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Hi I'm Mary Ann

I grew up in California and served a mission in New Jersey. I am a Latter-day Saint.

About Me

My husband and I were married about a year ago in the Sacramento Temple. I've got a few semesters left of school, studying Music Education and working on a Special Education Endorsement. I work as a paraeducator at an inclusive preschool. I love jazz and choral music and plan to teach at either the high school or elementary level. I love marine mammals and the night sky. I've also been blessed with the opportunity to travel to many different countries including South Africa, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and various countries in Europe.

Why I am a Mormon

I grew up in the Presbyterian Church, a little one up on the hill built by the membership in the congregation. My mom, grandparents, and I all went to that little church up until about 11 years ago. That's when my mom was baptized into the Mormon church. I wasn't supportive of her decision at all. After that, it seemed like every member of her church wanted to have me over to dinner with the missionaries. I felt a lot of pressure. At the time, I was going through my confirmation at our little Presbyterian church on the hill and about to enter high school. After a few years of trying to go to that little church on my own, I got tired of answering people's questions about my mom leaving. I tried different youth groups with friends, even joined the worship band at a community church for awhile, but eventually sort of did my own thing. I passively looked into different religions, as long as it wasn't the Mormon church. In my Junior year of high school, my parents got divorced. My father told my mother that religion was just a fairy tale designed to give people peace of mind, but that it wasn't true. That was the end of their incredibly rocky marriage. Through the divorce, my mom and I grew close. I still wasn't interested in the church, but we were able to talk for the first time in a long time. She remarried shortly after and she and her new husband moved away. I started college and found myself as the little fish in a huge ocean within my major, as most freshman do. I was on my own, searching for happiness. I made some mistakes along the way and learned a lot about myself. A close friend invited me to go to a religion class at the Institute across the street. The class was "Teachings of Living Prophets." Had it been "Book of Mormon" or "The life of Joseph Smith" I probably would have declined. I had gotten older and had moved away from those I felt had pressured me for years about the church, but I still wasn't interested in becoming Mormon. The class was fun and interesting and the people were just so nice! We would read talks given by modern-day prophets and apostles. A few students would jokingly ask me when I was going to be baptized and I would say, in good humor, "That's really funny!" The talks we were reading in class were given at the previous General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The next conference happened during that semester and a member of my class invited me to watch it with them. 8 hours of church spanning over 2 days! It was broadcasted at a church building. There were missionaries there, some of which were called as ASL sisters. I thought it was really neat that they would sign the whole conference for a few members there who were deaf. In between sessions I would talk to them. General Conference really touched my heart. I took notes and it felt like each talk was to me specifically. I felt the questions deep within my soul were being answered. Near the end of the second session, the prophet at the time, President Gordon B. Hinckley, gave his address. I looked into his eyes for the first time and there was this undeniable truth unlocked to me. I knew that that man was a prophet of God. After the session was over, I went home and prayed. Was that real? Am I crazy? The next day I went to Conference again, the last two sessions, and just felt so peaceful. I told the sister missionaries that I knew that Gordon B. Hinckley was a prophet and that I'd been around the church long enough to know that if that's true, then it's all true, and that I knew I needed to be baptized. They were super excited. They took my information and said that the Elders in my area would contact me soon. I waited a week without hearing from them until I finally called a friend and asked if I could meet with the missionaries at their home. Because I'd been exposed to the missionaries so much over the last 7 years, I already knew much of the doctrine they taught. My mom would always try to get me to meet with the missionaries. I would listen and then kindly tell them that I knew what they had but I didn't want it. Having that foundation really helped me to feel prepared. Throughout this whole process, going to Institute, Conference, and meeting with the missionaries, I hadn't told my mom anything about it. I think I had finally realized that a lot of the bitterness I'd felt toward the church all these years had been frustration and bitterness toward my mother. Every decision she made after she joined the church was justified because of the church. She stopped having heart to hearts with me and just gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon, telling me to pray about it. When she remarried, her new husband wouldn't even let me speak to her because I wasn't a member of the church and he saw me as a threat. I had spent years blaming the church for my broken family. That was much easier than hating the people you live with. My missionaries were so patient with me. I had to learn forgiveness. Before I set my baptismal date, I finally called my mom and told her all that had happened. I wanted her to have the opportunity to come to my baptism, if she wanted to. They lived out of state, and I knew they would have to travel in order to be there. My baptism day was so sweet. I felt so much love and support from ward members I hadn't even met yet and from my new Bishop. I thought that I would feel uncomfortable having my parents there, but there was a healing peaceful feeling in the room. For once, I finally knew that I was making a life-changing decision to go in the right direction. It didn't matter what everyone else thought, whether they supported me or not. I knew that what I was doing was what the Lord wanted me to do. It wasn't easy joining the church. Many members of our family, including my maternal grandparents, had felt betrayed when my mom joined the LDS church. There was an element of fear that they'd feel the same way when I made my decision. I was amazed to find that my relationship with my family was intact. That doesn't mean that they didn't try to reason with me, but I found that if I didn't pressure them, they didn't pressure me. We all still love each other! I've been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now for about 4 years. Since joining the church, I've served a mission in the New Jersey Cherry Hill mission and have been married in the temple. My understanding and appreciation of my family, members and non-members, has grown exponentially. I am so grateful for the gift of the gospel in my life, that I've been able to share it and live it. Our Heavenly Father loves us and knows us infinitely. Each day is a lesson in patience for me. I've finally figured out that faith in the Lord is faith in His timing, and that He knows best. I am so grateful for the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we can be with our families forever, and that, if we do all that we can do, we will be able to live with our Heavenly Father again someday.

How I live my faith

S.M.I.L.E. Spiritually Minded is Life Eternal. I try to be honest and kind in dealing with others. I love to smile at people and I try to look for the positive in whatever situations I come across. I think it's important to be a nice person. I've been blessed to have lots of opportunities to answer questions about the church to people I know well and also to those whom I had no idea would know that I was a member of the church. It's important to be open to people and to always be willing to serve them in any way that they need at the time. The Lord can use us if we just listen to the Spirit. I live my faith by trying to make myself available so that the Lord can use me.

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Mary Ann
Christianity teaches that baptism is necessary for us to receive eternal life. Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, showing us that baptism is indeed required. Even though He was perfect, He still showed us the manner by which we should be baptized. He was fully immersed in the water, after which the Holy Ghost descended upon Him. In like manner, we believe that all those who live on the Earth must be baptized in order to receive exaltation. Because many people die without receiving this ordinance, the Lord has taught that we may do baptisms for the dead by proxy in His temples by the proper authority. We do not believe in original sin. We believe that children and people with mental handicaps are innocent, and that if a child dies before the age of 8, baptism is not necessary. We call this age the "age of accountability." When a person becomes accountable for their actions, this is when baptism becomes necessary, for all people sin and fall short of the glory of God. God loves us and wants us to be able to be with him again. In order for us to be able to enter into His presence again, we must be baptized to become clean from the sin that all of us commit. Baptism for the Dead is another manifestation of the mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ. Even those who die without knowing Him can be baptized. Show more Show less