Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why so long, I don't know!

Feeling a little bit melancholy, but don't know if it is the season of the year when your mind is constantly on family or that it's cold or what! But, I was asked the question on one of my comments on this blog if I was a convert to the church or born into the church and if I was a convert how did it come about? So I'd thought I would reflect on that question and share my conversion story here.

Born to a mother who was very religious, believed in God, spoke to Him quite regularly with me in her lap and who taught us all very valuable values and virtues, we went to many different churches growing up. Methodist, Episcopalian and Baptist. However, I went to a Baptist Parochial school from kindergarten to 7th grade in Los Angeles. Then moving to San Diego (La Jolla) in my 7th grade year, I now found myself in public school. Which I might add, was quite an adjustment.

My father was born to Southern Methodist missionaries. My grandparents lived in Soochow China for 30 years having all 9 of their children there. Grandfather was also a surgeon and spent many years serving the Chinese people in a humanitarian capacity, as did Grandmother.

We, as children, had a very religious background, with parents who were always just trying to do the right thing and teaching us to do the same.

I knew as a youngster I was being watched over, because of several very special experiences, which I will not share. However, I knew I had something I was to do. As I gained knowledge of the plan of the Lords, I looked back to see that was a very real experience and that the veil is thinner than we know.

I was the third child of six children and I had a older sister, that at 18 she did not want to live the rules in our home. I was around 11/12 years of age so I didn't quite understand that, and being the type of child I was, a little more compliant, I wished she didn't do that. However, she left and went to live with her girlfriend who just happened to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know she was gone for some time, of which I am not sure, but I do remember my father lying on the bed and shedding many tears during this time.

She did return home, and when she did, she had been baptized into the Church by missionaries. She told my mother about them and mother was very interested in it. So, mom asked who would be interested in hearing what they had to say and it was myself and my younger brother and mother. And that was all. My older brother and father were not, and the twins were too young.

I remember these Elder's teaching us the discussions, but to tell you the truth, I didn't listen very well. But I do remember Mother asking my brother and I if we wanted to be baptized, she was going to be so if we wanted to, we could as well. She gave us the choice. We both chose to do it. To tell you the truth, I did not have a testimony, not a real one anyway. I felt I joined because I trusted my mother's good judgement AND it felt really good. It really wasn't until many many years later that I gained a true testimony. About 1986. SO I had been a member about 20 years or so, and had been just trying to get through my day to day life. I prayed, I read the Book of Mormon, went to church, I tried to live a good life, but I never really was seeking the confirmation. But something happened in me. I can't put my finger on it, other than I made a decision.

This was the time, I hungered and thirsted after the gospel. I couldn't get enough, I went to Institute and had a million questions that I needed answered. I got answers and I felt the Spirit witness these things over and over again. I would bring them home and teach them to my family, I was so enthusiastic!! I loved THE GOSPEL!! I was finally coming to the Lord!

Now, honestly, I do struggle every day with some things, like discouragement or hurt or what have you. BUT, I have come to understand the Savior better, His love for me, and His desire to have me come follow Him. I have come to realize the frailty of human kind and the stupid mistakes we all make. That we need HIM, we all need A Savior!!

I have often reflected on the fact that my religious background really helped prepare me for the fullness of His gospel, that it helped me recognize it even before I realized it. I really have come to know that my footsteps have been guided all along and I am so grateful for it. Not just for me but for my children and my posterity.

Thank you for the question, I hope I answered it, if not, let me know!!


Emily said...

I love this post. Deni, you are my hero! :)

Rachel said...

Thanks that was insightful!! Thank you for your honest. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy HAWLEY Day's!!