I grew up in a family that occasionally went to the Presbyterian and Congregational church. I enjoyed it as a youth- most of my friends went to the same church, and we had fun activities. I had believed in God, but never really understood or even questioned who He was or what role He should play in my life. Religion was a Sunday activity which a person forgot until the next Sunday, Christmas, or Easter came along.
That changed rather dramatically when I was 24 years old.
A year or so earlier I had been on a month-long cross-country road trip with a friend, and we stopped in Salt Lake City to see the sights. Of course, we ended up in Temple Square– the biggest attraction there, quite outstanding and interesting.
We spent several hours in the visitors center, and walking around the grounds.
I felt something there that I had never felt before- peace, understanding, and a knowledge that I had a place in this world and that there was a purpose to my life.
I had lived a pretty aimless life up to that time. I had few goals; I didn’t have any guidelines to my life other than to be a good person as best I knew how. I was not happy with my life- I knew there must be something more.
It would be nice to say that my life changed that day at Temple Square, but it didn’t.
At least not THAT day. It was more like a seed planted within me. Some missionaries knocked on my door months later, and I listened to a couple of their messages before I moved on. Those missionaries planted a few more seeds that were not ready to grow yet.
Fast forward a year or so… I found myself in difficult circumstances and on my own. I had a pet cockatoo, a car, and few belongings. I was drifting from place to place with no goals but to survive. One day I was flipping through the phone book and came across the number for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints– the Mormons whose Temple Square I had visited. Without thinking, I dialed the number. After a brief conversation, I hung up feeling strangely and inexplicably excited, and with an appointment to visit with the missionaries a few days later.
A few weeks later my questions had been answered.
I had learned to pray, had carefully considered all that I had been taught, and I made the decision to join the Church. It is a decision I have never regretted in the 33 years that I have been a member of ‘LDS’ church. Each year of my life continues to be better than the one before. I am not ‘lucky’, I am blessed.
One thing you may be curious about: why ‘Mormon‘?
The correct name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That is often shortened to LDS, or, Latter Day Saints. The Church received the nickname ‘Mormon’ from the book of scripture called The Book of Mormon- Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It is the religious history of the Americas, and goes hand-in-hand with the Bible as a witness of Jesus Christ.
Would you like to hear what it is like being a ‘Mormon’?
Here is a link to a page with the stories of hundreds of Mormons across the world: I’m a Mormon This comment, from “Jarom” sums up how I feel about the Church:
“… I love this gospel! It fills my life with joy, gives me strength, and picks me up when I fall down. I AM living the way that makes me happy. God knows our nature and He knows what will bring us the greatest joy. We can spend all our lives looking for happiness our own way, or we can take a short cut right to true happiness, by following God’s teachings and His laws. I haven’t met anyone who is happier because they live contrary to the gospel! God’s laws only restrict us from harming ourselves and others, becoming slaves to addiction, and being distracted from true happiness by looking for it in places that can never offer real and lasting joy. The question is not ‘should we do what makes us happy?’ but rather, ‘what is true happiness and what truly makes us most happy?’ I feel like I have the answers to both those questions and that is both comforting and exciting all at once! ”