Brandt Dotson: you have the floor:
Thank you! During my own personal journey I was discovering more and more about what was wrong about Protestant faiths. I grew up going to many denominations (Wesleyan, Evangelical, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist) and as an adult was actively involved in Pentecostal ministry (non-denominational and Assemblies of God.)
However, the more I read my Bible, the more disconnected I was becoming with other Christians, yet more connected I was becoming with God. Intellectualism and reason is discouraged in non-Catholic Christianity (something I never understood) and the more I was seeking to learn the more discouraged I was becoming. My desire to deep theological training led me to Bible School, but I decided not to attend any because they all had used-car salesman pressure tactics to get me to enroll and they wouldn’t answer questions I had about theology, or help with any direction to find what it is I need to be doing for God.
I just kept reading and reading the Bible. I’ve read it cover to cover many times (I stopped counting at 8) and I began to realize that I had so much willy-nilly doctrines that I had been told from various different places. And the more I studied the Bible, the less I was seeing the truth of God in the Christian Culture. I kept coming to my own conclusions about scripture that wasn’t lining up with what I was taught, yet I was still concerned that maybe I was getting something wrong with my interpretations. All I wanted was a single voice to guide me, and I could not find it.
So I was curious why the Culture was so different than what I was experiencing when reading Paul, John, James, and Peter’s letters. I began researching 1st century Christianity and discovered the Didache. I was amazed at how simple and straight forward it is. I went back to the origins of the Pentecostal movement, and was amazed to find that it was less than a hundred years old! I started researching the early Protestant theologians, particularly Luther and Calvin, and it was easy to see that they were false teachers.
Wait a minute! If these guys were coming up with wacky doctrines, how is it that so many people follow them, considering all you have to do is read the Bible and see they were wrong! It doesn’t take a scholar, either, not divine revelation. Just a basic understanding of Scripture shows it!
So I looked into Catholicism, something I realized that I knew nothing about. All I had was a culture of anti-Catholic behavior that I was raised with. It was easy to see that the criticisms of Catholic beliefs are so off-base that it’s downright comical. I was also amazed at how reasonable the Catholic Faith is! And I could see that many interpretations of my own that I got from the Bible lined up with Catholic beliefs perfectly!
So I read the Catechism, studied the Sacraments, studied the Mass, and it’s all Biblically based! All the while the Holy Spirit was leading me. My eyes opened and realized that countless different contradictory denominations that can’t even agree on simple Gospel couldn’t be right, and a Church that was still standing after two thousand years with the same unchanged belief couldn’t be wrong!
So I started going to Mass and I fell in love. I wept the first time I saw the Eucharist presented and heard the bell, even though I could not yet partake. I joined the RCIA, but I’ve already learned most of what they are teaching (plus I already have Biblical knowledge from my life as an active Christian.) I just need to learn terminology, and there’s a few things here and there that I haven’t quite come to full understanding and belief yet. So here I am with a heart for God and a head like a sponge.
They (Other Christian groups) say you don’t need reason because you have
spirituality, but I realized that what they call spirituality is really just manufactured surface emotion, and real spirituality is so much deeper than that. Anyone can feel warm and fuzzy listening to positive music and hearing encouraging words, but it’s just emotion (not that positive emotions are a bad thing, because the aren’t.) However, one can encounter the same experiential feelings at a secular concert or watching a good movie with a large crowd. It’s no different than what you feel listening to praise music or a motivational sermon in a packed church. Charismatic worship services are entertainment. Basically, they’re all about pleasing man, and not at all about pleasing God. (Of course, anybody in those services who really do have a heart for God are pleasing Him, but it’s about their own heart, and not about the music.) When the word ‘worship’ is used in the Bible, it involves someone on their knees or flat on their face, completely surrendered to God. Worship is NOT pogo dancing, no matter how fun it is. I struggled with that for a very long time, and I even thought something was wrong with me, and I thought I was horrible because I just couldn’t express myself to God in that way, no matter how hard I tried. It really grieved me, especially when others would say I was being prideful for not waving my arms in the air and having a good time. It wasn’t that at all, though! And I’m a musician with a creative mind, so it’s not like I’m some fuddy-duddy who’s scoffing at the kids. But going to mass made me see than church isn’t about me, church is about God. God says multiple times to love Him with all your heart, all your MIND, all your strength and all your soul. Our hearts let us love Him. Our minds let us meditate on Him and praise Him with our tongues, our strength lets us serve Him, and our soul connects us to Him. If you take one or more of those out of the equation you’ll never fully experience Him!
Thank you for everyone who read that long note!
Welcome Home Brandt! Thanks for sharing your story of conversion into the Catholic Church, this big Home of brothers & sisters from all walks of life. It’s good to have you.
To read more about why Brandt is “moving in”, here is a link to his own Blog:
- Our Journey Home to Rome (goodspeedsm.wordpress.com)