Isaiah Bennett of Troy, N.Y., had been doing ministerial work since he was 17 years old. He loved his work and had no intention of changing. His plans for a promising future included marriage with his girlfriend, Barbara, the principal of a nearby elementary school and a member of his congregation.
The Rev. Bennett was very interested in comparative religions. Among his interests was the LDS religion and its claim to have a restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of the LDS doctrines he studied seemed strange, and the books at his local library were filled with confusing anti-Mormon literature. He studied this material for eight years.Eventually he obtained material from the Church. As he continued his study, the strange doctrines seemed to make more sense - so much that he was eventually convinced to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.
About this time, he attended a fireside at the Hartford Connecticut Stake and heard an address by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then first counselor in the First Presidency. At the fireside, the Spirit testified to the visitor that President Hinckley was truly a man of God. Afterward, the Rev. Bennett wrote to President Hinckley, who answered his letter and encourged him to continue his quest for truth.
A short time later Isaiah Bennett told Barbara that he had received an answer to his prayers, and that he was leaving the ministry. He then proposed marriage to her. She accepted and the couple received the missionary discussions. Both wholeheartedly accepted the gospel, and on Dec. 26, 1993, they were baptized. An hour later, they were married.
They flew to Salt Lake City for their honeymoon, and later bought a home in the city. One year to the date of their baptism and marriage, they were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple by President Hinckley.
Another highlight came Jan. 13, 1995, when the Bennetts attended a dedicatory session of the Bountiful Utah Temple. President Hinckley was the speaker.
"Two weeks ago I had the privilege of sealing a marriage . . . of a couple sitting in this room," he said. "They have sacrificed what they had worked for all their lives to have the privilege of being here today."
Tears flowed freely, not only from the Bennetts, but also from many of those in attendance. The Bennetts said yes, they had given up something good. But they had received something better.