To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal

30 Aug

I want to share my conversion story today.  I believe each of us has a moment we can point to where we can say, “That is when I decided the gospel was true”  or “That is when I realized that I believed.”

I believe we also have at least one time when our  decision is tested, a time when we have to say, in essence, “I can’t explain this scientifically, but I believe it.”  That is the story I want to share today, the time when my faith was tested.

When I was 14, I really liked a boy from school who was 2 years older that I.  He was not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as I was, but he had listened to the missionary lessons.  He wrote me a note explaining that he wanted to get baptized, but that his mother wouldn’t allow it, so he would have to wait until he was 18.  He told me to keep it a secret–but I treasured that promise.  When I was 16 and allowed to date, we dated.  Things changed though.  He began reading books and pamphlets focused on attacking the Mormon church.  Some of them attacked our beliefs.  Some accused us of having beliefs we don’t have.  Some attacked the character of Joseph Smith and other early church leaders.  He would bring to school some of these papers and insist that I read them.  I would read them.  I could not argue against them–I didn’t know enough of the scriptures at the time.  All I could say was, “This isn’t  right.  There is a flaw, it’s twisted logic. ” But I could not debate it logically or refute much of it.

One point I remember him arguing bitterly against was that my church had printed lesson manuals for Sunday School lessons.  He insisted this was evil indoctrination.  He said, “Come to my church.  Some people believe you have to be baptized to be saved.  Some people don’t think baptism is necessary.  Everyone can believe what they think.”

The thing is, I did not want to believe “whatever I wanted.”

I wanted to believe what was true–even if it was difficult, even if it was hard.

Around this time, he asked me to marry him

(Dude!  I was 16!  My 36 year old  old self is freaking out right now, thinking about it.)

I knew that if I married him, I would have to leave my church because he would not allow me to attend.

I considered what my life would be like without the unique beliefs of my church.   I would have to give up believing that Families can be sealed together forever.  I would have to give up believing that I was a literal spirit daughter of God.  I would have to give up believing that God’s power is on the earth today (the priesthood).  I would have to give up believing that God speaks to me personally through revelation.  I saw in my mind a huge gaping black hole.

Then I looked at what he was offering me to fill that hole.  It was nothing.  It was chaos– everyone just believing whatever they wanted.

Then because of some wise words from my mother, I considered what I wanted for my future children.  I wanted them to know they were children of God.  I wanted for them to be born into a family sealed together for eternity.  I wanted them to have the Holy Spirit to guide them.

I broke up with that guy, and we went our separate ways.  (Don’t worry.  I didn’t break his heart.  He was making out with a new girl on the bus just 2 days later.)

I made the decision then that I was not willing to give up those basic beliefs (or doctrines) of my church for anything or anyone.  Interestingly I studied the Old Testament the next year in seminary.  So any times as I read, I would come across a scripture that answered one of that guy’s questions/accusations.  He was long gone, so all I could do was announce to the empty air, “That’s the answer, so there!”

There are things I know.

1.  I am a daughter of God and He loves me

2.  Through prayer I can speak to Him.  Through the scriptures and His Holy Spirit, He speaks to me.

3.  God’s power is on the earth today.

4.  Baptism and temple covenants are necessary for salvation.

5.  Families can be sealed together forever.

6.  The atonement of Jesus Christ enables me to repent of my sins, comforts me in times of suffering and gives me strength to serve Him beyond my own limited capacity.

I can testify that as I have been obedient to God’s commandments, my family and I have been blessed.  The closer I get to living my life focused on the Savior, the more I can see His hand guiding me.  

Over the last couple of years, I have learned that several of  my cousins and other family members  and friends are dissatisfied with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Some of them have stopped  going to church.  From what they say, many of them have made this decision because of one issue that  bothers them. They get upset about women not being ordained to the priesthood or things from church history and they quit going to church.  They throw everything that they have away because of this one side issue that is bothering them.

I feel sad about this.  And I think it’s a mistake they are making.  It’s worse than one -issue voting on Election Day.  It’s worse than chopping off your leg because your toe has a fungus.

Don’t give up everything that is good and true because there is one thing bothering you. Don’t quit going to church because some of the people there have idiotic ideas that they like to insist are church doctrine.  Don’t let go of the truth because it is difficult or because everything isn’t explained yet.  God has given us so much.  We can be patient for the rest.

Think of all you have.  Hold on to what you know is true. Add to it as you learn more.

John 6:68-69

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the son of the living God.”

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