I Joined Islam [Stories of our New Muslim
Conversion Story by Mr. Jeffrey L.
Joining Our Movement Section > Why I Joined Islam [Stories of our New Muslim Brothers/Sisters] > Conversion Story by Mr. Jeffrey L. Graham
Dear Webmaster [www.aaiil.org],
I was raised a Southern Baptist, but never really felt quite right about it. I went to church with my mother (reluctantly), but nearly every sermon was filled with threats of hellfire, and I always ended up being afraid of God. In my teens, I began investigating the claims of other religions, reading the Quran, the Vedas, the Zend-Avesta and several others. I bought a paperback edition of Pickthalls translation of the Quran in a second-hand bookstore and was literally blown away by the strong resemblance to the Bible. It was then that I first began to entertain the notion that Muhammad may really have been the prophet that his followers claimed him to be. My father (a liberal Christian) said that he could have been, as the prophets in the Bible were in all likelihood not the only ones.
Shortly thereafter, I joined the Air Force where I officially joined the Catholic Church. Three months later I was discharged due to a contract dispute and I went to Los Angeles where I spent 4 months in a homeless shelters "rehabilitation program", where I was fed a steady diet of Fundamentalist theology. I returned to my parents home in northern California, shortly thereafter, where my search for Truth continued. This time I expanded my search to include the "Standard Works" of Mormonism, the Tao Te Ching and the works of Confucius and Mencius. I also discovered the Bahai Faith, which I investigated and my brother joined. Eventually, due to constant personality clashes with my parents, I left again and returned to Los Angeles, where I spent another eight months. After that, I found myself homeless again and began travelling all over North and South America. While in Mexico I was introduced to yet another scripture, a Mayan work called the Popul Vuh. While staying at a Pentecostal homeless shelter I heard about the controversial Rajneesh group. The Pentecostals were certain that he was the biblical Antichrist, so I decided to investigate. I spent a couple of months at their commune in Oregon, then left to continue my travels. Eventually my travels led me to Pennsylvania where I met my current wife and where I have lived ever since.
Eventually I acquired another copy of the Quran and began reading it. Meanwhile, I continued trying to force myself to be a Christian. Over the years I experimented with various New-Age religions, always drawn back to the Quran. I also began reading other books on Islam. When I finally got Internet access, I began looking up Islamic sites on the Web. In the town I live in there is a Qadiani mosque, but nobody ever seemed to be there when I went there to investigate, so I decided to type "Ahmadiyya" into a search engine. I then discovered the Lahori sites where I began reading several of the online books. Finally, I decided to "take the plunge" and submitted my pledge form by Email. I received a reply welcoming me to the Ahmadiyya movement and asking for my phone number, which I provided. The following weekend I got a call from someone (I dont remember who, I was half-asleep at the time). She asked me which Ahmadi books I had, and when I told her that I had only been reading the online editions on the website she said she would send me some books. A few days later they arrived and I began studying them. I am very much impressed with the liberal, tolerant attitude of Ahmadiyya and I am now certain I have found the Truth I was searching for all these years.
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