Jay has always had a strong faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. He supplemented and nurtured that faith with regular study in the bible. Jay's first notable contact with the church was later in his life when he met his wife, who at the time was a less-active member. They accepted each others religious beliefs and supported one another.
When Jay and Shirley came to Wyoming they began 'looking for a chruch'. Jay attended sacrament meeting with Shirley and she attended other services with him as they searched to a place where they felt comfortable.
Missionaries and visiting teachers came into the picture in 2002. Jay always enjoyed the missionaries company, but each time they came over he made it clear that he was an old baptist. He didn't want the missionaries to think he was a candidate for conversion.
About two years ago Shirley became fully active and has since been endowed. With Shirley's activities in the Church Jay became good friends with many members, and also with the bishop and his wife. Jay's conversion became a team effort between his wife, visiting teachers, members, and the full time missionaries.
Slowly Jay took an interest in the principles of the gospel. Jay was carefully taking baby steps in discussions with his wife, regular visits from faithful visiting teachers(who eventually planned their lessons for Jay), discussions with full-time missionaries, and seeing the loving examples of member friends.
Jay finally agreed to the formal missionary lessons when he felt a connection with Elder Ika and Elder Goff. He began really soaking in the basic principles in the lessons. He listened to the lessons two or three times, but struggled to read the Book of Mormon. Though sometimes it was difficult to see, Jay has always been an honest and sincere seeker of truth. He very carefully pondered on the principles he was being taught.
We provided constant support encouragement, reminding him of the importance of what he was doing. Jay's seeking and study became more intense.
On a day when the bishop, who Jay had a good relationship with, came over to answer some of Jay's questions, the topic of baptism came up. "Let's do it" said Jay, which dropped the jaws of each person in the room. Little did anyone know that Jay had taken it upon himself to study everything he could on baptism. Through his study he came to realise that he needed the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that he couldn't wait until he knew everything, before he was baptised, but that God would require him to take a step of faith by entering the waters of baptism.
Jay wasn't going to turn back now and when we reminded him that he had to be free from coffee before he was baptised, he stopped cold turkey and endured a nauseating headache for the next two weeks.
Despite all opposition that faced him Jay was baptized and has since been ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. Jay has recognized the difference in his life since taking this important step. The conversion of Jay Parker has been an inspiration to the members and missionaries here in Lander. May we each follow the example of this seeker of truth, and take the steps necessary for our eternal progression.