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Hi I'm Valerie

I'm a composer, musician, sister, aunt, daughter, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm 19 years old, I've attended a semester of college studying music and soon will be leaving on a mission to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I'm from a small city. I have a large family, I'm the seventh child out of eight. One of my biggest goals is to get married and be a stay at home mom. Career is important, I love to work and strive to be a composer, but family comes first and I want to raise my kids.

Why I am a Mormon

Originally, I chose to be baptized when I was eight years old because that was what I was supposed to do. I believed in the church, it was all I really knew. I grew up in a city that is about 75% Mormon, but attended a charter school where there were seemingly few Mormons. I had the opportunity to stand up for my faith fairly often. I went to a public middle school and I desperately wanted to be popular. I did whatever I felt was necessary to be cool. My parents personally did not let us drink caffeinated drinks, I did anyway because my friends peer pressured me, I also was not allowed to date until I turned 16, but I had a "boyfriend" at age 13. It's a silly disobedience, but one that even today I'm not proud of. When I got to high school I realized that being popular wasn't worth it if I couldn't be me. So I left that life and worked on learning who I was. I made new friends who influenced me to do good. One is now a missionary in Arizona. I attended seminary, church classes across the street from my high school, and that helped me to build my faith a lot. Because of separation of church and state seminary is off campus and students receive no credit for going. Now I'm preparing to serve a mission in Pittsburgh and as difficult as it is, I know my faith will be strengthened even more. I choose to be a Mormon every day. I choose this over and over because it makes me happy. It gives me hope that I can do whatever I put my mind to. God can do all things and if we align our will with His, we can do all things through Him.

How I live my faith

I was born and raised in the church. I've grown up living the values that I have, but I've had to gain my own knowledge of the truth of the church. We like to call that knowledge testimony. You cannot borrow anyone else's testimony, so it's very common that people who grow up in the church struggle a bit in their teenage years. I'm no exception really. There have been times when I've really doubted. But I know that nothing has ever made me as happy as living the gospel. Our church often seems restrictive, like we're not allowed to have any fun. But it's like a fence in the front yard. As a kid, you hate it because it keeps you in, but as a parent you know that fence protects your kids from running into the street and getting hurt. Heavenly Father can see what will hurt us if we disobey and jump over that fence. Sometimes it's very hard. Sometimes it's really easy to justify a little bit and push a little further, but when you keep things in perspective, you remember what waits for you beyond the fence.

What are Mormon church services like? Are visitors allowed at church meetings? Can I attend church?

Valerie
You are absolutely invited to come to church! Our church meetings are three hours long and consist of the basic meetings, sacrament, Sunday school, and men/women's meetings, each lasting about an hour. Sacrament involves everyone of all ages and genders, Sunday school is divided by general age groups and interests, and the third hour is divided by gender, women go to relief society, men to priesthood, children attend primary, and youth go too young women's/men's. We sing religious hymns, we pray together, and we learn about the gospel. All talks and lessons are given by noon-paid church members. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Valerie
No one of LDS faith is required to serve a mission. Men are more obligated to because it is primarily a priesthood responsibility, but women are allowed to serve also. There are actually many restrictions on serving a mission, men have to be 18 years old, women 19, you have to be in good health and have a strong testimony of the gospel. Missionaries also have to live very strict requirements and have very strict schedules. It is completely a personal choice to serve a mission, but it is strongly encouraged and recommended by most members. Show more Show less

How can we stop the spread and influence of pornography?

Valerie
Unfortunately pornography everywhere. In my opinion, the best ways to stop the spread of pornography are to first, speak up, identify it as bad. As much as you can, use ad blockers and other internet filters, there are internet routers that are designed to filter pornography also. If you or someone you know struggles with pornography, do not be shaming, do not put them down. More than likely, the person knows what they're doing is wrong. Speak positively about how they can recover, how they can work on being better. Talk about the good things they do. Or remind yourself to be positive if you are the one struggling. Shame comes from Satan, who wants you to fail and be miserable. Replace pornography with good, replace bad thoughts with good thoughts, replace bad pictures with pictures of Christ, anyone who quits watching is going to need something to fill the hole, make sure what you fill it with will bring you closer to Christ. The church also provides free support groups that follow the 12 step program. They are fantastic, centered on Christ and the atonement, hope, love, and peace. You can find them by searching LDS family services addiction recovery. There are meetings for addicts and also families and spouses of addicts, not just for pornography but also for other addictions. Show more Show less

How can faith in Jesus Christ influence us in our marriages and family relationships? in our friendships?

Valerie
One of my favorite ways to think about this concept is to think about a triangle. On the top point of the triangle, you place Jesus Christ, on the bottom two points you place the husband and wife, or the two friends. The closer they come to Christ, the closer they come together. Christ is perfect, as we strive to be more like Him, we become more selfless, patient, kind, and better versions of ourselves. When we strive to become like Christ, we better or relationships because we better ourselves. Show more Show less