Hartman Rector, Jr. and his wife Connie were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February of 1952. Seventeen years later, he was called as a General Authority into the First Council of the Seventy for the LDS Church. He has spent his life in devotion to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and wrote a book compiling many conversion stories. Each story is unique and compelling. One story he recounts is of Immo Luschin Von Ebengreuth:
A full-time translator for the Church in Frankfurt, Germany, Immo is a well-educated man who speaks five languages and has studied both medicine and law at the University of Graz, Austria, his home town. He has always been deeply religious. Blessed with a happy marriage which they had deliberately oriented toward religion, Immo and his wife could not accept that that marriage must end at death. In their thoughtful and prayerful approach they found other basic problems too which were not answered by their Roman Catholic faith. For all that, they were reluctant to seek answers outside of their religion.
In his words, Ebengreuth said:
For several months prior to our wedding, my fiancé and I spent our evenings discussing every phase of our future. Among other things, we decided that we would make religion a very substantial part of our marriage. Our children, we felt, would have to be protected from the evils of the world, and this could best be done by making religion the foundation of our moral lives.
On the day of our wedding, a beautiful September morning in 1947, we went to confession, partook of the sacrament of the Eucharist, and were married. We tried to be in harmony with all the ritual injunctions of the Roman Catholic Church. As our four children came along, each was baptized within the week of its birth; later we taught them to pray to our Father in Heaven and went to church with them every Sunday.
After some six years of continued happiness in our married life, I said to Helmi one evening, “You know, I don’t believe that we shall be separated in the hereafter, as the priest who married us said we would be. We shall be together forever.” “But how could this be possible?” she asked.
“I do not know. But one thing I know for sure. If they don’t have this kind of provision yet, they must invent it for our sake.”
One day Helmi was watering and weeding the flower beds [when two Mormon missionaries came] and persuaded her to be seated with them at a nearby table in our garden. They asked her permission to open the discussion with prayer. They asked her about her family, introduced religious matters, and started questioning her. Helmi warded off all inquiry by telling them that they should come back on Saturday when her husband would be home. They then again offered prayer. Helmi says, “This is the thing which impressed me most, and for many years will be stamped into my mind. They included me and my children in their prayer, asking him to bless us and to look after our needs.”
I scarcely paid attention when, on Saturday morning, she told me that two young men, possibly Americans, would come at 2 p.m. and try to see me. At two o’clock I was in my downstairs workshop, working on a birthday present for Helmi, when the doorbell rang.
“Good day. We are missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we have a very important message to impart to you,” said one. He introduced himself as Elder Bryner and his companion as Elder Johnson.
“We want to tell you that there is a living prophet of the Lord today,” he continued, “and that the full gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in our day and age by a modern prophet, Joseph Smith.”
Immo was very uninterested, but after a series of discussions, he came to find that the missionaries had brought him the truth. All of his questions concerning marriage beyond this life were answered. He said: “The elders knew an answer to every question I had; and what is more, it was the right answer, the one I had been looking for all along. I felt as if I was approaching my old hometown after many years of absence. At the conclusion of their second visit the elders asked me to kneel with them and offer the prayer, which I did.” Throughout these discussions, Immo and his family were slowly convinced of the truthfulness of the gospel:
August 28, 1960. This day I was baptized by Elder David F. Johnson, and was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Elder Lowell L. Bryner.
Helmi was baptized two weeks later; the two older children, Astrid, 12, and Hanno, 10, after three months of instruction, were baptized in December of the same year. Gero, who was then 7 years old, and Iris, 5, were later baptized by myself when they were old enough to be baptized.
The most important day in my life, and in Helmi’s life, was the 21st of August, 1961, when we were sealed for time and all eternity in the temple which is located in Switzerland. And I know that if we prove true and faithful, we will not be separated in the hereafter.
I knew this was the truth; I had known it all along. But someone had to come and show it to me by breaking down the walls which tradition and other worldly considerations had built around me. Someone had to be courageous and persistent enough to disregard my reluctance to do as the Lord wanted me to do.
Someone had to tell me. Thank God for the missionaries.
The Lord has called chosen servants in this day and age to bring His gospel to His children. Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are called of God and have a message for you. The truth that we are all yearning for is out there. Life does not have to be confusing. I invite you to meet with the Mormon missionaries so that you can receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and find peace and solace in the plan of our Father in Heaven.
This article was written by Mady Clawson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mady Clawson is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ʺMormonʺ single adult), with a zest for the gospel. She currently studies English, with an emphasis in Professional Writing and Communications at BYU-Idaho.