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Eva Mary Rowe

As a child I was spiritual minded. My parents taught me to be

truthful and honest, took me to church and sent me to Sunday School

and encouraged me to go to other religious meetings not of our faith.

One day I was taken by another small girl to another Sunday School. A

visiting lady came to our class, there was a lot of other little boys

and girls sitting on small chairs in a large semicircle. I was not

quite near one end. The lady started at the other end and began to

question the children, “Do you love Jesus?” she asked and a little

girl shyly lisped, “Yes.” The lady passed around the class asking the

same question of all of us. I began to wonder if they all knew if

they really loved Jesus or whether they were saying so because they

thought it the right thing to say. I did not love Jesus. I loved my

mother and father, because I saw them and they were good to me. But

Jesus? I had never seen him. I” did not know him, how could I say I

loved him? That was a little child’s reasoning. At last the lady

came to me. “Do you love Jesus?” she asked. I answered, “No.” The

lady was shocked. The teachers were shocked. All the little boys and

girls were shocked and I was shocked that I could have crawled into a

nutshell if one had been around. But I did not regret my answer. It

was all there was to say. That was the first time I had stood up for

the truth. The lady did not finish questioning the class.


I once went to a kind of girls club, called “The Girls Friendly.”

A lady was addressing us and said, “Oh, you don’t know what it means

to be saved.” I was quite enthused and wanted to be “saved” myself

but did not quite understand how to set about it. I pondered this for

some time, then I went to an Evangelical meeting. There, all who

would like to be saved were asked to hold up their hands, so up went

my hand. Then the hands were counted and a record made so many were

saved that day. “Glory be.” After the meeting one of the

missionaries came and sat by me to convert me but I was so flustered

that I could not understand a thing he said. I was saved in the same

way at two more meetings at different times, by that time it was

getting monotonous. I felt no better but more disappointed than ever.

Finally, I decided to go to my minister, Rev. John Gard, of whom I was

very fond. I went straight to his study. He soon put me at ease and

asked what I had come to him for. I told him I wanted to know how to

be saved. He asked what had made me feel that way and I told him it

was at the “Girls Friendly” and he seemed disappointed that I did not

mention our church, but he was very kind. He read passages of

scripture proving to his satisfaction that all I had to do was to

believe in Jesus and I was saved. He saw I was not convinced and we

knelt down to pray. He prayed that I would learn the truth, he did

not know how that prayer was to be answered. It was not in the way he

expected. He then told me I was saved but I may not feel I was just

yet. He saw that I was unconvinced and bitterly disappointed. I

wanted something he could not give me. I had “asked for bread and he

gave me a stone.”

Weeks went by and I thought that if I got baptized I would feel

that I was saved. I, therefore, applied for baptism and was baptized

as an “outward sign of an inward feeling.” But I was still

disappointed and I fell away from church. Then I met my future

husband. He was not interested in the church so we spent our Sundays

boating and walking in the country. We were married by Rev. John

Gard. I wonder if he had been disappointed in me.

We started housekeeping in Southampton Hampshire, England and

once again I wanted a church. I went to Baptist, Wesleyn Plymouth

Brethren, etc. and even an Undenominational Church; all were failures.

They could not give me what I wanted. Then God sent to me a Mormom

Elder. He left a tract and a little hired girl took it in and gave it

to me. I saw the word “Mormon” and gave it to the baby to play with.

Thank God the missionary came again. Again the girl took the tract in

and gave it to me at the table. I glanced at it and saw the first

sentence, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus

Christ and in the Holy Ghost. (Three Separate Personages).” I had

found what I wanted, a tangible God. I had always been taught that

God was one person, and three persons, could be everywhere at once, so

big that He could fill the universe and so small He could dwell in my

heart, who can honestly worship a God like that? Many do because that

is the only God they know. When the missionary came again, I answered

the door as I was afraid to ask a Mormon in. All I knew about Mormons

was this: one day in Guernsey I was sitting by a window through which

I could see all down the avenue. Outside Gardeners Hotel I saw a big

crowd and they were milling toward the sea wall. They were very

excited. Mother came hurriedly down the street in a great fluster. I

asked her what was going on and she said that the crowd had a “Mormon”

and was going to duck him in the sea. I asked her what was a Mormon


and she said he was a man preaching that a man should have many wives.

I said, “Serves him right!” So you see, I had a very poor opinion of

Mormons, so I did not ask this one to come in, but talked a long time

to him at the door.

He told me of the Angel Moroni, of Joseph Smith, and other things

and invited me to a meeting. I told Alf about it when he came home.

He laughed and said, “What another one.” He didn’t, however, mind me

going to a meeting the following Sunday. The meeting house was a long

way from home. I walked quickly and as I walked I prayed for wisdom.

When I was a small child I heard the story of Solomon, how he had

prayed for wisdom and it pleased God. From then on I prayed for

wisdom, although, at first, I hardly knew what the word, “wisdom”

meant. I prayed to know if this Church was right.

As I entered the building, I knew I had found the true Church. I

was the first one there and in this little hall on a back street, I

went on my knees and thanked God I had found the truth at last. The

meeting following was wonderful. I learned something every sentence

and knew it was all true. A few weeks later I was baptized in the

Southampton public baths, in a white blouse and holland skirt. Alf

was there. I have never once doubted that this was the only true

Gospel. What a blessing that John Barlow was faithful enough to walk

a long way three times before I saw him. I might have destroyed all

his traits of persistence, but he came again. He only made one

convert that he taught and baptized, myself, a silly, half shy,

uneducated girl. However, through his faithfulness, Alf and my nine

children are now in the Church. I have done work and helped to do

work for thousands of dead, also. In saving one soul, John Barlow has

saved millions living and yet unborn – how great will be his joy. I

pray daily that my posterity will all become good Latter-day Saints

and that my relatives may embrace the Gospel, either here or

hereafter, and I pray that I may spend the rest of my life in the

Service of God.

From the book: The Five Generations of Alfred & Eva Salway