Hi I'm Jessica Leigh Bernard
I am a single mom. I am 37 years old. I have social security income. I am an aunt to 2 beautiful children named Emily and Owen. Both of my kids were born on July 2nd one year apart.
Why I am a Mormon
I love Jesus Christ and I want to live on Earth forever. I also want to be sealed to my children in a temple so that we can be together forever. I love all of the sacred rituals (ordinances) in the Latter Day saint Church.
Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?
My son and I pray together and I believe that God hears our prayers and answers them, even perhaps above some others, because our prayers are virtuous and said in the right way.
Which of the Savior’s teachings have influenced you in your life?
I have heard it said that to the ancient Incas "gold was the sweat of the sun". My mind can wrap that up in to an analogy about Christ. Our debts were paid by him dying on the cross. We can repay that debt by being baptised and confirmed ourselves. So my analogy is that the sweat of Christ the sun is our loan... or gold. The sweat of him carrying the cross. I am glad to know that how much money I have is between me and Christ. I learned about this at my baptism. I like knowing that my money is between Christ and myself.
How can we develop greater harmony in our homes?
Having our children actively involved in church.
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?
There are a number of things like that for me. I am going through a custody battle for my first born son that is more like a cold war. Each month I am about $200.00 short of what I need for my son Ezra and I. Ezra is my only other child. He was born a year after his brother. I would rather be married than single. I would rather be in a house than an apartment. Losing weight has been harder for me than most women that I have met in my era since having kids. I have a neighbor who has a lot of emotional issues and is 54 years old and single, but is always claiming she wants me in her life to cook her dinner. I wish that I could finish school in Arizona. My childrens' father and I are not married. I have contractual agreements to pay off a t.v., Bluray Player, queen matress set and an entertainment center. Faith moves me to action, because it allows me to appreciate that this stuff is difficult to get through, but not impossible.
How has attending Church services helped you?
It has helped me to have what Elder K. Packard talks about as real growth. I am not only a convert I also have had a healthy and active Latter Day Saint life. I brought my mother to The Mesa Temple once. I went on a picnic with the young adults in The Montpelier Ward ... the ward that I belong to now. The picnic was outside at The Joseph Smith Memorial. In 2012 I had a priesthood blessing for myself in my home. In 2003 I had my own temple recommend. I attended a funeral and even drove in the procession of cars for an old woman in my ward who passed away in her 80's. She had inspired me as a member of my ward and she had been a member of that ward since I was a child. I have supplied food for potlucks at my church. I have taken my son Ezra to Sunday school more than once. Every Christmas I go to The Joseph Smith Memorial to see the Christmas lights and I take members of my family who are not Latter Day Saints with me. Between the years of 2000 and 2002 I went to a handful of Relief Society Enrichment nights. My mother who is not a member of the church came to atleast 2 with me. There was one in particular that she really enjoyed that had to do with braiding my hair.
How has The Book of Mormon helped you understand the purpose of life?
Reading it gave me a historical, literary view of the world, but also being actively involved in my ward for the last 10 years I saw many families raising children the right way and it taught me how to be a good mother and have a family of my own.
How does making right choices help us make more right choices?
I think that I can give a good and exact example of this. From the time that I was 16 years old until I was 23 I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I did not even graduate from high school I ended up getting a G.E.D. I started college in my early twenties and worked hard at maintaining a high GPA so that I could transfer from a community college to Arizona State University in 2 years. During my time in college I was introduced to The Latter Day Saint Church and in August of 1999 I was baptised and confirmed in to The Latter Day Saint Church. I have always tried to be as active a member as possible for me. When the right man came along and asked me to marry him I said yes. He was a Latter Day Saint, a college student and a hard worker in the grocery industry and he had been an Army Ranger who was deployed to Fr. Guiana and The Panama Canal. I gave birth in 2004 and 2005 to two beautiful healthy boys. My son Ezra was blessed as an infant in front of The Montpelier Ward, which is my ward. I am a refined stay at home mom now. My children will be in second and third grade this fall. Oh... I became clean and sober in February 1999 forever.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
I can think better and reason more clearly, because I understand things so much better. Plus it is beautiful to me so I get through trials so much easier. Let's hope anyway. ;) I perceive that some people get frustrated with their lives when they feel that they are meaningless. Knowing that I can do temple work for me gives my life a whole new dimension. Also, each person's experience as a Latter Day Saint in life is personal to them. That is why they say that our personal revelations are personal to us. They are not about the whole World.
What has helped develop greater harmony in your home?
Having a child to love and care for and provide structure for.
Please share your feelings/testimony of Joseph Smith.
I think that Joseph Smith was a loving and happy person. I know that he was close to God and nature in a way too, because he worked as a farmer with his father and because of his experience in The Sacred Grove. He was human.
Can you think of a specific challenge in your family that Gospel Principles helped overcome?
As sad as it may seem I am the black sheep in my family. Being a LDS gives me another place to find community for my son and I and family type support/ strength.
Why do Mormons go on missions?
So that others can make the choice to become Latter Day Saints.
Why/How do you share the gospel with your friends?
One of my friends...she is also my son's aunt was baptised because I told her to check it out... That was back around 2003. Her husband is Jewish and she does not get to practice being a Latter Day Saint, but there is always that mutual understanding between her and I that we both love the gospel. Sometimes I will mention it to her too if I have accomplished something like getting to church or my son enjoying Sunday school or having a Patriarchle blessing...interesting visiting teachers...For me it depends on my friends' level of interest in the church how much I share with them.
Can you talk about the missions of the Church and your participation in them?
I have never been on a mission, but when the missionaries taught me about The LDS church before I was baptised my fiance sat with me through the lessons and the missionaries or elders told us that there are missions for adult married couples. Atleast one of my fiance's sisters told me that she had been on a mission for The LDS Church in South America in Brazil. My fiance's sisters explained to me that the missions that women go on are shorter than the missions that men go on. The mens' missions can last up to 2 years.
In what ways have your prayers been answered?
I am still healthy at 37 years old. My son Ezra is a second grader and he loves me. He and I have had our own apartment for 7 years. I am not gaining weight. I have ss income. I have free time to enjoy life. God revealed the truth about himself to me.
Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
I think that it is about the atonement.
What blessings have come through your faith in Jesus Christ?
My son Ezra. He and I are both members of The Montpelier Ward. That is a Latter Day Saint church for a mapped out area. ..all of my nice possesions and my Social Security income.
Why do Mormons do family history or genealogy work?
so that they can do Baptisms for the Dead which is a temple ordinance
What have you done successfully to shield your family from unwanted influences?
It was 2 years ago that I deactivated my Facebook account and began working on my mormon.org profile instead. I am also on circleofmoms.com which is a more wholesome way to be somewhat connected online to some of my old Facebook friends. I pray morning and night. I have my own home and I do not have to live with my parents who live different beliefs than I do. I always have LDS scriptures in my home. There are also unwanted influences that have to do with health. We do not have alcohol in our home unless it is for cooking at temperatures that will burn the alcohol out of it. We do not have a coffee maker. If some one comes over and they want to smoke they have to go outside.
What are you doing to help strengthen your family and make it successful?
1. trying to get custody back of my oldest son 2. prayer, repentance, scripture reading 3. trying to get a Temple Recommend and a Patriarchle Blessing 4. I have had a Priesthood Blessing 5. Trying to bring in more income 6. Trying to lose weight. I am 211 pounds and I should be 130 lbs...since writing this I lost 6 lbs. 7. I want my son Ezra to go to church enough so that he can be Baptised next summer when he turns 8.
Could you talk about your baptism?
August 21, 1999: baptised August 22., 1999: confirmed It was simple. It was complete. It was at the Paradise Valley Stake in Arizona which I find to be beautiful. There were like 30 people in attendance. The only people that I knew were my one friend and the missionaries. I was asked to stand up and give my testimoney which I did. I wore a white jump suite. My friend rode his bicycle to my baptism. I remember seeing him riding in to the parking lot and it pleased me that he had showed up after all. I was baptised by being completely immersed under the water in an indoor pool of water. A missionary held my wrist and held his other hand up in the air before I had to go backwards down under the water.
How has the Holy Ghost helped you?
The Holy Ghost prompted me to become a Latter Day Saint.
How can your talents and gifts bless others?
I care for my son Ezra. I am a nice and lovable mother. My son loves me a lot. He thinks I am a really good mother. I can swim with Ezra. I can teach him how to tie his shoes. I can provide him with a structured life. I can row the boat while he fishes out at camp. I can drive him places. I can help him with school work. I can be a missionary and explain The Latter Day Saint Church to people who are interested. Years ago when I was breast feeding I started using a crock pot to make dinners and desserts mostly. I used the crock pot very much for years. Now I am going to try using it to make soap which I can sell at craft fairs and on amazon.com. When I was cooking with the crock pot I was also using a lot of local ingrediants in my meals at that time and fresh herbs and reading about herbs and herb butters some what. My son and I started gardening every summer. I have been reading the crock pot soap recipe and you can put milk, natural fragrances, oatmeal, fruit and herbs in it.
What is hope and what do you hope for?
Hope is the desire for things to be o.k. or work out. I hope that I will have enough money. I hope that I will get Tom and Tristan back. I hope that I will move back to upper North Street some day. I hope that I will lose weight this summer. I hope that Tristan is alright on a moment to moment daily basis.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
I found true love there.
How I live my faith
I do not know if this is right or wrong and I do not want to sound like Shrek, but my faith is like the peels of an onion. There are many layers that are cyclical and repeatedly used. I keep going back in my mind to the night that I was given my testimoney that the church was very possibly true. I was very comfortable in a guest bedroom in my parents' house in Vermont. I had The Book of Mormon on my mind, but had not become a member yet. I go back to the day I met my fiance's mother and she and I did or did not see eye to eye? Then I recall how life was for me in my early teens when it was good. These experiences were all very different for me and it is like I am trying to put a puzzle together until I am whole.