Last week I had dinner with three other people at a law professors’ conference in Washington DC. Two of the other people are Mormons. The third is a friend and former colleague, the daughter of two avowed atheists. As these things happen, we began telling stories about the Church, and my former colleague wondered how it was that I came to be converted to Mormonism. I related a version of my conversion story, which led to more stories around the table.
Some of the stories involved spiritual experiences in connection with a career change, and I affirmed that my family never makes a major move without first obtaining some form of confirmation from the Lord. This confirming voice may be heard in blessings or in prayers or in simple convictions, strongly felt.
Earlier today, I read the story of a BYU football recruit, recently returned from a mission to California, who decided unexpectedly to transfer to the University of Utah. While these sorts of decisions are always complicated by multiple constituencies and considerations, the football player explained to reporters that his family had fasted and prayed, and they felt certain that the Lord approved of the transfer: “I donâ€™t know everything, but I do know that if I go where the Lord wants me to be that Iâ€™ll be able to accomplish” my dreams, he said. (For avid BYU football fans, this tale might seem like the story told to me by a member of my ward in Delaware. Apparently his brother was trying to decide whether to remain active in the Church and went to the temple, fasting, to inquire of the Lord. The brother came out of the temple convinced that the Lord wanted him to leave the Church.)
Some will scoff at this young man, but I can relate to him. My family has moved often, more often than we would like if left to our own devices. We have lived in 12 different states during our 21 years of marriage. At times I envy those who have been able to sink deeper roots than we have done. On the other hand, the lesson that I teach my children is that the Lord has a place for each of us, and we would do well to find it.