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Hi I'm Stephanie

I'm a missionary. I'm a writer. I'm a feminist. I'm a dancer. I'm a convert. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

In May 2013, I graduated from Mills College, an all-women's liberal arts university in the Bay Area, with degrees in creative writing and journalism. I now serve in the Czech/Slovak Mission, which was already dear to my heart before I received my call since I studied abroad in Prague last spring. While there, I taught with the missionaries every day and wished for the opportunity to serve full time. Thus, being able to dedicate 18 months to nothing but the work is a dream come true. Before my arrival to the MTC, I was an ordinance worker and family history consultant for the Oakland California Temple and FamilySearch Library. When I'm not fulfilling one of my church callings, I love to dance ballet and tango, sail small boats, and travel (or pretend to travel by eating ethnic foods). I'm a passionate feminist, but if you believe in the Family Proclamation to the World, chances are you are one, too. I invite you to read some of my writings on my website and blog: www.stephaniescerra.com.

Why I am a Mormon

The last noun I ever thought I'd use to describe myself was "Mormon." I'd heard a lot of bad press about the Church and was convinced it wasn't for me. But when I began dating a Mormon in high school, I became curious about his beliefs. I asked hundreds of questions, the first of which were very academic, like: What's the difference between a revelation and a hallucination? To my surprise, people excitedly answered my questions and encouraged me to ask more. I loved, and still love, that the Church encourages us to understand rather than blindly follow by giving us a million ways to continue to learn and by even requiring us to undergo interviews for baptism and to enter the temple. I love the Plan of Salvation and how everyone has a place within it. I love that we have a compassionate and understanding Heavenly Father. I love that Eve was meant to partake of the fruit. I love that God has revealed more scripture than the Bible. I love latter-day prophets and continuing revelation. I love the strong women who make so much happen within not just the Church but their communities. I love the Priesthood power that's been restored upon the earth. I love the temples and the sacred ordinances available to us there. I love eternal families. But most of all, I love how my found faith in Jesus Christ has helped me become the person I have always wanted to be, and I know my faith will continue to help me improve for the rest of my life.

How I live my faith

Since my baptism on December 19, 2009, I have lived my faith by loving others and being an example to them. I find it important to practice and teach the doctrine, not the dogma of the Church, for Brigham Young was adamant about remembering the three distinctions between what we do as Latter-day Saints: what is doctrine, what is culture, and what is tradition. While the Lord asks much of us, he still wishes for us to be ourselves. The Church could not function if we were all the same. We need individuality. I try to bear such truths in mind when I interact with others, loving them for who they are and who they wish to be, no matter what their background or lifestyle. And because I took the name of Christ upon myself during baptism (and because I now wear His name on a badge upon my chest), I strive to be a disciple by exemplifying the things we believe and being able to explain them clearly and concisely.

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

All members of the Church are missionaries in that we are meant to share our beliefs with as many people as possible. However, full-time missions are encouraged rather than required. It is a commandment from God for all able men to serve two-year missions for the Church. Does anyone force them to do so? Hopefully not. Do you get excommunicated from the Church if you don't serve? No. Full-time missionaries are volunteers who serve wherever the Church calls them as representatives of our faith. Women (like me!) may serve missions, too, but it is not a commandment. (Perhaps because so many women choose to serve missions as it is.) A woman's mission is the same as a man's, just six months shorter. My love of missionaries continues to grow daily. I owe them so much for sitting there and answering all of my questions with such eagerness and patience when I was investigating. One missionary in particular sat with me for hours one afternoon so he could get through a three-page list of questions I had put together. My testimony of them strengthened my testimony of the Church and the gospel it has to offer. Show more Show less

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Absolutely not! I wouldn't be here if Mormons only helped Mormons, because I wasn't one to begin with! One fine example of how the Church helps nonmembers is through its humanitarian program, which aids hundreds of countries around the world. Each ward, or church meetinghouse, has a service committee, which plans projects, such as blood drives and cleanups, to help the community at least once a month. And, in a way many people don't think about, the Church helps people most with their missionary program. We take the Bible literally when Jesus Christ commands his people to spread His gospel, for we believe it is the greatest gift of all. Our missionary program is, in a lot of ways, even greater than our humanitarian programs, for it takes care of people not just for mortality, but for all of time and for all of eternity. Show more Show less