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I met my husband in college. Shortly after we were married I graduated, and started teaching. I taught Jr. High for a semester, and then moved to fifth grade. Fifth grade is my favorite age to teach. The children are old enough to listen and try challenging things, yet still sweet, innocent, and excited about learning. I loved my students, and loved teaching, but I love being a mother even more. When my husband graduated he also commissioned with the U.S. Air Force. He is a pilot now, and I'm a stay at home mother. He stays busy fighting for our freedom from the air, while I'm holding down the fort at home. When I have a spare moment to myself I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, crocheting, sewing, and very basic photography. I also love writing, and have a few ideas for children's books. They're on hold for now though while my little ones take up most of my time.
My parents are also Mormons, and are great examples to me. Because they have stayed true to their faith, I have been blessed to be a Mormon all my life. I have never once doubted if this church is true. I've always known it is. The gospel has been a lifelong comfort and loyal friend I have never had any desire to leave. The teachings have brought nothing but peace, guidance, and clarity to me. My life has not always been easy, but it has been happy. Some of my most difficult experiences have been while my husband was deployed overseas. I have felt lonely, scared, and weary, but because of my faith in God I have never felt abandoned. I know this is because I have been blessed with a knowledge of who I am, a Child of God, with directions of how to live. I have read the Book of Mormon with my parents and siblings growing up, on my own, and with my own family many times. When I read it I feel closer to Jesus Christ, and I know the words are of God. Joseph Smith was a prophet, and a great man. When I think of when as a boy, he knelt and prayed, I feel filled with a powerful knowledge that he saw God and Jesus Christ. They called him by name, and spoke to him. I know God knows my name too. He is aware of me and my family. He has blessed us with scriptures and prophets providing guidance on how to live happily in this time, and this day. I know this is true because that's exactly what I've been able to do- live with happiness.
I grew up a member of the church, so I have known about Joseph Smith all my life. His account of speaking to God and Jesus Christ, was never too fantastic for me to believe, because I don't remember a time when it was new to me. However I do remember a very special time when as a young adult, my understanding and belief in Joseph's first vision became clear, and personal. It is a simple memory, but still very powerful to me. I was sitting in church, and the next congregational hymn, was Joseph Smith's First Prayer. It begins with the words, "Oh how lovely was the morning, radiant beamed the sun above..." and in beautiful verse, describes how Joseph as a boy, walked to the woods by his home, knelt in private prayer, and was answered by that very sacred vision and appearance of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have always loved that song, and know the words by heart. That one Sunday, as we began to sing that song, my mind and heart overflowed with an incredible amount of feeling of happiness, and I knew, without any possible doubt, that that vision happened. It was as real to me as if I had been there too. Those powerful feelings overwhelmed me to the point that I could not sing. But I could listen to the words, and share in the beautiful testimony that we have a living God who loves us. He loves us individually. He knew Joseph's name, and he knows mine. He answers prayers, and while I have never experienced a vision like Joseph did that day, I have felt God testify personally to me in ways that are deep, sincere, and true, so much so that I cannot doubt my answers. I believe everything Joseph has ever taught and said. I know he was a prophet of God because the Holy Ghost has told me so, with his still, small voice, that sometimes feels huge, and strong enough to move mountains.
I have had many rewarding experiences while serving in church. I've frequently had the chance to work with children. Because of my love for teaching and young children, the time I've spent with them learning the gospel has brought me joy. Children have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost with them all the time. They cannot be tempted or sin. The light of the Savior shines from their eyes, and teaching them the gospel usually ends up being a lesson for me than for them. I learn from their humility, their sweetness, and pure love of the Savior and everything good and beautiful. I feel the Spirit strongest when I sing with them. The gospel is at it's purest, sweetest most concentrated form at those moments. They sing of their love for the Savior, and I know without a doubt of His unfailing love for them.