Wednesday, June 5, 2013

An Amazing Conversion Story Related First-Hand to Me: Gold Plates

The following experience was related to me and a few other people first-hand by a good friend a few years ago.  I came across it again and want to record it so it isn't lost:
I might not believe this story if it had not happened to me. I am not telling a story that I heard from someone. This was a strange encounter I personally had while teaching as a missionary in Germany back in 1988-1990.

Germany has a lot of political refugees from all over the world. By treaty (after WWII), they are required to accept and protect political refugees who seek asylum from any country Germany invaded during WWII (that was what I was told when I lived there). Anyway, we contacted a family from Turkey, but they were ethnic Kurds. Kurdistan used to be a country, but it was split up between Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. The Kurds still live there, but tend to be a highly oppressed minority in their new countries.

So we were invited in to teach this family. The husband called in his brother to translate for us. I can't remember which language we were speaking, but the brother translated from English or German into Kurdish for the rest of the family. They could also read Arabic. We brought them an Arabic Book of Mormon. So, I'm teaching the First Discussion which at that time went over the First Vision and the story of Joseph translating the BoM. I'm thinking to myself "Right, these people aren't even Christian. They are probably just being polite." But they kept nodding their heads like -- sure, JS talked to some angles. Yup. No problem. Gold plates and ancient scriptures buried for a later date? Of course, how else is it done? That sounds perfectly normal. Prophets lead people. Yup. No problem.

So finally, I just had to stop. I bluntly asked them "Don't you guys have any questions or problems with this? Why does this all seem normal to you?" (kind of funny thinking back on that now). So they start telling me this story about their people. The husband in the family was talking, and his brother translated into German/English for us.

He told us that he doesn't know a lot about their native religion, but the old men in his village growing up passed along the Kurdish culture and traditions (including their pre-Islamic religion which they partially maintain). They told stories of how a long time ago, nobody knows anymore how long, the Kurdish people were lead by a prophet that talked to angels. Angels commanded him where to lead the people. This prophet wrote down the words of the angels, and the record of their religion on metal plates and buried them for safe keeping, but now nobody knows where they are. They have mostly forgotten what their prophet taught, and they look forward someday to having these plates returned. 

True story. Dead serious. The whole family joined the Church, and so did the brother. I baptized the husband. It was the oddest case of investigators being "golden."


Christy said...

Ray, I came across this post recently in my attempt to catch up on my blog reading. Then today I read 2 Nephi 29, specifically verses 12-13, and it brought me right back to this post. I wanted to let you know that I shared it with the members of our seminary class and youth leaders through our seminary class facebook page. Thank you for sharing this, and for all of your posts.

Papa D said...

I'm glad you found it, Christy - and that you were able to share it.