4.15.2011

Mormon. . .

it's a word attached to a bajillion different stigmas.  

one popular stigma being "tricked into believing"

I would like to claim my status as a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormon) first and foremost.  I was baptized and confirmed at the age of 8.  No one made me do it, it was what I knew and loved, so I made the decision myself.  That being said, I would like to share a few of my 
own, personal 
experiences as a member of this joyous gospel.   


I was raised in a home full of love, with both parents deeply committed to the LDS church.  Obviously, my childhood and teenage years were flooded with LDS principles and values.  I enjoyed church growing up.  It was fun and I felt warmth, light, a feeling that couldn't come through any other means, which I later recognized as the Spirit.  You know when you get chills that run deep through your bones?  Help you to decipher truth from deception?? That would be the Spirit.  I specifically remember moments when the Spirit spoke truth to my soul and I was in hysterics from feeling so happy. 

I was a teacher's aide my Junior year of high school and the entire class, including the teacher, was out working on a project.  I was sitting in her room all alone grading papers with my headphones in, and a song shuffled its way to the top of my playlist.  I can't remember the song, but I know it was an LDS song.  I stopped dead in my tracks as something took over me, consumed my whole personage, it was joy that couldn't be contained in a mortal body.  My smile has never stretched so wide, my eyes literally poured warmth onto my cheeks, and I knew.  I knew I could never go back, that Heavenly Father had contained my heart and I would let nothing deter that security.

Jump ahead 2 years to my 18 year old self and I am sitting in the peace of the Temple, pondering Christ, wondering how this difficult life will be a challenge I can continue to conquer and find beauty in.  Just as before, the Spirit rushed through me as a confirmation to what I already knew.  But it reached deeper and went further than I'd ever felt it before, what I would consider a taste of exaltation . . . the tiniest little taste.  My love for the Temple and the ability to feel the Spirit 10 fold inside of it grew stronger.

Another 2 years down the road, I'm dancing on that sweet, sweet piece of land I consider my mountain in California.  After 5 years of Madeline's death, when I was listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir belt out "I Believe In Christ", I felt her presence.   It hit me like a ton of bricks, took me completely by surprise.  She was with me crying and sending out joy into the eternities that we Believe In Christ.   The veil became so thin that I felt as though I was dancing with multitudes of Angels by the end of the song.  

Same year, as my 20 year old self.  The fondest of memories . . . when it sank deep in my heart what Christ did for me.  Joy wasn't the feeling, it was bitter sadness, I fell to the ground when my knowledge grew just a small amount to understanding the suffering that Christ went through, atoning for my sins.  I couldn't breathe, knowing that he was strained and tested beyond any mortal physical, emotional, or spiritual capacity.  And ever since, it has become my "solitary vision" to do my part in achieving Celestial Glory, to live up to that potential that was built inside my intelligence from the very beginning, so my Savior's sacrifice for me is not in vain.  So I can rise again as He did, be Resurrected and live with Him.

Easter is dear to me.  I feel the most contemplative during this Holiday.  I can't imagine a better way to spend this specific Easter break, than on God's beautiful beaches, all alone, reading about Christ, and pondering ways to grow closer to Him.

I love my Savior.  I haven't been tricked into believing anything untrue, only encouraged to find the happiness that my earthly parents have found.  Through my own experiences and trials I have come to  know that God lives, Christ lives, and I will live again.  Nothing will ever bring me as much joy. 
ever.

See you in 10 days!!!

3 comments:

emilia. said...

amen.

He & Me said...

beautiful.

Esther Cahoon said...

Well spoken! Love your testimony...love you!