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Hi I'm Rachel

I'm a Geology student. I love my family, and I'm a mormon.

About Me

I'm 19 years old, and I'm studying Geology at Leeds University and loving every minute. It's so exciting to learn about the power and beauty of an earth that can fold rocks like putty into giant mountain ranges yet also create seas of delicate frost flowers. I enjoy sports although I lack any hand-eye co-ordination and am always trying new things. I am a keen horse rider.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a mormon family but it took a long time for me to gain a testimony of my own. I love the way of life, it makes me so happy and keeps me safe, and knew that my family would be disappointed if I left. This is great but it wasn't enough, I needed to know that my Heavenly Father is really there, that I wasn't just talking to myself, that there is a purpose to my life. I couldn't rely on the words of others I had to find out for myself. I prayed, I fasted, I read my scriptures, and I know. I know He is there. I know He loves me. When I pray I don't always get what I ask for; I get what I need. I feel comforted and safe, I feel His arms around me. My problems don't always go away - I need them, they help me to learn and grow - but I find that they are not really that difficult after all and I feel great when I overcome them in the way He would have me do. I have seen the gospel change the lives of those around me for the better in huge ways and I know that it has helped me so much. I want to use my time well here on earth and the gospel helps me to do so. One day I know I will meet Him again and I will live together with my family for all eternity. It is the greatest gift there could ever be and all I have ever wished for. When I walk into an LDS chapel I feel as if I am coming home.

How I live my faith

I am on the primary presidency in my branch which means that I get to teach the children and they get to teach me. I learn so much from them, they inspire me to do better. I attend institute which is a program for the young members (and any visitors) where I attend lessons and participate in fun activities. This allows me to get to know other members who share the power of their testimonies with me. I try to be ready to serve at any time and hope that my leaders know that they can always count on me.

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

Even students who practically live in jeans are expected to dress smartly for church. This does not mean that you will be looked down upon if you do not own anything suitable. When on holiday many members may attend church dressed casually simply because they have nothing else with them. We dress to show respect for God and not to show off expensive attire. Hairstyles and dresses are simple and modest. Women who do not feel comfortable in skirts sometimes attend in smart trousers. Although I am more comfortable in my hiking kit it is important to me to dress differently on Sunday as a physical reminder of the spiritual importance of the day. Most members love to celebrate and are as happy to buy Christmas presents and Easter eggs etc as anyone else but we try to also remember the true significance of religious events and will make sure to review the scripture telling the history of these important events. There is nothing to stop church members from being involved in a range of cultural events and we would happily attend a wedding, christening or other religious event from another faith to be with a friend or family member on a day which is important to them for we recognise the value of anyone who is trying to do what is right. Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

Families are the people we spend most of our time with. Many students would love to live with and always be around their best friends. If we become best friends with our families this can happen for us all of our lives. We share the same fun times and hard times and are always there for each other. When you've been through so much together and know each other so well you don't always need words. We know when someone in our family needs us. Knowing that my family love me and will always be there for me is a huge comfort. I can rely on them for support and encoragement and they can rely on me. By making sure that I spend time with my family and build my relationships with them I make sure that we can always be happy. No matter what happens I know that I can always come home to them. Show more Show less