Hi I'm Tyler M.
I am currently studying Spanish Education and TESOL at a university; I only have 2 semesters left! I really enjoy having fun, especially when it involves food. Baking and cooking are passions of mine. I have been a member of the church for about 2 and a half year (since January 13th 2008)
Why I am a Mormon
I am a member of the Church because I love the things the Church teaches. It was quite simple and made so much sense to me when I was learning the doctrine and beliefs (conversion story below). I am a member of the Church because I know the goodness and truthfulness that is in it, which comes from God. It has not been easy, being the only member in my family; but I have been blessed greatly because of it. My testimony is growing stronger and stronger the more I put in to action what I believe.
Could you talk about your baptism?
It is an overwhelming joy to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love waking up each morning and being full of joy as to what the day will bring, although sometimes it is more stressful and frustrating than others. My life is truly better now that I am a member of the church. It was the week that school had begun at a university. I had moved into the dorms and was having fun meeting the other people on my floor. I was talking with a young woman just a few doors down the hall, in one way or another we got to talking about our faiths and she had mentioned that she was LDS and I had mentioned that I was Lutheran. I had told her that I really didn’t know that much about the church at all and she had said, “well, we could talk sometime if you like” or something to that affect. Later that evening we talked for nearly two hours about the church. She discussed some basic principles and talked about Joseph Smith and the Articles of Faith. I had also discussed my background in the Lutheran church. I was raised Lutheran my entire life; I was baptized when I was around 1 year old. I was later confirmed in the faith when I was around 15 or so. I had never really gained a testimony of the gospel or the Holy Spirit. I had never felt the Holy Spirit before, or the way it burns inside you. Much of what my friend had told me was new and interesting, but made sense. She had invited me to attend church with her, but I told her that I wasn’t ready. I said, “Maybe one Sunday we could both go to each other’s church.” Later in the week I decided to look online for away to get a free bible because I had left mine back at home. I somehow came across a site that had them, but they also had the Book of Mormon. I decided to order a Book of Mormon (it was the LDS sight). I soon had found other members of the church that were staying in the same dorm as mine. My friend had asked if I wanted a Book of Mormon and I had said yes. About a week later she gave it to me. I didn't really want to read it, I just thought it would be fun to read and find the false things in it. A few other friends of mine (non-members) had made the decision earlier that day that we would read it together to find to see what this church teaches. I decided to leave the book with them cause I didn’t really want it that much. Later, my friend started asking questions about my reading; how it was going. I told her fine, even though I hadn’t read it at all. I decided later to go and get the book from my friends so that my friend wouldn't wonder why they had it and I didn’t. This had all taken place over three weeks or so. One day I received a call from two missionaries. They had asked if I had received a Book of Mormon yet and I told them yes. They had decided to set up a meeting with me the following week. I was really excited and I had even told them that that Sunday I had decided to go to Church with my friend; it was a fast and testimony meeting. That Sunday had forever changed my life. It was the first Sunday that I had ever felt the Holy Spirit before. I had never felt anything like that before in my other church. Each time someone bared there testimony it became more and more amazing. I then told my friends who had invited me to come with them that, I was really happy and that it was the first time I had ever felt the Holy Spirit before. I almost began to cry right in front of them. I then was introduced to the missionaries later that day. It was a wonderful experience. I started taking the discussions with the missionaries. My first lesson was great, I wanted it to go longer, I wanted to learn everything. The missionaries also challenged me on my first lesson to pray about baptism. They later told me after my baptism that they had never had a more prepared saint for the gospel. They had never seen one with so many people supporting him in his action (because all of my member friends that went to the discussions. I called my parents later that week just to see how things were going. They asked what I was doing and so I decided to tell them. They were apprehensive about me doing this but they never really said that I had to stop investigating. My dad then started sending me all of these emails with anti-mormon literature in it. After all of that and more talks with my parents I had then taken a giant step backwards. The next Sunday I decided to go to my church again. I felt the Holy spirit, but that time it wasn’t nearly as strong. The next Sunday an LDS friend of mine, Another friend of mine who was a member of the church decided to go to church with me. Since my service started at 10 and hers started at 11 we decided to go over to the Institute after my service was over. The entire time I was there I just wanted to leave and go to the Institute for service. When we got to the institute things felt much better, more “at home”. Later the following week I had another meeting with missionaries. I had brought questions to ask them from all of the anti-mormon literature. Toward the end of the discussion (this only being my second one) one of the missionaries asked me if I pray about a baptismal date. I was kind of shocked and felt, “I’m not ready for that, I’m not going to pray about that”, but I told him that I would because I have a hard time saying no. I got back to the dorms that night and told my friend about me not wanting to pray about that. She said, “Why did you lie to them, you should have just told them you weren’t ready.” I said that, “I didn’t really know what to think but I figured that I will pray anyways and see what happens”. During all of this I remember gaining my testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. I was reading from the Book of Mormon one day and it just dawned on me, he had to have been a prophet because Heavenly Father wouldn’t just abandon us and leave us to fend for ourselves. If he was a prophet then the Book of Mormon has to be true and this has to be right! It all made so much more sense now. I remember that very next Sunday I found the missionaries and told them of my testimony, I remember how happy I was to tell them and the smile they had on their faces. Every time I would call my parents they would ask how things were going and what I was doing. I would mention that I was doing FHE or Institute and they would say that they really didn’t like what I was doing, still never saying that I couldn’t. My father kept sending me more anti-mormon literature and I would find the answers and defend it. Thanksgiving came and it was a very interesting time, my father and I would argue a little and then my parents finally told me that I had to stop investigating the church. If I didn’t they would no longer be supporting me financially. I decided that this was way too much to lose, my family was very important and I know that doing this would hurt it. I decided to stop investigating. It was hard for me to say that I would stop because I knew the happiness, joy and the friendship that the church and its members and our Heavenly Father brought to me. He had asked me multiple times over the break and one evening he had asked me a question about the church, I decided to go get my missionary pamphlets and my Book of Mormon. We talked for a short while and then he opened our garbage can and asked me again, if I was going to continue investigating. I said no and threw them away. As much as it hurt me to do that and to say no to something that was so amazing, I figured my parents knew what they were doing. My parents took me back to school that following Sunday. I did not feel right about the decision I made but I had figured that they were my parents and they had my best interests at hand. I had told my friend and all of my friends my decision and they were slightly disappointed, but more than that they wanted to know why and I tired to explain but they didn’t seem to get it. I decided on Monday that I would go to FHE for one last time to see if I felt anything, or if it was just all pretend. I didn’t feel to much, but what I felt for sure was the guilt. I knew that if my father found out he would be very angry and disappointed. I knew that was hindering me from feeling the spirit. Sure enough when I had arrived back at my dorm room I checked the messages on my phone, my father had called. I called him back and we were talking for a while, he then asked what I did this evening and why I was not there to answer. I had lied to my father in the past about things and I new if what I had done tonight was right that I couldn’t lie anymore. I told him that I had gone to FHE. My father and mother could not believe that I had done that. They were angry that I had “lied” to them over thanksgiving break. I tried to explain to them why I went, but they could not understand. They then told me they were no longer supporting me financially and that I would not be getting my car back that I had left at home for the winter time. I cannot really describe the feeling that I had after the phone call. It was sadness and frustration, everything all combined. I sat there for a few moments and then felt even more sadness. I laid down on my bed to ponder and think. I began to cry wondering why things had to be so difficult, I was praying and asking Heavenly Father why it had to be so hard. He didn’t really give we an answer. I then decided to do some laundry to take my mind off of it. I then decided to call one of my friends. I was crying as I told her all of this. She then gave me a scripture to read; DC 6: 22 and 23 which reads, “Verily, verily I say unto you, if ye desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” This verse made me cry because it was exactly what I needed. It filled me with joy, I knew that somehow things would be okay. I had been praying about my baptismal date for a few weeks (by this time it was the end of November first of December) and one evening as I was praying I had the erg to look at my clock. It read 1:10 in the morning. I though immediately does this mean that I am getting baptized in a month, or is it the 10th of January. I asked Heavenly Father if this is what this sign meant. I really didn’t get a specific answer but I knew that I would be baptized. I met with the missionaries again and told them and they were very excited. We decided that it would be January 13th that I would be baptized. I continued to attend church and take the discussions with the missionaries. I loved the feeling I got every time I went to a meeting. I looked forward to going to church every Sunday and the joy and happiness that it brought to me. My father began sending me more and more anti-Mormon literature. I told him to stop but he wouldn’t. I kept reading it and asking questions and finding out answers, none of which helped my father understand. He thought that I was being “brain washed into a cult.” My father then asked if I was getting baptized yet (this was a first) I had told him that I didn’t not want to talk about it. He had asked again and I said that I wanted to wait until Christmas break which was just a week away. He asked again and I told him “yes“. He then signed offline (as we were chatting) immediately after reading that. I did not feel bad for the decision I made, It was just hard to see how it affected my family. I then went home for Christmas break. This was an especially trying time. My father and I had some very interesting conversations and some very heated arguments. The Saturday before Christmas we got into an especially bad argument ( I hate arguing). I had asked them how I was getting back to school and they had said well it depends on whether or not you are going to get baptized. I told them that I was and they had said, “after all of the information we have given you, you are still going to do this?” I told them yes and that I know what I feel and that it is very important. We then started arguing about some of the beliefs of the church and how they differed from his. I got especially angry when he started calling the church names and calling my friends who were members names. Things where said and done after that that was not very respectful of me or him. His being far worse. I later apologized for disrespecting him and treating him the way I did. He didn’t apologized for how he treated me. I knew that this was how Satan was going to use me and my family to tear us apart. The next day was better, he seemed to have done a complete turnaround. Christmas was fine, the day after though it seemed to start up again. I told my father I didn’t want to argue about it anymore. It ended up going in circles arguing and saying I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. My parents finally decided to give me my car back so that I could get a job and everything. I moved out of the dorms and moved in with a friend who was a member because it was way to expensive for me. During the break I was not allowed to attend my church. My parents forbade it. They said if I were to go to any church it had to be their’s; so I didn’t go to church for three weeks. Instead I read my scriptures and prayed a lot. It was really hard not to go to church for that amount of time, especially considering I was getting baptized on the 13th of January. It seemed like my testimony had weakened. I had felt unprepared for my baptism, and it seemed like I needed more time to sort out all of my feelings. My parents had also said that they think I need more time to really understand everything. They wanted me to search it all out and find out all the answers about the church before I committed. They had proposed that I wait until the fall before I did it. I said that I didn’t need anymore time, the only reason I would wait would be for them to understand a little more. They said that they already knew and didn’t need time for them, it was only for me. I left back to school from a music conference I had in in a nearby town with other members from the University band at the very end of Christmas break. I had some car troubles and had to have my car towed back to where I was going to school. I was driving on the freeway when all of a sudden my car’s front wheel bearing seized and almost drove me off the road. I had thought about going back the night before because one of my friends, One of my friends that was at the conference was going as well and I figured I could follow him back and be there for church the next day. He had told me no and that I should go the next day. I left the next morning and decided to have a friend ride with me so I wouldn't be all alone for the three hour drive. I was lucky that I did because the roads where worse the night before and I did not have a cell phone. Finances where okay until I had to pay for the tow and to have the car fixed. Finances got a little tighter after that. I called my parents to let them know what had happened and my dad had said, “This is a sign.” I didn’t respond but I did know that was Satan doing all that he could to try and keep me from being baptized. The week before my baptism was a really rough week. There wasn’t anything major that happened, well except that my best friend got engaged to a person I liked at the time, but it was mostly little things that Satan was blowing up into huge things. He really was trying my patience. Satan was filling me with doubt even until the last minute, just as I entered the water. My joy, happiness and trust in the Lord were far stronger than the doubt. I knew without a doubt that what I was doing was right. As I was changing into my baptismal suite I still had doubt, I just wanted someone to remind me that what I was doing was right. Not but a second later the one baptizing me, told me that what I was doing was right. I realized that Heavenly Father does listen, even when we are not praying, he heard me and knew I needed that. My baptism was wonderful, and I will never forget it. That evening of my baptism I was also confirmed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. My Baptism was a great experience. It was nothing over-the-top, or extravagant. It was a simple, clean experience. I remember just when I came out of the water feeling clean. I feel this same experience when I go to the temple. That clean feeling is something I will always cherish. At that moment I don't know if I fully realized the power of what I did. But I continue to realize that power and blessing for having the faith and commitment to be baptized. It was that moment that I covenanted to take upon myself the name of Christ in that great similitude of His atonement. I am so grateful that that I am a member of this church, and for the joys that have been brought into my life, thanks to all of you who helped me. My parents hearts have soften quite a bit. They still don't agree with my membership in the LDS church, but have given me more freedom in my worship. They do allow me to attend church when I go home and don't press my beliefs as much. I am merely striving to do my best, and be a good example to them, and everyone by living what I believe.
Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?
Prayer is a very important things, that I never will go without. Prayer helps answer questions, but what happens most of the time is it provides comfort and peace, and love. Prayer is a way I can become closer to my Father in Heaven by communicating personally with Him.
How I live my faith
I live my faith by trying to do my best. I am no where near being perfect, but I have learned a ton of things as I try to be better. I grow every time I have a trial, or something hard in my life. In a unique way I am grateful for those experiences God has given me, and allowed me to become better, and more like who He wants me to be.