Elder Braeden Myles Smith:
My companion, Elder Johnson, and I were serving in Niagara Falls, Ontario. One night we went tracting and felt inspired to go knock on some doors on a particular street. That was when we met Pete.
Brother Pete Forrester:
I found out who the “Mormons” are one summer evening in August of 2015, when two missionaries came knocking at my door, introducing themselves as Elder Smith and Elder Johnson, representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My response was “You’re who? Representing what church?” because I had never heard of them.
Because it was late, they asked if they could return another night so they could explain the Church to me, to which I agreed. They returned the following Monday and spent an hour explaining the basics of the Church, and asked if they could make a return visit to explain in more detail.
He accepted a Book of Mormon and asked a question about Adam and Eve, a question neither me nor my companion had the answer to. We directed him to 2 Nephi chapter 2 hoping that would maybe help.
We returned the following Monday and, to our surprise, he said, “That chapter you gave me answered my question. It makes so much sense”. I’ve gone back and read 2 Nephi chapter 2 multiple times since, and to this day I can’t find where it could have answered his question. However, I know the spirit was working on Pete and helping him.
After a few visits with the missionaries, I became more intrigued to learn more. I joined them at the Church one Sunday for services, not knowing it lasted three hours. There was something about that first church visit. I left with a giddy-up feeling I hadn’t felt in years.
My discussions with Elders Smith and Johnson became more intense as they explained to me the doctrines and covenants of the church, about repentance and baptism.
At this point, I asked myself if it is worth it to be part of this Church. No smoking, no coffee, no alcohol, no illicit drugs! But with guidance through prayer and believing in the Book of Mormon, plus the help of the missionaries, all is possible.
We continued to visit Pete every Monday for several months. Elder Johnson left and I got a new companion who was brand new in the field, but God had prepared him to meet Pete.
Pete had struggled trying to quit smoking cigarettes for many years, but never could. As we invited him to live the Word of Wisdom, Pete seemed hesitant to try again.
This new companion had had problems with the Word of Wisdom before his mission and presented Pete with his one year sober chip to remind him that he could do it. Later, after this new companion was transferred, Pete told us that sometimes he wanted to smoke, but every time he would look at that chip and his desire left.
Later with my new companion, Elder Vargas, we felt impressed to teach Pete about family history. As we put in as much information as he knew, FamilySearch gave a suggestion that his grandfather was the same person as on the record we were looking at.
Sure, enough it was, and with attaching the record came a long line of genealogy with the names and dates already inputted.
We then went on a relative finder website that showed Pete was related to most of the prophets, apostles and famous church members. We did some research and think that Pete’s ancestors joined the church, but fell away at one point and never went west with the saints.
Elder Smith and his companions became my mentors, along with the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and President Monson. I owe these people and the Church for returning me back to Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Saviour. I did choose to join the church. I have chosen at the age of 67 to repent and be baptized.
I never saw Pete get baptized, I was transferred shortly before, but the day I saw Pete in baptismal clothes in a picture is one of the happiest days of my life.
I know that I was called to Ontario for a reason, and Pete Forrester was one of the reasons.
At my first anniversary of joining the church, on January 8, 2017, I bore my first testimony and explained my first year of experiences as follows:
“After one year as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I celebrate two things. The first is my testimony to my brothers and sisters of the St. Davids Ward, and the second is my 68th birthday, the latter not as important as being a new church member.
“Being accepted into the Church, and baptized along with the laying of hands upon my head brought unto me a real spiritual feeling. Having not gone to church for over 40 years, I’ve learned that I have a lot to atone for, plus a lot to learn.
“Even though I read the entire Book of Mormon I had to humble myself as to how little I know yet, how much I’ve learned, and how much there is yet to know.
“Every night, after working all day, I am tired, but even at the age of 68, I am never too tired to read the scriptures and pray. There lies your inner strength. In the words given in James 1:5 we are promised, ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.’
“Reading the Book of Mormon was and is a good source of learning. Understanding it at times can be perplexing, but having faith, praying, attending church regularly, and asking questions to get answers helped me.
“I found that, though I am not perfect, I’ve gained inner peace with myself. I am a true believer in the Book of Mormon as the true words of God. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen”
Now ask me who the Mormons are and what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is. I know, because I am one of them now.