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Hi I'm Ksenia

I grew up in Russia. I'm going to school in Salt Lake City. I'm an optimist. I love life. I'm a Mormon!

About Me

I'm a college student. I grew up in the Ural Mountains in Russia. I am going to school and working in Salt Lake City, Utah. I enjoy running and hiking. A couple of months ago I ran my first half-marathon. I enjoy reading books, sewing, and knitting. I'm very much interested in history. I wish there were more than 24 hours a day so that I could do all the things I want to but don't have enough time!

Why I am a Mormon

My Conversion Story Prologue I was seven years old when the Berlin Wall that divided Communistic and Western worlds crumbled. Although I do not have any memory of that historical event, I do remember the day when communism collapsed in Russia in 1991. I was a little scared girl watching the news with my parents about the governmental coup that lead to the fall of the USSR. The White House was on fire. The tanks and crowds filled the streets of Moscow. Little did I understand that I was witnessing a crucial event that would make possible the coming of Christ’s church to Russia and the former Soviet republics. I first saw the LDS missionaries in 1992. I was a second-grader in elementary school. My mom had always been fond of the opera and ballet. One night she took me and my older sister to a play. Our seats were on the balcony from where we could see the entire congregation on the main plaza. One group of people stood out- they were mostly young men all wearing black business suits, white shirts, and ties. I stared at them for a while. My older sister told me that they were members of some weird cult and that I should be very careful around them. She told me that they were called "Mormons." Being attracted by all “weird” since early childhood, I was fascinated by the group and couldn't stop staring! Part I. I was a freshman in college in Russia when something extraordinary happened to me. One day I was walking to the bus stop from school, when I saw two of my friends on the other side of the street. I waved at them, turned around, made a step forward, and fell into an open sewer that was right in the middle of the road. Luckily, I didn't fall all the way down, but was able to hold onto the edges of the sewer. My friends saw what happened to me and came running to my rescue. When they pulled me out of the sewer, I looked at what was down-- metal stakes were sticking out on the bottom of the sewer. That very moment I knew that if I had fallen all the way through, I would have been dead. I was lucky enough to only hurt my leg. I couldn't walk very well for about a month because the wound got infected, and it wouldn't heal. However, I was alive! That incident got me thinking of the reason why I was here on earth. I realized that I needed to know where I would have gone, if I had died that day. I come from a family of scientists- both of my parents, my little brother, and numerous uncles and aunts are geologists and biologists. They always wanted scientific proofs before they believed anything. My father told me that most parts of the Bible are not believable however, he did recognize the fact that Jesus Christ lived and walked on this earth. I wasn't raised in a religious atmosphere. My parents never taught me how to pray or go to church, but they taught me solid moral principles. My dad is the most honest person I know. Although my family members weren't church goers, I have always felt that there is God, and that He was close to us. I was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine when I was two months old. I recognize that it was done more because of the tradition than of faith. I was given a big metal cross that I was supposed to wear around my neck. For many years my mom kept the cross in one of her jewelry boxes, but one day I asked her if I could wear it. The cross reminded me of being a Christian. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, my family went to visit my grandparents in a little town in the Southern Urals for Christmas. After caroling for a few hours, other children went outside to play in the snow, but I found an Orthodox manual called "The Law of God" and started reading it. It taught me about God, Jesus Christ, and the Saints. I couldn't put the book away until I finished it. I remember that night very well because something brought me a sure conviction that God was real. Although I have always been quite religious and knew there was God, but after that sewer incident I realized that I needed to know for sure. I also came to understand that something was missing in the teachings of my church. I never really understood how little babies that died in infancy were going to hell if they had not been baptized before they died. I asked myself whether it was fair to charge money for the ordinances like baptism and marriage. What if my family was very poor and couldn't pay for the ordinances, would I be damned? After the near fatal fall into the sewer, I realized that I needed to know where I came from, what I was doing on earth, and where I was going after this life. Part II While taking care of my wounded leg, I forgot about those questions for a few weeks but Heavenly Father gently reminded me that I needed to find those answers. One evening when my dad and siblings were out of town, and mom was at work, I was home alone sewing some slippers. Suddenly in my mind I got a bizarre chain of thought of questionable logic: slippers- white slippers- coffin- the dead- death. In Russia the dead are buried wearing white slippers. That's when I was suddenly paralyzed with a fear of death. I was shocked to realize that death was so close to all of us. That thought absolutely seized my mind. I couldn't get rid of it. It was obsessive. I was afraid of dying and saw death everywhere. I couldn't even kill a mosquito or a fly because I was so afraid of dying and didn't want anybody or anything to die... because I didn't know where they were going. My obsessive fear turned into a mental issue. I finally realized that I couldn't deal with it on my own. My best friend's mother was a psychologist so I decided to call her and ask for help. She was out of the country when I called, and I started feeling very desperate. I couldn't eat or sleep I looked like a skeleton. Finally she got back and referred me to her psycho-therapist friend. I set an appointment with him right away. My family and friends thought that I should just get over it and stop being silly. At the therapy sessions we would talk about different things. One day my therapist told me that he was an atheist. That's when I realized that I was done with the therapy and this doctor because I knew he was not going to help me fill the emptiness in my soul with his atheistic ideas. I went back to the Orthodox church but left not feeling anything. Their teaching seemed confusing. I started going to different churches: catholic, protestant, and even a hippie church where the pastor and his kids played the drums at their church and were quite fun and loud. They taught about the salvation by grace. It didn’t make any sense to me because I knew keeping the commandments was very important. If everybody was just saved by grace and not by good deeds, I thought, people could do a lot of horrible things using salvation by grace doctrine as a very good excuse. I didn't feel much in that church either, but after becoming friends with the pastor's daughter I maintained the connection with that church for quite a while. I also read a few books by ancient Greek philosophers hoping to find the answers in their wisdom. Part III One day after my vain search for the truth, I remembered that one of my friends took me to English classes that were taught by some missionaries. I was so busy with school that I didn't really have time to attend those classes but I remembered where they were held. All of the sudden I was on fire- I knew that if I didn't go and talk to those missionaries, I would never be in peace with myself. So I went. I came to the meetinghouse and met two sister-missionaries sitting in the hall. I explained to them that I was confused and needed some answers. They started teaching me the plan of salvation right away. As I was listening to them, my soul became calmer and I was touched by the spirit. They taught me that before coming to earth, we all were living in the presence of our Heavenly Father. We came to earth to receive physical bodies and gain mortal experience. With the help of Jesus Christ, who paid for the sins and mistakes we make in this life, we will be able to gain eternal life of happiness if we follow His Gospel. As they were teaching me those simple truths, I realized that they were not teaching me anything new-- they were helping me to remember. Two months later I was baptized to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although I wasn't reading the Book of Mormon much, I received a testimony of the divinity of the Plan of Salvation. It made sense to me that the Church that was professing such teachings was true. I didn't question the book or the leaders. Deep inside of my heart I knew it was true. I joined the Church without trying to learn and understand everything. I knew it was true I also knew the time would come when I would understand much more. My parents were being very antagonistic towards the Church. They prohibited me from going there and told me that if I went to church, the consequences would follow. I was baptized on October 19, 2002, in a little chapel in the city of Ufa. I didn't tell my parents about my decision. I was mortified by that only thought. That day something happened to the plumbing system-- there was no cold water in the building. When I tried to get my toes in the water, I couldn't keep them there for a second. The water was so hot! We had to wait and sing hymns for about an hour waiting for the water to cool off. When I was finally being baptized, the water was still very hot. A few months later my father found a journal in which one of the sister-missionaries who taught me made an entry. He discovered that I was baptized without his consent. My dad was furious he forbade me from leaving the house, going to school, or seeing my friends for a while. I was still secretly going to church and meeting with the missionaries. I knew where my heart was despite of the grief my parents were causing me. One day my older sister suggested they take me to an orthodox therapy for adepts of different cults and sects. To please my family, I said I would go and talk to the priest. In my mind I had an idea to tell the priest what I believed and how happy I was. For some reason when my family saw that I agreed to go very quickly and easily, they stopped pushing me to do it. Part IV I had been a member of the Church for about a year when something terrible happened that brought me even closer to God. My close friend Dennis died in a motorcycle accident. When I learned about his death I was shocked: he was hit by a truck in the evening. The paramedics came to the accident site and took him to the morgue. He was pronounced dead. In the morning his mother came to the morgue to identify the body. To her shock, her son was still alive. He died shortly after that. He could be still alive, if the negligent paramedics had checked to really make sure there wasn't a breath of life in him. Dennis lived in the same town my grandparents lived in-- 300 kilometers away from Ufa. I couldn't make it to his funeral, but I went to his grave three days after he was buried. I remember standing on his grave- tears were streaming down my face. I couldn't believe that my dear friend was there under the ground. I asked myself if I knew where Dennis' soul went after he died. I asked myself if I knew for myself whether what the missionaries taught me was true. I decided there and then to get those answers for myself once and forever. That was the first time in my life when I started reading the Book of Mormon searching for answers. I opened up the Index section of the Book of Mormon and looked up the word “death”. I read all the scriptures that talked about mortal life, death, and resurrection. The reading brought peace. I clearly remember the day when I was alone in my room when all of the sudden a feeling of indescribable joy came over me. A thought came to my mind that Dennis is alive and that I will see him again. In Galatians it is said that the joy and peace are the fruits of the Spirit. I believe the Spirit touched me that day. Since then I have never doubted the Gospel or the Lord. I know that His plan is true. I know that the Church was restored by Joseph Smith by the power of the priesthood. What a blessing it is to have apostles and prophets to guide us in our everyday lives so that we may fulfill the purpose of our being on the earth—to come back to live with our Heavenly Father eternally. Part V I was in my third year of college when I decided that I was blessed with the knowledge of the Gospel so much that it would be unfair if I didn’t share my knowledge with others. I started to prepare to serve a mission. Once again, I was terrified to tell my family about my decision. I had a full scholarship in my university and my dad was very proud of me for doing well in school. My parents have still been very against of the Church. Every time my dad saw me wearing a skirt on Sunday, he would get very mad. One time my mom was especially harsh in attacking me and my church, so that I couldn’t take it any longer. I told her that if they attack me like that one more time I would bring a pack of cigarettes home and would smoke them in their kitchen blow smoke into their faces. They knew that when I say something, I always mean it. I believe I scared them a little bit. I also hoped to teach them a lesson. What kind of a child would they want to have: the one that is leading a productive life or the one who is living a worldly lifestyle and mingles in the wrong crowd? Funny enough, the persecutions from their side have decreased drastically. My mission call to Moscow, Russia Mission, came in late summer of 2004. I only told my family that I was leaving them for 18 month to serve a mission when I had only three weeks left before I had to report to the satellite MTC in Moscow. I hurt my father. The night when I was leaving home, he called me in his room and told me that if I leave them right now, I would not be his daughter anymore. I told him that I loved him but I needed to do what I felt I should. I don’t like to remember that night. I was hurt my whole family was hurt. When I came back from my mission, I found my dad with absolutely gray hair. His hair turned gray during the 18 months I was on my mission. I was endowed in the Stockholm, Sweden Temple in December 2004. It has been six years since I was attended my first temple session, but temple learning still continues. I still don’t understand everything, but I feel like home in the temple. My companions and I were able to help nine people to join the Church. We took no credit. Those people had been prepared to accept the Gospel. When I returned from my mission, I went to the little town where my friend Dennis’ family still lived. I taught them about the plan of salvation. I tried to comfort his grief-stricken mother saying that I knew he was alive and we all would see him again. I asked his family to give me a permission to take his name to the Temple so that the saving ordinances might be performed for him on this earth. His mother gave me the permission and in the summer of 2007 I went to Helsinki, Finland Temple to perform the ordinances for a few members of my own family and Dennis. I was also blessed to attend the temple with three of my converts: Nadezhda Korchagina and the Rubtsovi family. The Rubtsovi family was sealed for time and eternity in the temple, and I was able to present at that sacred ceremony. I have seen many miracles in my life. I know Heavenly Father is real. What a blessing it is for us to know about Jesus Christ and His role in the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for Joseph Smith to restore the true Church of God on the earth. I know he was a prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon has the answers to the most important questions of the human soul.

How I live my faith

I like my church because it gives every member an opportunity to serve and be busy. I have had different assignments in church: I helped teach little kids ages 3 to 7 while their parents attended Sunday School, I organized different activities for young girls, I helped the youth in Moscow travel to Helsinki, Finland to attend one of the templed of our Church. I enjoy going to church every week where I my testimony of God and of the Church is being strengthened. It is nice to know that you're not the only one going through different trials. Like all other women in the church, I visit a few sisters from my ward monthly. My friend and I prepare a short lesson and visit them at their homes. It's a great way to see if the sisters of my ward are in need of anything but are afraid to speak up.

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Yes, men and women are equal in the Church and under God. None gender gets any special advantages. However, men and women have different roles in lives. We believe that women succeed the best at home while taking care of the family and raising the children. They can have the greatest impact by being a mother. Men are seen as wise providers. They take care of the material and financial needs. That is why most women choose to become stay-at-home moms and find pride in raising their children. Even though women can succeed and self-actualize in their professional careers, they make more powerful impact on the society by raising children. Show more Show less