Shortly after I turned 19 I decided to spend a Saturday morning at a Catholic bioethics conference. It was free, and the topics looked interesting, so I signed up, even though I could not convince any friends to go along.
I arrived late and hurried in to catch the second half of Christopher Klofft’s talk on the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception and natural family planning. In less than half an hour I was completely sold. I cannot remember exactly what Klofft said, but it worked. I went from only knowing that NFP existed and was not that great to being entirely convinced that the ideal sexual relationship would not involve contraception. I was still convinced that it would not be good for me to have 10+ children, but figured that I would find out all that I could about NFP. And if there was no good option then I simply would not get married. But I wanted what Klofft had.
I went back to my dorm room and read Humanae Vitae (the 1960s document that reiterated the fact that the Catholic Church was not about to change it’s anti-contraception stance) for the first time. Then I read about Why Humanae Vitae Was Right and a few other such books that I can no longer remember. I also read the only book in my school’s library about fertility awareness, and interlibrary loaned everything I could find on the topic. I was not impressed with the Catholic materials that I read on the actual practice of NFP, but the combination of Catholic theology and secular fertility awareness information was simply wonderful.
Soon I was not only convinced, I was confident.