Hi I'm Dana
I just graduated from BYU in anthropology, and now I'm venturing out on my own in this crazy world! I'm the second of five children, and my family is everything to me. My father past away 3 years ago, and my mother remarried last year. My life is constantly changing, and the only thing that remains true and constant is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my testimony of its truthfulness. I have been able to travel the world, living in Germany, Jordan, and Israel. Everywhere I go, through the wonderful differences in language, culture, and landscape, people remain mostly the same. People are good everywhere, and we all want the same things, whether we recognize it or not. And God's love is just as real and constant for Palestinians as Germans, for Bedouins as Americans.
Why I am a Mormon
I am a Mormon because I have repeatedly felt the Holy Ghost testify to me that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I'm not one to follow anyone blindly. In fact, I started questioning whether the church was true or not when I was just four years old. I've always been determined to make up my mind for myself. Well, God really does answer prayers, even of a four year old. And He has continued to answer my prayers ever since. Life is not easy, and mine has been no exception to that. However, as I've turned to the Lord and asked Him for reassurance over and over again, it has always come. When I was just twelve years old, I read the Book of Mormon for the first time all the way through by myself. And when I finished, I knelt down and poured out my heart to God to know that it was true. No lightning bolt came. No angel appeared. But the warmest sensation completely enveloped me, and I felt in my heart that I had always known that it was true. Since that time, there have been plenty of circumstances where I've faltered, and I've started to question myself again. But as soon as I pray for reassurance, to feel the truthfulness of the gospel in my heart just one more time, the Holy Ghost comes, and my heart burns, and my mind is at peace. It is this continuous reassurance, love, and encouragement that I feel my my Heavenly Father that I am doing the right things that help me continue to know that this gospel IS true. It is REAL. And it makes me who I am.
Could you talk about your baptism?
I was baptized when I was eight years old, but certain things have stayed with me all this time. I remember smiling so much my cheeks hurt. I remember feeling warm all over, and just so happy. I distinctly remember the feeling that my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ were both so incredibly proud of me that day. I remember coming up to my room once I got home and not wanting any of those feelings to end. I recall being so excited that I finally was old enough to make covenants with my Heavenly Father, and prove to Him how much I loved Him, and how determined I was to follow my Savior's example and return back to Him one day. And every week when I renew these covenants in partaking of the Sacrament, I think of how these are still my goals. I'm still trying to keep these same covenants with God. He has poured out countless blessings upon me since my baptism, and I will never be close to repaying Him, but I can certainly try to keep my end of our covenants.
How I live my faith
I have served both in my congregation and community in several different ways over the years. As a teenager, I filled multiple leadership positions over girls in my age group, as well as over the entire stake youth committee, where I helped plan activities for teenagers in our larger geographical area. In college, I have taught Sunday School and Relief Society (the largest world-wide women's organization), filled leadership positions in Relief Society, directed music, offered service to those in need, and have visited women in my ward with a companion once a month every month (a program called visiting teaching). All of my service has helped me get more involved in my congregation and community to help make a difference in other's lives, as well as my own. Service is the key to happiness, and there is always someone in need. We just have to look up to God and look around to those He's placed in our path.