If you hadn’t grown up in the church, would you have converted? Of course it’s impossible to answer accurately (unless you are in fact a convert) but this is a question that has plagued me for all of my adult life. There are so many factors that determine the experience like where you live, how you are introduced to it, your age, current decade, etc. In addition, so much of who we are is determined by our living of the gospel principles, I mean, who’s to say I wouldn’t be a raging alcoholic?
So let’s set up the parameters to better answer this question. Assume your current age in your current life situation being introduced to the gospel by someone like you. In other words, the person introducing you to the church is not John Redelfs, John Hatch or A Random John (unless you are John Redelfs, John Hatch or A Random John), it’s a person with your same sensitivities, lifestyle and demeanor talking with you about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the church.
If you are already a convert, would you have still converted if this were the circumstance? Or was your experience unique in that you probably wouldn’t have listened otherwise?
I always like to think that I would convert. In my mind the Mormon understanding of the gospel makes much more sense than the alternatives… by far. I would have probably heard stuff about polygamy and seerstones and whatnot but if presented to me in the way that I think I would present it (big picture explanations with a few “I don’t knows” all accompanied by the Spirit), I think the larger theology would have won out. I think I’d convert.
Yes, I understand that this game is impossible, but who cares, play along.