Sunday, September 9, 2012
From the time I was 14 until I was 23 I was inactive. I remember so clearly when I stopped going to church. My Dad had just become the Bishop of my family ward in Utah, my grandmother who meant everything in this world to me, had just passed away, I was dealing with hateful feelings toward my Father in Heaven, and I had a Young Women's President who told me that "It was girls like me that made the church look bad."
I felt completely defeated and drained, and I couldn't imagine going to a church where I didn't feel like they wanted me, like I was accepted, or where I wasn't loved. Growing up as a Mormon in Utah is very different than many other places. In Utah you deal with a lot of Latter Day Saints (another way of saying Mormons) that are judgmental, know it all's, and have a "Holier than thou" type of attitude. It was a difficult way to grow up.
After stopping going to church I'm so thankful that I had the parents that I had. I had a Dad that wasn't raised as a Latter Day Saint, so he was always so unconditionally loving. I remember every Sunday he would come into my room and ask me if I wanted to go to church with the family, every week for years and years I would decline. In fact on Sunday mornings I would wake up and I would head over to our local Starbucks, get a coffee, and sit there and read until church was over. I would then go home and spend time with my family who continued to love me unconditionally. I was the only member of my family who ever left the church for a time, and yet my family never treated me any differently.
After growing up and "Living Life" as I call it, or doing things that not every normal Latter Day Saint does, at the age of 22 and going through the reality of what life is really like and what people are really like out there, I started researching religions. I knew that for me I needed spiritual guidance in my life. I wasn't sure what church would give me what I needed and so that is what I was in search for. Since I felt so smart, and already knew what the Mormon's had to offer, I looked at many other religions. By the end of the year I came to the realization that the church that worked the best with my morals and my standards as an individual, was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I made a promise that I would for the 1st time, read the Book of Mormon completely, and ask if it was true. I did that, and I found out, for me; that the book was true. At age 23 I walked into my 1st Latter Day Saint Singles Ward, in which my father was my Bishop. He was my Bishop when I left, and he was my Bishop when I came back. He welcomed me back with open arms.
It took me awhile to get back to being a full member of the church. I had to take care of somethings that I had done in my past. I had to make things right with God. In my process of doing this, I met a man who I thought was amazing. He and I started dating, and started going to my Dad's single's ward together (a singles ward is a ward or branch in which 18-30 year old single men and women attend).
After dating for a little over a year, this man and I decided that we wanted to be married. He was very kind to me and told me how much he loved me, but let me know that he wouldn't get married anywhere but the Temple of God. Being raised in the Church of Jesus Christ if Latter Day Saint's, I knew what a huge decision this was. He told me that I could take as much time as I needed to decide if this was the right decision for me. I went to my Heavenly Father who I was just gaining a real relationship with, and got down on my knees and asked him if this was the right decision for me. I was instantly filled with such a feeling of love and peace, and knew that this was the right decision. 3 months later Dave and I were married in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple, for time and all eternity. We were going to be together forever, even after this life. I never realized how important that would be until I got deathly ill 1 month into our marriage, but that story is for a different time. If you want to know more about that, you can check out my other blog.
I will never forget walking out of the temple with my new husband that spring day. It was then that I knew I was truly a member of the church. Not only was I member, but I knew that my decision was the right one for me. I knew this church was the most correct church for me, and I was thrilled to be a fully converted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.