Thank you all for your many and kind responses. You were all extremely helpful and supportive, and you even helped me on my decision as to which church to start my journey in, which is more than I had hoped.
Ortho Cat- I will admit to laughing out loud during my lurker phase at some of your recollections of the Southern Baptists, not in mockery but in sympathy.
Heorhij- "I believe you and I are somewhat similar in that I left the church where I had been baptized (a Presbyterian denomination)"
I actually had an interesting conversation with my mom a few weeks ago. It seems she's become the music director of a Presbyterian church and they're having her take a crash course in Reformed theology (which, despite the screen name, I have never been a Calvinist), and wanted to know what I knew of it. It seemed she was having a hard time swallowing Calvinist predestination, for some reason
Alveus Lacuna- "Having done a lot of research, you might feel as though you're all ready to be Orthodox, but actually doing it rather than reading about it is something else altogether. Brace yourself for the most difficult and glorious thing that you've ever done."
Hence my request for prayers. Even without the "conversion element" I'm going to have to overcome a months-long strong tendency toward home-boundedness. I've already missed two perfectly good opportunities (rare days-off coinciding with Wednesday vespers). And believe me, I don't think this is going to be easy in the slightest. But then, I never asked Him for easy (though there are times I wish I had!).
"Ironically, my mother is a Roman Catholic!"
My dad's side has a similar quirk, where my grandpa is the lone Protestant amongst a sea of Italian Catholics. A little of this history can be seen in my dad's name (which I share[and it's II not Jr, yes I know, very fancy]), which in Roman tradition has us having very Roman saint as our middle names.
Scamandrius- "The goal of the Christian is to transform his very self, both mind AND body and become like Christ. Simple intellectual assent will not suffice."
I have always agreed with the first sentence, and one of the things I have fallen in love with about Orthodoxy is how much emphasis she places on this. The second statement has become painfully obvious after twelve years of living with "intellectual assent" as my main religious activity. Indeed, my feelings had been drawing me to Orthodoxy for quite some time, it was my stupid intellect that needed to catch up!
ialmisry and jnorm88 - I have already pmed my replies. Thank you, you have no idea how much this helps.
witega- "I was raised Campbellite not Baptist (which meant I understood Baptism as a sacrament, but that only made the emptiness of their 'communion' more obvious)"
I always found it funny how the Baptists emphasized the importance of a "believers baptism" while maintaining that it was a symbolic act. If the act is merely a symbol and has no inherent grace, then what does it matter at what stage of life or what condition of belief the person being baptized is in? As far as the Lord's Supper, I would say I definitely agree with the Southern Baptists: grape juice and crackers are not a sacrament
Handmaiden of God and Augustin- Thank you for your advice and swift responses.
SolEx01- thank you, glad to be here.
And, while I was typing, mersch showed up- Bapti-catholic? So, like, what were
you allowed to do?
Again, thank you everyone. With God's help I will be attending a Vespers service tomorrow (and yes, I do understand the father won't have much time to talk with an inquirer. Confessions, and we're all such sinners). It'll be a little while to rearrange my work schedule to attend Divine Liturgy, my manager is on a long vacation at the moment (smart man, the temperature just dove this week!), and we're required to work weekends.
Just out of curiosity, what can I expect as regards baptism? It's not a deal breaker for me to get re-baptized, just a little bit more fun to explain to the folks. I was baptized full immersion (only once, but he held me down there long enough to be triple) in the name of the Trinity.