Growing up in Sullivan, MO (Go Eagles!), a relatively small town of approximately 5,000 people, I took getting the best education available very seriously. I didn’t always succeed but I did always give it my best. However it was during my senior year of high school that I realized that getting 3 very important F’s would not fail me, but would actually prove to be vital for later parts of life.
The 3 F’s that I speak of are not grades, like in school, but the first letter of each topic in this blog. Each of the topics are equally as important as the other so pay no attention to the order in which they’re listed.
I was born, and raised, as a Roman Catholic. Every Sunday my mom would make my two brothers and I wake up really early and attend mass and sunday school. Often times she would just drop us off at the school and then go home just to return right before mass started. At around the age of either 9 or 10 I decided that I was no longer interested in attending a church where I felt I was forced to attend and didn’t feel welcome. Never felt any kind of spiritual blessings. For a long time, 7 to 8 years, I didn’t attend church of any kind. Sunday for me was my day to celebrate being lazy and watching any game or movie that I could.
Then when I was around 16, I was working at our local McDonald’s Restaurant. I had a wonderful boss named Donna and we often would find ourselves talking of God and my current disbelief of organized religion. I felt as though it was just a ploy for someone to get my money and get nothing in return.
She introduced me to her daughter, Monica, and for me it was love at first sight. She was attractive, a little shy, but very optimistic about her future. We started dating not long afterwards. One day, Monica and I were talking and she said, “If you and I are going to continue seeing each other, than your going to come to church with me.”
At first I was shocked, but I was 16 and I thought I was in love. I would do anything to keep feeling the happiness and love that I felt when I was around her and her family. I decided to go ahead with it. I knew she was a mormon but I knew nothing more of her beliefs. That sunday, when I arrived, I knew I had come home. The people there were so loving and caring. They were genuinely wanting to get to know me. For nearly 2 years, Monica and I dated, and I continued to learn more of the church from her, her family, and the missionaries.
On August 10, 1997, I was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I had truly come home.
To this day when I walk into a church building, no matter where I might be, the presence of the Spirit is so strong. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is Christ’s church. That He came to this Earth to bring us the Gospel. To teach us how to become better sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. He bled for our sins and died for us so that we too may conquer death. On the third day he rose again. I know that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God. That he was called to bring forth and reorganize Christ’s church. We have a living prophet of God here on the earth today. His name is President Thomas S. Monson. He is the mouthpiece for our Heavenly Father who continues to lead us back home to Him. The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, is true. I am grateful for my membership in this church. I am home.
Family and Friends
I love my family. If it weren’t for them, and the love they’ve given me over the years, then I don’t know that I would be where I am today.
Family life plays an important role in The Plan of Salvation. In an Epistle, written by the Apostle Paul to the Colossians we read, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18-20, KJV).
Families that pray together stay together. The Book of Mormon teaches us that we should teach our children to walk in the ways of truth and soberness and that we should teach them to love one another, and to serve one another. (Mosiah 4:15)
I have many friends in this stage of my life. It is in my friends that I find my strength. I know without a doubt that my friends would do anything to help me, and I pray that my friends know likewise of me. A friend loveth at all times said King Solomon of Israel (Prov 17:17, KJV).
I conclude with one final thought. If we are to go through life alone, would we not suffer and die alone? But if we have Faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love and support of our friends and our families, then there is nothing we can’t do. “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20, KJV).
My dear brothers and sisters, the Gospel is true. I implore you to seek of yourselves the truthfullness of the entirety of it. Read your scriptures. Pray unto God daily. Seek to gain the knowledge and it will be given unto you.
I leave these humble words along with my thoughts and prayers with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.