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Hi I'm Lori Draper Smith

I'm a convert. I'm a returned missionary. I'm a college graduate. I'm a wife. I'm a mother. I'm a social worker. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am married and raised three great kids. My oldest daughter is married, my second son is serving as a missionary for the LDS church and my youngest son is a Junior in high school who LOVES basketball! I attended BYU where I studied Social Work and received a Bachelor of Science degree. I served an LDS mission to Johannesburg/Capetown South Africa. I grew up in Seattle, Washington until I was 9. I moved to Gainesville, Florida and lived there until I was 16. It was there that I joined the LDS church. My mother and father were members of the church but had not been active since they were both very young. Our information was still on the church's records. A Beehive President called our house one day and asked for my sister. She was not home so I spoke with her. She invited me to attend a "party" at the church. I agreed to attend and when I got there they were having a youth activity. I enjoyed the square dancing and the root beer floats. The kids were very friendly and kind and I decided I would go back again. I was invited by this Beehive President to take the missionary lessons at her home. Her father was the Bishop of the ward. I started to meet with the stake sister missionaries and they taught me about the gospel of Jesus Christ and introduced me to the Book of Mormon. I stopped going to the beach on Sundays and started attending church regularly. I followed through on all the assignments the missionaries gave me. My parents allowed me to get baptized. I was so happy!

Why I am a Mormon

I joined the church at age 14 and developed a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I had a deep spiritual conversion as the missionaries shared a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. I could relate to the question Joseph asked God in the sacred grove. I also wanted to know which church to join. I had many friends that were different Christian denominations. I had attended Sunday church meetings and religious camps with many of them. It was very conceivable to me that Joseph, had been confused about which church he should join since I was also seeking truth. As the missionaries showed me the film of the "First Vision" I had a warmth through my whole body that testified to me that God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph. I had always believed that they were two distinct beings. I believed that Joseph told the truth about his experience and that the fullness of the gospel was being taught to me. When I heard about the "Plan of Salvation" I thought I had heard that information before. I felt a familiar connection to God, like I already knew Him. I learned I chose to follow Jesus Christ before my birth. It was familiar and rang true in the deepest part of my soul. I remember being asked to kneel down in prayer for the very first time. I was very shy and had never prayed out loud before. As I uttered the words "Dear Heavenly Father" I felt bathed in light and I knew I was His literal child. I was assigned to read the Book of Mormon in 3rd Nephi 17. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever read! Jesus appeared to the Nephites and knelt and prayed and blessed the children one by one and wept over each individual child. Angels then encircled them and ministered unto them. I felt like one of those children and a tangible feeling of love and protection came over me. Great happiness came from my new found understanding that the Savior loved me personally just like he loved the Nephite children. I was soon baptized and received the Holy Ghost!

How I live my faith

My husband and I have raised our family to go to church. I feel like it has been a wonderful choice to belong to a community of Saints who have loved our children and helped us raise them to be faithful followers of the Savior. Our daughter was married in the LDS temple like my husband and I were. My son also attended the temple and is now serving a mission in Texas! My high school aged son chooses good friends and attends church faithfully. He takes his responsibility of preparing the sacrament seriously. I love the standards of behavior the church teaches our children. We have never had to worry about them experimenting with drugs or alcohol or participating in behaviors that cause a feeling of low self worth. Our children grew up attending church every week even on vacation! It is a tradition that has grounded my family and renews our faith. I love the skills they have developed through church like public speaking, learning about the Savior and understanding the scriptures. Their church jobs have taught them responsibility and leadership as well as given them a place to belong. I know the examples of many church members were influential and made lasting impressions on the hearts of my children. It truly takes a village to raise a child and my church and neighborhood village have been so important to our family. I have been amazed with the leaders who have taken a personal interest in my sons and taught them how to be honorable men who keep their promises and minister to the needs of others.The women of the church have taught my daughter what it means to be a modest woman of faith who is worthy of being cherished by a good man who will love her forever. It is amazing to me how the family is central in the church and everything we do builds and supports that sacred unit. I believe we can live together for eternity and there is so much peace and comfort in that knowledge. Our faith unifies us with a common purpose. We love God by caring for each other.