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Hi I'm Renée

I'm a future psychologist, political progressive, and feminist. I love learning, food, and nature. I'm a happy Mormon!

About Me

I'm in my late 20s. I grew up in New England, and moved to the South for graduate school. I love it down here, but miss real winters. When I'm not studying I enjoy getting together with family and friends, exercising, being outdoors, reading, traveling, cooking, watching way too much Netflix, and making music. I also love animals. I have cats that I've raised since they were tiny bottlefed 4-week-old kittens. Horseback riding (three-day eventing, specifically) has always been my favorite sport because it combines so many of the things I love: animals, being active, being outside, and learning new things. I am so excited to buy my first horse once I'm done with school and have time and money again! As a future clinical psychologist, I really enjoy finding out what makes other people tick. So often we enter into conversations with others wanting to change their point of view to be more like ours, but I find it far more stimulating and satisfying to throw that agenda out the window and just sit down and talk with someone, listening well and trying to better understand why they see the world the way they do. I try as hard as I can to be open-minded, because some of the most important lessons I've ever learned came from friends whose faith traditions, political beliefs, and/or cultural backgrounds are markedly different from my own.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in a warm, loving Protestant church and totally took it for granted. As many people do, I fell away from religion in college, telling myself I'd figure all those big hard questions out later. Even during this period of agnosticism, though, I always knew there was some force far bigger than me at work in the world. I never doubted that. I have always loved interfaith dialogue and learning about other faith traditions, and I'm so grateful to my childhood church for encouraging such open-mindedness or I would never in a million years have become Mormon. I had a couple childhood friends who were LDS but never thought much about it until after college, when for some inexplicable reason I just became fascinated by it. I told myself it was an academic exercise and nothing more as I checked out book after book on Mormonism from the library, including the Book of Mormon. The more I learned, the more concerned I became, because everything was really resonating with me and the idea of becoming LDS was terrifying! I didn't think there could ever be a place for someone like me, a liberal academic, in the church. I couldn't have been more wrong. After I finally worked up the courage to attend my first church meeting, the rest was history. I was blown away by how articulate, knowledgeable, faithful, and KIND the members were. What really impressed me was the lack of "Sunday Christianity" - the overwhelming majority of people really did hold themselves to those Sunday standards all week long. I began meeting with the missionaries, and the beautiful simplicity of the gospel was like coming home. As a very logical, analytical person, I loved the balance between intellectual and emotional engagement with the Gospel; there is a wholeness in this Church that I have not found anywhere else. The day I was confirmed a member and received the gift of the Holy Spirit was one of the best days of my life. It was like someone had turned up the volume on God.

How I live my faith

I pray and study my scriptures daily, and attend church every Sunday. It's funny, I used to dread Sundays before I joined the church, and they are now my absolute favorite day of the week. I try my hardest to be kind and honest with every single person I come across, whether they are naturally likeable or not. Also, one of my favorite things about the church is its strong emphasis on volunteerism. I serve others as often as I can. I visit with three other women in my congregation at least once a month, sharing a spiritual message and helping them in other ways, whether it's offering a ride somewhere, bringing food, or just lending a listening ear. I also serve in the presidency of the Relief Society, the church women's organization. This means I get to work with three other female leaders in our congregation to make sure the spiritual and temporal needs of all Relief Society sisters are being met, as well as planning special events like women's retreats.