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Hi I'm Tonia

I'm a mom of 3 plus 2. I grew up in Minnesota, love photography, scrapbooking, sappy romance movies and I'm a Mormon!

About Me

I'm married to an amazing man. I am a stay-at-home mom with 3 children (2 girls and a boy) from a previous marriage and 2 stepdaughters from my husband's previous relationship. We met at a church event and had pretty much a fairytale, whirlwind romance. We're both converts to the church and are so appreciative of the gospel and what it means for us and our families.

Why I am a Mormon

I was baptized Methodist as an infant, attended Methodist, Congregational, Lutheran and Presbyterian Sunday schools. I was confirmed at age 15 as a Presbyterian. My parents were not very religious, so religion was not a big part of my life. Really, I wandered lost for years. When I married my first husband, we were married in an ELCA Lutheran church and continued to attend Lutheran church services because religion mattered more to him than it did to me. As years went on, I began to find my own faith. My first husband and I were divorced after 7 years of marriage and having had 3 children. At this time I began a true and earnest quest to discover who I am... not who I am to other people, not who others want me to be, but who I really am as an individual. I joined a Bible study class and became more active in my church. Over time, I made changes in my own life to bring my lifestyle more in harmony with how I thought God would want me to live. As I worked on my lifestyle and my quest for my true self and my faith, I began to get a distinct feeling that God wanted even more from me than what I was doing. I began to have true faith that there IS a God and that He loved me and wanted the best for me. One day, two Mormon Missionaries knocked on my door. I don't really remember what they said, I just remember having a short, but pleasant conversation with them. I told them that I was active in my church and wasn't interested in changing churches, but that I was willing to listen to their message because I was interested in religion and what other faiths believed. As I listened to their message and asked questions, my jaw dropped. Things that I had known or felt to be true but that weren't necessarily the teachings of my church were things that are basic doctrine to Mormons! I accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon to read and pray about. I read and felt really good reading it. I tried to pray but had never really prayed in my life and didn't really know how. When the missionaries came back, I told them how I liked what I was reading, but had not yet received an answer as to whether or not their message was true. After a few more days of reading and praying and not getting an answer, I decided to get down on my knees and just pray with my whole soul. I offered up the most sincere and heartfelt prayer of my life.... then promptly fell asleep. The next morning, I had been at work for several hours and had been in the BEST mood. I had gotten comments from coworkers about how happy I was that day. I was filled with light, love and joy. I was sitting at my desk when I finally realized where those feelings were coming from. It was the Holy Ghost testifying the truth of the restored gospel to me. Suddenly, I was so excited!! I was excited to return home, to read more, to pray more and to tell the missionaries that I KNEW!! I was still hesitant as to what to do with that knowledge, however. So I took my Bible and my Book of Mormon to a meeting with my Lutheran Pastor and told him I needed answers. I asked him what he knew about Mormons, and I asked questions about original sin, why we baptize babies, the trinity, why we're here, what happens after we die, questions about heaven and hell and soforth. He gave the best answers he could, but they just did not feel right to me. After that meeting, I still wasn't convinced that I was a Mormon, but I knew that I wasn't truly a Lutheran. So... the quest for knowledge and truth continued. I bought a book describing all the protestant sects and tried to identify myself with one of them. No luck. There was always at least one thing about each sect that I didn't believe. I'd received a confirmation in my heart that what I believed to be right was really what is true and right, so I wouldn't settle for anything that is less than the whole truth. I began devouring the Book of Mormon and asking tons of questions of the missionaries that came to my house and while chatting with some really awesome missionaries on Mormon.org and my testimony grew. I made a decision to be baptized and will be eternally grateful that I did. It is the best decision that I have made in my life and have not for one moment regretted it. I've been a Mormon now for a little over a year and have recently attended the temple for the first time. My knowledge, faith and testimony grow stronger every day.

How I live my faith

I attend church weekly and am so grateful for the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament each week and to renew my baptismal covenants with my Heavenly Father. I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and the opportunity that I have to repent when I have done wrong. I enjoy singing hymns in church and participating in Sunday School and Scripture Study discussions. I am the Relief Society Secretary for my ward. Also, I am a visiting teacher which means that my visiting teaching companion and I visit three other members of our church monthly to be sure that they are doing well physically and spiritually. We ask if there's anything they need that we can help with. Visiting teachers are known for bringing meals, watching children, cleaning and doing laundry for women that are ill or recovering from illness, hospitalized, etc. We enjoy being able to fellowship with members of our church and share the Savior's love with them. My children love going to church and LOVE their Sunday School classes and their wonderful teachers. My children love singing songs in Sunday School and will sing the songs all week long! They LOVE praying and scramble to be the one to say the prayer before meals. I love that the lifestyle we live is setting such a good example for them since I grew up more or less without faith and felt lost. I love that my children will grow up with a firm foundation in the gospel and will feel the love of Jesus Christ and their Heavenly Father in their lives.

Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

This is something that I questioned when joining the church. I had been baptized as a baby and was asking why my baptism was not valid. The truth is that after the death of Jesus Christ, His apostles were killed off one by one. Once the last apostle was killed, the authority given to men by Christ to perform ordinances was removed from the earth. Any baptism or other ordinance performed after that time was done by men with good intentions and their hearts in the right places, but without God's true authority. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Absolutely not! Do other Christians worship Moses? No. We hold Joseph Smith in high regard as a prophet of God just as we hold Moses, Abraham, Noah and others in high regard as prophets of God. The difference is that Joseph Smith is a modern day prophet who was instrumental in the restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ to us in the latter days whereas the other prophets that people think of lived in ancient days and are only known through the writings in the Bible. Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Mormon women are just like any other women. We are kind, loving and devoted wives and mothers. We are executives, accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers, factory workers, waitresses, students and stay-at-home moms. We are single, married, divorced, married with children, married with no children. We come from all different backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities. We have a lot in common also. We are all daughters of our Heavenly Father with unlimited Divine potential. Mormons believe in equality of men and women but more that they are equal in their differences. Women cannot hold the priesthood, but men can't have babies! We celebrate the differences between men and women. “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:11) So men need women, and women need men. To us, marriage and family are a partnership. Each party contributes different, but very necessary components that creates an equality. Show more Show less

What are Mormon church services like? Are visitors allowed at church meetings? Can I attend church?

Mormon church services are reverent times to worship with our families. The entire family attends the sacrament meeting as there is no nursery service provided for children during this time. The sacrament meeting is approximately one hour long and generally consists of 3 songs, 3 talks by members of the church and the blessing and passing of the sacrament. Songs are accompanied by piano or organ and are more traditional in nature. The sacrament is blessed and then passed to the congregation as they remain seated. The church does not have a paid clergy, so the talks are given by members of the church. This is nice because we can easily identify with the speaker. Instead of being "preached at" by someone, we are being supported and instructed by a friend. Next, children (ages 18 months to 18 years) attend Sunday school classes and adults attend classes as well. Visitors and new members attend a class called Gospel Essentials which teaches basic gospel topics in a relaxed and friendly environment. Most other members will attend a class called Gospel Doctrine which delves more deeply into truths and meanings of the gospel and scriptures. After that, there is an hour where we are broken down into smaller groups for gospel and scripture study discussions. Children are divided by age groups, men go to Priesthood meetings and women attend Relief Society. There are generally two more songs for the adults during this hour and every class begins and ends with a prayer. Yes, we attend 3 hours of church every week. It actually goes very quickly and it's something I look forward to all week. The first time I attended church after meeting the missionaries, I was surprised by how quickly the time flew by. If you think about it, some churches have the regular church service plus Sunday school on Sundays plus Bible study groups on a different night of the week. We just put all the meetings together at the same time on one day of the week. Visitors are very much welcomed! We love having visitors to the church. I remember the first time I attended church, I was made to feel so welcome. I really felt wanted and at home in the church. One thing I noticed about Mormons right away when I came to church is how happy and loving the people are. The families really seem to love each other and the entire congregation cares about the welfare of the others around them. If you would like to attend a church meeting, I would strongly encourage it! You can find the nearest location by searching your town on LDS.org where you will find directions to the local ward as well as meeting times. If you're nervous about attending the first time, I would suggest contacting the missionaries in your area and they would probably be more than happy to meet you at the door and sit with you during the service. There are always friendly and helpful people who will help you know where to go and what to do. Show more Show less