A Mormon’s faith journey leads him to South America and back home to Utah, where he finds the biblical truth he had been seeking.
On some Sunday mornings, you can find Quinton Jones reading a Scripture lesson at Light of the Valley, Layton, Utah, but he will tell you he read the Bible quite differently just a few years ago.
The Book of Mormon
Quinton was born and raised in Kaysville, Utah, 25 miles north of Salt Lake City. Living in an area with a high Mormon population, it was no surprise that he was brought up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). In fact, relatives on his father’s side have belonged to the church dating back to its origins in the 19th century.
Church was important for Quinton and his family. “We were doing three-hour blocks of church. We would have a sacrament meeting and then break into Sunday school and then into men’s and women’s groups,” Quinton recalls.
After turning 18, Quinton was ready to go on a two-year mission trip for the church—an experience that is expected of every male member. His brother had previously completed such a mission. All of Quinton’s friends were preparing for a mission too.
Quinton hoped to go on an international mission, but he was not responsible for that decision. The church was. Acknowledging that he possessed little skills in conversational Spanish, Quinton says, “I was interested in going somewhere Spanish-speaking because I wanted to learn Spanish.”
And an international mission it would be! “They send out a packet, and this is typically a pretty big thing that you’ll get all your family together to open your mission call and see where you got called to go,” Quinton says. The destination listed in the packet? Uruguay.
So it was off to Colombia for six weeks of Spanish-speaking instruction and witnessing training.
With instruction and training completed, Quinton was now paired with a more experienced missionary in Uruguay. He was looking forward to the work because he understood that the potential for sharing his faith was great. “I believe Uruguay is the most atheistic country in the Americas,” Quinton observes.
The largest organized church represented in Uruguay is the Roman Catholic Church. But, Quinton notes, “I think most of the people I talked to were [members] just on paper. They really weren’t invested in it. Most people would say they were busy with something and couldn’t talk to the missionaries.”
A Greek interlinear Bible
As the days went by and the number of attempted visits to people’s homes increased, Quinton was interested in understanding his Mormon faith better. So he asked his parents to send him a Greek interlinear Bible—a New Testament Bible with the Greek text and an accompanying word-for-word English translation. His parents obliged.
Quinton’s church had taught him that, along with the Book of Mormon, the King James Version of the Bible was the Word of God “as far as it is translated correctly.” Now Quinton could find out for himself.
His initial use of the Greek interlinear Bible convinced him that his Mormon faith was on solid ground. “I was pretty firmly convinced that the LDS Church was true,” he says. “So the view I had was the more I learned about the Bible, the more evidence I’m going to have to explain to people why the church is true.”
The pandemic shortened his two-year mission trip by two months, so it was back to Kaysville. Receiving academic credit for his Spanish work in Uruguay, Quinton enrolled at Weber State University with an interest in pursuing a career in medicine. A phlebotomy course led him to rethink his plans. Leery of working with red and white blood cells, Quinton figured a career in working with numbers in the red or black would better suit him. So he changed his program to accounting.
While taking courses for his accounting degree, Quinton began watching videos of people debating content in the Bible. “I think that, more than anything, is where I started to question things because I was seeing people present really sound arguments from the Bible about things that were completely different than what I’d been taught when I was growing up,” Quinton notes.
Viewing the debates led Quinton back to his Bible, which he was now understanding differently than what he had been taught in the past.
In his Bible reading, Quinton studied one teaching of the Bible at a time and compared his new understanding with his prior one. “I would study a doctrine and think, Okay, I’ve fortified my position on this,” Quinton states.
Watching videos of people debating the Bible and reading the Bible on his own brought about a desire to attend a non-LDS church. But which would it be?
Quinton first started attending worship services at a local Reformed Baptist church and then switched to a Presbyterian church. He worshiped at the Presbyterian church for about a year. During that time, Quinton realized that he wanted to get baptized. “So I started studying Baptism, and that’s what brought me ultimately to Lutheranism,” he says.
But which Lutheran church would it be? “Lutheran churches near me” was Quinton’s directive for a Google search on his phone.
Quinton had a little knowledge of Lutheranism, so he filtered out some of the search results for doctrinal reasons. What remained was a WELS church. And it was located close to his home! But what was WELS all about? “I didn’t know really a lot about WELS, to be completely honest,” Quinton confesses.
A church Bible
Not knowing what to expect, Quinton showed up for the Sunday morning service at Light of the Valley. Jonathan Klein, the congregation’s pastor, greeted Quinton and, after the service, invited him to his home for supper. On a later visit to Quinton’s home, Klein invited Quinton to attend a Bible information class. Quinton readily accepted the invitation.
“It was a small Bible class with just two students: Quinton and a recent widower who had grown up Lutheran but hadn’t attended church in about 30 years,” Klein recalls. “With just the three of us, we got into some really deep discussions.”
After completing the class, Quinton received what he had been longing for: Baptism. In a Sunday morning worship service in spring 2023, Quinton was baptized, and he and the other participant in the Bible class were confirmed. Recalling that day, Quinton says, “It was stressful but good!”
Klein says, “Quinton invited his parents to attend. Although his parents are still actively practicing their LDS faith, they have been supportive of Quinton’s faith journey.” Quinton’s parents were present to see him baptized and confirmed.
Within a few months of joining Light of the Valley, Klein asked Quinton if he was interested in getting into a rotation of lay Bible readers for the Sunday morning service. Klein explains, “I do this with laymen as a bit of a training ground, as I have them prepare the introduction to the reading. I proofread, edit, and offer suggestions on what they come up with. Then they present to the congregation on their assigned day.”
Quinton agreed and worked on his first assignment. He recalls, “When I wrote, I wasn’t thinking about time, and I wrote a really long introduction. So when I got up to read, it just kept going, and I’m thinking, Why did I write so much?”
Writing and reading shorter introductions now, Quinton reads a Scripture lesson in church on one Sunday each month.
He is preparing for another church role as well. Says Klein, “When I learned that Quinton was in school for accounting, I asked if he would be interested in learning how to serve as our financial secretary.”
Quinton Jones’ faith journey led him full circle: to South America and then back home to Kaysville, Utah. And close to home, he found the truth, the biblical truth he had been seeking.
Quinton looks back on the last few years with gratitude: “My relationship with God has changed a lot now that I have justification by faith. I mean, yes, it is still obviously super important to keep the commandments, but ultimately my keeping of the commandments of God isn’t meriting anything in heaven. For me, it’s just through Christ. It’s not my obedience at all. It’s what Jesus did.”
The means that the Lord used to bring about this change in Quinton was the Bible, God’s Word. It is the same powerful tool that the Lord can use to work change in others. Says Klein, “I know that God will use Quinton to reach other searching LDS people and bring them to the gospel.”
Open the door
As Quinton Jones looks back on his days as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), he wonders what might have happened if Christians had shared their faith with him. “Most of the time, people wouldn’t talk to me, because either they weren’t interested in talking to the missionaries or, if they were, they would just say, ‘Okay, you can tell me what you believe.’ I wish people had challenged me and dug into certain topics more and explained what they believed and how it was different.”
What can you do when LDS missionaries knock on your door? Jonathan Klein, pastor at Light of the Valley, Layton, Utah, shares these tips:
- Don’t pretend you aren’t home. God brought these people to your door to give you an opportunity to share the Savior of the world with them. Value them the same way God values you—in the perfect life and sacrificial death of Jesus.
- Invite them in. Get comfortable. Be kind. Offer them water or lemonade. Many people, including Christians, will not give them the time of day.
- Show interest. Ask them where they come from, why they wanted to serve on a mission, and how their time on their mission is going.
- Confidently declare that you are perfect before God right now because Jesus substituted his perfect life for yours. Tell them you want them to know and have that as well. (Most LDS members silently struggle with this. You may be the only one to share this message with them.)
- Don’t debate. Fight your criticism with curiosity. Ask questions, like how they define basic Bible words, to understand better what they believe. Questions are better than statements.
- Invite them to talk again, even scheduling it so that you can come prepared.
Learn more> about sharing your faith with LDS missionaries through the Please Open the Door program at Truth in Love Ministry, tilm.org.
Author: James Pope
Volume 111, Number 02
Issue: February 2024
- Confessions of faith: Matt and Danielle Cosgrave
- Confessions of faith: Gary Lupe
- Confessions of faith: Nick and Lacey Wagner
- Confessions of faith: Salvador Contreras
- Confessions of faith: Lynne Eby
- Confessions of faith: Colleen Thorson
- Confessions of faith: Boggs family
- Confessions of faith: Four generations
- Confessions of faith: John Jia
- Confessions of faith: Alicia Heintz
- Confessions of faith: Clark Woods
- Confessions of faith: Travis and Frankie
- Confessions of faith: Jason LeMay
- Confessions of faith: Yaz Rodriguez
- Confessions of faith: Jack Cotter
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- Confessions of faith: Caroline and Lawrence McCatty
- Confessions of faith: Shawn Jacobs
- Confessions of faith: Roy Mendoza and Paul Moronczyk
- Confessions of faith: Allen and Rosalind Braun
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- Confessions of faith: Cristina Urbanek
- Confessions of faith: Anthony and Alex Lleonart
- Confessions of faith: Qiang Wang
- Confessions of faith: Sherry Deaton
- Confessions of faith: Holly Vaden and the Thorsons
- Confessions of faith: Delaney Leffel
- Confessions of faith: Mark Hartman
- Confessions of faith: Daryl Fleck
- Confessions of faith: Kalbach
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- Confessions of faith: Kang family
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- Confessions of faith: Nick Mount
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- Confessions of faith: Anna Linden
- Confessions of faith: Steve Yetter
- Confessions of faith: Ken Blaine
- Confessions of faith: Casy Phillips
- Confessions of faith: Quinton Jones