Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What I Believe - My Conversion

When I was a very little girl two Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to our house. I don't remember much about our interactions with them but the feeling I had as they walked away one sunny afternoon. Somehow I knew they weren't coming back. I remember how one turned to look back over his shoulder at me as I stood in the doorway of the front door watching after them. I felt very sad.

Years later, my dad and I were hanging out in his work area while he whittled and I noticed a colorful book on his shelf. I asked about it and he told me that it was the book "those two Mormons" left. It was a Book of Mormon. I picked it up, thumbed through it, saw the name Alma, and quickly and rather vehemently dismissed the whole faith based on what I considered "an old woman's name."

Then at the beginning of Junior High School, I met a girl who became a longstanding friend of mine. We were definitely BFFs back in those days. She just happened to be from that same church that those two Missionaries were from.

One day, during one of our many slumber parties, she asked, "Do you ever think you'll become a Mormon?"

Now, I gave that question a few moments thought and then I told her straight from my heart, yes. I didn't know when or where or how I would join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I just knew that I would.

So life went on and I pretty much forgot all about our little conversation. I entered my twenties and got very sad after a guy I liked went overseas on a military assignment. Of course, he didn't know that I liked him and even I didn't know that I liked him. But I did try to make him feel bad about going, which didn't help anything.

Time passed and I really didn't know when or if he was ever going to come back and I never heard from him during his time away, so I ended up falling for a friend of his who just so happened to be one of those Mormons. One day he asked me if I would like to go to the Spring General Conference (a biannual meeting of the members of the Church) and I said that I would.

And that's where it happened. I walked in, sat down, looked around, listened a little bit to what was being said and simply knew in my heart -- "This is the place!"

I'm not one who had never been to a church before. I've been inside churches, synagogues, and halls. I've been involved in Christian home study groups. I was an active member of a Baptist Church Organization called Girls in Action. I belonged to a school group called Bible Rap. I took a course in World Religions. I became interested in the Catholic Church for a time. And I seriously discussed forming my own Coven with a friend of mine. So believe me when I say, I had never before felt what I felt as I sat there in that Mormon Church that sunny Sunday afternoon. I felt as if I had come home after a very long time away.

Right after my epiphany, I was introduced to two Missionaries who would teach me about the Church. I surprised them because I wanted to be Baptized immediately! But they insisted that I patiently go through all of the Discussions with them.

They had experienced so many people who had slammed doors in their faces, said nasty things to them, or, generally, sent them on their way. They had never seen one like me before, someone who was so ready to commit to the Church. One was even suffering a small crisis at that time because they had been turned down and turned away so many times. Of course, though I didn't know what he was feeling at that time, I chose him to do the Baptism. I'm so glad I did because he later wrote to me to tell me that Baptizing me had really helped him recommit not only to his Missionary work, but to his faith.

So, in my opinion, we both came out of the water that day reborn and renewed. It was an amazing experience.

I still laugh when I think about the talk he had with me just before the Baptism ceremony. He explained to me that there would be members of the Priesthood who would be looking on to make sure that everything, even my hair, which was very long, got covered by the water in the font. If anything, even the hem of my dress, did not get covered with water, then the Baptism would have to be redone. It being his very first Baptism, this Missionary didn't want that to happen! So he informed me that he would be pushing me down very hard and he just didn't want to scare me when he did that.

And -- down I went! Thoroughly and completely saturated with water thanks to that Missionary's heavy hand!

We shared a thumbs up as we went our way to our separate dressing areas.

Oh, and did I mention? I asked my father to come to my Baptism. He didn't come. But he did get struck by lightning and thrust down upon his knees at the time that I was being Baptized.

Do I believe this Church is true? Oh, yes! This is what I believe.

Do I think you'll get struck by lightning if you don't join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Ooh... Hm... I'm not sure. Why don't you join the Church just to be on the safe side? ;-)

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