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Author Topic: Conversion at a young age  (Read 1568 times) Average Rating: 0
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William
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« on: July 07, 2010, 01:36:04 AM »

Hello all,

I'm 15 years old and have become interested in Orthodoxy. At first I figured that I should wait until I'm an adult before I seriously start taking the steps to conversion, but after reading some stories here of fellow teenagers who have converted I have changed my mind (sort of).

The problem is that my mother won't allow me to become Orthodox until I am 18. I understand that I should respect her and her decision, but should I gently try to convince her to let me convert before hand? What should I do?
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2010, 01:50:38 AM »

Hello all,

I'm 15 years old and have become interested in Orthodoxy. At first I figured that I should wait until I'm an adult before I seriously start taking the steps to conversion, but after reading some stories here of fellow teenagers who have converted I have changed my mind (sort of).

The problem is that my mother won't allow me to become Orthodox until I am 18. I understand that I should respect her and her decision, but should I gently try to convince her to let me convert before hand? What should I do?

Oh, that picture is so cute. By the way, I posted the quotes you asked for.
If you want another story, I got interested in Orthodoxy when I was 13 and learning about Russian culture. We visited a Russian church in the PA coal region and the elderly people were very welcoming, seeing treating you like a distant family person, even if you were not even Orthodox. I went with my parents on several occasions, and then when I was 17 the priest said I can join the church, I would join by way of confession (I can't explicitly recall the chrismation part, since it's been along time). Afterwards, people said congratulations, and I didn't realize what a big difference it would make for me. The more time I spend in Orthodoxy, the more I realize that it reflects the early church, and is a continuation of it. It is the church of Greece and the Holy Land, alive today.

Blessings to you, Apples, on your journey.

Maybe invite your Mom to come to liturgy with you a few times.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 02:07:45 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2010, 08:33:38 AM »

I converted when I was 18.

If you can't join the Orthodox Church until you're 18, then in the mean time try an Eastern Catholic Church. It's basically the same thing in terms of spirituality and liturgy. Then, when you are old enough, you can convert to Orthodoxy and you will already be very familiar with it.
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2010, 10:08:53 AM »



Feanor,

While we have no doubt that you are not suggesting the Eastern Catholic churches as a final destination, as it were, this is the Convert forum, where it is "anathema," as it were, to proselytize.  Please refrain from doling out such advice here.

Thank you.

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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2010, 10:13:31 AM »

I converted when I was 18.

If you can't join the Orthodox Church until you're 18, then in the mean time try an Eastern Catholic Church. It's basically the same thing in terms of spirituality and liturgy. Then, when you are old enough, you can convert to Orthodoxy and you will already be very familiar with it.

While my conversion did not begin until I was well into my 30s, I would counsel against such an action.  As soon as I realized that I did not accept the bedrock tenent of the Catholic Church (that the Pope had universal jurisdiction and Papal Infallibility), I stopped going.  It would have been disingenuous to myself, my former pastor (a man whom I still love and respect greatly) and the congregation at my old church.  If the OP is in the state where he is totally convinced of an error in the Catholic Church's theology/ecclesiology, continuing to frequent her liturgies and possibly even take communion in her churches would be tantamount to lying to oneself, to one's neighbors, and to God Himself.
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2010, 11:33:16 AM »

Dear Apples, Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum!

We are to be obedient to our parents (Honor your Father and Mother) when we are under their roof. This does not mean you can not convert in your heart to the Orthodox Faith now. The following are ways to continue to grow in the Orthodox Faith until you are of age to legally make you full commitment to our Lord by entering his Holy Orthodox Church. The following sites are found within the various jurisdictions of the eastern Orthodox Church here in the United States. I hope they will help you in your journey(please note that this is not an endorsement by the Orthodox Christianity .net of any of these sites)

1. Say your daily prayers using an Orthodox prayer book or go to the following websites that have on-line Orthodox prayerbooks:

From the Russian orthodox Church outside of Russia: http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm
or
http://www.orthodox.net/links/services.html

From the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America:
http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-prayers

From the Greek Orthodox Church
http://www.saintsophiawashington.org/orthodox/prayers.php
http://www.goarch.org/resources/prayers/index_html

Orthodox Church in America
http://www.oca.org/OCSelect.asp?SID=2

2/Read Gospel Lessons (Sunday School like material) from internet sites like:

http://www.orthodoxonline.com/

http://aggreen.net/orth_links/orthlink.html

http://www.antiochian.org/christianeducation/letusattend

http://dce.oca.org/


3.Daily Bible Readings:

Greek Orthodox Church:
http://www.goarch.org/resources/monthly_readings

Orthodox Church in America
http://www.oca.org/Reading.asp?SID=25&ID=EP&M=7&D=7

4. Multimedia resources that include radio programs, televised Liturgies,and other services may be found at these websites:

Greek Orthodox - http://www.goarch.org/multimedia/live/index_html

Pan Orthodox Radio (Ancient Faith Radio) http://ancientfaith.com/

Orthodox Christian Network http://www.myocn.net/

Orthodox TV http://www.orthodox.tv/


I hope Apple that this will give you material to help you grow toward your eventual entry into the Holy Orthodox Church.

Thomas
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2010, 12:32:47 PM »

Dear Apples, Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum!

We are to be obedient to our parents (Honor your Father and Mother) when we are under their roof.

Is this applicable in all situations, however, especially when we are considering that the OP is searching for the full truth of Jesus Christ, found in the Orthodox Church?

" "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." - Lk. 14:26

Am I taking His word's out of context?
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2010, 01:07:35 PM »

" "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." - Lk. 14:26

You are correct as that relates to an adult. Christ is emphasizing that one should do all that he can to follow him.

 In this case the child in obedience to his parents wishes will delay his formal affiliation and entry into the Holy Church until he is an adult. He is viewed by an Orthodox Christian as an inquirer studying to become an Orthodox Christian. In The Orthodox Church , if this child dies, he will be seen by the Lord as a Christian by the "baptism of desire".One must remember that in the early Church some inquirers and catechumen waited years before they were allowed to be baptized, but if they died prior to baptism they were buried as Orthodox Christians. This does not change his desire to become a Christian and his desire to follow Christ into his Holy Church and we encourage him to continue to pray and study until he is of the age that he can legally enter the Orthodox Church without his parents permission.

Thomas
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2010, 01:52:51 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Apples,

 I became interested in the Orthodox church at fourteen I'm now sixteen and am a catechumen awaiting Holy Chrismation. My point is that it's possible I would encourage you like Thomas said to Say your daily prayers using an Orthodox prayerbook reading the Holy Scriptures. and if your mom will allow it talking to an Orthodox priest via email or in person...and since your mom won't let you convert until your 18 Pray to the Holy Theotokos to soften your moms heart but above all be obident to her will until you are of legal age. If you don't mind I'll keep you and your mom in my prayers.

In Christ,
David
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2010, 04:53:54 PM »

well, I'm 15, and I know that I would never have converted if my mother wasn't OK with it.  with her, she was OK with everything except Catholicism.  I wish you luck on your journey!

what helped my mother learn about the Orthodox Christian faith and get comfortable with me being chrismated was dinner with my priest and his family.  you might try arranging this.
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2010, 05:05:39 PM »

I converted [to Catholicism?] when I was 18.

If you can't join the Orthodox Church until you're 18, then in the mean time try an Eastern Catholic Church. It's basically the same thing in terms of spirituality and liturgy. Then, when you are old enough, you can convert to Orthodoxy and you will already be very familiar with it.

Apple, I would note that Feanor happens to be Catholic, so possibly not the most unbiased advice. LOL
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2010, 05:11:12 PM »

Wow Thomas gave tons of links! I say just stick with one link for each category.

They look pretty good, especially the radio programs!

The only advice that might be misleading here is:
The following are ways to continue to grow in the Orthodox Faith until you are of age to legally make you full commitment to our Lord by entering his Holy Orthodox Church.

I don't see how being a minor prevents you in any way from choosing a faith you believe in. Some people are 16 when they get married, and of course people even get married in different churches than their own. Age itself is no legal problem because the Constitution gives freedom of religion.
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2010, 05:15:54 PM »

Dear Apples, Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum!

We are to be obedient to our parents (Honor your Father and Mother) when we are under their roof.

Is this applicable in all situations, however, especially when we are considering that the OP is searching for the full truth of Jesus Christ, found in the Orthodox Church?

" "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." - Lk. 14:26

Am I taking His word's out of context?

No, Gisasargavak, You are NOT taking Jesus' words out of context.
If your parents tell you to do something bad, you are not supposed to obey that.

I remember a case where a boy grew up in a home of Satanists. As he got older he realized that they were on the Losing Team and ran away from home.

Thomas' view here to obey parents about staying in Catholicism has an unstated assumption that there is nothing bad about Catholicism or about staying separate from what we Orthodox believe is the True Faith.

Quote
MATTHEW 19:29: And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2010, 05:20:24 PM »

well, I'm 15, and I know that I would never have converted if my mother wasn't OK with it.  with her, she was OK with everything except Catholicism.  I wish you luck on your journey!

what helped my mother learn about the Orthodox Christian faith and get comfortable with me being chrismated was dinner with my priest and his family.  you might try arranging this.

Good advice.
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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2010, 05:21:30 PM »

No, Gisasargavak, You are NOT taking His words out of context.
If your parents tell you to do something bad, you are not supposed to obey that.

I remember a case where a boy grew up in a home of Satanists. As he got older he realized that they were on the Losing Team and ran away from home.

Thomas' view here to obey parents about staying in Catholicism has an unstated assumption that there is nothing bad about Catholicism or about staying separate from what we Orthodox believe is the True Faith.

So now are comparing Catholicism to Satanism or are you suggesting that the child run away from home?  Huh

This kind of thing is precisely why this type of advice should be given out by mature, experienced spiritual fathers and not by anonymous voices on the internet.  
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« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2010, 05:33:08 PM »

No, Gisasargavak, You are NOT taking His words out of context.
If your parents tell you to do something bad, you are not supposed to obey that.

I remember a case where a boy grew up in a home of Satanists. As he got older he realized that they were on the Losing Team and ran away from home.

Thomas' view here to obey parents about staying in Catholicism has an unstated assumption that there is nothing bad about Catholicism or about staying separate from what we Orthodox believe is the True Faith.

So now are comparing Catholicism to Satanism or are you suggesting that the child run away from home?  Huh

This kind of thing is precisely why this type of advice should be given out by mature, experienced spiritual fathers and not by anonymous voices on the internet.  

I'm a recent college graduate and involved in my local Orthodox Christian Fellowship. You are right that the best advice is to contact a priest, although whatever advice he gives, it is worth being persistent in one's inquiry. (Luke 18:1-8)

If as some Orthodox claim, the Pope is an anti-Christ (for example, calling himself a supreme infallible vicar of Christ), then it may be worth leaving the Catholic Church. I remember such strong words by a martyred Belarusian saint who opposed eastern Catholics' forced Unia with Rome.
I don't have a strong opinion about the Pope=AntiChrist ideas.

However, I believe Schultz's advice is the most correct from an Orthodox standpoint. If we accept that Orthodoxy is The Church, The Body of Christ, then it seems Christ would want someone outside it to persist and come into Communion with Him.
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« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2010, 05:34:54 PM »

I converted [to Catholicism?] when I was 18.

If you can't join the Orthodox Church until you're 18, then in the mean time try an Eastern Catholic Church. It's basically the same thing in terms of spirituality and liturgy. Then, when you are old enough, you can convert to Orthodoxy and you will already be very familiar with it.

Apple, I would note that Feanor happens to be Catholic, so possibly not the most unbiased advice. LOL

I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm an Orthodox Catholic. I don't see why people use the term 'Eastern Orthodox' and then try to claim that Orthodoxy is universal.
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« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2010, 06:15:11 PM »

I converted [to Catholicism?] when I was 18.

If you can't join the Orthodox Church until you're 18, then in the mean time try an Eastern Catholic Church. It's basically the same thing in terms of spirituality and liturgy. Then, when you are old enough, you can convert to Orthodoxy and you will already be very familiar with it.

Apple, I would note that Feanor happens to be Catholic, so possibly not the most unbiased advice. LOL

I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm an Orthodox Catholic. I don't see why people use the term 'Eastern Orthodox' and then try to claim that Orthodoxy is universal.

OK, so you "converted" from Roman Catholicism to eastern Catholicism, which remains under the Pope of Rome and must obey the Pope in all matters of faith.

And when someone says they are interested in moving from Catholicism to the Eastern Orthodox faith, your advice is to become eastern Catholic.

This might not be the best advice.


If someone explores it long enough and concludes that the Pope by himself is not infallible in faith, because the Pope is not the whole church, the Body of Christ, then I think even the Catholic Church might recommend the person become Orthodox, rather than make professions of faith that the Pope is infallible, etc.
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« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2010, 08:15:00 PM »

I converted [to Catholicism?] when I was 18.

If you can't join the Orthodox Church until you're 18, then in the mean time try an Eastern Catholic Church. It's basically the same thing in terms of spirituality and liturgy. Then, when you are old enough, you can convert to Orthodoxy and you will already be very familiar with it.

Apple, I would note that Feanor happens to be Catholic, so possibly not the most unbiased advice. LOL

I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm an Orthodox Catholic. I don't see why people use the term 'Eastern Orthodox' and then try to claim that Orthodoxy is universal.

OK, so you "converted" from Roman Catholicism to eastern Catholicism, which remains under the Pope of Rome and must obey the Pope in all matters of faith.

And when someone says they are interested in moving from Catholicism to the Eastern Orthodox faith, your advice is to become eastern Catholic.

This might not be the best advice.


If someone explores it long enough and concludes that the Pope by himself is not infallible in faith, because the Pope is not the whole church, the Body of Christ, then I think even the Catholic Church might recommend the person become Orthodox, rather than make professions of faith that the Pope is infallible, etc.
\
so, basically, a Papist is telling a current Papist to be a Papist?! Shocked  I'm confused.  are Eastern Catholics in FULL communion with Rome?
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« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2010, 09:03:39 PM »

so, basically, a Papist is telling a current Papist to be a Papist?! Shocked  I'm confused.  are Eastern Catholics in FULL communion with Rome?

Basically, Yes that was what was happening. Some eastern Catholics refer to themselves as Orthodox, despite Catholicism's rule that eastern Catholics must all accept the Pope's statements on faith. This was discussed on the thread Why Not Open Communion, which I encourage reading for evidence of that.
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« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2010, 10:14:14 AM »

I converted [to Catholicism?] when I was 18.

If you can't join the Orthodox Church until you're 18, then in the mean time try an Eastern Catholic Church. It's basically the same thing in terms of spirituality and liturgy. Then, when you are old enough, you can convert to Orthodoxy and you will already be very familiar with it.

Apple, I would note that Feanor happens to be Catholic, so possibly not the most unbiased advice. LOL

I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm an Orthodox Catholic. I don't see why people use the term 'Eastern Orthodox' and then try to claim that Orthodoxy is universal.

OK, so you "converted" from Roman Catholicism to eastern Catholicism, which remains under the Pope of Rome and must obey the Pope in all matters of faith.

And when someone says they are interested in moving from Catholicism to the Eastern Orthodox faith, your advice is to become eastern Catholic.

This might not be the best advice.


If someone explores it long enough and concludes that the Pope by himself is not infallible in faith, because the Pope is not the whole church, the Body of Christ, then I think even the Catholic Church might recommend the person become Orthodox, rather than make professions of faith that the Pope is infallible, etc.

I converted from atheism to Eastern Orthodoxy. I have Catholic in my profile because that's what Orthodoxy is. It's Catholic, in the exact sense that we mean it when we say we believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. 'Roman' and 'Papist' were other people's additions, not my words.

And no, I'm not telling him to become a 'papist.' What I recommended is that if he can't become Orthodox until he's eighteen, then in the meantime he may as well go to an Eastern Catholic church where he can still experience the liturgy and spirituality of Eastern Christianity until he's old enough to become Orthodox. There's no reason to still go to a Roman Rite church for the next three years. If he can't become Orthodox, he may as well experience the closest thing.

Nonetheless, part of the reason I put 'Catholic' in my profile was to confuse people. :p
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« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2010, 10:16:43 AM »

I converted [to Catholicism?] when I was 18.

If you can't join the Orthodox Church until you're 18, then in the mean time try an Eastern Catholic Church. It's basically the same thing in terms of spirituality and liturgy. Then, when you are old enough, you can convert to Orthodoxy and you will already be very familiar with it.

Apple, I would note that Feanor happens to be Catholic, so possibly not the most unbiased advice. LOL

I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm an Orthodox Catholic. I don't see why people use the term 'Eastern Orthodox' and then try to claim that Orthodoxy is universal.


OK, so you "converted" from Roman Catholicism to eastern Catholicism, which remains under the Pope of Rome and must obey the Pope in all matters of faith.

And when someone says they are interested in moving from Catholicism to the Eastern Orthodox faith, your advice is to become eastern Catholic.

This might not be the best advice.


If someone explores it long enough and concludes that the Pope by himself is not infallible in faith, because the Pope is not the whole church, the Body of Christ, then I think even the Catholic Church might recommend the person become Orthodox, rather than make professions of faith that the Pope is infallible, etc.
\
so, basically, a Papist is telling a current Papist to be a Papist?! Shocked  I'm confused.  are Eastern Catholics in FULL communion with Rome?
I am THE Papist. Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2010, 10:41:03 AM »

Feanor has written: "I converted from atheism to Eastern Orthodoxy. I have Catholic in my profile because that's what Orthodoxy is. It's Catholic, in the exact sense that we mean it when we say we believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. 'Roman' and 'Papist' were other people's additions, not my words."

We now know that Feanor is an Orthodox Christian. The reason that people in the Convert Issue Forum are requested to use the terms Eastern Orthodox and Western Orthodox are to denote that they are in Communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople or other Orthodox Bishops. Eastern Orthodox  denotes they are following the Eastern (Byzantine or Slavic Rites ) of the Holy Orthodox Church and Western Orthodox indicates that they are following the  Western European Rites of the Holy Orthodox Church. All Orthodox Christians have the right to call themselves "Orthodox Catholics "because the word "catholic" means universal. For the purpose of understanding where one is coming from, and ease of inquirers on the Convert Issues Forum, it would be best to identify yourself using non-confusing terminology.

Likewise when one is a Roman Catholic , Eastern Rite Catholic in Communion with Rome, or a Coptic Orthodox, or other than noted above, please use simple definitions that enable our inquirers to understand who you are and how that impacts on your responses and answers to Convert Issue Topics.

Thank you,
Thomas
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revised for grammar/spelling
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« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2010, 08:19:49 PM »

Thanks for all the suggestions.

My mom was considering allowing me to convert at around 16, but when she told Dad he said I can't go to any Divine Liturgies or convert until I'm an adult. He also wants me to continue going to Catholic Masses and to talk to a Catholic priest. He's going to limit the time I spend on the internet (maybe because I've learned about Orthodoxy though the internet?).  Cry

Please keep me in your prayers.
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« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2010, 10:03:02 PM »

What I recommended is that if he can't become Orthodox until he's eighteen, then in the meantime he may as well go to an Eastern Catholic church where he can still experience the liturgy and spirituality of Eastern Christianity until he's old enough to become Orthodox. There's no reason to still go to a Roman Rite church for the next three years. If he can't become Orthodox, he may as well experience the closest thing.

Nonetheless, part of the reason I put 'Catholic' in my profile was to confuse people. :p

Feanor, ok, your explanation of Orthodox Catholic makes sense now, but yes, confusing. Also, if a person cannot get to an Orthodox service for some reason, sure, the eastern Catholic service is a substitute, since it has the manners and FORMS of Orthodoxy. However, I am not sure that eastern Catholicism really has the "spirituality" of Orthodoxy, since they have to follow the Pope in matters of faith.


I hope that when Apples has more personal freedom, she will remember about Orthodoxy, rather than become attracted to the strongest anti-Catholic church, which could be a big temptation, depending on what her background is and experiences are.

Best wishes on your spiritual journey. We hope to see you again!!
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William
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« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2011, 07:32:53 PM »

Well, I now have less than a year until I turn 18 and can be Chrismated. When I made this thread it seemed to me like I had way too much time to study. Now I'm wondering if I'll have enough time to resolve everything and do everything I'd like to do before I feel like I should join the Church.

Just to give an update: I've been attending a parish regularly for maybe six months. I've met many of the people who are very friendly but I'm not really involved in anything outside of weekly attendance. My parents have indicated that they'd be fine with me becoming a catechumen sometime soon.

Please pray for me!
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Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. - Matt. 5:24
Thomas
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« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2011, 12:36:29 AM »

William thank you for the update---I look forward to hearing that you have been made a catechumen.
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Thomas
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« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2011, 12:48:20 AM »

Thanks for all the suggestions.

My mom was considering allowing me to convert at around 16, but when she told Dad he said I can't go to any Divine Liturgies or convert until I'm an adult. He also wants me to continue going to Catholic Masses and to talk to a Catholic priest. He's going to limit the time I spend on the internet (maybe because I've learned about Orthodoxy though the internet?).  Cry

Please keep me in your prayers.
LOL. I don't mean to belittle your situation, but, as a father, I'd be thrilled if all my sons looked at on the internet was Orthodoxy.  Heck, I'd be thrilled if all they looked at was Vatican religious material.

Lord have mercy!
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2011, 01:42:30 AM »

Thanks for all the suggestions.

My mom was considering allowing me to convert at around 16, but when she told Dad he said I can't go to any Divine Liturgies or convert until I'm an adult. He also wants me to continue going to Catholic Masses and to talk to a Catholic priest. He's going to limit the time I spend on the internet (maybe because I've learned about Orthodoxy though the internet?).  Cry

Please keep me in your prayers.
LOL. I don't mean to belittle your situation, but, as a father, I'd be thrilled if all my sons looked at on the internet was Orthodoxy.  Heck, I'd be thrilled if all they looked at was Vatican religious material.

Lord have mercy!

LMAO!!!!!!!!!
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2012, 03:28:49 AM »

Will, we need to talk it seems like. PM me or message me via facebook. You seem like you are having more spiritual issues. Btw, I'm also a 15 year old convert, but, you already know that.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
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