121

Man Raised Jewish Converts to Mormonism

121Dan Klein was born and raised Jewish, but became curious about Latter-day Saints while working at a high adventure camp where the directors were LDS.

“Once the kids went to bed at night, we sat around the fire talking about the gospel,” Dan says. “I was interested in the theology of it, and how it compared to being Jewish. It was merely good conversation at first.”

Then, at the suggestion of a friend, he listened to some tapes by a man who had converted to the LDS Church from Judaism. On the tapes, the man explained that because Jews believe Christ is yet to come, he prayed in the name of the Messiah instead of Jesus Christ.

Dan prayed similarly, asking if he should join the LDS Church. That night, he dreamed he was being baptized.

“I had the same identical dream 10 times that night,” says Dan. “By morning, I was petrified because I knew that I was to join the Mormon Church. It took me a few years after my baptism to gain a testimony of Jesus Christ, to say He’s the Son of God, and really mean it.”

His parents were distraught about his joining the Church. They had him talk to a Rabbi and even sent two Rabbis to his work, who grabbed him under his arms, escorted him out of the building and tried talking him into changing his ways.

“I thought I was going to get thrown into a van and taken to the desert and beaten, deprogrammed or something,” says Brother Klein. “I told them thank you, but no thank you.”

Brother Klein, a member of Aspen Ward, Mesa Kimball East Stake, met his wife, Annette, a week before being baptized. They dated for three years and married in 1983.

“I think I’m a member today because of the support her family gave me. It really was hard,” he says.

Despite Dan’s efforts, the relationship with his parents grew ever more distant after he joined the Church.

“Painful,” is how he describes it now. In spite of that, Brother Klein continues to grow in the Church. He currently serves on the stake high council and as a temple ordinance worker.

“I’ve had opportunities to be in the temple when no one was there, except security, and I’ve felt His presence. I don’t understand it, but I know how much He loves and knows me,” says Dan. “He’s been with me when I’ve had lows, and when I’ve had great highs.”

The LDS Church and Judaism closely parallel each other with their feelings about family, traditions, and the need for religion in our lives, Dan says. The biggest difference is the belief in Jesus Christ.

“I told my parents, just because I joined this religion, just because I believe that Jesus is the Christ, and just because I tithe my income, I don’t understand why it separates us, and how they can put that stopping block between us. It’s sometimes not easy to swallow. We’ve got a great family,” Brother Klein says.

“My hope is that my parents find the same church-gospel-guidance in this life as I have. If not, I can’t wait to do their temple work. I want to be able to go to heaven and not say, ‘I told you so.’ I want to say, ‘Mom, Dad, I told you.'”