My name is Christine Havercroft Burton. I was first contacted by the missionaries when I was seventeen years old. I was raised in England. At the time religious education was compulsory. Each morning the Lord’s Prayer was recited and Church of England hymns were sung at our school.
When I first met with the missionaries I learned they had knocked on our door before, and my grandmother had sent them packing. When they knocked on my door this time they were hoping no one would answer because they had not been well received the first time. This time my mother answered the door and, although she was not interested, I let them know I was. I know that the missionaries were led to my door.
Since I was underage, I had to have permission to have the discussions. My parents were reluctant. They thought the Mormon Church was a cult. But they also thought it would be another fad of which I would soon tire.
I had the discussions at the home of a member family who fellowshipped me. I was so surprised the first time I attended an LDS meeting. I had imagined older people – serious and staid – but to my delight they were very friendly and happy.
My dad, with some concern, noticed that I began saying, “we believe” as opposed to “they, the Mormons, believe” this or that. The missionaries challenged me to get baptized and I accepted. I had turned eighteen and no longer needed my parent’s permission. In my family’s wildest imagination they did not imagine I could embrace anything religious.
My parents, sister, paternal grandmother and a few school friends, attended my baptism. Afterwards I felt so clean and pure. I did not want to say or do anything that would make that feeling go away. When Elder Burton (whom I later married) confirmed me, the Spirit seemed to enter every fiber of my being. Tears flowed.
Reactions were mixed. My uncle told me, “Don’t fool yourself, Christine.” My maternal grandparents did not attend. My mother said to my father, “there must be something to this religion, Roy.” My sister Jill took the discussions and was baptized. Jill and I would pray every night that our parent’s hearts would be softened. It took time and huge lifestyle changes, but they were baptized. We were sealed in the London temple eighteen months later.
There were trials. Some family members believed we had been hoodwinked. Some believed the family had been split apart. My parents were accused of joining only so they would not “lose” their daughters. Jill and I were two of only three members at our high school. The other member was a teacher and our bishop. We were teased by our peers, but I had my testimony and the witness of the Holy Ghost.
From our conversions there have been seven missions served and twelve temple marriages. It really did change a lot of lives.