My religious “conversion” started when I was young. I guess I was lucky in that my parents loved me. Good examples counted. They were not perfect, but they were not hypocrites. Their sacrifices for God and family were real and heartfelt. I am the oldest child. I have 10 siblings, 9 living. I remember my mother coming home after giving birth. She told me the nurse took her aside to explain that there were ways to avoid pregnancy. She was surprised and a little dismayed. She told the nurse her family was a planned one. I think she wanted me to know that.
I hate hypocrisy. Always have. Growing up I noted hypocrisy in school, politics, social leaders, everywhere. In Church, not so much. I could easily see no one was getting rich or famous off of Church service. In fact quite the opposite. Sacrifice for love or for principle indicated to me a true sincerity, the opposite of hypocrisy. So that’s where I wanted to be too. Still do.
My belief in the doctrines of the Church called “The Gospel” began by observing, contrasting, and comparing. Pretty simple. I was happy to be baptized. I had answers to the basic questions of life and I found that satisfying. My gospel knowledge made me feel special, not different.
It continued that way until I reached the age of 15. I had just finished reading a book my mother provided called “Book of Mormon Stories for Young People”. Just stories really but I knew it was based on the history from the real Book of Mormon. So one day I saw the Book of Mormon sitting on the table and I thought “Why not just read the real thing?”.
Yes, yes, I know it’s a cliché but, because I was prepared, the Book of Mormon really did change my life. Forever. Before, my belief was observational and based on actions and results. Afterwards, it was based more on an active relationship and trust in God. I was introduced to Him on a more personal level through the Book of Mormon. Only those who have let God mold their heart know what I am talking about. There are no words to describe the experience — the feeling, the understanding, the epiphany of sacred moments. Then, as I read the part in the Book of Mormon when Jesus appeared to the Nephites, I was literally on the edge of my seat.
I love the Book of Mormon, or I should say, I love what is in the Book of Mormon.
That was 47 years ago (as of 2017). Since then, well, I have had my faith confirmed by “miracles”, direct answers to prayers, and new knowledge granted from the heavens — that type of thing. My failures and disappointments have already worked out in my favor or are in process of doing so. I am a great believer in playing “the long game”.
Feeling successful in my relationship with God, I also feel successful in every aspect of my life — like I am going in the right direction. And how many people can say that? I have lofty goals and aspirations unfulfilled but I try to be patient. It will all happen according to Word of God. I trust Him.
I recently ran across this quote and am fond of it:
My Determination is to be Persistent in following God. He can go His way and I’ll go mine. It will be the same way.
The doctrines of the “restored Gospel” are glorious to comprehend and I love God and His precepts with all my heart. They are to be found complete and intact only within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.