In the book of Alma (in the book of Mormon), verse 15 it states: "Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble..."
In relating this scripture to my conversion story, I sadly realized that I was compelled to be humble in order to be willing to accept the gospel. My father's death when I was 15 years old brought me to my knees. I spiraled into depression that took 2 years to lift. I felt desperate at the time to find a way out of that spiritual darkness that I find is best described by Alma the younger when he says "But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was charrowed up to the greatest degree... Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell...Oh, thought I, that I acould be banished and become extinct both soul and body" (Alma 36: bits of 12, 13 and 15). Anyone who knew me during that time knew that I was miserable, that I truly did wish to cease to exist in order to join my father whom at that time I believed didn't exist anymore.
I have wished many times that I hadn't needed his death to turn me to the questions that drove me to learn more about the LDS Church and its doctrines. How I have wished that when I was first introduced to the church at 14 years old that I had desired to learn about it then, instead of being compelled (as I see it) after my father's death.
And yet I have realized that I needed that event to occur in my life in order for me to be humble, to repent and be baptized. However if I could trade having my father back in my life (even though we didn't have a good relationship) for the last few years of testimony and Spirit in my life, I would make that trade.
But only if I could have the promise of the chance to accept the gospel at a point later in my life. And hopefully share it with my father who would accept it with me.
Thank goodness for temple work. Through making sure my father's ordinances have been completed, I strongly beleive that he has also accepted this gospel, even though it was not while he was living.