David Moss grew up in a Conservative Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York.
Before becoming Catholic, Moss became Baptist. Today, Moss serves as the president of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, based in Ypsilanti, Mich. He recently spoke with Register features correspondent Tim Drake.
Tell me a bit about your family growing up.
Two younger sisters, Rosalind and Susan, and I were born into a Conservative Jewish family in Brooklyn, N.Y. Like many others, we celebrated the Jewish feasts and holidays at home and attended the Synagogue on various occasions, especially for the High Holy Days.
What first led you to Christ?
Shortly after my bar mitzvah, in my 14th or 15th year, I completely lost whatever faith I had. But, in giving up my belief in God, I also gave up the foundation for the values and meanings that would have informed and directed my life.
So, I began a search for this foundation that would last for 23 years. In turn, I studied mathematics, the liberal arts and finally philosophy. Early on, I associated with many liberal and radical causes.
My studies and experiences eventually moved me from the liberal to the conservative camp and from a pro-abortion position to that of a pro-life activist.
During these years, I married and became father of four children. To help inculcate the basic moral values in our children, we all began attending a local Baptist Church.
After 22 years of study, I had reduced all my questions to three: How do we explain 1) the very fact of existence, 2) sacrificial love, and 3) the human sense of ought?
Though I could find no answers to these questions, I was convinced that in the answers I would find the meaning and purpose of life. I was at the point of despair and one day in my office at IBM I cried out to God: “If you truly exist, then I need to know now!”
And there at that moment, God touched me and I knew he existed. To my great surprise, I also knew that Jesus was his Son and I now had the answers to my questions. This occurred during my fifth year at the Baptist Church.
What specifically led you to become a Catholic?
Over the years, especially after my entry into the pro-life movement, I had become aware of Catholic teaching. Nonetheless, I was baptized in the Baptist church in September 1978. About a month or so later, all that I had studied and experienced over 23 years suddenly came together like a big jigsaw puzzle. At age 38, in February 1979, I entered the Catholic Church through a Franciscan monastery in Beacon, N.Y.
How did your family members react?
Each member of my immediate family had already embarked upon their own spiritual journey. My parents, now deceased, had became Baptists. Of my sisters, Rosalind became an Evangelical Christian and Susan a Lutheran.
Over a period of 14 years, Rosalind tried to draw me out of the Catholic Church. About six years ago, Rosalind entered the Catholic Church.
Do you consider yourself a convert?
Yes. I had turned away from God, and then I turned back to him.
Observant Jews, on the other hand, have not turned away from God. I don't believe the word conversion accurately describes what they experience when they recognize Jesus and enter his Church. Rather, their faith becomes transformed, with new depth and meaning.
How will you be celebrating Easter?
In previous years, I have experimented with different ways of integrating the joyful celebration of the Passover with the Lenten disciplines. This year, we will celebrate Easter in London, Ontario with my son, Matthew, as he enters the Church.