Lorraine Hamilton of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia may not be easy going when it comes to matters of principle. Take her fruit orchard, for example.
“When I took over a hard-pan parking lot with the idea of planting apple and pear trees, people laughed at me,” she recalls. “We planted together, Harvey and I. Now it’s a lawn with apples and pear trees.”
Her parking lot orchard was, perhaps, a bit like what the Lord had to work with when He sent missionaries bearing the gospel to Lorraine and her husband, Harvey. At first, the answer was “No, no, no. It never felt right.” But the Master Gardener and his servants saw potential in the souls of Lorraine and Harvey and they persisted in tilling, planting and nourishing.
Though Harvey was more congenial toward the sisters, his interest was somewhat feigned. “One of the sisters passed me the Book of Mormon and said, ‘Will you read this?’ and I said ‘Sure, I will,’ knowing that I was lying.” The lie caused him to feel some guilt, “So I read the book from cover to cover. I didn’t get anything out of it. I didn’t understand it,” Harvey continued.
When the missionaries returned, Harvey told them that he was confused because of all the names that he had never heard before. “How am I to know if this is true, if this is real?” he demanded. The sisters counsel echoes that of all missionaries: “Pray to Heavenly Father,” they said.
“I had forgotten how to pray,” Harvey recalls. “She took me to the book of Matthew and showed me the Lord’s prayer. She said that when I pray from the heart and ask, I will receive from Heavenly Father knowledge whether the book is true or not.” Harvey took the missionaries and the Lord at their word. “I expected this bolt of lightning to come and strike me, but that didn’t happen. Nothing happened,” he remembers.
It wasn’t until six years later, following open-heart surgery, that Harvey found himself with time on his hands. He re-read the Book of Mormon and then pursued the Doctrine and Covenants. “I was reading where it says that each of us is a missionary, and it hit me. I was looking down at my page and it was soaking wet. I was crying and couldn’t stop crying.”
Upstairs Lorraine heard her husband’s sobs and panicked. “He’s having a heart attack!” she thought. As she ran up the stairs, Harvey announced his epiphany: “It’s the truth. I finally did it! I understand.”
Though he told his wife that they needed to be baptized, Lorraine was still uncertain. “I didn’t want to argue with her,” he says. “I felt that if I pushed her, I would lose her, but I loved her too much.”
Harvey continued attending church meetings, often without his sweetheart. “Harvey had asked me for years,” says Lorraine, “because he wanted to get baptized. I said, ‘We were baptized when we were babies and we shouldn’t have to get baptized again.’”
Lorraine’s reluctance was not a sign of resolution, but of time needed to ponder. “I read the Book of Mormon, though I had difficulty because my eyes were bad,” she remembers. “I got a large print edition and read it. Then I asked the Lord, “Is this what is right?’”
Lorraine says at that moment a sensation came over her. “It was a sensation that I get when I ask about what I should do. I knew then that joining the Church was the right thing to do.”
When she returned home, she approached her husband and told him about what she had felt. “Well, it took long enough!” he exclaimed. Then Lorraine wondered aloud, “What’s the next step?”
The couple contacted the missionaries, resumed studying the gospel and prepared for entrance into The Church of Jesus Christ. In February 2013, Lorraine and Harvey Hamilton were baptized at the Yarmouth chapel.