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Hi I'm Teresa

I grew up in Salt Lake City. I do marathons to fight cancer. My sister just passed away from it. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I love to garden! My house is a little 100-year-old Victorian and it's surrounded with my crazy little cottage garden. My favorite thing in the world is to play the piano while people gather around to sing. I'm a marathon walker. I'm not all that athletic, it's that I walk-run-mostly-drag-myself through the finish line. It's not for me, it's for the people who have to deal with chemotherapy and other tough things. I didn't start doing marathons until after I was 50. I've finished two, now, plus lots of half marathons. I want to finish a marathon a year for the rest of my life. I've never been married. Couldn't tell you "why" except that I'm committed to marrying a guy who believes as I do and lives the high values that I live, and it's hard to find those kinds of guys. I'm happy as a single Latter-day Saint woman and I really enjoy my life. I am a technical Information Technology manager. The work is very demanding and very hard but I thoroughly love the people I work with.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born "in the church" and raised in the Salt Lake City area. But that doesn't mean being Mormon came easy for me. My parents had divorced when I was sixteen and my mother, who was mentally ill, eventually became a street person. So I struggled to find joy and the "higher meaning of it all". In my early twenties, I faded in and out of the church and went through an angry, rebellious time. What made me turn back to the church? It was that I found out, in deeply personal ways, that the Lord answers prayer. He helped me with my mother, in remarkable ways. He helped me with my own career and life challenges. I found out I could ask him to give me insights and comfort, whatever I needed. He let me know that the Bible and Book of Mormon were His word. They are so real to me, the ancient prophets are so real. My sister and I worked very hard to get Mom off the street and, after many years, we were successful. I like to say that everything I know about God, I know because of my mother. My role was mostly to find her and get her off the street and my sister took care of her once we got her back. We had her with us for seven years before she passed away. That was ten years ago. Four months ago, my sister was diagnosed with a very advanced case of cervical cancer. She passed away two weeks ago. It was a miracle that my job let me travel back and forth to Utah almost every week from the time she was diagnosed, and the final week, I was with her almost 24/7. I can say that every prayer, big or small, that I asked for her -- except for that huge one that often isn't answered the way we want -- was beautifully answered. Every single prayer. I feel absolutely transformed by Jesus Christ, by His love for me and for my sister and for my mother. He is real. He answers our prayers. I will never be the same.

How I live my faith

My mother was a social worker when I was a little girl and she took me with her on her visits to clients. She got me excited about volunteering with Head Start programs and "candy stripers" when I was young. So I really like volunteer work, now. Throughout my life, I've been involved in everything from library boards to homeless programs to running marathons to fight cancer. Every single week is a journal experience. I've been a ward organist and piano accompanist all my life. Mom taught me piano when I was four and I later learned organ from a ward organist. I absolutely love to play. I've played for weddings, funerals, and Christmas parties and I've accompanied soloists from the Denver Symphony Chorale, Dallas Symphony, and Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I have served as the ward Relief Society president, which is like the women's and welfare minister. I live in an inner-city area where there were lots of welfare needs. When I was Relief Society president, I spent probably three or four nights a week with people in the emergency room. It forced me to learn how to help them get better healthcare and how to take better care of themselves. I only did it for two years but oh, I could do it forever. Right now, I am the Sunday School teacher for the adults. We are learning the New Testament this year. It was a beautiful thing to be reading and preparing lessons on the Savior's life at the time that my sister was so ill from cancer. It really gave me the strength to be there for her.

What is the Relief Society?

Teresa
Just to give you an idea of how the Relief Society has been in my life in the last month... 1. My sister's Relief Society helped with her funeral, including a fabulous luncheon for all of the out-of-town family and friends. 2. Her Relief Society arranged for everything from getting her a new bed to arranging her rides to radiation treatment an hour away to getting the donation of a lift recliner to bringing in meals a lot of them to getting her some new clothing as she rapidly lost weight. 3. Many sisters in her ward either attended her funeral as guests or helped in the kitchen with the meal, many shared with me some of their lovely experiences visiting with her. 4. I had only been back in my home a few days when a young couple in my ward lost their housing. They are living in my house with their three-year-old daughter for a week while they prepare to move back with family out of state. They are lovely and I am glad to give back a little bit of what the Lord has given me this last month. Show more Show less

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

Teresa
Oh, I love being a Mormon woman! I wish people knew how accomplished we are. The very first female state senator in the United States was a Mormon woman. She was a doctor, Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon, and she won against her husband! When I lived in Texas, I was a single adult leader and I was often invited to special bishop's training meetings. As I walked into a room full of all the bishops and their assistants, and you have to picture this, there are at least thirty men in the room and I am the only woman, every man in the room rises from his chair and stands while one of the brothers pulls out my chair for me. They were attentive and thoughtful and took notes, asked questions, and genuinely looked to me for answers. And I have had that experience often as I have been called in to advise or train on welfare issues or solving of particular problems. I am a leader in my professional career. If I had to pick only one place or the other to serve, because of how they regard me and what I can offer in service, I would pick the church, hands down. Show more Show less

What blessings can you receive from reading the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and other scriptures?

Teresa
It's simple. They will change your life. Change it in all the good ways that you want and need. I have taught Sunday School for the adults in our congregation for the past four years. Even though I have been a member of the church all my life and have taken the four years of high school seminary and four years of college institute classes... I felt like this was the very first time I had ever read the scriptures. I found myself reading them as if I'd never seen them before. It was such an interesting experience and it let me know that it really is possible for someone who is completely unfamiliar with the language of the scriptures and their stories and teachings to understand them. Oh, they are so beautiful! They just come to life for me. Just for an example, take the Old Testament story of Jonah and the whale. I'd read that a German professor of religion a century or two ago had said that he'd read the story of Jonah a hundred times and could not now read it without tears coursing down his cheeks. So I asked myself, what did he see that I don't see? I started reading the Book of Jonah 100 times. It's only three or four pages long, this was not an impossible commitment. Along about Time 25, I started to see things I hadn't seen before. By Time 50, I was starting to get those tears each time I read. God has answers for us and you'll see them in the scriptures if you really put in the effort. I love them! Show more Show less