William B. Baker
I was born and raised in Independence, Missouri. At eight years of age, I was baptized in the RLDS church. At fourteen, my family separated from the church following the troubles of 1984. Having no spiritual guidance outside of my home, I was quickly drawn to the pleasures of life.
In 1993, I joined the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department. After years of exposure to violence and criminal activity, I found myself caring less and less about people. Having witnessed no real efforts by any organized “church” to help change the culture of violence, drug addiction, and sexual immorality in the community I served, I developed a poor opinion of church in general. Frankly, I wanted nothing to do with it. But I am eternally grateful for having received the gift of the Holy Ghost at baptism and for God’s faithfulness toward mankind. You see, before long I had turned to alcohol to deal with the things that I had experienced in law enforcement. What I needed was Him. And there were many times that I heard the Lord’s voice call out to me, saying, “Don’t you miss Me; Don’t you miss My Church; Don’t you miss the hymns, the prayer services, and My people?” I thought I was crazy! But in truth, I did miss all of those things. The problem was, I was still in rebellion.
Then, in 2003, I suffered a debilitating injury while pursuing a suspect on foot along the Missouri River. The man fell into the icy water and I watched in horror as he bobbed past me, drowning. Thankfully, another officer and I were able to save him, but I suffered a herniated disc in my neck. Following surgery, I found myself worse off than before and facing the very real possibility that my career was over. For the next year and a half, I lived on pain medication and alcohol. All the while, I knew in my heart that the Lord had allowed that to happen, because it was time for me to stop rebelling and come back to Him.
Then, one day, I received an invitation to go to church with a family member who had found a congregation that strictly observed the restored gospel as given to Joseph Smith, Jr. I not only told her no, I embellished it with a profanity. But that invitation kicked a door open in my heart for the Holy Spirit to enter in, and I did not sleep for days. I finally asked to meet with the pastorate with the intent to ask them questions. In truth, I intended to interrogate them and prove them and their church a fraud. You see, that was easier for me to do than face my sins. And boy, was I harrowed up with guilt.
When I met with the pastorate, I was overcome by the Holy Spirit, and left utterly speechless. I literally shook as I sat before them, weeping like a child. Now I was convinced I was crazy! But before the meeting was finished, we prayed together and asked the Lord for guidance. Over the next three days, I was tormented as I saw all of my sins pass before my eyes like a movie. I wanted to cry out to God for forgiveness, but I could not. I kept hearing a voice saying, “Don’t ask for forgiveness; Look at what you’ve done; He’ll never forgive you!” Guess whose voice that was. When I finally spoke the words, “Lord Jesus, please forgive me,” I was physically overcome by a sense of warmth and love that was so powerful that it scared me. I resisted it, asking God how he could still love me. But the more I resisted, the stronger the sensation grew.
Needless to say, He changed my life! From that moment on, I had to know who this God is that could forgive me of so much. So, I devoured the Scriptures and everything I could get my hands on that talked about Him, and His will for mankind. The best thing was, He took away my physical pain, my bad habits, and my desire to drink! And He filled me with a love and compassion for mankind such as I had never known. Miracles are real! God’s love for us is real! We need only come unto Him with real intent and invite Him into our heart. In Matthew 11:29–30, Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest unto your souls.” He certainly lifted my burdens and gave me peace.
Though my heart was on fire, I had no desire for any priesthood office. But the Lord shared several prophetic dreams with me, and made it clear that it was His will that I labor for Him. So, beginning in 2005, I was ordained a priest, elder, seventy, and in 2020, I was ordained a High Priest and member of the Quorum of Twelve.
I still serve as a detective, with more than 25 years of service. In 2008, I was married to my wife, Katrina. She is truly my companion in Christ. We now have three children: Samuel, Jeremiah, and Abigail. Katrina and I were blessed to serve as missionaries to Latin America for two and a half years. We have a passion for the Book of Mormon, and a desire to see the message restored to the peoples from whom we received it.
My family and I attend First Branch in Independence, Missouri.