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Hi I'm Kelly

I grew up in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I'm a happy wife and mum and a lecturer at an Australian University. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on a cul de sac street that felt like heaven when I was a kid and not quite heaven when I was a teen. I felt stifled by high school and inspired by college. I studied landscape architecture at Penn State, but wasn't quite ready to grow up after graduating at age 21, so I worked at a summer camp, then at the beach, then went to graduate school (forever). During that time, my goal was to try everything once, so I jumped out of planes and did other such things to make my mother gasp. My life changed for the better when I joined the Mormon church, although I have remained quite adventurous. My husband and I are the (adoptive) parents of a beautiful, clever and hilarious little princess. We live in Australia where I teach transport planning and urban design at a University. I love my job and love being a wife and a mummy. I love that my little girl already speaks with an Aussie accent and she's only three years old. I love biking and running and miss snowboarding in the Rockies. I'm afraid of spiders and jellyfish and sharks. I love Jacaranda blossoms and the wind that blows through my house.

Why I am a Mormon

I converted to the LDS religion after my first year of graduate school. Everything was going well in my life, but I felt as though something important was missing and that I was a bit lost. I said a sort of prayer to find out how I could be happier, and received an unexpected answer that I should surround myself with positive people who don't drink, smoke or swear. Not knowing anything about Mormons at the time, I interpreted that to mean that I should transfer to UC Berkeley. The school had a moratorium on new entries at the time, so I went to Pittsburgh to wait it out and find some work. While I was there, I heard the end of a 'Mormon ad' that said the church's full name,"the church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints". I had grown up in a very Catholic town, and had been intrigued by the idea of Saints. In this case, it struck me as important that the term 'saint' referred to the members of the church and not just a few extraordinary people in history. I found the church in the yellow pages and called to find out when and where to go. The answering machine told me everything I needed to know, so I showed up that Sunday. My first meeting was with the women's organization, the relief society. We discussed how we could consecrate our lives, and emulate our Saviour. It was exactly what I had been searching for. I took a couple months to learn more, was baptized a member of the church... and can honestly say that I found what I was looking for.

How I live my faith

I currently hold a leadership position in the Relief Society, a worldwide organisation for women over 18 years of age. I am new to the calling, and can already see how the new role will help me to grow as a person. I am one of two counsellors serving alongside a president who inspires me to do my best and to love the Lord through service to the sisters in our care. I try to live my faith by making good decisions each day that keep my body and mind clean. I work hard at my job knowing that by influencing young people I'm helping to build the kingdom of God on the earth. I do what I can to strengthen my relationship with Christ by reading my scriptures, praying and attending the temple regularly. I love my family.

What is being a Mormon like?

Kelly
About a year after my baptism into the Mormon church, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an ordinance worker in the Washington DC temple several days each week. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the temple, and enjoyed the chance to give service, but there was another tangible benefit that I had not anticipated. My mind and senses became clearer, sort of the way that they do when I cut back on eating unhealthy foods. The experience was difficult to explain at the time, but I had fallen in love with life in a way that was much deeper than I had previously felt. One side-effect was that I thirsted for knowledge and read every good book I could get my hands on. To me, this is what 'being a Mormon' is about. It is about becoming tangibly closer to our Father in Heaven and feeling that kind of clarity and joy. The day to day experience of being a Mormon is so normal to me at this point that it's hard to imagine another way of life. We're pretty mainstream people, you know, not sequestered behind big walls or remarkably different from the people around us. When I was first baptised, I was really excited about everything and probably came across as overzealous. Now that I'm more settled in, it just feels completely natural. I feel like my life has a clear purpose, and I know where to look for direction. I think most of my colleagues and friends know that I'm a Mormon, and they generally respect and accommodate my lifestyle choices. I stand up for what I believe in, and it feels good. Show more Show less