B. first met the Church in a somewhat unorthodox way. He often wrote articles in Polish for Wikipedia—one of which was about the early Latter-day Saint apostle, Parley Pratt. His research for this article in 2013, in addition to his work on one about Orson Pratt, led him to email back and forth a few times with missionaries serving in Wrocław, Poland. At the time, nothing beyond simple research for his articles came from this interaction.
Two years later, B. discovered the ability to communicate with Polish-speaking returned missionaries through a chat feature on mormon.org. He began to read the Book of Mormon and learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Though unable to leave his home due to cerebral palsy, he texted with missionaries until the summer of 2015, when he determined that he wasn’t ready to make the changes necessary to continue progressing. Thereafter, he had sporadic contact with missionaries over the next five years.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led B. to realize that something was missing from his life. Around this time, an elder serving in Poland replied to B.'s comment on a Church forum about President Nelson’s historic meeting with Pope Francis. As a result, B. reached out to the sisters serving in Wrocław. It took time, but he resumed his gospel studies through video calls on Messenger and a few in-person meetings. Despite enormous family opposition, he began attending church, meeting branch members, and even attending weekly Institute classes—all online. All the while, he received a lot of support from close friends and members around the world.
The online meetings continued throughout the summer of 2020, until B. finally decided to be baptized! His initial date, set for mid-September, had to be postponed due to COVID restrictions (i.e. the closure of pools and no in-person gatherings.) Nevertheless, B. remained firm in his faith by participating in online church meetings and using technology to stay in touch with members. By November, a new idea began to take root—with the help of the branch, B. would travel over 300 kilometers to Warsaw for his baptism. His new date was set for January 9th!
The plan came together as branch members willingly volunteered to help get B. to the baptismal font in Warsaw. Despite unexpected car troubles and other delays, the local members (including the branch president) helped this good brother reach his destination safe and sound after a five-hour journey. Now the baptism could finally begin! The Lord had long been preparing B. and those around him for this special moment. The Spirit was so strong at the baptismal service, especially when B. bore his testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. His understanding had gone from a Wikipedia entry about early Church leaders to a firm conviction about the Lord's true Church.
Sisters Jensen, Azimi-Tabrizi, and Smith
Poland Warsaw Mission