Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Amazing Conversion Story


Looking at Anna Buttimore, author of Easterfield, you would never peg her as someone who for a five year period was an active anti-Mormon campaigner. Anna's miraculous conversion was recently written up in the British Isles Ensign insert. As it may be hard to read the text from the article, I've copied it below.

Woman Turns Pen, Heart to Church
By Anna Buttimore

From 1987 to 1992 I was an active anti-Mormon campaigner and Area Director of an anti-cult organisation. I specialized in Mormonism.

I grew up as a member of another church and married a minister in that church. When my best friend told me she had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was upset and angry. I thought she had been brainwashed into a cult, and I became obsessed with hatred for the Church. I read every anti-Mormon book I could find and became involved with the anti-cult group. I never read the Book of Mormon, but I gave lectures to church groups, leafleted homes warning householders not to speak to missionaries, and even wrote a booklet about Mormonism.

After five years of anti-Mormon activity, I received a Solicitor’s (lawyer’s) letter on behalf of the LDS Church asking that I cease my activities (some of which had been dishonest) or they would sue me. For some time I had known that many of my arguments didn’t stand up and that many of the anti-Mormon books were very inaccurate. I was also beginning to admire the way every Mormon I had met was polite and loving and reasonable even when I was yelling at them, So I decided to comply and resolved to have nothing more to do with the Church.

After some time I began to feel sorry for what I had done in the past, so I met with the missionaries and asked them to convey my apologies to the local ward. They discovered that I had never actually read the Book of Mormon, and they challenged me to do so.

As I began to read, it as though scales fell from my eyes (see Acts 9:18), and I realised that the person I had been trying to convince that the Church was false was not my best friend or any of the people I lectured to, but myself. I had felt threatened by the Church because I had never felt close to God in my own church, but all the Mormons I met had a very real relationship with Him, and that was a huge challenge to my own belief system.

When the missionaries taught me, it was as though I was hearing the gospel for the first time. It was extremely difficult to say, “I was wrong” and go to church that first time, but not one person reproached me, and everyone made me feel welcome. I felt really loved and was finally able to fell the Spirit and know for certain that my Heavenly Father loved me and heard my prayers. Because mine was a special case I was interviewed for baptism by a General Authority. In 1993 I was baptised in the Gaerwen Ward, Chester England Stake.

Unfortunately, my husband still hated the LDS Church and soon forbade me to go to church or have anything to do with the Church or any of the members, so my activity suffered for a number of years. Our marriage eventually disintegrated, and in 2004 we divorced. After that I became fully active. I am no married to a wonderful, intelligent, steadfast returned missionary, and we have three daughters. I have held a number of callings in the Church—nursery leader, Primary president, Relief Society teacher, Gospel Doctrine teacher, Young Women president, and others. My current calling is ward Public Affaris specialist. But I think the calling I enjoyed the most was as newsletter editor of the Porthmadog Post the war newsletter in the Porthmadog branch.

I eventually decided that the way I wanted to use my writing talents was to write LDS fiction. It meant that I could write novels without agents or publishers pressuring me to include offensive content that seems to be expected in novels these days. My first novel was published in 2000, the sequel in 2001, and the third has just been published. It has been a long journey from fighting against the Church in the early 1990s to sharing my knowledge and testimony through this medium of literature.

Even when I was fighting against Him, Heavenly Father never turned his back on me, and even through the hatred that filled me, the Spirit was able to reach me and help me turn my life around.

I cannot begin to describe the joy which fills me each day as I pray with my family, or just walk through the halls of the meetinghouse knowing that this is where I belong and that this is right and good.

I do know that this is Jesus Christ's Church, and I truly rejoice that I have the privilege of being a member of it. I love my Saviour and ma so grateful for all that he has done for me. I am especially grateful for His Atonement, which means that we can be forgiven, no matter what we have done in the past.

Anna Buttimore is a member of the Southend-on-Sea Ward in the Romford England Stake.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anna

    I fully understand where you are coming from. Lets just say that I know of several people who try to "reachout" to members of the Church. I know the director/founder of the group you were associated with and find him to be an interesting person. I have met him several times in past years.

    Several yrs ago, whilst living near their HQ. I tried talking to some of their people about you but you were to "hot" for them to talk about. You are seen to be one of their "failures" and they were obviously embarresed at losing you but the Lord always wins in the end.

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