On January 4, 1994, two small babes were born in Colorado to some of the kindest, most loving parents a child could wish for. Their parents were very devout Evangelical Christians, praying and reading the Bible daily with all eight of the their children, and instilling within them a love and yearning for the Lord and for His word. As the twins grew up, they grew in their faith and were baptized and made a profession of faith at age 8. They participated in many Bible studies while in middle and high school and went on to attend Christian colleges (OBU and DBU). Both girls would describe their upbringing as happy and faith-filled, and express great respect and appreciation for their parents, who instilled in them a love of Scripture, a desire to study and learn about Christianity, and a knowledge of the importance of living out the Christian life in a holy, grace-filled manner. They always had a strong sense that Christianity was real and that God works in the lives of his people in a tangible way.
I am one of those twins: Tori. I would like to tell my story here of why and how I decided to be received into the Catholic Church.
My journey to Catholic Christianity begins my junior year at OBU. During this time, Christopher Thrutchley (my now-husband) and I were seriously dating. Christopher was experiencing serious doubts about various aspects of Christianity, going through what some would call “A Dark Night of the Soul,” as per St. John of the Cross. Christopher and I talked extensively and he read extensively on his various points of concern. While conversing with Chris, I realized that, even if the Bible is infallible, there are multiple valid ways to interpret it on various subjects. Take eternal hell, for example. I have come across some compelling arguments for eternal hell, for annilationalism, and even for a purgatorial type of universalism, all based on the Bible. And I found many topics to be like this. And so, I began to wonder how helpful a belief in the infallibility of Scripture could be, as one’s interpretation of scripture is bound to be fallible. And so I surrendered my belief in Sola Scriptura.
I graduated from and left OBU wondering how one might go about interpreting Scripture correctly. While in Norman, I began to realize that the early church could be helpful in interpreting the Bible. These people from the first 200 years not only lived in the same culture in which the New Testament was written, but would be able to ask people who knew the apostles, or even ask the apostles themselves what they meant by certain scriptural passages. And so, I began to regard the church fathers as essential for a proper understanding of Christian doctrine.
While in Norman, Christopher began talking to a friend who happened to be Catholic. This sparked an interest in Catholicism for him and he began attending RCIA (a class preparing one for entrance into the Catholic Church) and doing a lot of reading about Catholicism in the Spring of 2017. During this time, Chris and I had more than a few arguments about the Church’s opinion and I shed quite a few tears during these few months. Things continued to escalate until I had a realization: Chris had been doing extensive reading on Catholicism, and so had plenty of ammunition for his arguments, while I did not. I thought perhaps if I looked into the writings of the early church I could show Chris where he was going wrong. And so, I began to read the church fathers.
Since I had begun to see the church fathers as essential in knowing how to interpret the Bible, I tried to keep an open mind as I read their writings on various subjects. In this time of study I found a few interesting and (at the time) troubling things. I realized that the early church most certainly believed that the Eucharist was Christ’s actual body and blood, not a representation of it. Because of my growing appreciation for the early church as an aid in understanding scripture, and the realization that this church was much more likely to understand what Jesus meant when he said “This is my body,” it seemed like I had no choice but to ascribe to the view. From there I questioned: if Jesus is present in the Eucharist, is He present in communions celebrated in all churches, merely in the communion celebrated in the Catholic church, perhaps in any communions where people believe he is present, or else where? Surely this question was important. For, if Christ has chosen to dwell with his people in a tangible way such as real presence communion, why would I remain anywhere else? Would I not want to attend the church where Christ was present in body as well as spirit? 
To my dismay, the Catholic Church claimed that real presence communion occurs within Catholicism and also certain churches of the East — to wit, not Protestant churches. This turned me off. I prided myself on my ecumenism and was horrified that Catholicism would claim to have any sort of superiority over other denominations. However, as I continued to read, it seemed (astoundingly) there was support for their conception of the church, particularly the concept of apostolic succession as essential for valid sacraments. This I found, again, in the writings of the early church fathers, particularly Clement of Rome (who according to the earliest extant lists was one of the first popes) and Ignatius of Antioch, a Bishop. The concept of an interconnected, hierarchical church passed on by the “laying on of hands”(Acts 6), capable of administering sacraments which are made active through the power and mercy of God, seems to be an astoundingly early concept. On the day I realized this, I actually broke into tears. I knew that I had become convinced that Catholicism represented what Christ intended for his church to look like. I knew I was on a journey towards Rome.
This turning point occurred during the summer of 2017 and I began RCIA that fall. Since then, I have continued to research, think, and pray about my decision to become Catholic. All I can say about this journey is that I have experienced God in some of the most amazing and new ways. I have experienced incredible Christian community with some amazing women at my Catholic parish, who have remarkably deep faith and contagious love for Jesus. I have felt so enabled to strive for holiness in a new way, not because I can earn grace, but because God pours out so much grace freely on us that I know I can overcome completely the sins which bind me. I have thrived on the tradition that comes with joining a church with thousands of years of literature written by some of the most compelling theologians I have ever read. I also absolutely love the beauty in Catholic architecture and music, which signify the church’s espousal of beauty as something which points the eye towards the Lord. Perhaps this could be said: “All beauty is God’s beauty.” I can wholeheartedly say that deciding to become Catholic has been the best spiritual decision I have made in my life.
“Pray, then, come and join this choir, every one of you; let there be a whole symphony of minds in concert; take the tone all together from God, and sing aloud to the Father with one voice through Jesus Christ, so that He may hear you and know by your good works that you are indeed members of His Son’s Body.” (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ignatius to the Ephesians)
–  Tori Thrutchley