Saturday, June 1, 2013

"They Loved Me for Me" by Nici Baer

Today, my friend Nici Baer is here to share her conversion story with us.  I am so glad to call Nici my friend.  When I met her at a movie night at a friend's house a few years ago, I knew that she would add some color to my little life and to our Mormon community...and she has.  I appreciate the perspective that Nici brings, and her example reminds me that there is room for everyone in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Here's Nici:

So my family is actually descended from Mormons.   

My mother was baptized as a child.  Both of my parents grew up in Utah, but moved after they got married.  They lived in California, where I was born, and my mother attended church when I was little.  But my dad’s job transferred us to Peru, then Australia, and finally to Oman (a small country in the Middle East).  

While we lived outside of the U.S., my sister and I attended a non-denominational Sunday school that was held after our regular school (Sunday was just a regular work/school day over there, our weekends were on Thursday and Friday, due to the Muslim holy day).   

By the time we moved back to the States (Oklahoma), we just didn’t go to church.  

We moved to Bogota, Colombia after that, and then it was time for college.  My parents (still claiming Utah as their home, even though my sister and I had never lived there) decided that I could pick from any school in Utah to attend, about which I was NOT pleased.  But since they were paying, I really couldn’t argue.  

So I went off to Salt Lake City for college, you can’t live in Utah and not know a Mormon.  

Pretty soon, the majority of my friends were all Mormon (some more active than others).  

I had met Mormons in the past, and they always invited me to church with them, or to go to some other activity.  And I hardly knew these people!  Yet, they were always trying to get me to go somewhere with them.  I found it quite annoying.

But my close friends were different.  We were just friends.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t go to church on Sunday.  It didn’t matter that I drank latte's.  We were just friends. Period.

Then one summer, one of my more active Mormon friends introduced me to some of her other friends--guys who had just returned from serving missions.  We all started hanging out during summer, and more of their friends started coming home from their missions.  

I attended a LOT of homecomings that summer, which had me wanting to know more about this church.  

I had become good friends with one of those return missionaries (Rocky) and started asking him a lot of questions.  At one point, he suggested I read The Book of Mormon, because it might help answer some questions.  So I started to read.  And it led to more questions.  

I am pretty sure I wore him out with my questions, so he suggested that I start to meet with the missionaries.  

Of course, the first thing they asked me to do was to get baptized.  And I said no.  I needed to do more research.  

I continued to read the BoM while we continued to meet.  I then remember reading (or maybe the missionaries told me) that I just had to pray and ask to know if their teachings are true.  So I did that, and I had this feeling that I knew all along that it was true.  

So then I thought, “What next?”  And again, I was reading in the BoM, and I can’t remember where it was, but it basically said that once you know that it is true, then you get baptized.  So I figured it was time to get baptized. 

Rocky was the one who baptized me, and confirmed me.  Since this is just the story of my conversion, I will stop there, although truthfully, this was just the beginning. 

That was 13 years ago, and I can’t imagine where my life would be if I had taken a different 

Heavenly Father knew me (and all my weaknesses) and presented me with people at a time when I would be receptive.  He knew that 2 years, or even 1 year earlier and I would have rejected it.  He also knew the people to send to me.  

Even though many of my friends weren’t active members of church at the time, that was EXACTLY who I needed.  They showed me that you don’t have to be perfect to be a Mormon.  And they loved me for ME; not as a potential convert, not as someone to save.  That is what got through to me.  

And I have to give a lot of credit to my husband, Rocky (yes, I married that good friend/return missionary who also baptized me).  He took a chance on me, nose ring and all (even though his family was pretty shocked when he brought me home).  And even when I didn’t want to get baptized, he still loved me.  

All of the love that I felt from all these people is what had the biggest impact on my conversion.  I am glad that Heavenly Father was able to reach me through them.  

Thanks, Nici!

CLICK HERE to read more testimonies on my site for Hug a Convert Day and click the button above to read the testimonies on the official home of Hug-a-Convert Day!


  1. Such a great story of conversion! I love stories like this. Who are we to judge when someone is or isn't ready to hear the gospel, that's up the Lord :)

  2. GREAT story. Thanks for telling it.