Testimony: How YouTube, Michael Knowles, and the search for Truth led me to the Catholic Church

29 May 2024

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

Jordan Kuipers entered the Catholic Church this past Easter Sunday, during the Easter Vigil Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Spruce Grove. Kuipers was baptized as a child, and during high school he stopped practicing his faith. He shared with us the story of how he returned to Christianity, and how his search for the truth – and many hours of watching YouTube – ultimately led him to the Catholic Church. Kuipers is a delivery driver and retail worker in Spruce Grove, where he is a parishioner at Holy Trinity church.

What led you to stop practising your Christian faith during high school? 

There was a long period of time [in high school] where I didn’t want to be at Church. 

At the time, I was mostly going to church because I would visit my dad on the weekends – my parents divorced when I was a child – and I would go to church on Sunday with him. Because that’s just what you do. 

I went for a long time with my Dad, even though I didn’t want to really be there. At some point, I stopped visiting my Dad on the weekends, and as a result I didn’t continue going to church. Because it wasn’t something I was motivated to do on my own, it wasn’t a personal faith for me. 

What inspired you to take a look at Christianity again? 

Well, I went through a rough period where my mental state started to deteriorate. 

I was experiencing a lot of anxiety, especially social anxiety. It’s something I still struggle with to a certain degree, but definitely not to the same extent that I did before. I was always very, very ‘in my shell’. I would only really talk to people who I was somewhat comfortable with, and I completely avoided talking to people I didn’t know. I was very wrapped up in my bubble. I was struggling also with intrusive thoughts that could sometimes be very unpleasant. 

And I came to a point where I decided “maybe I should start praying again.” I started to realize that not being a practising Christian clearly did not work for me. I realized that to be in a good place—mentally and spiritually—I needed to be  practicing Christian. 

I started browsing on YouTube about Christianity, and I found Christian speakers that I liked, and that was how I started to slowly get back into Christianity. Catholicism started to come a little bit later.

Jordan receives his First Communion at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Who were some of the speakers on YouTube who especially convinced you about Christianity? And how did your searches lead to Catholicism? 

There was a specific [Protestant] pastor, Mark Clark, and he had some good ideas, but he also was just a generally dynamic, entertaining person to listen to, which made it much easier to receive. 

I was also watching this Catholic interviewer on the Daily Wire, Michael Knowles. He was interviewing this woman, Angela Ucci, who had been an astrologist and engaged in New Age practices for years, and then she converted and became a Christian. 

She said that the thing that drew her towards Jesus was the pursuit of truth. Not “your” truth, not “my” truth, just the truth. And then Michael Knowles said in response to her that if you are in pursuit of the absolute truth, then it is just a matter of time before you become a Catholic. 

So that statement didn’t convert me, but it lit the spark that sent me down that route. I started to investigate what Catholics believed, because I then realized I had a lot of misconceptions about what Catholics believed. Watching that video began to open my mind to [Catholicism]. 

So how did you move from YouTube onto actually pursuing the idea of becoming a Catholic? 

So I was interested for a long time but what actually led to me to go to Mass for the first time was that I knew someone who was a Catholic, my mom’s boyfriend. 

He invited me to come to Mass, and eventually I agreed. He went with me to Mass because I didn’t want to go on my own. And then after that, I started to go weekly on my own.

There was a long period where I was interested in practicing my Christian faith, during that time where I was doing research on YouTube. But the first time that I physically went back to church was the Mass [at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Spruce Grove]. 

When you decided to pursue Catholicism, you entered the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. How was that process for you? 

It was good to meet [other Catholics] because I didn’t know a lot of Catholics, so it was great to get to know people who were a part of the Church that I wanted to be a part of. 

One of the biggest things I have to say is that at a certain point, I just wanted to become Catholic. And RCIA is a nine-month program! So there was a bit of impatience there, but it was great. I came to really understand why the Church teaches what it teaches. 

One thing I also came to realize through the RCIA process what that [the Eucharist] is just so true. And I learned that the Catholic view of [the Eucharist] is actually even more biblical than any other Christian teaching that I have found. Our belief that the Eucharist is really, truly Jesus, rather than just a symbol, is a much more biblical view that I knew before. 

Receiving the Eucharist, my First Communion, was very, very cool. I think that’s all I have to say about it; it was awesome. 

Did you continue to learn about Catholicism via YouTube during the RCIA process? 

Yes, one of the things I’ve investigated a lot in my own free time is the many different forms of the [Catholic] liturgy that there are. There’s the Novus Ordo and there’s the traditional Latin Mass. There’s also the Byzantine liturgy if you go to a Ukrainian Catholic church, and I found that very interesting; that there’s this diversity of beautiful liturgies out there. 

How have priests, both in your local community and online, supported you in your journey to becoming Catholic? 

There’s Father Paul [Moret] at Holy Trinity and he did my first Confession with me. It was obviously nerve-wracking to even do that. But he made it an ultimately very wonderful experience.

I also try to watch Bishop Robert Barron on YouTube a lot. He’s somebody I find interesting; a very smart man. Fr. Mike Schmitz has also been someone I have watched a lot of. But mostly it has been through Fr. Paul and other priests in the local area who have supported me, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

How did your sponsor [for RCIA and Confirmation] support you?

My sponsor, Ryan Brule, encouraged me and was always checking in with me about my faith.  And one of the biggest things he did—which was awesome—was that he introduced me to Mount Carmel Spirituality Center, which is this really cool place. And they have a beautiful Mass there every Sunday. So that has become part of my life, thanks to Ryan. 

What has been a challenge that you have faced throughout the process of becoming a Catholic? 

I think the  biggest stumbling block would be the fact that almost all of my friends and family are not Catholic. So I have to explain to them what I am doing, especially to some of them who are very, very into theology, and trying to debate them, which I’ve done a terrible job at sometimes, but I think that I’m getting better at that stuff!

My family has been pretty supportive, generally. At least my closest family members. Many of them are Christians themselves and they’re happy that I’m finding a path to Jesus.

How has your relationship with Christ deepened as a result of becoming a Catholic, especially through prayer? 

Prayer and devotion has become a much more important part of my life. I’ve found that even in the first few days immediately after receiving Confirmation and receiving First Communion, I’ve found that my desire to [pray] has become even greater. I’m sure that my feelings will ebb and flow as they do [with all human beings], but I used to have to really discipline myself to pray. And now I feel a difference, a stronger desire to do things that I used to have to force myself to do. 

How has practising your Christian faith and becoming a Catholic impacted your work in a secular context? 

I’ve definitely had to try very hard to consciously change the way that I conduct myself at work, because my worldview is changing. One of the things I’d say for sure is using clean language—not cursing—and also paying attention to how I speak about other people. In retail, gossip can be a big part of the culture. So that needs to change, as a Christian. 

What words do you have for someone who is considering the Catholic faith, but they have not made a decision yet? 

I would say, obviously, pray about it. Be guided by God and be guided by your desire for the Truth, with a capital “T.” 

Stay tuned for more stories of conversion in our upcoming For the Sake of the Call series, coming May 30!

To hear more stories about the Catholic faith coming alive in the Archdiocese of Edmonton, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Window.

Jenny Connelly – Archdiocese of Edmonton