Sunday, May 29, 2011

From Catholic to Mormon-My Conversion Story

"I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true"
~Moroni 10:4
My missionary and dear friend Sister Stacie Lloyd...now Stacie Duce
Corpus Christi, TX 1992


As I mentioned to you on one my most recent posts, the month of May holds a special place in my heart. It is the month in which my first child was born, and also the month that I converted to this wonderful church and gave my heart to the Lord.  Since it's the last Sunday of the month... I'd like to share with you the "short version" of my conversion story.

There are many of us at different points in our life where we feel we need salvation. We feel we need a higher source of happiness and wisdom. Some of us may feel we don't need God, and that we are okay with where we are at in this life. Some of us are comfortable in the way we were raised, and some of us were not. Some of us come from a two-parent family, or were raised by a single mom or dad, and some are raised with neither. Some of us may feel love and safety in their home, and unfortunately, some of us did not. Some of us may be comfortable believing in God without attending or being active in a church, and some of us are not. 

I was one of those people.

The Reason for Change.
To some of you that have known me since kindergarten...this might come as a shock to you. Growing up in the small town of Kingsville, Texas was no picnic for me. My mom did her best in trying to keep it together and for the most part she did...until she remarried. There was more contention than happiness throughout my childhood. The molestation I suffered is something I would never wish on anyone, and I am grateful for the strength that I had to survive it. I only had one sister and at times I felt that she was the only one who would try to protect me. As I grew up, I wanted to find a way to make my life better, to heal from my past, and find eternal happiness.



Although I was born and raised a Catholic I wasn't a devout member, and only went to CCD classes, because everyone in my age group was going. I was going through the motions because this is what I was born into and taught. I remember going to confession to confess my sins to only turn around and do it over, and over again. I stopped going after I did my first communion, and for a long time that bothered me. I thought that maybe if I went back to church things would get better. I never went back to the catholic church, but at the age of 17 I began investigating a couple of other churches.  Even in those churches I didn't feel any different, and so I stopped attending church altogether. 

 I had experienced living out of state for about a year after graduation. I lived in Florida with my sister and her family, and moved back to Kingsville because things didn't work out for me there. I was searching for a blissful environment... I just didn't know in what direction to look. I would be sitting around the house moping around in hopes that someone or something can be better than the life I was living. I did appreciate the friends that I had at the time, but that still wasn't enough. I was getting tired of going bar-hopping, and even though I was not much of a drinker or smoker, I no longer wanted to surround myself with that type of an environment. I really wanted to change my life after high school. I was stubborn and didn't go to college right away. I finally realized that I needed to continue my education, and was 20 when I decided to go back to school. As much as I loved my mother, I knew I needed to get out of the small town of Kingsville, do something meaningful with my life, and she agreed.


The media referral.
There was an advertisement on television about Our Heavenly Father's Plan from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I hardly ever watched television, and it never failed how many times it would air every time I'd turn it on. Although my instinct was telling me to call the 1-800 number to request a free copy of this video, I would ignore it and change the channel. This was ongoing for a few weeks and then one day, my heart felt like it was going to explode, and my eyes began to tear as it aired again. I decided to call the number and just order it.


There are no coincidences.
The Lord works in mysterious ways, because as I was talking to the representative on the other end, I could barely understand some of the questions he was asking me. I remember answering "yes" and "no" questions, and giving him my age, address and telephone number. As he was asking me the last question, there was some interference with static. I thought maybe it was the cordless phone I was on. I really wanted to just request the video, answer the questions as quickly as possible, and hang up the phone. In spite of the static, I answered YES to the last question.

The missionaries.
To my surprise, the next day there was a knock on my door, and as I opened it there were two young girls about the same age as me standing there smiling, and looking all happy. I was hesitant in allowing them into the house because I knew how strict my mom was when it came to unknown visitors. They greeted me with a smile, and addressed themselves as sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and mentioned to me that they were there to deliver the video that I had requested. I had told them that I thought I was receiving it in the mail, but then they mentioned that I had answered "yes" when I was asked "if I wanted representatives from the church to deliver it to me personally." I didn't argue with them, and I let them in.  I honestly believe that the Lord allowed the static to intervene while that last question was asked, because if I had heard that last question being asked to me...my answer would have been NO!

They visited for a while, got to know a little bit about me, and asked if it was okay to watch the video in their presence. I obliged and so we put it in the VCR and watched the 29 minute video. My heart was softened and I had tears in my eyes as I was watching it. I felt so strong in wanting to find happiness in my life. I felt so much better after watching it. I knew that I needed to continue to investigate this church, and give it a chance. I hungered for more and wanted to see if I would feel that same feeling of my heart about to explode. The sisters had asked me to bow in prayer and offered if I would say it. I know some of you may be thinking the nerve of them to ask me when they just barely met me, but I didn't think that way at all. I felt a presence of love and security as I bowed my head in prayer. It came naturally and I wasn't nervous anymore. I had thanked my heavenly father in having the sisters come to deliver the video, and prayed to help me change my life. I closed in the name of Jesus Christ. Watching the video helped me to pray, and it made sense to me in how the only one I needed to pray to is that of my Father in Heaven and close with "in the name of Jesus Christ". I investigated the church for about four months and on May 3rd, 1992 I was baptized.

A clean slate...
Baptism day-May 3, 1992.The happiest day of my life!

My testimony.
I KNOW that I have found my purpose in this life. Giving my life to Christ is the best choice I ever made. Learning from the missionaries brought me closer to God and I will always be grateful to them. The gospel has truly changed my life and perspective in many things. I am glad I endured all that I went through as a young child and teenager because it has made me who I am today. I have healed from what happened to me in my past, I LOVE the present, and look forward to my future. Most of all, I have learned to forgive, and as much as it is sometimes hard to forget...I pray for those who have hurt or wronged me throughout my life.

I'm in my 19th year of being a member. I am so grateful to have met a wonderful man who doesn't hurt me physically, and who is a wonderful father to our four children.  I LOVE attending the temple, and it gives me great comfort to know that by being sealed to my family in the temple, I will be with them FOREVER. I'm especially grateful for the courage that I have to be able to share this wonderful book with others. I know that the church is true, and that the Book of Mormon, like the bible testifies of Jesus Christ. I know that we have a living prophet on earth today who guides and leads us to become better members of the Lord's church. I am so happy to be raising my family in it. We are far from perfect, but I know that if we strive to be a good example and do the things that are pleasing to God, we can return back to our Heavenly Father and reign with him forever. This is my testimony and I leave it with you in the name of our savior, Jesus Christ...


AMEN.


**To hear an introduction of the gospel, and to receive a free copy click here.

4 comments:

  1. That was a great day Babe!

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  2. IT SURE WAS...
    LOVE YOU TOO BABE!

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  3. I enjoyed your story. You and I were meeting with the missionaries at the same time. I was baptized on April 19, 1992! I can't believe it's been 19 years. Time flies.

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  4. Thank you Jeannine. Time sure does fly doesn't it. I can't believe next year will be 20 years for us as members. It doesn't feel that long at all! I hope y'all are doing well. I think of Pinehurst ward often as well as members in other wards in your stake. Take care, and...thanks for your comment!

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