Chat With a Mormon Online
I'm all the ordinary things--daughter, sister, wife, mother, and now even grandmother--and extremely grateful for each of those roles. One thing that would come out in any introductory conversation is my love for family history, because I'm really curious about people's families' backgrounds and would probably ask about yours.
I was introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ when I was 17. The first thing I was taught was the "Plan of Salvation," where I learned that part of who I am had existed forever, that I was a literal child of Heavenly Father, and that I (and everyone else) had the ability to make decisions in all stages of existence. I was thrilled to learn that there was a modern-day prophet who had seen and conversed with the Father and the Son. Having been raised without a religious background, the subject had always been puzzling to me. The teachings I received as I investigated the Church made not only intellectual but also "spiritual" sense.
I have now been a member of the Church for over 40 years. That decision I made as a teenager was the most important one of my life, because all the next-most-important decisions were based upon it. Although striving to keep the commandments and grow into the type of person I want to be is not always easy, I can't imagine my life without the influence of the Church in it. I know that this is the way to be happy...eternally, joyously, thoroughly happy. The principles I have learned through those four decades make my life (and all the struggles and challenges that inevitably come as a part of it) worthwhile and meaningful. They answer the biggest questions and give guidance for solving the littlest problems. I am grateful beyond expression for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the blessings I receive as a result of it.
Someone asked me this several years ago (perhaps trying to figure out why it was such an important part of my life). After having reflected for a short while, I gave my answer. It was very simply that I have a strong feeling that those who went before me and made it possible for me to come to earth in a family still exist, even though I can't see them. They are very real to me. There are things I can do to help them be happy. I want to find them so I can help their families have the opportunity to be together forever.
Mormons go on missions to share the happiness they've found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their greatest sadness is to be turned away (especially without an opportunity to teach); their greatest happiness, when someone listens and understands and accepts and follows. I just attended the homecoming of a young sister today. She joined the Church with her brother several years ago. They were followed eventually by their parents. I saw her joy at being home, but also remember the "fish-out-of-water" feeling of reentering "normal life" after an extended time of total dedication to other-centered activities. She will eventually learn that her opportunities to serve are not gone. although they will have to mesh with other life demands. However, she will always remember those special months when she was able to give everything to sharing the message of the restoration.
When I was a fairly new member of the Church, the thought of teaching a class scared me to death. However, there is a scripture that says we can make our weaknesses become strengths. And now I really enjoy teaching. It's exciting to ask for guidance in order to try to make oft-repeated subjects interesting through new approaches. It's especially rewarding to receive that spiritual direction in very real ways.