I was raised in South Louisiana, a predominately Roman Catholic area. My family was nominally Episcopal, and I was confirmed at 12 or so years of age, but we did not attend church on Sunday. I believed in God, but did not live for Him at all. I suppose at that time I was a deist. To this day I deeply regret not following God as a child.
Many believers remember and can testify of the day they gained salvation, but I recall the event that caused me to lose my childhood innocence. My mom punished me for some infraction, and in those days it was common to place children on their knees instead of whipping them. I was kneeling right by the record player (yes, I'm that old) and for some reason I found a sharp instrument and scratched an LP out of spite, I remember cursing my mother (what language does a five-year-old know?) for punishing me. After a few minutes I stopped scratching the record and placed it back in the rack, but as I did so I wondered how I could act so horribly towards my mother, and exactly what kind of evil had come over me. I immediately knew that I had somehow irretrievably lost something in my soul.
The first time I heard the gospel (the Episcopal confirmation classes said exactly nothing about being born again) was the day I came home from school and discovered that my parents had gotten cable TV. I flipped through the channels and came upon Jim Bakker giving an altar call. Since this was around 1976, his ministry was still relatively uncorrupted; nevertheless I am ashamed to admit having any knowledge of the man. However, deep conviction fell upon my life that day, and for about a week I walked around in a stupor, feeling that I must somehow live
right, and not for myself. After a few days I began to shake off the conviction and soon returned to my selfish living.
For the next 7 or 8 years the Lord tried to reach me. I once stumbled across Pat Robertson (another preacher that embarrasses me) and fell under conviction. A teacher at my high school gave me a tract that painstakingly laid out the plan of God, and I remember exclaiming that christians were supremely stupid for believing such a weak and pitiful story — the idea of God's son dying for man seemed an incredible joke to me. A girl I coaxed into going with me to a nightclub gave me a tract after I abruptly brought her home for refusing to dance with me. Later on at LSU I was approached by fellow students a time or two that attempted to witness to me, and one of these encounters evoked a cursing rage at these precious brothers and the Lord.
I was finally saved on November 30, 1984.