Led by the Lord

Thanks to the many people who help with every conversion, either directly or indirectly

Bridget Leon

My journey to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a profound experience of seeking truth, finding answers to spiritual questions, and feeling the transformative power of the gospel in my life. This faith journey has been an incredible transformation that I am grateful for. It is a story filled with moments of reflection, growth, the unwavering support of a dear friend, and the wonderful teachings of missionaries.

Children singing

My early religious background

I grew up in a family that was not actively involved in any particular faith and did not attend church. However, when I was quite young, I had the opportunity to join my neighbourhood friends in Sunday School occasionally. I cherished those moments and always felt a sense of belonging and spiritual connection. By the time I entered my senior year of high school, I felt an emptiness and recognized the need to pursue faith more actively.

Motivated by my yearning for something more, I began attending a church conveniently located down the street. I became an active member of this vibrant faith community. Years later I married my husband, a devoted follower of the same faith, and together we instilled in our four children the deep-rooted values and teachings of that tradition.

As time passed and our children left home, I experienced a growing sense of disconnect and complacency. Driven by a deep desire for a more profound spiritual connection, I embarked on a quest for truth, exploring other denominations and even a non-denominational community.

Bridget Leon and Shawna Murph
Bridget Leon and Shawna Murph

Into my life comes a remarkable friend

It was during this search for spiritual renewal and guidance that I had the privilege of meeting my dear friend, Shawna Murph, through a shared involvement in a health company. Although Shawna resided in Reno, Nevada, our friendship blossomed, and we delved into deep conversations. She mentioned that she was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intrigued by her faith, I expressed my desire to learn more. Shawna willingly and openly shared her faith with me, patiently answering my countless questions (and believe me, I had many!).

Bridget Leon and Amy Murph
Bridget Leon and Sister Amy Murph

Learning that her daughter, Amy, was serving a mission in Kentucky, I felt inspired to ask if she could teach me. Given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic Amy, or as I called her, Sister Murph, was already teaching online through Zoom. She was granted permission from her mission president to teach me as well. Shawna was also able to attend our lessons and provided invaluable support and insight.

Bridget Leon and Sister Annelise Ebert
Bridget Leon and Sister Annelise Ebert

So it began, week after week, month after month, we engaged in lessons and meaningful discussions.

My spiritual quest intensifies

During one of my early lessons with Sister Murph and her companion, I was encouraged to pray sincerely and ask Heavenly Father if He loves me, if He sees me, and, if He is aware of me. I did this with an open heart and a genuine desire for guidance. Through prayer my perspective began to shift. I became increasingly aware of Heavenly Father’s presence and His love for me. I realized that my Heavenly Father had been guiding me all along.

Stephen Murph, Bridget Leon and Shawna Murph
Stephen Murph, Bridget Leon and Shawna Murph

Throughout the lessons with Shawna, Sister Murph, and each one of her companions, seeds of truth were planted, and my mind and heart were opened.

Besides acts of kindness from others, I was inspired by words written by Church leaders, both present and ancient. Sister Nadauld [Young Women General President] encouraged us to pray, then pause, stop, and listen to the feelings of my heart (Margaret D. Nadault, “Follow the Light,” Ensign, April 1999). This resonated with my experience.

I was further inspired by a talk given by Sister Bonnie Cordon [Primary General Presidency] where she emphasized the importance of trusting in the Lord. She quoted the powerful words from Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Bonnie H. Cordon, “Trust in the Lord and Lean Not,” Ensign, April 2017).

Book of Mormon

Additionally, a scripture from the Book of Mormon reaffirmed my decision to trust in God. “And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).

After much prayer and contemplation, all of this eventually led me to the realization that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was where I belonged.

Elder Cole Henline and Elder Joe Barlow
Elder Cole Henline, Bridget Leon, and Elder Joe Barlow

In 2022 I was baptized in Reno, Nevada, where Shawna lives. Her dear husband, Steve, confirmed and blessed me with the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit. Sister Murph, who was still on her mission, joined us via Zoom. I now reside in the Etobicoke Ward.

After baptism

My husband has been supportive of my decision. Although we now attend different churches on Sunday mornings, we still ensure that God is the center of our lives and continue to connect through prayer and scripture readings.

Stephen and Shawna Murph standing in front of the Reno Nevada Temple
Stephen and Shawna Murph standing in front of the Reno Nevada Temple

Throughout the year I have been attending the temple, initially participating in proxy baptisms and confirmations, and later taking part in the initiatory, endowment, and sealing ordinances for my ancestors. It has been a most sacred and peaceful experience. The spiritual moments within those sacred walls have instilled in me a desire to continue doing temple work and to participate in the ongoing work of salvation.

Recently I received my own temple ordinances in the Reno Nevada Temple. Additionally, during my journey to Reno, I had the wonderful opportunity to personally meet Sister Amy Murph and Sister Annie Ebert, the missionaries who guided and walked alongside me. It was a joyous occasion to connect with them in person.

Wet leaves

My gratitude is eternal

Clearly, Heavenly Father has had a plan for me, as He does for all of us. He has blessed me during my life and has surrounded me with beautiful, kind, and loving people. In sharing my conversion story, I hope to convey my profound gratitude for the unwavering love and support of cherished friends like Shawna and dedicated missionaries like Sister Murph, who walk alongside us on our faith journeys, offering guidance, kindness, and love. I firmly believe the Lord works through this Christ-like kindness of others to lead us to the truth and back to Him. I am eternally grateful.

 Bridget Leon in front of Reno Nevada Temple
Bridget Leon in front of the Reno Nevada Temple

I have experienced a profound transformation in my spiritual life. My relationship with Heavenly Father has deepened as I have learned to communicate with Him through sincere prayer. I have gained a greater understanding of His love for me and His personal involvement in my life. I have come to understand that the heavens are open, and that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the words of God. I bear witness that Jesus Christ lives and that He is our Savior and Redeemer.

My testimony continues to grow as I am surrounded by a wonderful community of believers.