is the original so by calling it a denomination you are offending it! I became really offended by her comment and almost lost my temper, Lord have Mercy, but I was able to control it and I had to remember that she simply did not know and was not trying to offend me but was actually trying to be polite. The point is, you have to keep this in mind because I guarantee you that your Protestant associates are going to do things like this that will offend you. But, we have to have patience and be underestanding.

In conclusion, however, nearly everything you said in your post was true, however, your view on sexuality is really heretical and you should talk to a Priest about that. What you need to understand is the Orthodox view of what sex is and its purpose. Sex is a union both physically and spiritually given as a blessing from God unto two people who have been joined together by the Sacrament of marriage both to communicate their feelings towards each other and come closer, and also to bless them with children.
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« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2012, 12:15:40 AM »

Actually, you might have no problems at all from your friends, family and associates. The problems adjusting are more likely to come from you. At least, that has been my case. No one is upset or tries to change my mind, but conversion something that can be very hard to do.
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« Reply #51 on: February 12, 2012, 12:22:18 AM »

James, Jason.  Thank you both.
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« Reply #52 on: February 14, 2012, 04:57:13 PM »

PS James, thanks for the advice about the sexuality issue specifically.  However, I'm actually doing a little experiment.  I'm waiting to see if I ever hear my priest say or even imply that sex before marriage is sinful.  I want to compare the prevalence of that doctrine as preached in orthodoxy with the frequency it was shoved into my ears as a conservative Baptist.  Many things attracted me to orthodoxy, including their view of salvation, baptism, the Body and the Blood, the Resurrection, justification, etc.  However, one of them was also the fact that even while many orthodox do believe and teach that sex before marriage is a sin it just isn't emphasized with much frequency.  That attracted me, because I think it is a sign that orthodoxy tends to focus on the Truth.  Baptists really pounded the premarital sex thing hard, sometimes every Sunday.  That was a sign of distance from the Truth to me, given that neither Christ, the Apostles, nor anyone in Scripture ever prohibited sex before marriage.

So long story short, if my conscience bothered me I would certainly talk to my priest.  However, my conscience is clear.  That doesn't make me innocent before God necessarily.  However, I'm going to wait and see if the priest ever brings it up.  Besides, I have more important things to ask him about and my time with him is limited.  If he never brings it up, perhaps someday way down the road I will bring it up with him.

For fear of getting this topic off track, let's not discuss the sex issue any further here.  There are a couple of other ongoing discussions if you're interested.   See
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,40403.html
or
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35214.405.html
... your view on sexuality is really heretical and you should talk to a Priest about that. What you need to understand is the Orthodox view of what sex is and its purpose. Sex is a union both physically and spiritually given as a blessing from God unto two people who have been joined together by the Sacrament of marriage both to communicate their feelings towards each other and come closer, and also to bless them with children.
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« Reply #53 on: June 27, 2012, 09:31:50 PM »

Are there any converts from Seventh-day Adventism to Orthodoxy? I would love to hear your story. I was born and raised SDA, but am looking very hard at Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #54 on: June 27, 2012, 09:47:21 PM »

Are there any converts from Seventh-day Adventism to Orthodoxy? I would love to hear your story. I was born and raised SDA, but am looking very hard at Orthodoxy.

Not sure, but I have another question all together. How is it that an American church became popular in Australia (SDA)?
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« Reply #55 on: June 27, 2012, 10:02:48 PM »

SDAs, like other churches that came out of the "burned over district" in the 19th century, have real missionary zeal. They are big in the Pacific Islands (Fiji, PNG, Samoa etc). They are not "popular" in Australia. The Church is very small and most people haven't heard of SDAs.
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« Reply #56 on: August 12, 2012, 09:03:23 PM »

I was raised and baptized as a Southern Baptist.  I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday and to every church function in between.  Despite my parents good intentions of bringing me up in church, nothing seemed to stick.  I believed in God but I just never felt right about church.  After I got out of high school I went in to the military and never went to church.  In fact, I started going to bars and partying all the time.  After I got out I continued partying and got a job bar tending.  I did that work for about eight years.  All this time I was so miserable.  It was probably the darkest time of my life.  After I finally had enough of living in the world and being miserable, I decided that I'd give church another shot.  I ended up meeting an old friend I was in high school with and we fell in love and got married.  My wife was in church and played a big part in getting me back in church.

So, I'm married and back in church now.  After about fifteen years of marriage we had been members of Baptist, Pentecostal, non-denominational and Nazarene churches.  If it could be said that you can "play the field" in churches then that's exactly what we did.  The last protestant church I was in was a Church of the Nazarene.  I even took ordination classes and became a Nazarene minister.  No matter what church I was in I always felt like something was missing.  It felt as though there was another level or something in my walk with God and yet I couldn't get there.  Not only that but that seemed to be a similar sentiment with other members as out church membership was like a revolving door.  Just like when I was a kid in a Southern Baptist church, nothing seemed to be sticking with me and maybe some others.

I got tired of that feeling of having a void in my life no matter what I did.  It didn't matter how much I prayed, how hard I studied the Bible or anything else that void just wouldn't go away.  So I began to research the scriptures for myself.  I began to research to find real truth without an outside influence.  I researched how the ancient church was formed and how the services in heaven were done.  I researched the sacraments and the truth that surrounds them.  Even though I wasn't looking for Orthodoxy, everywhere I turned I kept seeing it.  Since it kept coming up I began researching Orthodoxy.  I spent months researching the church, speaking to Orthodox members and comparing what I read with the scriptures.  I read the book "Becoming Orthodox" my Peter Gilquist which played a big role in answering my questions and leading me to my conversion.  Anyway, I found a local Orthodox church and began email correspondence with the priest.  I eventually made my first visit to St Luke Orthodox Church in Anniston, Alabama.  I knew the first time I visited that I had found what I been looking for.  Thought it was extremely different from what i grew up knowing, it just felt right.  

Though I've lost some of my friends and family and have had many issue's with my wife, my primary focus in life is to serve God.  Despite the stress of persecution from family and friends, I have an incredible since of peace and that long empty void has finally been filled.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 09:05:37 PM by jerry » Logged
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« Reply #57 on: October 14, 2012, 07:58:58 PM »

Fantastic conversion stories here so I'll keep things short and sweet. Like the previous poster, I spent the first 18 years of my life as a Southern Baptist. However, I spent the next 14 as an atheist - and for a long part of that time, a very dedicated and serious one.

By the grace of God, I am now a catechumen in the Greek Orthodox Church here in Des Moines after a six-month struggle between choosing whether or not to come into Rome (my wife, all of her family, and most of my family are Roman Catholic). I ask everyday for SS. Peter and Paul, the Holy Chinese Martyrs, and St. Peter the Aleute to pray for the reunification of all the ancient Churches currently split from Orthodoxy.

I hope to share the story of my emerging from atheism to those nonbelievers who are questioning their faith ( Wink) and to those Christians who are doubting in the face of popular modern empiricism. Perusing this board, I am a little theologically liberal compared to others, so please forgive any intrusion, especially within theological and Patristic areas with which I am not well-versed. I am here to learn, not argue!

EDIT: Also, my patron saint and intended Chrismated name is going to be Thomas, in honor of Thomas, the doubter, and to a lesser extent a tribute to the great Thomas Aquinas, whose theology led me out of atheism (but who was eventually trumped by Palamas IMHO). Thomas also just so happens to be my middle name Wink
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 08:25:52 PM by pdstor » Logged
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« Reply #58 on: January 04, 2013, 12:53:09 AM »

Greetings and blessings to all, brethren,

I’m pleased to recently discover Orthodoxy and eager to meet like-minded people. This is my Story, which will continue along with my Song in future threads. I’m here by no accident and all honor and praise goes to our Father in Heaven, the Creator of Mother Earth. I’m new to this particular Forum and have no former knowledge of Orthodoxy. I have a great deal to tell but it can’t be said in one thread, even.

Our Father of the Universe has led me to Orthodoxy through the Law of Nature, just as Paul proclaims in the first chapter of Romans; this day, after a recent discovery and an Spirit-led investigation, things began to spark up when I received a dream in the 7th month of 2007 and receiving numerous visions, following; the visions are amazing, frequent and are still on going. I converse with Father, ask Him questions and He is always faithful to answer because He is the One giving me these things to investigate and He wants me to seek the answers from Him, and it pleases Him. He answers in His time and it’s usually in patterns of “two” such as 2 hours or 2 days, as examples; I noticed this pattern with Him.

The dream has driven me into an incredible investigation that only God could have sparked and directed the entire way. The dream and my experience are profound and lengthy, yet, the dream occurred in an estimated 20-seconds, and that’s another story that I hope to share once I figure out which Forums to post in because I have many subjects to address and many that are not commonly discussed because it crosses between religion and science, this said, I have information for the Creationists and Evolutionists that will leave them both like Romans without excuse.

I was raised in a somewhat Catholic (Roman- Italian- "gentile") family (pagan/secular); my grandparents sailed to America in the 1900’s and first settled in Long Island, NY before moving to So Cal, where I currently live. I attended secular schools except for two 5th grade semesters in Catholic school, they failed me. I was Baptized Catholic and did the communion and confirmation vows, as I recall. I hardly knew much about the faith then and still don’t. As I grew older I drifted from one Christian faith to another, and while never feeling thoroughly fed and not finding the answer to my confusion about religion.

Then, after the Lord led me to the Seventh-day Adventist Church before 2002; I examined them very closely for better than 8-years and then left them in 2010. I had the dream two months after my fourth marriage; I had second thoughts about it but married anyway. This marriage was later proven to be a part of my lesson in training.

Imagine having one truth that the world could not dispute, every human would then be like Romans without excuse. The Apostle Paul speaks of this in Romans ch 1, and if we could show scientists how God’s Law is clearly seen in Nature then you could win them over, or blow them over. The problem is that the simplicity of it actually dumbfounds the scholars and scientists. It’s  easier for a simple mind to understand, one that hasn't been corrupted with secular knowledge as opposed to the unbeliever as it blinds them from the truth. I will be discussing the topic of Mind Control, as well as other things.  that no man has considered before, this I know because I haven’t found it anywhere else in this world. I will tell you things that no human mind has ever considered before.

Starting on the second day of the second month of 2012, I began receiving another vision, it lasted about 6 weeks. It started on a Sabbath morning (7th day- Saturday) when I was inspired to gather my KJV Bible, a writing tablet and a writing pen, and to sit down at the dining room table. It was a beautiful sunny morning; I sat down and randomly opened the Bible, then I randomly glanced at the left page and immediately went into a vision. Two days before this I received a brief and powerful vision of the numbers 666 in an image, I quickly asked Father what it was for, I then knew that I was to sleep on it for a few days; His behavioral patterns have become obvious to me. Sure enough, a repeat of that same Image came to me on the Sabbath day, February 4, two days later.

Once in vision, all things around me are present but yet, absent in mind. All that I see is what is transpiring in the vision. It’s as if I’m in a classroom with the Master Professor. I began writing down numeric equations and reasoning with them as I observed what I was writing, asking many questions during the lesson. After the first two pages of what seemed gibberish, albeit, I understood it so I asked Father if this was Algebra, and He told me to look it up in the Dictionary that I had recently bought, the one that He had inspired me to buy shortly before then, when I bought the writing supplies. He knew that it would be used later even when I didn't. Amazingly, the definition of “Algebra” perfectly fit what I was being taught. I never studied Algebra in school nor was I a good student; I skated through school by chance, averaging a low C grade.

This is very lengthy so I’ll cut it short and close with the punch line…
Through the dream and all of the visions and the teachings that I received from God the Father, I have come to discover Eastern Orthodoxy. Whether it be Greek or Russian it makes no difference to me at this time until I learn more of the differences. This means that I’ll be measuring and weighing the various doctrines to see if they are Rightly Divided, and I’ll be doing this with the authentic “Genesis Code” that has been mocked to brainwash the world about the true Genesis Code that is now here by Divine inspiration. You’ll have to follow my postings if you want to see these things that I tell you.

Our Lord has revealed to me that simple magnets can perfectly illustrate His Perfect Law for the entire Universe, and His Perfect Will for all humankind, and Nature, too! This said, I will be teaching how you can prove that God is real and that His Law exists in Magnetism and how it defines the perfect Marriage between Man and Woman. All of Nature is obedient to the same law as Magnetism, except for humans. This would then leave the world without excuse to marry the same sex, providing that the majority would rule on that law, and that law is God’s Law, revealed in Magnetism. Imagine an Attorney using two simple bar magnets in the Courtroom to prove that the Law of God says that same sex marriage is a violation to God's Law. The reason that they don’t is because they can’t. Spiritual things are nonsense to the natural mind therefore, the natural mind can’t even judge the prophet, whom isn’t even accepted in his own country, go figure! When will people wake up?

Just recently I realized that the dream & visions are of Orthodox origin (from God). My dream is a parallel to Ezekiel ch 40>>> and John's dream in Rev ch 11, and chapter 10 spiritually describes my experience in life with God. I've been given a special knowledge that I attribute to a "Golden rod" because I found myself measuring the transgressions of the Protestant churches using the Genesis Code. I started with my own Church at that time of the beginning. I’m anxious to share this information with the Orthodox Churches and I would like to ask many questions about the 77 canons Bible, the reason being is that I have received a vision concerning the 77 canons Bible verses the 66 canons Bible. I never knew that a 77 canons Bible even existed, this led me to the search for it and here I find that some Eastern Orthodox Churches still use it and amazingly, I have been reading and associating with the Apocryphal Gospels and how they are exactly what I’ve been taught in the visions. I also have determined that the authentic Genesis Code can prove that Orthodoxy is the true religion.

Please be patient with me as this is a lengthy issue of great concern, and it’s coming to you from a old man that has little education and a limited vocabulary, this is not to discount the wisdom and intelligence that our Father has gifted me with. These things that I tell you may sound crazy but give it time and follow my postings before judging the book by the cover.

I hope to make many friends here and feel as if I’m finally home. I’m tired of being beat up by Protestants although I was once one, myself. The only thing is that I now must learn about Eastern Orthodoxy and compare.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and may our Father bless those who understand and respect me.

 Smiley
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« Reply #59 on: January 04, 2013, 05:19:18 AM »

Welcome to the forum  Smiley

If I may give you an advice, try and attend the Divine Liturgy, Orthodoxy needs to be experienced. If you can get to talk to a priest, that would be good too.

Good luck.
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« Reply #60 on: January 23, 2013, 09:01:29 PM »

This is my conversion story.
It is so absurd that after few years I have difficulties in accepting it happened really like that!
Me and my wife wrote the story in a blog to make her family know what happened. They are Mormons.
It is written in French and English so if you wouléd like to reed it just be carefull to click from chapter 1 and the English version of each chapter.
May the Lord bless you all.

www.maxetcharline.blogspot.com
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« Reply #61 on: January 25, 2013, 07:17:35 AM »

This is my conversion story.
It is so absurd that after few years I have difficulties in accepting it happened really like that!
Me and my wife wrote the story in a blog to make her family know what happened. They are Mormons.
It is written in French and English so if you wouléd like to reed it just be carefull to click from chapter 1 and the English version of each chapter.
May the Lord bless you all.

www.maxetcharline.blogspot.com
That is an interesting story. How did you discover Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #62 on: January 27, 2013, 01:31:40 PM »

hello Ansgar,

how did I discover Orthodoxy...
first of all if I had to have choosen for my cultural backround I should have become Roman Catholic. Why?
I am Italian. My grandmother was roman catholic, my mother is roman catholic.
But since the begining of my story conversion in my brain there was often, while walking, while taking a shower, an image of somebody that was dressed and looked like an Orthodox. Why and who was him I cannot tell you.
And then why an orthodox man or monk or watever the immage was of?
In my native culture there is nobody dressed that way or that look like that.
An not too old man with a mid long white beard covered with a long dark robe with something on his chest that I don't know what it was.
So my conversion was from nothing to Christianity, but I knew I had to become Orthodox. From the beginning. I don't know how and why.
With my wife we start attending Protestant, but I knew was not that. I did it for my wife since Protestant was a good transition point from Mormonism. Then little by little that she wanted more we were in the need of more Chrsitianity and we went to a Church close by our house where Orthodox Romanian share, or better they rent their space to Old Catholic that own the place.  
The first time we went there the wife of the Priest told us we made a mistake going there, that we should go to the Roman Catholic Church nearby. We were a little bit shocked by her saying.
But we went back there again and again since we were allowed to talk to the priest, her husband and he wanted to be sure we were not been influenced in our choice by any priest or whatever. Hearing this for my wife was a surprice. An ex mormon missionary has been trained to influence other choices!
Then little by little we realizes that our feeling were already close to orthodoxie, and little by little with orthodoxie we realize we can live more like christians then just making a rational choice.
The only regret I have is that sometimes I missed what I had.
You feel...you are there but not there, you are yourself but not only yourself...it is hard to explain.
But emmediately after that period I was just I I always has been, but with a strong message inside.
Now I fell I am alone with my faith. Now I have to work, to be perseverent. In that period I was worked over, I had no faith but something else.
That something else now it seams abbandoned me with my responsability for my faith.
I hope you understand.
It is difficult for me to explain more.
For me in a word becoming Christian was become Orthodox.
Or better becoming orthodox made me discover I was orthodox.
It is like you are a duck but you don't know you are one since something else make you discover you are one.
Sorry for my luck of a better explanation.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 01:56:23 PM by truthsave » Logged
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« Reply #63 on: January 27, 2013, 02:19:44 PM »

hello Ansgar,

how did I discover Orthodoxy...
first of all if I had to have choosen for my cultural backround I should have become Roman Catholic. Why?
I am Italian. My grandmother was roman catholic, my mother is roman catholic.
But since the begining of my story conversion in my brain there was often, while walking, while taking a shower, an image of somebody that was dressed and looked like an Orthodox. Why and who was him I cannot tell you.
And then why an orthodox man or monk or watever the immage was of?
In my native culture there is nobody dressed that way or that look like that.
An not too old man with a mid long white beard covered with a long dark robe with something on his chest that I don't know what it was.
So my conversion was from nothing to Christianity, but I knew I had to become Orthodox. From the beginning. I don't know how and why.
With my wife we start attending Protestant, but I knew was not that. I did it for my wife since Protestant was a good transition point from Mormonism. Then little by little that she wanted more we were in the need of more Chrsitianity and we went to a Church close by our house where Orthodox Romanian share, or better they rent their space to Old Catholic that own the place.  
The first time we went there the wife of the Priest told us we made a mistake going there, that we should go to the Roman Catholic Church nearby. We were a little bit shocked by her saying.
But we went back there again and again since we were allowed to talk to the priest, her husband and he wanted to be sure we were not been influenced in our choice by any priest or whatever. Hearing this for my wife was a surprice. An ex mormon missionary has been trained to influence other choices!
Then little by little we realizes that our feeling were already close to orthodoxie, and little by little with orthodoxie we realize we can live more like christians then just making a rational choice.
The only regret I have is that sometimes I missed what I had.
You feel...you are there but not there, you are yourself but not only yourself...it is hard to explain.
But emmediately after that period I was just I I always has been, but with a strong message inside.
Now I fell I am alone with my faith. Now I have to work, to be perseverent. In that period I was worked over, I had no faith but something else.
That something else now it seams abbandoned me with my responsability for my faith.
I hope you understand.
It is difficult for me to explain more.
For me in a word becoming Christian was become Orthodox.
Or better becoming orthodox made me discover I was orthodox.
It is like you are a duck but you don't know you are one since something else make you discover you are one.
Sorry for my luck of a better explanation.

That is a very good response.  Smiley

Especially the last part. It reminds me about the ugly duckling.
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« Reply #64 on: February 21, 2013, 07:49:16 AM »

http://andreaskoutsoudis3.com/convert/a-conversion-from-islam-to-orthodox-christianity/

http://andreaskoutsoudis3.com/convert/a-conversion-from-islam-to-orthodox-christianity-part-2/

the 2 links above are articles on a heart warming and joyful conversion from Islam to The Truth that is Orthodox Christianity!!!
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« Reply #65 on: February 21, 2013, 09:27:59 AM »

Hello. I don't know where can we present ourself, so i guess i will do it here. I'm 24 years old, and have been Orthodox for 2 years now.

I'm romanian and was born in France. My Parents didn't believe in God, nor were they religious, even if we had a painting of the virgin Mary and Jesus at Home, and so i was not baptised as a child and was kind of indifferant to God for some time. I started my journey at the age of 19, i already believed God existed, but i didn't know wich religion was true. I was balancing in favor of Christianity, but nothing more. I soon realized that Judaism was false in light of the clear messianic texts that were pointing towards Jesus. And i realized also that Islam had no historical ground to stand on. My main doubt was between Orthodox and Papism. And i must say that Wladimir Guettee's books, that i read in french, were very importand for me, even if it is somehow outdated on some detail points. I also read Hefele's work on history of the Church, as well as 2 books of Meyendorff. And even so Popes of Rome made outrageous claims very early, i guess starting with Pope Victor, i realized that the Church kept fonctioning on a conciliar basis(Eusebius saying Victor was rebuked by the whole Church, Canon 28 of Chalcedone, 2nd oecumenical Council and Succession from St Meletius etc).

So that decided me to become Orthodox, wich was in fact only a come back to my Fathers faith. Protestantism was out of question because of its a-historical nature and anachronism. I must say i had hard time to decide wether join an old-calendarist Church or a "canonical" one, because of Oecumenism and calendar issue. But being unable to see who was right in those debates, i joined a canonical Church. Even so, i still have much doubts about it, and i agree on many points with old calendarists, and i'm not sure if i made the good choice, so i ask God to guide me and to forgive me if i was wrong, since i'm a sinner.

Also, even if it is not about Religion, i'm a supporter of Universitatea Craiova and of our brothers, Napoli, and that explains my nickname and avatar.

I'm happy to be part of this forum, may God forgive us as we forgive to each other our faults and iniquities, and may the Theotokos pray for us.

And sorry for my bad english if i made mystakes.
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« Reply #66 on: February 21, 2013, 11:38:10 AM »

i hope you continue to follow the right path and sincerely be happy in the Orthodox Faith! God Bless you!
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« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2013, 04:54:57 PM »

My story.....

I was raised Catholic, I attended both a Catholic primary school and an all boys Catholic secondary school.
In my young life I had always believed in a God. But when I was 15 years old my grandfather died and my
world changed. I was upset with God for taking the life of my grandfather, a good man, an honest man and my hero. Even though I was angry with God for the death of my grandfather my faith in Jesus/God grew and it became my source of comfort. When I was around 18 years old I lost faith in Jesus/God and I found answers within Judaism. I joined the Jewish community and over time I established myself as a Jew. I became so religious that I learnt basic Ivrit and kept Kosher for a couple of years. At that time I also spent a lot of time in Eretz Yisrael. Then oneday while back in my home country I came across debates online regarding God and No God which rusulted in me losing all my faith in  HaShem of the Torah and God in general. I also dropped my Jewish identity. Later on I started reading and learning about God, Science, Atheism, Philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism ect
( I am getting tired so here is the short conclusion)
I wanted to learn more about my grandmothers family and faith (she is Russian Orthodox) so  I googled Orthodox Christianity and came across this forum in doing so I came across a post which reccomendation that people should read Mere Christianity by  C.S. Lewis which I did. It has completly changed my views on God and how I view Christianity, God/Jesus. I know totally believe in God and the truth of Jesus !

I have not commited to any Church as yet but I am open to the Idea (but deffinetly NOT The Roman Catholic Church). However I have commited to the Truth of Jesus Smiley
Where I go from here only God knows and my future self :p

Peace & thank you orthodoxchristianity.net Smiley

P.S. I am open to learning more about Orthodoxy.

 Kind Regards alexsonofmatthew
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« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2013, 05:27:54 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

but deffinetly NOT The Roman Catholic Church

Why not?

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« Reply #69 on: May 20, 2013, 07:01:16 AM »

Like many of Ukrainians I was baptized when I was a baby. Although it happened long ago my way to Christianity started at 16 years old.
The main reasons for looking God in my life were: death of my farther and my own youth`s faults (sins).
I am an only child in my family . When I was younger, I afforded many enjoyments to myself, at the same time there was a lack of attention from parents. In such circumstances I had growing with selfish character. I am think, I was like a “prodigal son” in some sense. Although I didn`t requested my part of inheritance, and didn`t spend it, but I spent a lot of means earned by my parents. When I was 21 I started to tend  my life to Orthodox way of life.

I am concluding now, it wasn`t right life. I am 31 years old now, I have a daughter and I want to bring up her in love and patience, peace and perseverance in good deals. I think these are the most important features I have to my daughter.
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« Reply #70 on: May 20, 2013, 09:24:34 PM »

My story.....

I was raised Catholic, I attended both a Catholic primary school and an all boys Catholic secondary school.
In my young life I had always believed in a God. But when I was 15 years old my grandfather died and my
world changed. I was upset with God for taking the life of my grandfather, a good man, an honest man and my hero. Even though I was angry with God for the death of my grandfather my faith in Jesus/God grew and it became my source of comfort. When I was around 18 years old I lost faith in Jesus/God and I found answers within Judaism. I joined the Jewish community and over time I established myself as a Jew. I became so religious that I learnt basic Ivrit and kept Kosher for a couple of years. At that time I also spent a lot of time in Eretz Yisrael. Then oneday while back in my home country I came across debates online regarding God and No God which rusulted in me losing all my faith in  HaShem of the Torah and God in general. I also dropped my Jewish identity. Later on I started reading and learning about God, Science, Atheism, Philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism ect
( I am getting tired so here is the short conclusion)
I wanted to learn more about my grandmothers family and faith (she is Russian Orthodox) so  I googled Orthodox Christianity and came across this forum in doing so I came across a post which reccomendation that people should read Mere Christianity by  C.S. Lewis which I did. It has completly changed my views on God and how I view Christianity, God/Jesus. I know totally believe in God and the truth of Jesus !

I have not commited to any Church as yet but I am open to the Idea (but deffinetly NOT The Roman Catholic Church). However I have commited to the Truth of Jesus Smiley
Where I go from here only God knows and my future self :p

Peace & thank you orthodoxchristianity.net Smiley

P.S. I am open to learning more about Orthodoxy.

 Kind Regards alexsonofmatthew

My brother in Christ,

We have very similar backgrounds. I was raised in a secular home but found Orthodox Judaism when I went to Israel. I too completely changed my life--kept kosher, davened regularly, kept Shabbat, was a Torah-observant Jew for 1.5 years. Then all of a sudden I lost my faith completely and pursued science, philosophy for a period before God, in his Infinite mercy, took me back into His arms.

You will be in my prayers!
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« Reply #71 on: May 22, 2013, 11:51:17 AM »

I remember when I was in Jerusalem, one pilgrim form our group was baptized in Jordan by Orthodox priest. Before that he was a protestant.  After 1 year I talked with him and he told me that he still can`t direct his life according to Orthodox way. He felt like constrained because of his wife and relatives still insisting on protestant life.  In such situation he had to make a choice between his family and his orthodox life. I don`t know his situation know, but I made the following conclusion.
Internal condition of soul is more important than external life of body.  In such situation this man has to convince his wife in his choice and pray to God for understanding from them. If wife will forbid living a life of Orthodox Christian he must to consult with priest. I know it`s easy to take an advices, but it`s very difficult to resolve such issues.
For body could be many restrictions in prison but many possibilities for soul.
Outside situation could be backward. Body could be free but soul in torment.
People start to choose their future here on earth.
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« Reply #72 on: May 24, 2013, 10:56:48 PM »

I'll try and make this as short as I can. I grew up in the rural Southern part of the States, raised in Catholic family. I was a 'good' Catholic girl, went to a Catholic school for quite a while, spent more time in the Church than almost anyone in my family besides my grandmother. Around age 14 something changed, I still am not really sure what triggered it but I started to become really disheartened with the Catholic church. Looking back, I equated Catholic with being Christian in general. I was young, and probably a little dumb to think there was nothing besides this and being Protestant, but then again I was living in a town of 1,900 people and those were the only options around I knew of. By 15 I had decided I would not be Catholic, especially after taking a required class in World Religions. Admittedly, I liked Islam because at the time it seemed like a perfect continuation of Christianity to me. I spent close to a year studying off and on, in secret, about Islam and attending classes at the mosque in the next county. I became Muslim when I was 17 right after my senior year of high school started and got married almost as soon as I turned the legal age to do so(2004). I'll skip the entire bit about my family being unhappy because they thought I was throwing my life away, but know they were highly displeased for a good while. Their unhappiness went up when I started to become more and more extreme, attending a Salafi masjid and going by an Arabic name. I stayed this way until around 2009, after I had my first son.

In a nutshell, I could never be a good enough Muslim. I was too nice, too tolerant, too open minded and so on. I wore the abaya, hijab and sometimes niqab, prayed and fasted, and lead a women's revert group. I am an ECE teacher and I taught 4 year olds at the mosque about Allah, Muhammed and Islam on the weekends, too, all trying to be the best Muslim I could to please my creator and somehow make up for my 'faults' I mentioned. By this time my marriage had turned abusive and much of this was not taken seriously by the Muslim community, if anything it was justified using Islam. There is no need to give the details of how and why my marriage ended, but in 2011 I had an annulment that made it void and left to rebuild my life. At this point I was Muslim by outer appearance only, I was empty inside, I almost felt like my Arabic named alter-ego had killed who I really was. I had many encounters during the 2011-12 year with Christians, inviting me to churches, trying to talk to me and tell me about what they said was the truth yet I always said "I am Muslim, no thanks." There was always a little nagging desire though to just go back into a church and see, I think I told myself for memory's sake or something. I clung to Islam, the only thing I had known since I was 17 because I now thought I somehow wasn't good enough for anything else, yet I did not want my children to grow up as Muslims. I had this fear that I would go into a church and everyone would know I used to be Christian and left the faith for Islam, and it would be like when Muslims leave the faith. I thought they would think I was some type of apostate who should be at the very least turned away instantly.

I had become friends with a Coptic Egyptian, and we had the best conversations about Islam and Christianity. It was through this person that I really got my information about Orthodoxy, and how so many of the good things in Islam I liked were taken from early Christianity. I knew I had no desire to go back to being Catholic, yet at this point I did not want to be Muslim anymore either. I visited a few Orthodox churches(all of which were really nice) before seeking out the one and only Greek Orthodox church in my city and attending liturgy there. I am beyond happy to say that this is what I have been seeking since I was 15, it feels like I've finally found my home so to speak. For now I am just attending, but spoke to Father a few weeks ago about catechumen and am hopeful about starting that journey sometime this summer. Sorry if there are holes in my story, I tried to clip out unimportant stuff and just give the basics....this is also posted in another thread, so if you're seeing double forgive me  Tongue
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« Reply #73 on: May 24, 2013, 11:09:45 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Glory to God for all things!!!

Welcome to the forum, Rebecca! Welcome to Orthodoxy Smiley
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« Reply #74 on: July 01, 2013, 10:41:20 AM »

Greetings!

I enjoyed reading many conversion stories during my journey, so I hope God uses my story to help others.

I was born into a Southern family who was Baptist through and through (most ext family still is).  However, very soon after my birth my parents joined the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) for various reasons.  So I was baptized and raised Presbyterian.  Had a great childhood and was taught the Gospel early and often.  In college I was very active with RUF (PCA's college ministry) and learned to appreciate Calvinism even stronger.  I met a beautiful girl from a strong Presby family and married in college.  1 kid, graduation, another kid, new job, 2 more kids, we're still Presby and lovin' it.  No reason to consider a journey at all.  My only knowledge of Orthodoxy came from growing up in Greenville, SC and knowing a few greeks, and then my brother marrying a greek-american.  St. George's in Greenville was a very beautiful church, but also very mysterious looking and I never bothered to investigate.

The first 'crack' in the armor came from a friend* who introduced me to the Federal Vision wing of the presbyterian community.  This group had a stronger appreciation for sacraments, and even communed infants!  That was shocking but very intriguing, especially since I had 4 little ones at this time.  It didn't become anything more than a curiosity at this time though.

Then we moved about 25 minutes South of our home church (where I am the worship leader/guitarist)  and I start to feel bad about passing another PCA church on our way to church every Sunday.  With much sadness we left our home church of about 4 yrs (which we helped plant and were very involved) to attend a closer church which even had some of my neighbors Smiley  Early in our time here we started to feel a little discouraged with the community at the new church and noticed a Lutheran church right down the street (LCMS).  On a whim, we decided to see what this was like.   Wow....

At the Lutheran church we discovered liturgy, sacraments that mean something, written prayers, vestments, and a very welcoming community.  Over the next few months we fell in love with the doctrine and the local body.  Baby #5 was baptized Lutheran (with Godparents!)  However, a storm was brewing...

After a couple more years of loving church that old crack started to show up again.  Infant communion.  Presbyterians generally allow first communion at the first profession of faith and examination by Elders.  This usually happens around age 7-10.  Lutherans, however, (and not without some dissent amongst some pastors) withhold communion until after confirmation, which doesn't happen before age 13 or 14.    So now that I've absolutely fallen in love with the sacrament of the Eucharist, and with the ever-growing desire to bring my children to the table also, I'm told that they must wait to receive the body of our Lord until 14.  That was very hard.  And it was researching this issue that really made me aware of Orthodoxy.

So at this point I've just left the church of my family, ALL of my wife's family, most of my best friends and acquaintances, and many in my community who i don't even know (not a trivial thing) and become Lutheran.  A church that is not indigenous to the South by any means.  But hey, presbys respected Luther quite alot and sang his hymns often, so we were mostly forgiven, but we did get some odd looks from time to time.  ....And NOW I'm thinking of converting to Eastern Orthodoxy???  Seriously???  There aren't many "Luther" figures from Orthodoxy who my friends/family know of- much less read and respect.  (save the Apostles of course)

During this time I was reading voraciously.  Becoming Orthodox (Gillquist), The Orthodox Church (Ware), We Came, We Saw...(Huneycutt), countless blogs/forums/articles, and many youtube videos.  Probably the most influential video was Franky Schaeffer's interview at the Calvin Forum.  He and I came from the same tradition, so he definitely spoke my language.

My first liturgy was with my brother and sister-in-law at St Georges on Christmas Eve, 2011.  I was blown away.

So eventually I had to make the move.  We began to attend Holy Cross (GOA) in Macon and loved everything about it.  Sometimes the language barrier was hard, but our priest has started to put much of the liturgy into English and we really appreciate that.  The people have been 95% VERY welcoming to our family- and we're very obviously not Greek (blonde/blue, throughout)  After about a year of attending, we became catachumens, and then a few months later we were Chrismated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 2013.  Worshipping with Holy Cross has been a blessing to our family in more ways than we expected.  I'm saddened that we only have 1 church within 40 miles, but that's better than many Orthodox Christians in our country.

So to recap, born Baptist, baptized Presbyterian, converted Lutheran, and finally chrismated and communed Orthodox.  God is good.  Now I just have to get started converting the rest of the South Smiley


*only person to cut us off after we converted....very sad.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 10:42:30 AM by EOinDixie » Logged
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« Reply #75 on: July 01, 2013, 10:52:55 AM »

Dear EOinDixie,

Welcome to the forum.  Orthodoxy is blessedness!  Many years of health and happiness to you and your family.

Love, elephant
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« Reply #76 on: July 25, 2013, 02:44:11 PM »

Though technically not a member of the Orthodox Church yet, I have found my home. I was raised non-denominational and have attended everything from Baptist Churches to RCC Mass for the balance of my life. I have researched most of the predominate other faiths of the world, and even tried nothing...it was all empty to me, but the Catholic Mass was the best of the bunch. Last year I began a state of inquiry for RCIA and met some Orthodox folks during some training I was doing on a personal interest. Through our conversations and my subsequent lack of fulfillment at the RCIA meetings I gave Orthodoxy a shot. I began at Bible study on Tuesday nights, and began attending services on Sunday...everything was different, and I couldn't explain it...but I knew my search was over.

Simply put, I couldn't stop going.
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He hangeth earth upon nothing (Job 26:7)


« Reply #77 on: August 19, 2013, 01:04:59 PM »

Former Taliban From Afghanistan Baptized at Mount Athos
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