I made some good friends outside my church and found out that they were all Catholics. Now, I did not know much about Catholicism at the time. By the way, the Mass did seem somewhat mysterious to me externally. In fact, what little I had heard from other church members was all negative. There was a Mrs. J at my church, who had just retired from her missionary post in China. She was such a kind and endearing soul to all. One day she got back from visiting someone at a hospital and looked extremely sad and disturbed. It turned out that when she got to the hospital room, she saw that a Catholic priest was already there with the patient. Now the question was if the patient would ever get to heaven.
Nevertheless, my Catholic friends all looked quite normal and happy. Then could the Catholic Church, the largest church in the the world, be in error? It so happened that at that time I was also beginning to question my Protestant faith. The fact that there were numerous different denominations around the world bothered me. Also, as a Protestant, whether you're a minister or lay person, you are free to marry and divorce any number of times. It's hard to see that Jesus would be happy with these two facts. Since I am the kind of person who always likes to find the answer to any question that's important, I decided to look into Catholicism.
I made up my mind not to talk to anyone about my investigation. I was single then and had a lot of free time to myself. The local public library housed an excellent collection of books on Catholicism, so I started borrowing books on the subject. I read every weekend, even taking notes as I read. The went on for over a year. I read all those books that viciously attack the Catholic Church too, but somehow they did not affect me much because I sensed that these attacks could not have been prompted by the Holy Spirit. The books that really helped me were the ones on early Church history. I could see that the continuity was there and the beliefs and practices of the early Church had been preserved to this day in the Catholic Church. The only conclusion I could come to was that the Catholic Church was indeed the church Jesus had come and established. Like Christ himself, the Church, being his body, must be accepted (or rejected) totally, with no middle ground.
Here's some advice for those who seek the truth. Your chances of success will greatly improve if, first, you start out with a completely open mind and secondly, go to the source(s) directly to get the facts. Many who misunderstand the Catholic Church today have already made up their mind that the Church is wrong, thus never bothering to pick up a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to find out what the Church really teaches. This is being close-minded.