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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Margaret Edwards, January 20, 2002. Interview R-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Conversion to Pentecostalism and later conversion to Mormonism

Edwards discusses her religious conversions during her adulthood. Having been raised in a Baptist family, Edwards first explains that she converted to Pentecostal Holiness when she became an adult. Over the years she became increasingly disillusioned with Pentecostalism because her pastor had counseled her to stay with her abusive husband because she had taken a vow to stay with him until death. By 1998, Edwards had left her husband and the Pentecostal Holiness Church and explains that she found Mormonism appealing because she felt accepted by the missionaries who initiated her conversion.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Margaret Edwards, January 20, 2002. Interview R-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BARBARA COPELAND:
Exactly. Now that you've mentioned the Mormon church I guess this would be a good time where I could just ask you some questions about that. You were raised in the Southern Baptist tradition, and you continue going to the Baptist church.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Well, at one point after I got grown I converted over to the Holiness.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay. Okay the Pentecostal Holiness.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right. Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
At what point did you decide to convert to the Mormon church or how did you first become a Mormon?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Well, the missionaries came by my house. They asked me was I interested in hearing about the truth, the Gospel and I told them yeah. But I was busy then, and I asked if they could come back. So they were on it. They were back the next day. They went just like that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
The very next day. During that time were you still an active member in the Pentecostal?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
No, I had left the Pentecostal church because I had gotten at the point where I was disillusioned by it by the things I saw in the Pentecostal church.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh really. What were some of those—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
I was very, very disillusioned. Now I had bad experiences in the church because okay my husband was abusive, physically abusive to me. I would go to my pastor and his wife and tell them that because they were supposed to have been counseling me. They would tell me that I had to stay with my husband until death. You made that vow; you have to stay with him. They told me you married a devil, you're a devil until you die.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh really.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh my gosh. Well were, did they counsel him as well?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
No.
BARBARA COPELAND:
They didn't feel like he needed counseling that it was you that needed the counseling.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Yeah, they felt like I needed it.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay. So with that you just felt disillusioned and—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
With the whole thing the whole church at that time. I was disillusioned with the church period during that time. I was inactive in the church at all.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So when the missionaries came they came at the right time for you.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right. Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So after they sat down and went over some of the lessons with you I imagine that's how you became involved is they went over the lessons. Then they invited you to the church.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right. I went to the church. I think I went to the church a couple of times before I decided to be baptized.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
That was the next step.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. Now what would you say from those first couple of church meetings, what would you say that was the most striking to you or that was the most important to you that made you feel like you wanted to become a member?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Because they were accepting of me and it didn't matter to them what I looked like or how, it didn't matter to them about anything. It wasn't, they just accepted me because I was me. I didn't have to make a certain amount of money because you know how it is in so many churches.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh yes.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
They've got looks. Some of the women have to be dressed from head to toe, everything matching. It didn't matter with them. It didn't matter that my skin was darker or lighter. It didn't matter. I the mission, when I went the missionary that came up to the house he sat beside of me in the church, and he walked me through the whole thing and stuff. He made me feel accepted.