Betty Smith’s search for the ‘true church’ began when she was a very young child. When she was only four years old she began asking about the 'true church' and wondering where we came from. When her mother told her they belonged to the Anglican Church, it just didn’t feel right to her.
Her older brother attended a Baptist Church which was about one mile from where they lived in the Vancouver, BC area so she followed him. She got out of bed, dressed herself, kind of combed her hair (she was only four after all) and walked that mile to church.
The first time she went, she went downstairs to where the children were (in many Christian churches the children do not attend worship services with the adults, but have their own meeting elsewhere in the building, often in the basement), but the lady in charge would not let her in, so she went upstairs to where the adults were meeting, walked right up to the front row and sat down next to a man and his wife. The man kept motioning her to go away, and his wife got upset with him for trying to get rid of Betty, but she wouldn't budge. After he repeatedly did this she turned to him and said “Jesus doesn’t love you because you are mean to little children”. “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:16)
Betty investigated many different churches as she grew up, searching for a church that believed that we lived before we came to earth, that we had a purpose here on earth, that would have a prophet leading it, and believed that we would live again after we die. In this she was rather like Wilford Woodruff. “Wilford Woodruff was in his youth when he first desired to serve the Lord and learn of Him. He said, ‘At an early age my mind was exercised upon religious subjects.’ However, he chose not to join any church. Instead he was determined to find the one true Church of Jesus Christ… ‘I could not find any denomination whose doctrines, faith or practice, agreed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or the ordinances and gifts which the Apostles taught…’” (The Life and Ministry of Wilford Woodruff), (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, (2011), xv–xxxvii)
Years later, when she was married with children, her youngest son began to ask where we came from, why we are here, where do we go when we die, and to what church they belonged. She told him that she hadn’t found the ‘True Church’ yet, and suggested that they should pray and search together. Her husband was not interested in religion but did not oppose her spiritual quest.
When she was around 40 years old, during one period when her husband had decided to quit smoking, he asked Betty to walk to the store with him. She knew he wanted to buy cigarettes, but she thought she would walk the dog at the same time, so she went with him.
“As we were walking there we saw two guys ride down a hill on bicycles, which I thought was weird because most people were coming home at 7:00 in the evening, not going to town. We carried on to the store and suddenly one of the guys on the bikes came riding up to us in the parking lot. I wondered how he got there so fast; just a minute before he had been going in the other direction, and then his companion came riding up too.”
They asked her if she wanted to know about her Heavenly Father and she responded “Yes. Do you mean God?” Her husband had come out of the store and the missionaries asked if they would like to learn more. He said “No, but she would”, so he made an appointment for them to come back the next day while he was at work.
“I tried to scare them away by telling them that I believe in prophets, that they were in the Old and New Testaments, and thought that they should be here today, that we lived before we came to earth, that we are here for a reason, and that we live after we die.”
They said that they believed the same. She said “You are just saying that to pacify me.”, to which they replied, “It is true. It is in the scriptures.”
Everything she told the missionaries she was looking for was answered during the first discussion.
She and her children were baptized not long after, and Betty received her endowments in the Toronto Ontario Temple. Her son served a mission and married an LDS girl. Betty is still happily married, and while her husband still supports what she is doing, he has not joined the church.