Ok so knowing what I’m like, I, not intentionally, planned to keep this all under wraps until I was sure.
It’s been a year now and I’m as sure about this as I am of my own name.
A year ago today I was baptised and a week later confirmed as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I had to give up and/or postpone a number of things that the world deems as acceptable, face possible ridicule, but it’s been worth every single change I’ve had to make.
This has been an amazing journey for me and at the anniversary of my baptism I felt that I needed to not only declare how proud I am to be a member, a Mormon, but also share my conversion story so that hopefully someone, somewhere will read it and find the joy, peace and belonging that I have found.
The gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is a most precious gift and one that I refuse to keep to myself.
OK so lets go back, way back to the beginning of time….Well not that far back just a few years ago, thinking back on my thoughts regarding spirituality and God, I knew that God exsited, I knew that I could pray to Him and I tried for the most part to do so during good and bad times. I remember that what I mostly prayed for was strength. I detested churches for the way they take money off people all in the name of salvation. I was also very un impressed with the vain use of the Lords name and the public displays of adoration. I didn’t believe in most of the stuff that was in the bible, especially ’cause it was compiled by corrupt men. I also believe that Jesus was just a prophet that people had turned into the so called son of God for their own purposes.
My journeys in life took me from home in South Africa all the way up to the UK. I remember praying big time when I first got there due to waiting for my ex-boyfriend to join me and just adjusting to being away from home in general. I remember the one day, a typical cloudy British day, I was walking in this field all by myself and really in a lot of pain. I prayed and for the duration of my prayer this beam of sunlight shone down on me and I felt the love and comfort of the Lord and He gave me the courage to carry on.
Life carried on and the last real conversation I had with the Lord was to ask Him why He had abandoned us. I really felt that He’d decided that earth and the creation had been a big mistake. I remember to this day looking out of the window at the moon, so sad with the state of my life and the world around me, thinking the Lord has abandoned us, we are without hope. Just looking at the deterioration of our standards, families being torn apart, divorce rates soaring, kids in gangs and being arrested vs been read bed time-stories….I don’t have to continue this endless list, any self aware person will agree all is not as it should be.
My next adventure was in Turkey, where I felt a bit of a spiritual awakening. The beautiful call to prayer, the sea, meeting really interesting people and the experience of a butterfly landing on my heart and fluttering there for several minutes (lol the signs).
I made a brief stop over back in South Africa, while there I read Time life’s history of the world from 3000BC-1990’s and a book on all the different religions and how similar they all are. As a result just before I left for Korea I said a quick prayer and asked for a few things:
1. To be told the truth, who of all the religions is right if any, not churches but religions.
2. To rekindle my relationship with God, to feel His presence in my life again.
3. To become a better person
and 4. To meet interesting people who I can have deep conversations with.
When I first arrived here in Korea we had an orientation at a University near Seoul. It was filled with these youngsters who were all fresh out of college/uni only interesting in getting absolutely wasted every night, yeah they weren’t really my scene, maybe a few years ago, but after Turkey I think I’d reached my alcohol limit.
I met Cara at the orientation, she was (is) such an awesome person, intelligent, considerate, kind we got on like a house on fire. She would always pray before our meals, I thought it a bit strange, but each to their own. She also mentioned that she’d served a mission. I was like great thanks for not bible bashing (hate that). I also found it very strange that she could be so devout in her faith and yet had studied archaeology. Safe to say we became good friends. After we moved to Daegu we’d meet up often and have really interesting conversation (see no.4)
I remember saying to her that life is so wicked, it’s so hard to try to be a good person in a world like the one we live in now, her reply was that the world needs good people even more now than before 🙂
It felt really great to go to church, the main reason is that in our church no one is employed by the church, we are all lay people who love and serve the Lord of our free will and accord. In the meeting where we partake of the sacrament (bread and water) the members of the congregation are asked to give talks on anything from the atonement to values. This impressed me greatly, who better to give advise and impart experience than people trying to live the gospel.
I started reading the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ, it is the most beautiful book I’ve ever read. In it is the crystal clear fact that our Heavenly Father loves us and sent His son to die for our sins. The gospel as it should be in simple and clear terms. I had the strong impression from it that baptism was necessary for a remission of my sins and a way for me to turn my life towards what we were put on earth to do, serve and love the Lord and one another.
I went to another FHE at a members house and we watched the movie the Testaments, the movie touched me to the depths of my soul. When our Saviour was on the cross and He says “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do” it really hit home. I realised that here was a man who loved us enough to plead for our forgiveness even as He was being crucified in such a brutal manner. Also in the movie He calls one of the characters by His name as He addressed him. I just knew deep down that the Lord knew me too and that He was waiting to call me by my name too. After the movie I had a great chat with the missionaries and asked them if I could work towards being baptised.
Over the next few weeks I started having discussions or lessons with them. They cover the Lord’s plan of salvation for us, the gospel of Jesus, the commandments and the restoration of the Lord’s gospel through the church.
I had many occasions of doubt and scepticism, especially when googling about the church….for the record we are not polygamist, do NOT oppress woman, worship the God Mormon or have no fun. Every time I had a doubt I prayed to the Lord and He sent me an undeniable confirmation that this was the truth that I asked for before I left home.
On the 13th June I was baptised and a week later confirmed as a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This past year I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams, by knowing why I’m here, by obeying the commandments of our loving Heavenly Father and by striving each day to abide by the greatest commandments of them all:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might and love thy neighbour as you love yourself.
It is my pleasure and privilege to be a member of the church and to view the world in a completely different way than before. Every single molecule of my body has been changed for the better by membership in the Lord’s fold. I have an inner peace, protection and confidence that is rock solid and un-shakeable thanks to the truth of our purpose here in mortality.
This church is true, the gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ will change you life for the better.
If you have ever sought to know the truth or feel that some thing is missing, all your answers lie with in the only true and living church of Jesus Christ, restored for us in these latter days.
I earnestly offer you the opportunity to ask me questions about the how the Lord has changed my life through His church and recommend mormon.org for your browsing.
I also extend my love and blessing to you all, with the surety that if you seek you will find.
* Family home evening is a suggestion from the church that families dedicate one day during the week to spend together. As single people we all get together and spend the evening eating, talking and sharing a spiritual message.