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« on: February 11, 2011, 10:47:40 PM »

After reflecting on some of the post in this topic "Why can't I make a decision and stick to it" I have a few questions for converts.  What brought you to converting to the OC and how long did you discern before making the decision?  Was it any of the below or something else?

1.  After intensive study I believe that the OC is the True Church.

2.  After study, prayer, and more prayer I believe the OC is the True Church

3.  A little of #2 but mainly because I was drawn to it by the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit.

4.  A unexplainable calling from God or something of that nature.

5.  Culmination of all the above and I made a leap of faith and went with it.

6.  Just Gods calling.

7.  Just followed my heart

8.  Anything else?

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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 10:53:46 PM »

After reflecting on some of the post in this topic "Why can't I make a decision and stick to it" I have a few questions for converts.  What brought you to converting to the OC and how long did you discern before making the decision?  Was it any of the below or something else?

1.  After intensive study I believe that the OC is the True Church.

2.  After study, prayer, and more prayer I believe the OC is the True Church

3.  A little of #2 but mainly because I was drawn to it by the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit.

4.  A unexplainable calling from God or something of that nature.

5.  Culmination of all the above and I made a leap of faith and went with it.

6.  Just Gods calling.

7.  Just followed my heart

8.  Anything else?
9. Being asked why I wasn't Orthodox, as I agree with them on the issues, and not the Lutherans.
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2011, 10:59:58 PM »

I haven't converted...yet, but I believe I'm on my way.

I've studied. I've prayed. But in the end I truly believe it is the "tug of the Holy Spirit." That gentle, constant, tug.
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 11:01:01 PM »

8. Anything else?  

I knew very very well what I knew WASN'T the Church.  From this, I knew what I KNEW was - but needed it all in one place.  

And so I found it.  

And when I went, there He was. . .every moment of every single day I was (am) there.  
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 11:27:14 PM »

A little bit of 1,2,3,4, along with Cool "God hit me over the head with a (metaphorical) 2X4". 

1 and 2 because it took me literally years of research to wade through misinformation (from Western Christians and Vagante groups) just to figure out what exactly the Orthodox Church is.  3 because there has been a fairly insistent (yet gentle and easily drowned out) nagging in this direction since I was a teenager. 

4 and 8 because of a culmination of events in the last 3 years, the least private of which would be when, after not hearing from my youngest brother much over several years (he was away in Iraq), I got around to talking to him over the phone.  I had been peppering my talk with my highly practicing Evangelical with tid-bits I had picked up from the Orthodox perspective, and our mom had mentioned this to him.  So, we're talking and he says, "I hear from mom you've been interested in the Orthodox Church.  Have you been to one yet?"  I told him I hadn't and asked him if he had.  After receiving a negative response from him we agreed that whichever one of us went first would call the other.  After going to a Saturday evening Vespers service (a parishoner was kind enough to give me a ride home, so I wasn't too late.  Thanks again, Isa) I called my brother to tell him about it.  Once I was done describing it he said, "Cool, thanks, bro.  I gotta go to sleep now, I'm going to my first Liturgy tomorrow morning."

To make a long story short (too late!) things worked out so that me and my brother were both chrismated into the Church on the same day at the same parish.
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 11:59:38 PM »

A little bit of 1,2,3,4, along with Cool "God hit me over the head with a (metaphorical) 2X4". 

1 and 2 because it took me literally years of research to wade through misinformation (from Western Christians and Vagante groups) just to figure out what exactly the Orthodox Church is.  3 because there has been a fairly insistent (yet gentle and easily drowned out) nagging in this direction since I was a teenager. 

4 and 8 because of a culmination of events in the last 3 years, the least private of which would be when, after not hearing from my youngest brother much over several years (he was away in Iraq), I got around to talking to him over the phone.  I had been peppering my talk with my highly practicing Evangelical with tid-bits I had picked up from the Orthodox perspective, and our mom had mentioned this to him.  So, we're talking and he says, "I hear from mom you've been interested in the Orthodox Church.  Have you been to one yet?"  I told him I hadn't and asked him if he had.  After receiving a negative response from him we agreed that whichever one of us went first would call the other.  After going to a Saturday evening Vespers service (a parishoner was kind enough to give me a ride home, so I wasn't too late.  Thanks again, Isa) I called my brother to tell him about it.  Once I was done describing it he said, "Cool, thanks, bro.  I gotta go to sleep now, I'm going to my first Liturgy tomorrow morning."

To make a long story short (too late!) things worked out so that me and my brother were both chrismated into the Church on the same day at the same parish.

I would like to point out that I was considering converting to Orthodoxy when I was in Iraq, due to 1-5 and a bit of 8 as I was very dissatisfied with everything Protestant. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that my oldest brother was also taking the journey to Orthodoxy when I got home!
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2011, 12:36:46 AM »

I would say 3, 4, and 7; 1 came soon afterwards.

Honestly, in retrospect I'm somewhat disturbed by my lack of prayer on the subject. I can't think of a single time where I was wringing my hands before God thinking, "Should I or shouldn't I?" I feel like I was kind of swept away in a stream and it carried me right into the Church, and I never really considered it in an especially critical way. Within a month of becoming aware of Orthodoxy, I knew I would convert, even before I had dealt with any of the major issues that were serious barriers for me (the Saints, the Theotokos, etc) or even visiting an Orthodox parish.

I feel that, for me, God laid the groundwork and I was so ready that I was swept away. The series of events that brought me into the Church are so incredibly unlikely, this is the only way I can make sense of it. But on the other hand, sometimes I feel guilty that I didn't have to "work for it" as hard as others. Yet I'm thankful it happened the way it did, because I'm not sure how I would have dealt with it otherwise. I do believe God gives us only what we can handle, and perhaps I was ready but fragile? I don't know. I am just grateful it all happened.
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2011, 12:41:15 AM »

Pretty much 1 and 2, but I would add (I suppose as my no. Cool that there were issues that convinced me the Lutheran Confessions were wrong, and once that understanding fell, Orthodoxy came pretty much naturally.  Specifically ecclesiology and the intercession of the Saints.

I'd also add that it took a heavy dose of no. 1 first, and no. 2 second.  We could not have read ourselves into the Church, but before I took the leap to begin living the Orthodox life, I needed to have my head wrapped around things like justification, essence and energies, etc.  So I read and read and read, and then we decided to put the books down for a while and just join the prayer and liturgical life of the Church.  The former drew us into that life, but it was actually living as Orthodox that we were convinced this was right.
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2011, 01:37:40 AM »

2005: First had discussions with an Orthodox Christian from Serbia and that planted some kind of seed that keep coming back to mind.
January 2008 (or maybe earlier): Started thinking that was really were I belonged for some reason, prayed for the intercession of the Theotokos occassionally
Jan 2009: Decided I was going to finally visit an Orthodox church, read "The Faith" by Carlton...
Feb 2009: Finally attended, loved it but was cautious about being hasty so I continued going for about seven months until I was sure and asked to be made a catechumen...
Since that point it has been up and down.

For me it is kind of all of the things you mentioned. I am convinced it is the original Christianity received by the Apostles, and that has come about by researching history, praying to God to put me where I belong, feeling intensely drawn to it.
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2011, 02:10:19 AM »

1.  After intensive study I believe that the OC is the True Church.
...
4.  A unexplainable calling from God or something of that nature.

Number four probably explains why I came to believe in God; number one how I found His religion.
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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2011, 08:55:59 AM »

#3
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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2011, 09:40:52 AM »

What's the difference between #1 and #2 ?
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2011, 10:11:51 AM »

no. 8 (that's british english for 'hash' 8, my british computer doesn't even have the 'hash' sign!)
for me, it was all of these.
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« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2011, 01:14:53 PM »

What's the difference between #1 and #2 ?

I was assuming that there are some out there that found the OC intellectually through studies first before prayer vs lots of prayer and then studies
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2011, 01:22:48 PM »

I would say all of the above, the liturgy especially, and some help from the Theotokos as well.  angel
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2011, 01:33:40 PM »

#5 for the most part.
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« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2011, 07:06:39 PM »

What's the difference between #1 and #2 ?

I was assuming that there are some out there that found the OC intellectually through studies first before prayer vs lots of prayer and then studies

I'd chose both #1 and #2 since for me prayers and intellectual search were simultaneous. I didn't convert to Orthodoxy until I was intellectually absolutely sure that no other but Orthodoxy is the Bride of Christ but I still consider it to be the answer for my prayers. I did probably start with a simple prayer like "God, lead to me wherever you want me to be" before I even considered Orthodoxy but still it was mostly an intellectual process which lead me to choose Orthodoxy over other options such as Catholicism.
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2011, 07:17:36 PM »

1.  After intensive study I believe that the OC is the True Church.

This.

Question for my Orthodox brethren and sistren, is it wrong to say I wanted to find the Church of Christ without the assistance of God or perhaps unconsciously he was guiding us into The Church eventhough we may not be in direct relationship with God (in prayer) to find it?

I guess for me I wanted to find it without just saying "Oh well God directed me here" because you could say that about any Church you go to and if it feels good to you then you can say God directed me there. So I had to pursue it intellectually and historically I think.
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« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2011, 09:11:52 AM »

1.  After intensive study I believe that the OC is the True Church.

This.

Question for my Orthodox brethren and sistren, is it wrong to say I wanted to find the Church of Christ without the assistance of God or perhaps unconsciously he was guiding us into The Church eventhough we may not be in direct relationship with God (in prayer) to find it?

I guess for me I wanted to find it without just saying "Oh well God directed me here" because you could say that about any Church you go to and if it feels good to you then you can say God directed me there. So I had to pursue it intellectually and historically I think.

I am wary of going on my feelings, since the interpreter of those feelings (me) is such a slave to the passions.  So I can see where you are coming from here.

One thing that was imminently helpful to me was to realize that "the Bible" isn't the only answer for why the Orthodox believe what we believe, but in fact the Bible read in its historic light and in the light of the understanding of the Fathers throughout history supports Orthodox doctrine.  In a similar fashion, it was helpful to me that Orthodoxy has an historical claim to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  Whereas my former view was "we are the rightful heirs to the Catholic Church because we believe the doctrine of the Bible (as we understood and interpreted it)," my current view as Orthodox is "we are the New Testament Church founded by Christ, which produced the Scriptures and rightly divides them, and which traces her doctrine back not to some allegedly correct view of the Bible, but in fact to Christ and His Apostles as a matter of history."

A question someone asked here recently (I forgot which thread, I apologize) is, paraphrasing, "if the Protestants are correct, where is the community of believers upholding their doctrine throughout the history of the Church?  Did their Church disappear and then reappear later?"  With Orthodoxy, that answer is pretty simply traced.  With Protestants, at some point you run into Fathers who were considered Orthodox by both the Eastern and Western Churches teaching doctrines that were accepted by both the Eastern and Western Churches, but which refute Protestant understandings.  When that happens, one has to wonder where the Protestant remnant went or, as I did, whether there ever was such a remnant.  And that is true regardless of which brand of Protestantism one believes.  For me, the doctrine that separated me from my Lutheran beliefs was intercession of the Saints.  Once history made clear the Church had always requested this intercession and believed the Saints hear our requests and act on them, then I could either believe the Church apostatized in the 1st Century and did not recover until the 16th, or I had to believe Lutherans were wrong on this issue.  I concluded they were wrong.  Given the Lutheran claim to hold the Apostolic doctrine and that in their doctrine "there is nothing that varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church Catholic, or from the Church of Rome as known from its writers," I further concluded that, in fact, their doctrine varied from that of the true Catholic Church.

Then it was just a question of East or West.  History informed that decision as well.
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« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2011, 07:46:39 PM »

It was all of the above. The Holy Spirit at work led us to prayer, Liturgy, and study. We made a huge leap of faith, risking all for the "pearl of great price". Looking back now we can more clearly see how the Holy Spirit was working and how our whole lives were directed into this time and decision.
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« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2011, 10:35:21 PM »

#5
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« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2011, 04:40:06 PM »

All of the above. (it takes a lot to move someone as stubborn as I am!)

For me, Orthodoxy is the perfect convergence -historical, intellectually satisfying and challenging, yet mystical, beautiful worship and music (God speaks to me most clearly and directly to my heart through the music and hymnody). Intellectual study would not have been enough - I had a couple of unsettling experiences which made me sit up and take notice - very unsettling to someone as hard-headed and distrustful of feelings and emotions as I am. Orthodoxy was complete - the seamless garment.
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2011, 08:53:11 PM »

A convergence of all?

The short answer is I wanted to remain a Christian, and Orthodoxy was the only way I could do that.
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« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2011, 11:20:44 PM »

A convergence of all?

The short answer is I wanted to remain a Christian, and Orthodoxy was the only way I could do that.

So true. Orthodoxy brought me back from atheism, during a period of time where I seriously doubted whether anything could.
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« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2011, 12:09:47 AM »

After reflecting on some of the post in this topic "Why can't I make a decision and stick to it" I have a few questions for converts.  What brought you to converting to the OC and how long did you discern before making the decision?  Was it any of the below or something else?

1.  After intensive study I believe that the OC is the True Church.

2.  After study, prayer, and more prayer I believe the OC is the True Church

3.  A little of #2 but mainly because I was drawn to it by the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit.

4.  A unexplainable calling from God or something of that nature.

5.  Culmination of all the above and I made a leap of faith and went with it.

6.  Just Gods calling.

7.  Just followed my heart

8.  Anything else?



I became demon possessed and realized that Jesus Christ is God and that the devil and demons are real. Before then I was a drug addict, but I had been baptized when I was 6 in the Greek Orthodox Church by my parents.

Its a long and insane story, I would sound like a schizophrenic if I told it to a non-Christian.

It was about 2 years ago when my life turned upside-down (Ps 146:9). I had nowhere else to run but back to the Father.
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« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2011, 12:13:40 AM »

1&2
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« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2011, 12:14:58 AM »

A convergence of all?

The short answer is I wanted to remain a Christian, and Orthodoxy was the only way I could do that.

So true. Orthodoxy brought me back from atheism, during a period of time where I seriously doubted whether anything could.

I have always been interested in Hindu and Sikh religious writings as well as Taoism.  Western Christianity seemed so dead to me, but I could not give up my belief in Christ.  Orthodoxy showed me that true Christianity IS an Eastern religion.
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« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2011, 12:20:35 AM »

A convergence of all?

The short answer is I wanted to remain a Christian, and Orthodoxy was the only way I could do that.

So true. Orthodoxy brought me back from atheism, during a period of time where I seriously doubted whether anything could.

I have always been interested in Hindu and Sikh religious writings as well as Taoism.  Western Christianity seemed so dead to me, but I could not give up my belief in Christ.  Orthodoxy showed me that true Christianity IS an Eastern religion.

Yes, it seems to obvious to me now that I look back on it. Christianity was borne in the east, so why should we not look to east for authentic Christianity?
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« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2011, 02:26:01 AM »


In my case it was number 4. I was deeply disappointed in my childhood experience as a Roman Catholic. I wasn't really looking for anything else but was caught up in the Liturgy quite unexpectedly in Jerusalem. It took me five years after that to finally accept the call but I finally did and have never looked back.
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« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2011, 08:28:23 AM »

After reflecting on some of the post in this topic "Why can't I make a decision and stick to it" I have a few questions for converts.  What brought you to converting to the OC and how long did you discern before making the decision?  Was it any of the below or something else?

1.  After intensive study I believe that the OC is the True Church.

2.  After study, prayer, and more prayer I believe the OC is the True Church

3.  A little of #2 but mainly because I was drawn to it by the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit.

4.  A unexplainable calling from God or something of that nature.

5.  Culmination of all the above and I made a leap of faith and went with it.

6.  Just Gods calling.

7.  Just followed my heart

8.  Anything else?


I don't know that I can be properly called a "convert", as I am a 2-day old catechumen, and have been an inquirer for a little under a year, but I would say all of the above brought me to where I am now, which is just on the other side of #5.

Intensive study had positive and negative effects for me; what it did do was initially make me consider the viability of Orthodoxy. I assumed that my study would, as it had when I compared the RC church and Protestantism, quite quickly and logically lead me to Rome. What I found instead, was that it was anything but that way. In the wake of this, I studied even more and more intensely, and at a certain point my head almost exploded, and I became detached completely: afraid to make a jump East, but totally uncertain of my RC faith. I still professed Christianity, and identified as a Catholic, but lived for a brief time almost sans God. In a few months' time, I returned to prayer, returned to discussion (rather than study, per se) and returned to Russia. All of these things pulled me towards the OC, and the more centered around prayer I got, the less the fear/embarrassment of change dominated me. This was the gentle tug, I suppose.
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« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2011, 10:21:41 AM »

I returned to prayer, returned to discussion (rather than study, per se) and returned to Russia. All of these things pulled me towards the OC, and the more centered around prayer I got, the less the fear/embarrassment of change dominated me. This was the gentle tug, I suppose.

I can relate completely. People had told me before to seek the truth through prayer and the Liturgy, but for some reason I still tried to intellectualize it. Once I focused on prayer and gave up study, it became much easier--almost like a lifted burden.
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« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2011, 10:42:26 AM »

6 & 7: I was actually to be baptised into a Pentecostal church the same Sunday I attended my 1st DL & then I knew I had to move forward & become Orthodox.
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Если бога нет, то все позволено


« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2011, 03:12:18 PM »

I returned to prayer, returned to discussion (rather than study, per se) and returned to Russia. All of these things pulled me towards the OC, and the more centered around prayer I got, the less the fear/embarrassment of change dominated me. This was the gentle tug, I suppose.

I can relate completely. People had told me before to seek the truth through prayer and the Liturgy, but for some reason I still tried to intellectualize it. Once I focused on prayer and gave up study, it became much easier--almost like a lifted burden.

I got the same advice, and didn't quite listen! I think probably some part of us, or at least of a lot of us, needs to go through that intellectualization first.
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It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.
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« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2011, 07:56:34 PM »

I returned to prayer, returned to discussion (rather than study, per se) and returned to Russia. All of these things pulled me towards the OC, and the more centered around prayer I got, the less the fear/embarrassment of change dominated me. This was the gentle tug, I suppose.

I can relate completely. People had told me before to seek the truth through prayer and the Liturgy, but for some reason I still tried to intellectualize it. Once I focused on prayer and gave up study, it became much easier--almost like a lifted burden.

I got the same advice, and didn't quite listen! I think probably some part of us, or at least of a lot of us, needs to go through that intellectualization first.

Yep, that seems to be the case and thanks to everyone that has responded!
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