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Hi I'm Jennifer

I am a Mormon, an active lifelong church member. I'm a busy single, who also lives well with the challenges of mental illness.

About Me

I majored in music at Ricks and BYU, and went on to study violin and teach school orchestra programs for 7 years. Then I taught 6th grade for 12 years. Now I am three years into a career in the mental health field. Although I have always remained single, I provided foster care for many years and adopted three wonderful girls, who are now grown (and 3 grandchildren!). I enjoy playing violin in our local chamber orchestra. I love to swim, although have not yet met my goal of just swimming a mile! I have a camera that is way too complicated for me, and I collect antique buttons, a hobby inherited from my mother. I am a certified mediator and volunteer at a dispute resolution center, mostly helping create parenting plans in difficult situations. I am being more and more of an advocate for mental health recovery. I am a Peer-to-Peer trainer for the National Alliance for Mental Illness, and can teach classes helping individuals with mental illness learn how to understand their illness while living fulfilling lives. One of my goals is to further my career in advocating for good mental health care.

Why I am a Mormon

I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon when I was 12 years old. A (very cute) return missionary had been called to serve as a teacher to our notoriously difficult Sunday School class. He challenged us to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know whether it was true (I think there was an ice cream sundae involved). I took the challenge, and when I prayed, felt an overwhelming feeling of love and outpouring of the Spirit that was the foundation of my testimony. I feel that same Spirit frequently, bearing witness to a message or answer to a personal prayer. I am also a Mormon because of the great blessing the Church is in my life. I have been supported by this great community by the examples of others, the fun of shared memories, the opportunities for mutual support, through great friends and fellowship, and even at times, through financial support. My challenges have always been treated with understanding and gentleness. My testimony was built when I was young, and grown through my teenage years through church and seminary teachings. I continued to grow in the gospel throughout my college years at Ricks and BYU. My testimony and faith to follow church guidance led me through a childhood with a family often in crisis, and continues to help me naviagate the challenges and difficult decisions of our times. The church helped me raise my special needs children with love and support. I am a Mormon because it brings me closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel His great love in my life and rely on His guidance in every aspect of life. Although in my deepest depressions, I often cannot break through to feeling that love, I have never been able to shake my knowledge and testimony. It has sometimes saved my life. I am a Mormon because the gospel brings me deep joy that I want every person everywhere to share.

How I live my faith

I have had many times when it has seemed impossible to participate in church activities because of anxiety, depression and other mental illness challenges. I am so blessed now to be able to attend church and have the focus and energy and renewed faith to read the scriptures. Our goal as a ward this year is to read the Book of Mormon. I have read it three times this year, and am going for six. Every day I feel the spirit and wisdom of the truths it contains. It brings me great peace and hope. I go to church every Sunday in a congregation that has loved me and supported me for over 20 years. I love the peace and renewal of the Sabbath. I love to visit teach the sisters I am assigned to teach, and know it is an inspired program as it has helped me slowly get to know women in the church and gain from knowing them.It has been difficult to sustain callings over time, but I have paritularly enjoyed callings as a music director and Sunday School teacher. (I have been told I was born a teacher!). I have been so blessed by Priesthood home teachers who have helped me through difficult times and been patient and loving even when it is has been challenging to have someone in my home. My family is very important to me, and my 5 brothers, 3 children and their families give me an opportunity to learn and grow and share life.

What is being a Mormon like?

Being a Mormon is like eating ice cream and wanting others to know about it (I really, really love ice cream!). Being a Mormon sometimes makes me feel looked at, when I know people don't know or understand much about my religion. It makes me feel privileged and humbled because I have this knowledge and belief. It is the center of my life and the lens through which I understand and live every part of my life. It is a feeling of peace and live and joy. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

The restored gospel helps you understand the purpose of life. Our lives have divine purpose. We were sent here on earth to grow in faith and given the agency and ability to choose between good and evil. We learn from the experiences of mortality and build eternal families. Each of us is given unique challenges that we can grow and learn from. As we decide to follow our Savior and exercise our faith in the redemption we can someday return to live eternally with Him. Through the purifying process and ever extended invitation to follow Him, we can repent of our sins and shortcomings and gain forgiveness. Jesus atoned for our sins and wants nothing more than for us to come to Him and choose to follow His path.By following Him and exercising faith in Him, you will have greater peace in this life and eternal joy in the life to come. Show more Show less