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Archive for December, 2010

And the Journey Begins…

I guess to start off, I should probably introduce myself. Afterall, I am not really anonymous. My name is Kate and I am 22 years old. I was raised in a Protestant household as a missionary kid. I don’t have a problem with what my parents believe and I have a lot of respect for what they do and for all they have given up in their life to do what they do. But for me, I have always felt like there is more. I have always had questions that have never been answered.

Before my family moved to Africa, we lived in a predominantly Mormon town in Northern California. All of my friends were Mormon and I had always admired there dedication to their faith, though I knew nothing  about it. All I knew is what my family told me, and it wasn’t pretty. I was told the the Mormons were a part of a cult because of the secret things they do in their temples and the secret “magic” underwear they wear. I was told that they don’t really believe in Jesus and that their God is not the same God as our God.

For years, I was led to believe a bunch of lies about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I do not think that my parents meant to deceive me on purpose… I think they are just ignorant as to the truths about the LDS Church.

At the beginning of October, I was in between moves. I had just graduated from University and moved all across the country to North Carolina. I had attended the local church of my families denomination and was very disappointed by the lack of , well, anything there. There were very few people in the church, but worse than that, there was no sense of community and no welcome. I went and sat in the back and was never approached at all or greeted by anyone. It was incredible lonely and inside of me, I knew that I could not continue at this church. I spent a couple of weeks lying about attending church, but actually going to Borders instead until I finally decided to take a leap of faith and go to the Mormon church. I had always been curious and now I was determined to find out what it was all about. I went to Mormon.org and used the ward locator and typed in my address and found out which was my assigned ward.

As a side note, I should probably mention that I have spent years trying to convince myself that everything the LDS church teaches/believes in false. I researched them to great degrees so I knew a lot of what to expect before I went to church that morning. I knew about assigned wards and stakes, etc.

That first morning, I went in very nervous. I had almost turned around several times on the drive to the church. But in the end, I made it there and took a seat towards the middle of the room. The room was crowded and there were people talking to each other and children playing around. It was so alive, and that was the first thing that had struck me. Of the several churches I had gone to of my families denomination, they were so dead… lifeless with few to no families. Just before the service began, the woman in front of me turned around and asked me if I was new to the ward. I said that I was and that I had just moved their from North Carolina. She in turn invited me to dinner at her house where several of her daughters and their families would be joining us. For some reason, in my heart, I felt compelled to accept. As the meeting finished, I had come to realizes that they lady had thought I was an active member who had just changed wards and I felt like I needed to be honest and tell her that this was my second time at an LDS church (the first time was two years previous with a Mormon friend at a Christmas program).

The lady was so gracious and understanding and she asked if I wanted to meet the missionaries. I said that I would and she took me to meet them. The sister missionaries were so nice and excited to meet me. It turned out that I had come into the meetinghouse via a side entrance and so I had missed the sister missionaries went entering. They took me to Sunday School with them and then to Relief Society. At Relief Society, I sat next to another lovely lady who struck up a conversation with me. She also invited me to her house for dinner but I told her that I was already engaged.

After Relief Society, the missionaries asked me how I enjoyed my Sunday and the things that I had learned. I told them that I enjoyed it and that if felt really good and that I would most likely come again the next Sunday. They asked me if I would like to start meeting with them for lessons. I told them that I would but that we could not meet at my place of residence because my aunt and uncle would never allow it and there was a distinct possibility I would be kicked out of the house. The Sister I was talking to at the beginning of Relief Society said that we could meet at her house and it was decided that we would meet on Wednesday.

To shorten up my story (because it is getting long-winded) I met with the missionaries and continued to attend church until November. My baptism date was set and moved twice. However, at the start of November, my living situation became unbearable and my family persuaded me to move back home for three months before I moved back to California. I met with the missionaries and explained the situation. They talked to the mission president, and it was thought that I could get baptized at the end of the week, days before going back to Africa. I was very hesitant with this plan because, although I was fairly confident in my newfound faith, I hadn’t made it known how serious my investigation was to my family.

Just the brief mentions of it to my family had set one of my sisters into depression and another cried any time she thought about me. My father was hardly talking to me and my mother was not sleeping at night. I was told outright that if I converted, I would go to hell because they did not believe in the same God.

I was asked to meet with the mission president so that we could talk about what should be done. I went to his house and met with him and his wife and I poured out my heart and ended up crying. Now anyone who knows me knows that I don’t tend to get that emotional about things. The mission president told me that as I was speaking, he felt like I should go and be able to tell my mother to her face that I was going to baptized into the LDS church. He cautioned me that I needed to remain diligent in my Scripture reading and prayers and to keep to the Words of Wisdom. He then offered me a priesthood blessing.  It was my very first priesthood blessing and I was filled with such a feeling of fullness. He also said that as an extra help, I would be able to contact the missionaries once a week via email.

That was a month and a half ago. And how is the moment of truth… It is the moment I confess how weak I am and how much I wish that I had the blessing of the Holy Ghost with me. I have done my Scripture readings only about a quarter of the time. I pray about half the time. And much of them time I feel a great sense of doubt. I wonder if I am making the right decision and then I realize that I haven’t really made a decision at all anymore. I feel lost in a limbo were there is no real decision made and I don’t know which church to turn to anymore. I have again started praying for God to show me if what I read in the Book of Mormon is true and if not to show me, but to show me if it is so that I can finally make a decision. After an initial two weeks of struggling, I rededicated myself to the Words of Wisdom and have been following them for a month. (FYI – the problem is coffee and tea, not alcohol or drugs or anything else).

Anyway, my hope in creating this job is that I will make more progress. Maybe somebody will find this blog and be able to help me. Maybe I will be able to work through some of my questions. I don’t know how often I will update. Maybe daily, maybe weekly, maybe not even consistently…  I just hope that I will be able to draw closer to my Savior and that HE will guide me to the truth and help me do what I need to do to join the correct and true church.

If you made it this far, thanks so much.

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