Muslim beliefs about God and Jesus made more sense
As a child, Jennifer Harrell attended church and Sunday school. In high school, she was on the drill team and dated a football player. After college, she became a Methodist youth minister. At age 26, she became a Muslim.
She told Dallas news
"I grew up in Plano doing all the things I thought I was supposed to do,"
"I went to church. I went to parties. But I wasn't concerned about heaven or hell. I took it all for granted."
She was introduced to Islam by Muslim co-workers. One of them loved to debate religion, which stirred Ms. Harrell to rethink her Christian faith.
She studied the Bible, but also Islam in order to do a better job of defending her faith.
She said Muslim beliefs about Jesus made more sense to her because they
revere him as a prophet and not God's son.
"When I was a Christian, I never understood why Jesus had to die for my sins," Ms. Harrell said. "I mean, they're my sins."
Before becoming a Muslim, she visited a Christian minister. She said she asked why Christians ate pork, why women didn't cover their heads in church, and why Christians dated.
"I wanted him to defend the Bible," she said. "I gave him everything that I had found wrong with Christian interpretation."
His answers didn't satisfy her.
Her first visit to a mosque was memorable.
"I was the furthest thing from what they expected," she said. "Here were all these Arab and Pakistani women, and there I was, a typical Texas girl with blond hair and blue eyes wearing makeup, lipstick and nail polish."
"They looked at me with an understanding that said, 'Finally, somebody has opened her eyes,' " she said.
One day while on her way to the mosque to pray, Ms. Harrell decided to make the shahada, or profession of faith: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is His prophet."
Bill Harrell said he knew his daughter had been considering Islam. "I've always
encouraged my children to explore and test their beliefs," he said.
Jennifer said "Islam affects every aspect of your life. It changed my goal from living in the moment to living with the intent of heaven."