A look at a teenager’s unexpected conversion, via Huffington Post:
About five years ago Natalie Thomson, an attractive, popular, well-adjusted 16-year-old girl made this surprising announcement. It was surprising for two reasons: at the time the Catholic Church, in the throes of the pedophilia scandal, was losing members much faster than it was gaining them; and her parents, while loving and supportive, had long been turned off by organized religion and might have been expected, by their example, to nudge her in a different direction. Along with the rest of the family–I’m her uncle–I was also surprised and became increasingly intrigued as I watched her faith deepen over the years. Most of the young people I personally know are “nones”–not affiliated with any religion. And those that are are lukewarm at best. What made Natalie different? I was sure that many parents would want to know her story and was happy when she consented to an interview. She began by saying that “a piece was missing in me. I had morals, good values that I got from my parents, but I kind of felt empty.” When a boyfriend invited her to a Bible study at the local Catholic church, she went along “to hang out. But something clicked. They were talking about something bigger than me, a God who loved me.” I asked her if she lacked love at home. “Not at all,” she replied. “I was absolutely loved. But I wanted more.” But why Catholicism? When taken to Mass, she liked it right away. After further experience she found that she enjoyed the structure. “I knew what to expect next.” She was attracted to its symbolism, the tradition behind it, its “depth.” Perhaps just as important, at least at first, was the support she got from her new friends.