Hi I'm a music teacher, I grew up in Utah and I'm a Mormon.
I'm a mom of three young men and wife of a computer scientist. We live in Utah, have a very large garden and a beautiful view of our grand Rocky Mountains. Our sons have completed honorable missions and are working on their educations. My husband and I both graduated from Brigham Young University where we met. We both also served missions for the Church. I love cooking, studying, music, being with my family, working out, attending the temple and gathering with friends.
Why I am a Mormon
Despite growing up in the Church, I reached an age where I questioned our beliefs and wanted to find out for myself if it was the true Church. I was about age 18 when I read the Book of Mormon all the way through for my first time. Most active youth these days read it much sooner than that! I recall the thrill and the warmth of feeling the Holy Ghost confirm to my soul that it was true. I also felt the confirmation of the Holy Ghost in answer to other prayers such as "Was Joseph Smith a true prophet of God?" And, "Am I a Child of God?" I can testify that these concepts are true.
Please share your feelings/testimony of Joseph Smith.
Before I went on my mission, I was asked to teach a lesson about the Prophet Joseph Smith. I knew I needed to do more than believe in his story, I needed a testimony of him and the work he was called to do. I carefully read of his experience in the Sacred Grove, being visited by God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I had a basic understanding of the need for a restoration of the Gospel that had been established by Christ when he was alive on the earth, and how it had been corrupted and lost through the ages. I fasted and prayed and again experienced the warm, confirming sensation in my heart and can say that I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
Could you talk about your baptism?
I was eight years old when I was baptized. Since I grew up in a "Mormon" family, one's baptism was something celebrated and looked forward to by the whole family. Dad, Mom, my brothers and sisters and I all piled into the station wagon and traveled a mile or so to the meetinghouse where the baptismal font was. I was part of a group of other eight year-olds being baptized that day. Once we arrived, we changed into white baptismal clothing as did our fathers or those who were requested to do the baptisms and who were worthy priesthood holders. Dad went down into the font filled with warm water, then held out his hand for me. I took his hand, stepped down into the water and he performed the baptism which consists of a special prayer, then being immersed all the way in the water. I particularly recall climbing back up the steps out of the font shivering but feeling such a glowing wonderful feeling inside.
How has attending Church services helped you?
Resolve and dedication can fade if not refreshed regularly. That's what attending Church does for me. I love the spirit, the friendship, the teaching and learning that comes from meeting weekly with my friends and neighbors. In our Church, with a lay ministry, we all are involved in serving and helping keep one another in tune with the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We renew our dedication to covenants we all made at baptism into the Church. We partake of the Lord's supper through the sacrament and promise afresh our desire to be His children.
Think about your everyday activities. What are things you act upon each day where you cannot see the end results? How does faith move you to action?
Faith means we do things with the belief that something good will come of it, like planting seeds and hoping for vegetables. Some things I do every day are scripture reading, exercising, eating well by refraining from processed and junk food, and trying daily to serve others. I also pray a lot. I've experienced for myself how much better my mind, my health and my life are by seeking consistency in these areas. Obedience to commandments is a way of preparing for hardships and disaster. In the face of trouble and difficulty, we can feel the guidance of our Heavenly Father. Also, avoidance of some things is an act of faith. Avoiding negative thinking, pornography, junk food or addictive substances and activities means we believe in ourselves and our ability to gain power over our bodies, thoughts, impulses and actions.
Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
I am so grateful for this great gospel of Jesus Christ! I feel it a privilege to live at this time when the fulness of the gospel is here and I can reap the blessings of those who have sacrificed so much. This gospel means everything to me. By trying to live the teachings we have been given, I can testify that I have been blessed in every possible way. My family and I have been prospered, guided, healed, and given everything we have needed. We've been supported and comforted through trials and given answers to our prayers. We have the assurance of knowing that God lives and that His Son paid the price for us to be able to overcome sin and death and live with Him again. We feel the great peace, even in the midst of a troubled world, that God loves us and is watching over us. I testify that this gospel is true.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
I don't think I fully understood the Plan of Happiness until I learned and taught it on my mission. I enjoyed sharing the knowledge that our spirits are eternal, and that this life is a preparation for life with God after we die. Knowing the importance of our family relationships has meant that my family is a top priority in my life. Knowing about the continuation of life after death means I have peace when someone I love dies and leaves us temporarily. I know we can be reunited again. Understanding who I am as a daughter of Heavenly Father means I strive to prioritize my life to please Him by obeying the commandments so I may qualify to return to Him.
What are you doing to help strengthen your family and make it successful?
I believe in the family! I have learned that if I, as wife and mother, can feel the Spirit in my heart, I can overcome the temptation to be angry, to yell, argue, demean, ignore, or do anything that can bring a bad feeling into our home. I have learned that I am a child of God, and so is each individual member of my family. I must treat them that way. As they feel valued by me, and understand the love their Heavenly Father has for them, they can find the strength to overcome negative forces that could pull them away or tempt them. I believe in the saying, "Work as if it all depends on you, and pray as if it all depends on Heavenly Father." He has guided me, prompted me and answered my prayers to help me mother those He has entrusted to my care.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
This latest time I've been reading through the Book of Mormon, I decided to mark with a yellow pencil all those passages that told of God's power as He helped and guided His children. I was astounded to see how quickly I wore my pencil down! The Book of Mormon is a record of miracles and of God's love. My testimony grew of His help in my own life and I couldn't help but wonder how much of His guidance I had missed by not looking for it. I look for it now.
Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?
The older I get, the more I understand my need for constant prayer. I've learned we can keep our hearts open and always reaching upward even if we aren't actually talking consciously. Prayer is my safety valve, my calming device, my daily lift and my help through any difficulty that may arise. I know I can communicate with a loving, listening Heavenly Father who knows me, knows my needs and knows what is best for me. He hears and answers prayers, even if at times that answer is "no." You and I can trust Him completely and feel His love on a daily basis. What a great blessing that is!
In what ways have your prayers been answered?
I know our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. Some of my prayers have been answered immediately, some have taken years. It seems that my prayers are answered better, and are more effective when I'm actively engaged in serving and helping others than when I'm just praying for selfish wants. I have prayed for wisdom in my mothering skills and have been blessed with information I need, or with better judgment in my discipline methods. I have needed greater energy, more time, or more ideas in order to fulfill my callings and positions in the Church and those prayers are always answered somehow. I have prayed for help with my marriage and been blessed with calm, with humor, or with what I need to say or do (often it is to ask forgiveness). I have been healed many times through prayer and through the Priesthood. Lately I've been concerned with my sons needing money for college and have seen Heavenly Father bless them with jobs, scholarships, financial aid and other opportunities. Heavenly Father expects us to do our part, but I have learned that no sincere prayer is too trivial for Heavenly Father's attention.
What blessings have come through your faith in Jesus Christ?
My faith in our Savior Jesus Christ has helped me overcome every difficult thing that has come my way during my lifetime. It has given me hope and optimism over despair, it has given me energy and enthusiasm when I have felt despondent, depressed, or burned-out with burdens. My faith leads me to my knees when I feel life is too much, or that I'm not up to the task at hand. My marriage is strong because of that faith, my children have been blessed by it; even my extended family is blessed when I have faith in the blessings and promises extended to us through Savior's teachings and His atonement. Knowing I have a Savior who atoned for my sins means I can repent and be forgiven of them. That faith has led me through trials and pitfalls that otherwise would have overwhelmed me. Knowing I have a Savior gives me courage to face challenges and make wise decisions. The greatest blessing is the peace I feel in my heart day by day and the confidence I have in Him. In a world filled with violence and turmoil, this is a very precious thing. I know He lives!
What has helped develop greater harmony in your home?
The scriptures have taught me much about the nature of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. As I've learned about them, I've had to quit blaming people around me for our problems and look in the mirror! The more I work on me, the better our harmony has been. For instance, would Christ nag, argue, lecture, give someone the silent treatment, yell, push or punish? Or would he counsel, teach, lead, love, and listen? Would He bless, comfort and understand? Would He be patient and kind? Of course! I've learned it takes a lifetime of self-discipline and self-evaluation to realize my need to change and be better as I've sought to become more Christ-like.
How I live my faith
I believe in placing God first in my life, my family second and other interests third. I've served in many capacities such as presiding over the women's organization, teaching almost every age level at some point, presiding over the children's organization, working with the youth, writing and directing plays, and as a den mother to cub scouts. I am also usually called on for most musical events to sing or play the piano. I enjoy studying the scriptures every day which gives me insight, inspiration and the help of the Spirit in my daily life. I believe in prayer and in a Heavenly Father who knows us well and answers our prayers. I believe in service and trying to live as Christ would have me live.