Hi I'm Keja
I'm a teacher. I teach my high school students, my Sunday school students, my two children, and my husband. I often teach myself as well.
Why I am a Mormon
I was a single mother with two young children in 2nd and 4th grade and I needed help. I lost my cool too often and when it would happen I felt horrible. I started thinking how lucky people were who had religion in their homes. I thought, okay, let's do it. I started researching churches. I did not want to take this lightly. I wanted a church that I didn't feel was hypocritical. Shortly after I decided to be active in embracing Jesus, missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints knocked on my door. We talked for awhile, then they offered me a Book of Mormon. My daughter said she'd like it, and another one too. They said they'd give her two if she would give the other one to someone. She said okay, and gave it to me. The Elders asked if they could come back and have another discussion. I told them (honestly) that I'd love them to, but we were going on vacation. They gave me a reading assignment and we set a date for after our return. I thought they would forget about us, but they showed up when they said they would. I hadn't read anything, but they said that was okay. I told them about my religious background, and they asked a few questions including, can we come back again? ...So, I started taking the lessons. I had a lot of questions, most of which were more about the history of the Book of Mormon. As the Elders taught me to read scripture, how to pray, and the history of the Church, I felt more and more that this was the right church. I kept thinking, "Mormons? Who would have thought it?! Mormons are right!" I was invited to be baptized, but I couldn't accept. There was something still missing, and I didn't know what it was. I started trying to live the Gospel all the same. I stopped eating out and seeing movies on Sunday. I quit coffee. And off and on I went to church. I continued talking with the Elders as well. They invited me to get baptized again. I said yes; but, then, messages started coming in from friends I hadn't talked to in awhile, which were anti-Mormon. My sister told me things as well, intending to get me to not proceed with baptism. I didn't keep the date. I wondered why. I had doubts and I didn't know why. I told the Elders, "I know President Hinckley is a prophet. I believe Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." So, I prayed to know what my issue was, because I knew it was the right church, but those doubts! Then one day, as I was teaching Evolution in my Biology class, I was talking about how the animals on the Ark could have evolved from the point when they reached land. (Now, I never cross the line between science and religion when I teach Evolution, but on this day I did.) As I said it, the world stopped. I saw the desks, my watch, the room, and I knew all of this was man made. I also knew that man was God made, I mean really knew it. I realized that I didn't believe there was a God before this experience. He was real. And He was my father in Heaven. He loved me. It only took a few seconds, and I got back to my lecture, but I was changed. I called the Elders that night. "I have my zinger," I said. "I'll tell you about it when I see you." I don't recall the exact date I met with them, but this is how the setting of my baptism went: How about your birthday? Too far away. How about your daughter's birthday? Too far away. It has to be this Sunday. I was baptized on a Fast and Testimony Sunday. Many of my friends were there for church, since the baptism would be afterward. Sitting there in the pew, I felt so strongly that I was in the right place, that everyone there was in the right place, and that we were so lucky to be there. With my heart afire, I asked the Bishop's wife if I could bear my testimony even though I wasn't baptized. With her afirmation, I went to the pulpit and told my story. "I knew you were children of God," I said. "But I didn't know I was." Now I know. I am a child of God. And so are you.
Could you talk about your baptism?
I was dressed in a white jump suit, with bare feet, and grinning from ear to ear. I was 35 years old. My kids were in the chairs at my sides and many friends were behind us. The room in the church building where the font is, was full. There were three talks given: the frist one was on baptim, the second one on the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the last one, after I was baptized was on missionary work (per my request, this isn't usually done). The Elder who knocked on my door was allowed to come to my baptism even though it wasn't his area anymore, and gave the missionary talk. Before going into the water I was just excited. As I went under I thought, "This is it. It's all washing away." Afterward, as I walked heavily up the stairs to my waiting friend with a towel, I anaylzed how I felt. "Do I feel different?" I asked myself. I dried off, and changed into my church clothes. I looked in the mirror to see how my wet hair looked and was amazed. I was beautiful. (Now, I don't consider myself to be so, and I have trouble accepting compliments, so you must understand how odd this was for me.) But, yes, beautiful. I went back to my waiting friends with so much love in my heart, so much peace.
Can you talk about the missions of the Church and your participation in them?
I converted when I was 35, but I can still tell you about my participation in Missions! If it were not for the missionaries, I'm not sure I would have found the church, which means, I know I would not be who I am today; which is a person at peace, who knows why this world works as it does and knows her place in it, and knows how to make her life the best it can be. I am excited to see my son, who has 6 years to go before he can go (he's only 13), get his mission assignment. He too is anxious to serve a mission and spread the gospel.
How I live my faith
I don't miss church. I look forward to it. I take notes during the talks, wanting to refer back to their messages. I have a calling teaching 13-14 year olds in Sunday school. I love my students and we learn from each other. I pay my tithing eagerly, knowing the money pays to built temples across the world, and that it will bless my family in any way we need. I try to read the scriptures each morning, and as a family we read them every night. I don't drink or smoke. I don't drink coffee or tea either, because I have been promised better health and control over my life if I do not. I try to serve others- visit them, ask how they are doing, and help as I can. I try to direct the edge of judgement on myself when I'm inclined to judge others as to avoid hipocricy. I pray day and night. I try my hardest to make good choices.