Growing Up “Mormon”

Before I start, I want to be sure to say that although people refer to us as “Mormons”, that is not actually the name of our church. It is a nickname that has been given to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. There are times when I’ve said the full name and people say they have never heard of it…but when I say Mormon.. suddenly it clicks. 🙂

I have been a member of the church my entire life. I was born into a home where my parents were already active members. So I don’t know anything different. I grew up going to church for 3 hours every Sunday, saying prayer before meals and before bedtime, reading scriptures as a family, watching General Conference twice a year, going to Young Women’s on Wednesday night and attending early morning seminary. This has always been my life. As a child, I learned from my parents and I probably relied on their testimonies more than my own…as an adult I’ve taken what I’ve learned from my parents and from church and have gained a testimony of my own. I am so grateful for the testimony I have today. It’s so good to know for myself and to make the decisions I make because I want to and because I know how important it is for me and for my family. I know some people went to church in their teenage years because their parents made them and they had no other choice. I never tested that with my parents because I always wanted to go to church. When I was young it might have been because my friends were there, but I don’t remember it that way. I have always liked church. I didn’t always pay attention and I ditched Sunday School A LOT in my youth. (My best friend and I would go into the bathroom and sit on the counter and talk…when the ladies would come in we hoped they wouldn’t tell our dads…lol) But I always went, and when my teachers thought I was not getting anything out of their lessons, I was. I learned so much at Church. So many amazing things that I hope my children will learn and live by. In the Church there is a pamphlet for the youth called For The Strength of Youth. (You can click HERE to read it online.) It’s amazing. I promise you that no matter how old you are, if you live the standards in that pamphlet you will be blessed and HAPPY! I am so grateful for the standards I was taught in my youth so that I can look back and be happy with the choices I have made in my life.

I was so blessed to have amazing friends growing up. That made all the difference. I was always taught to choose good friends, but it wasn’t even hard. I was blessed with amazing friends. We kept each other strong and helped each other along the way and we are all still friends today. 🙂 I hope that I was a good example to them like they were (and still are) to me.

It hasn’t always been easy. I got made fun of a lot in grade school for being mormon and I definitely got made fun of in High School for the choices I made. I wasn’t cool. I didn’t go to parties, I didn’t drink. I was a “mormon” and at my high school that wasn’t the coolest thing to be. But I had a lot of friends that weren’t mormon and they respected me for my choices and beliefs and never made me feel bad and never pressured me to do things I didn’t want to. I am grateful for those friends. The ones who stood up for me even when I wasn’t “cool”.

I wouldn’t change anything from my experience growing up in the church. I am who I am today because of the way I was raised and because I was raised in the Gospel. I still have so much to learn and so much to work on, but I am grateful for the knowledge that I have that helps me get through my trials. This past week I was visiting my family and when my Dad was dropping us off at the airport he asked, “Are your testimonies strong?” I was happy to be able to say yes and really mean it. He said “Good, because that is what will help you get through the trials that will come.” And they will come. I just hope that I am strong enough to handle them when they do. I am a daughter of God. I know he loves me. It might not always be easy to remember in the midst of a hard trial, but I hope I never forget it.

I am so grateful I was raised in a home where prayer was normal and the spirit was strong. 🙂

 

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The Challenge

A little over a week ago I attended the General Relief Society Meeting for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Before the broadcast a member of our Stake Presidency spoke to us. He talked about how social media can be used for good and he challenged us to start a blog to share what we believe with the world. I felt like he was talking directly to me and it made me CRAZY…I am NOT a blogger. I am NOT a writer and quite frankly, I don’t feel like I have anything to say that people would want to read. I did not think I would actually do it. However, I do have a testimony and I do believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. I haven’t been able to get his challenge out of my mind. I love being a member of the church. I LOVE being a mormon. The peace and happiness it brings me is just too much to even express in words. So why wouldn’t I want to share that with the world? I’ll tell you why…it scares me. I have never been one to go out of my way to talk about the church or my beliefs with others. Not because I am embarrassed or ashamed, but because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable. I don’t want people to think I am forcing my beliefs on them. I don’t want people to think I judge them because I believe differently than them and because I am afraid they will ask me hard questions. Some members of the church can quote scriptures and talks without even thinking, some members know just the right things to say. Some members only know how to talk about their love for the Gospel. But me, not so much. My hands start to sweat and I get nervous that I won’t be able to say what I really feel or that people will just be annoyed because the last thing they want to talk about is church or Jesus Christ. So instead of taking a chance to share something really wonderful…I just don’t. The stupidest thing about that is that I love the gospel. I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I love going to church for 3 hours every Sunday. I love listening to others bear their testimonies. I love going to Relief Society Meetings and being uplifted. I love hearing the Prophet and Apostles speak at conference. I love all of it! I feel so blessed and so grateful to know the things I know and to be a member of such a wonderful church. So I decided to take on the challenge. To share what I believe in a blog and people can choose whether or not they want to listen.

I was trying to come up with a name for my blog and like I said, I am NOT creative. I thought about it for days and came up with nothing. Then last night I was upstairs and my husband was listening to the Priesthood Session downstairs. I don’t know who was speaking and can’t remember much of what he said, but I do remember him saying “Because I have been given much, I too must give.” Those words come from my favorite hymn…and it made me think. The Lord has blessed me with so much. I have been given so much. So I too must give. I want to share my reasons for believing and my reasons for loving the Lord. I don’t want to force my beliefs on you, but I would like to share them with you. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I believe that it’s true.