Thirty nine years ago now, two missionaries came to our door. It seemed that everywhere we moved, we lived next to Mormons or was in contact with them some way. I came to respect them and secretly wished for that kind of faith in God. You see, my grandmother raised me with the New Improvement Era magazine strategically placed in what we called the little bathroom. She taught me about the Godhead and Jesus sharing the Gospel with the people in the Americas. In fact, she encouraged me to write a term paper in the sixth grade on the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs and she always had an affinity with Native Americans. You see, Grama had been visited by Elder Winn and his companion back in the early 1950s. Married to a Southern Baptist, Grama couldn’t join the Church in those days but she had a secret purpose, didn’t she? I was the recipient of that knowledge. (Skipping way ahead, I was to later find Elder Winn in Nevada and told him that Grama never was baptized but that I had been baptized that very day!)
It seemed natural to be attracted to the Church but life got in the way. I married early, pursued my degrees and adopted two children. Then my marriage fell apart and I lost my children. Life as I knew it came to a drastic halt. I disintegrated into a lost soul and almost lost my life with dangerous living. I eventually recovered enough to build a successful rescue animal shelter for 56 animals. Then our treasurer finagled our savings account and there went our money.
Five years ago, faced with the impending closing of the shelter and the devastating loss of all the beloved little animals, I realized it was now or never. I had reached the point of no return. I either contacted the Church or I would continue on a downward spiral to death. I was volunteering as a leader of a little Mommy and Me class – I was trying so hard to maintain some appearance of normalcy when I was falling apart inside. There at that very class were two delightful little twins and a mother that I recognized as a Mormon. I recited the statement by Nephi that “Man is that he might have joy . . .” even though I really doubted that statement. I surely had little joy in my life.
The mother reacted with surprise and that led to meeting with the missionaries. I have no idea why getting baptized took so long but it didn’t matter. I had waited 34 years so what was a few months? Finally after a couple of months, a member sitting in on a lesson asked “Why hasn’t this woman been baptized?” Well, that eventually got things rolling and I was baptized on July 18, 2009. There has been tremendous growth, a few backsteps, but progress that I never envisioned.
My “conversion” was always there but I hadn’t given myself permission to listen to that still small voice. I was a lost soul and content to believe that I could never be better. That conversion continues today – when I first was confirmed I was happy just to be in the lowest Heaven – that was far better than I had experienced in this life. My depression took a long time to lift but today I am a happy Latter Day Saint, volunteering for our local hospice working in their thrift shops. I also enjoy my calling and work as hard as I can to magnify it. And it is a hard one – the adult Singles. but I love it as I love the Church that literally saved my life. I don’t see a therapist anymore – I rely on the Holy Spirit for companionship and have finally found my home with my Heavenly Father.