Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Testimony Tuesday- Dallas' Story
To start out, like many testimonies do, I’d like to bare my testimony that I have faith that this church is the true church. Growing up, I was never really part of a church. My parents would take us to a Lutheran church on Christmas Eve and Easter, but that was really the extent of it. When I was in middle school I started going to one of the “come as you are” Christian churches with some friends from school and just started learning what I could. Then I started high school and things just went downhill I wasn’t part of the church really anymore and I had no motivation from my mom and step dad (who after my sophomore year got divorced, that was hard) to be moral and make decisions that would better myself in the afterlife.
Everything was based off of “what will help you get your higher education and support yourself in the future?” It was extremely easy to fall under sin in my house, and so everyone did. I knew a lot of LDS kids from school, but just was never interested in learning about it.
At the end of my junior year I moved from Las Vegas to Southern California and of course didn’t know anyone. Not only was it hard on me that my mom was already getting remarried, but I was going to be starting my senior year without knowing a single person. But I held strong and pushed through it. Then one day an old classmate messaged me on Facebook and we got to talking. He was LDS and later became my boyfriend and I would go out to Vegas to visit him. The weekend before school started I went to spend the weekend with my sister and see him before I left, and on that Sunday I went to church with him and his family. My first LDS church service, I had no idea what to expect. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I even saw a lot of old friends there. I secretly was getting interested in it, but never pursued it because my boyfriend told me that he wanted to leave the church.
A few months later, during Winter Break, I decided that I wanted to look into the church and see just how different it was from other churches I’ve gone to. So I went to Mormon.org and saw that you could talk with a missionary online, so I clicked that. That was great for me, because I was too nervous to go to the church down the street and ask to talk to a missionary. Elder Blair Ahlstrom took my call and answered all of the questions that I had that one Sunday afternoon, which was a lot. I felt very comfortable talking to him and wanted to continue to, but had to go help my mom so we added each other as friends on Facebook and I told him I would talk to him later. Later that week he introduced me to Elder Todd LeeMaster and we had our first actual lesson. At first I was having a hard time understanding everything, but they helped me with every possible question I had.
One night, after our lesson, I was sitting in bed reading my bible and decided to look for any signs I could possibly find in there that would show me that the Mormon church wasn’t true. I searched everything from false prophets to anything else that jumped out at me. I was up until 1:30am reading every piece of scripture I could find and praying to God and asked Him to give me any reason to think that the church wasn’t true. I could not find one thing. All I felt that whole night was “You think it’s false? Try to prove that.” I knew that God was telling me that I was getting my answers right there, in finding nothing; finding nothing that could prove to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not a true church.
The next lesson we had, I was much more understanding with everything. I was able to understand it so well that they would joke that I was teaching them. The missionaries sent me a book of Mormon and I always read it as much as I could, daily. Then one Sunday morning I got up, got dressed, drove down to the closest LDS church to my house, walked in and asked the first person I saw to point me in the direction of the missionaries, and sat through the lesson they were having. My first meeting with the local missionaries, Elder Bates and Elder Sabino, later that week was a big surprise for them. I had already decided that I wanted to get baptized and I told them the date. They were blown away.
I later told my family and they told me that they would support me through the whole thing. My boyfriend, Zach, was fine with it in the beginning and when I told him that I decided I wanted to get baptized he was so excited for me. He finally confessed that he wanted me to join the church the whole time and that I helped his faith grow because of the happiness I had from converting. I’m happy that he didn’t tell me until after I decided that I wanted to get baptized, that he wanted me to convert, because then I was able to do it on my own. That way, it was for me and my happiness, not someone else’s. Zach even bought a bus ticket and came out to California from Las Vegas for my baptism. On February 19, 2011 Elder Sabino baptized me into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I couldn’t be happier.
If you are unsure of whether the gospel is right for you or not, take a look at your life. Take a moment and step back and look at your life from someone else’s view. Are you the person you’ve always wanted to be? Are you living the life that you want to live? I cannot promise that once you are baptized your life will be perfect, because no one’s life is perfect. Everyone goes through trials, and everyone makes mistakes. But if you’re able to go through all of those things and still know that someone, your Heavenly Father, will love you no matter what then why live any other life? The only thing that keeps me going while I’m going through a bad time is the fact that I know that I can take a deep breath, bow my head, and pray to God. After I’m finished and say Amen, no matter what I say, I put my head up and feel this overwhelming feeling of relief and happiness. It may take awhile to get your answer, but that does not mean that you give up until you receive it.
I know that Jesus lives, and that he saved us from our sins. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and loves us no matter what. I know that he will forgive us from our sins because he knows that we are not perfect and He still loves us unconditionally. Maybe the gospel is too difficult to understand at first, but if you go in with an open heart and mind, I promise you that it will change your life. I bare my testimony that the gospel has created miracles in my life, and I know that it will in yours too. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.