I was 15-years-old and walking down the halls of my high school in a tiny Colorado town. Other than my family, and two others, we were the only Mormons in town. It was the 70’s, Donny and Marie ruled the airwaves, the hippy movement was in full force and life was a little odd.
The one thing which kept me firmly grounded and was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Church, early morning seminary, church sponsored activities and school rounded out my life. I loved the Gospel and shared it at every turn. I invited my school friends to church dances, dinners, shows and other activities. It was a lot of fun and eventually some of them joined the Church.
And yes, I loved Donny and Marie, as well as the Osmond Brothers. It was rare that I wore t-shirts with pictures on them, but there was one day I decided to wear my brand new Donny and Marie t-shirt to school. I was walking down the hall, from one class to the next when my arm was grabbed and I was spun around. There, standing in front of me was the new girl in school, Linda Wells. It was her first day, but she was an avid Osmond fan and my shirt caught her attention. It was the beginning of a friendship that has lasted 30 plus years.
I followed my usual routine of inviting her to church activities and she eventually began attending Church. Shortly thereafter the missionaries began teaching her the discussions. Every day at lunch we left the high school and went to my home where the missionaries met us, and my mother, for Linda’s lessons in the Gospel. She literally devoured every word they offered. She read the scriptures, she prayed, she wrote in her journal and she peppered the missionaries, and me, with question after question. Every day she had new questions.
And then she prayed. And she knew. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true. That’s when things became difficult. Her parents hit the roof and forbade her from being baptized. She was subjected to beatings, tormentings and verbal abuse in order to keep her from attending Church. And so Linda simply bided her time. When she was allowed, she came to Church with me and when she wasn’t allowed we talked for long hours on the phone about the Gospel, school and life in general.
It was a long two years, but Linda was finally baptized. She is now sealed to a wonderful man and their first son is going into the MTC in a few short weeks. She has a powerful testimony which has never wavered and is utterly and completely devoted to Jesus Christ and His restored Gospel.
I often look back and wonder what particular point started the whole thing. I know that Linda had often wondered what that “something” was that made the Osmonds so different from the rest of the entertainment industry. I know that I happen to wear that shirt that day and it was something familiar to Linda on a day when everything was so new. I know that I loved the scriptures and poured over them, memorizing scripture verses, listening intently in seminary and Church and because I did that, I knew quite a bit about the Gospel, even as a teenager. I know that the Lord answered Linda’s prayers because she was attending one Church after another looking for that “something”, which eventually turned out to be the Gospel.
Linda prayed and Heavenly Father chose to answer her prayers with me. I thank Him every day that I was prepared to share my testimony, knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I do not pretend that I was a major portion of her conversion, but I know whatever small part I did play I will be eternally grateful that Heavenly Father is willing to inspire those willing to listen.