READY TO BELIEVE:How His Wife’s Faith Led One NBA CEO to Join The Church After 20+ Years of Marriage

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(Interviewer) Did you ever think that Scott
would join the Church? (Lisa) I did. I didn’t know if it would be in this life,
or the next… But I did. So, I had the internship with the (New Jersey) Nets, and
Scott happened to be working there. So, that’s how we met. I was one of two girls in the office doing
an internship, and there were all these cute boys. I just remember thinking he was really
cute. And I just remember her having…
just kind of a special light in her eyes. And good positive karma and energy. I just wanted to be around her. So, I let her ease into her internship. I wasn’t gonna– you know, I let her settle
in for a good three or four days before I asked her out. I loved that we wanted
the same things in life. For a family, just with careers, with schooling, with religion, he was a very religious person. I would say the one thing I didn’t plan on
was that he was Catholic and he’d been Catholic his whole life. I went to Catholic high school. I went to a Catholic college. I went to church every Sunday. I was baptized and confirmed in that church. So, I would say I have a very strong faith. I have very strong testimony of Jesus Christ. Well boy, she– you know we
fell in love pretty quickly… or at least one of us did. Early in our marriage we sat down
and he just said, “If I want to have the career I want to have and we want to have the family and
the life we want to have, we need to be a team. And we need to kind of be “all in” and together. (Scott) I kept saying, like, my career,
our life is likely going to be here. You know, likely based in and around New York, somewhere… somehow. That’s the center of the sports
and entertainment world. I was saying, that’s very important to me. And what was really important to her was that our children would be raised int the LDS church. Which, I didn’t have much hesitation. She had such a strong faith and conviction, there wasn’t much negotiation… And then my commitment to
her over the top of that was, I’ll always be there. So I will go to the sacrament meeting.. I did… For a long time, I would go
to a sacrament meeting and then go to another Catholic Mass. I did that for probably five or six years. He was always so supportive. Maybe one of the harder things was I kind of had to be the spiritual leader in the home. So, maybe when the kids
weren’t overly enthusiastic about scriptures or Family Home Evening, it all fell to me. I worked really hard just as, kind of
the only member, obviously to just have the Spirit in our home all the time. (Scott) Like, we had a house that was pure
and faith filled. We had Family Home Evenings. I mean… it was chaos. And I hope- I hope none of you have Family
Home Evenings like we have Family Home Evenings. But it was chaos with these girls. But we had them. We– the expectation was you get up, and you
read scriptures, and you say family prayer. And we were a family of faith. So, I had been thinking receiving my endowment and I had a friend who said to me, “You don’t have to wait for your husband to go through the temple. You are missing out on blessings that you
could be receiving for your whole family, by going through the temple.” And that really struck me. And I knew it was the time. I said, I don’t know how it works. I don’t know what the rules are. I don’t know what kind of life you have to
live or lead. But, I can’t imagine anybody
in the world being more ready or more prepared or living a better life than you are . So, I’d always prayed that Scott’s heart would soften and that he would have the desire to be baptized. And… I had the distinct impression one day
that they needed to change. And that they needed to change to this: That when he heard the truth,
he would know it. And that was, interestingly enough, when things
really started to change. She went out to– she went to the
temple with her mother and father, her twin brother, and then I was
home alone, and I was just ready. I’ve been ready probably five or six times
earlier in my life, and every time I was ready, something would happen. I would walk into a fast and testimony meeting, and somebody would get up and say
something and I would say, “No thanks.” I didn’t wanna like, get her excited and then
go another way. I called President Maxwell. And I just sat down and said, “Alright, I’m
ready to get baptized, how do this actually get done?” And he said, “Well, you know, have you read
the Book of Mormon?” And I said, “Yep.” He said, “Do you have a testimony?” and
I said, “Yep.” And he said, “Well, let’s call the missionaries
and get the discussions going.” And I said, “Well…You know, I kinda need
the 2.0 version. I mean, I’ve been coming to church for twenty years.” Which he laughed, of course. And I said, “One more thing, I don’t know
how it works but I imagine there’s some roll, and the Bishop knows, then the Stake President
knows, then the Bishop’s wife knows, then somebody calls Lisa and this whole thing
goes haywire, like, I can’t have it.” And he said, “I’ll take care of that.” We met everyday for a week and
I said, “Let’s go… You know, I’m not slowing the process down and I don’t want you to slow it down. Tell me what I have to do between the first
time we meet and the second time we meet. I want to punch through.” And he’s like, “Scott, that’s not really how
it works.” And I’m like, “That’s kind of how it’s going
to work.” And I think the best thing, the smartest
thing that President Maxwell said to me was, “Look, you know like, we don’t have it all
figured out. You have strong faith that you believe in
the Book of Mormon, you believe Jesus Christ is our Savior. You believe we have a living Prophet… but, you’re going to have to
jump over some hurdles, you know?” And I thought that was, it was so authentic
to me and really resonated. And I was ready to go. So about five days later Lisa came home and
I said, “Hey, you got a minute?” And, so we went back in our family room, and
just closed the door, because it had closing doors,
and I told her I want to be baptized. And….um… yeah, we both cried… and hugged. She’s like… She kept saying, like, “Wait, what?! Is this real?” I was speechless. And… I thought he was kidding
but I really didn’t. But, I couldn’t believe it. Over the last two and a half years, what’s
been really amazing is all of these firsts that we’ve experienced. That I think most people
experience over a lifetime. And for us it’s happened just in a really
short time. So, of course, were his baptism and confirmation and then watching him receive his Patriarchal blessing and receive the Priesthood. Our Bishop at the time, Bishop Castleton,
right after he was baptized, he had him bless the sacrament. And that was such an
unexpectedly emotional thing. and there wasn’t a dry eye in our– in our
congregation. That was such a sweet moment. Then, of course, his endowment
and then our sealing. And I just am so grateful. I’ll never take anything for granted
after the long wait. So think about all the stuff you do in your
entire life as a member of the Church. And then can you imagine compacting
that into twelve months? Like, it’s unbelievable! (Lisa) I know that this is not how it turns
out for everyone who’s married to a non- member. I’m very aware of that. But, we were a part member family
for almost twenty-two years and we were so watched over and cared for and offered blessings
and we were ministered to. I can’t even tell you how much our ward
members and home teachers throughout the years are such a huge part of our story. (Scott) I think my advice to families, where
one is a member and one is not yet… First, I would say — you should talk to Lisa, she’ll be
much better at this than I will. But secondly, I think, just from my experience
I would say, if you’re the member love your spouse, a lot. If that spouse needs room,
give him or her room. If that spouse needs to be nudged, give him
or her a nudge, but don’t quit. Eternity is a pretty long time. I think that just being prepared, being worthy
for when Heavenly Father is going to bless you, because those blessings will come. (Lisa) The Spirit was working on Scott all along,
and had I not been prepared, things would not have played out in the same way. Just be ready. Be ready to receive those blessings.

 

13 Responses

  1. Flat Earth Math

    May 5, 2019 12:09 am

    This story mirrors my own (and I'm in the same stake as the O'Neils, and know President Maxwell, who's a treasure).

    My dear wife was baptized about 7 years ago, and then needed help in sacrament meeting managing our twin baby boys, so I (the nonbeliever) began attending, every Sunday. Many folks saw me every week, and just assumed I was a member, and one Sunday (when the bishop was away) I was even asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting! I was the only one who didn't end my talk with "I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen" because at the time I was an atheist! And my dear wife fully expected that I wouldn't be converted this side of the veil, but one pair of sister missionaries did the trick for me. They taught me to pray, and began giving me the discussions without calling them that (sneaky!) and I began praying, with real intent. And one night the Holy Ghost came into my body in a very vivid experience, giving me a strange vision, which actually came to pass the hour of my baptism a month later.

    A year later I received my endowment, and the following day after that, I was sealed to my bride (on the day of our eleventh anniversary), and to our four children. It's been a blessing! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Darren Prince

    May 5, 2019 3:32 pm

    This is a beautiful story. This is a geat example of how ward's should love their part-member families.

    Reply
  3. Tonya Judd

    May 7, 2019 4:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing your testimonies and your story! Truly touching! I am grateful! May the Lord bless you and your family!

    Reply
  4. wingster7045

    May 8, 2019 12:40 pm

    Scott and Lisa always had a equal eye for each other. I met Scott while doing Executive Protection for Mayor William's. I knew when I met him he was grounded in faith. We found out our daughters played for the same high school. Lisa I met later and it sealed the deal for me that my daughter was surrounded by a great family of belief. Scott and Lisa are friends for life and I am so proud to be a friend to them as well.

    Reply
  5. Matthew Maughan

    May 10, 2019 4:39 am

    I remember sitting in their house 8 years ago eating some of the best Italian spaghetti and meatballs Scott offered us since Lisa wasn’t home. I knew from that brief meeting that this was a good man. So happy for them.

    Reply

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