Living the Word of Wisdom - At Work

At work, or even college, it’s incredibly difficult to constantly live the Word of Wisdom unless you go to BYU or work in Mo’town’s. (i.e. UT, ID, AZ.) Even still we find ourselves surrounded by people that aren’t members and challenge our abilities to adhere to the gospel.

While I live in Idaho, I don’t work with any members. Since I am in the media business, there is a lot of “going to lunch” with clients and co-workers. There are also business after-parties and luncheons. So, you can imagine that the food isn’t the only reason to get together.

In the morning it’s coffee, and all other times it’s tea time or happy hour. I sit and sip my Diet Coke (even though I’m not really following the WoW there either) and watch others drink lattes, iced tea, and margaritas. I get offered coffee still every morning by who ever is getting their morning fix out of the work thermos, since my office is closest.

It’s not that I want to drink, it’s just the weird looks and questions I get from co-workers that make the situation uncomfortable. Like they can’t believe that I am LDS. Maybe I don’t “look” LDS. I can’t imagine living in a bigger city where almost no one even knows what a “Mormon” is. Saying “Oh, I don’t drink” isn’t usually enough for the big city folk. They follow up with a “Why not?” and simply reply “What for?” instead of giving them the first discussion.

It is an inevitable truth that alcohol brings people together, much like food does. The person who has a drink with the boss after work is sometimes the forerunner for a promotion. Spotting a co-worker at a party is a sure-fire way to have something to talk about Monday. I just want to shout from the rooftops that “Hey! None of it is worth it!” If Jack Daniel’s gets a promotion for boozin’ it with the boss, I would reconsider my place of work. If Jack and Captian Morgan are bestest friends because they hooked up with the same chick Friday night, just be glad it wasn’t you they hooked up with.

There is nothing good that comes from coffee, tea, or alcohol. I used to argue otherwise, I will admit. “Tea has antioxidants!” So does a handful of blueberries. “One glass of wine is good for your heart.” So is an aspirin.

I have a deep and sincere feeling that one day the rest of the world will actually see the same as we do. People will begin to see the repercussions of all these things. For example, tobacco was forbidden by the Mormon Church long before the 1900’s, when people smoked like chimneys and hadn’t a care in the world. Same with pregnant women and drinking. They used to think it was a good thing to have a few drinks “for the baby!” That was just in this past century. Think about what will happen in the next few centuries. We will look back and say, “I can’t believe anyone ever smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol!” We are getting close to the no-smoking thing with the “truth” campaigns and smoking restrictions in public places, etc…

There are also a few things I think they need to add to the WoW. Like food. Rather, bad food. I know the prophets have stated that eating food in moderation is good. But I think we need something more concrete. With the diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc… I wouldn’t be surprised of Thomas Monson and God had a little chat about adding “Twinkies” to the list.

I also think that “tanning” should be outlawed in general. I used to do it all the time, but when I really thought about it – it’s exactly like smoking. It causes cancer, it causes wrinkles, it’s somewhat addictive (tanners know what I mean), and it’s a “fad.” Smoking was a fad, and now look at it. Being tan is a fad, too. Whoever says that it’s good to get a “base tan” before you go out in the sun so you don’t burn, is an idiot. Sorry. Use sunscreen!

Anyway, the point is – if you are having trouble keeping the Word of Wisdom in an environment that isn’t ideal, don’t fret. The stronger you are, the more blessings will fall upon you. I have respect for members who are minorities in their colleges and towns. I also hope that SAHM’s realize how lucky they are. I know it’s not easy to be one, but I also think I would be closer to the gospel, God, and the Word of Wisdom if I were a SAHM. Maybe that’s why wives are so awesome and have to keep their working husbands in line. (Just kidding husbands.)

Alright, until next time.


I had a meeting with someone yesterday about a project I am doing. We had only talked over e-mails, and I met him once at a luncheon. Since he's considerably smarter than I am, I needed his help. Initially, I didn't really think about whether or not he was a member of the church. When he canceled a meeting to go to "Bryce & Zion," I figured that he must be. I don't really know why. Maybe because he mentioned he has a wife and two children and looks like he's in his late twenties. Maybe because he went to Utah for spring break. I don't know. I have really good Mo'dar.

I was meeting him at his house, since he works from there. I drove around the neighborhood, looking for number 77. I spotted it, then went to the end of the street and turned around. I hadn't realized it, but the stake center was literally a three minute walk away. I knocked on the door and he answered, inviting me in. His house was warm and clean, and smelled like Pine-Sol. Playing on the hardwood floor was his son, Clay. Ironically playing with a variety of play-dough. His daughter Bryce was getting dressed in her room, but poked her head out to introduce herself. We sat down in the kitchen, in his "office" and we made small talk.

Me: "So I almost got lost up here! My husband and I actually used to go to the ward over here... is it still a student ward?"

Him: *blank stare* *smirk* "I actually wouldn't know." He blushed and smiled a little.

Me: "Oh...ah...yeah because I used to get lost up here a lot when we went to church." I said, taken slightly aback, and trying to make up something to change the subject

So, he wasn't a member. I immediately felt foolish. I looked around his house. Nothing. No Jesus, no Mormon paraphernalia, nothing. Just everything else a Mormon might have. Family pictures, decoration, etc... His daughter ran out in a skimpy tank top. I looked at his diploma, he was from Florida. I was totally wrong and made an ass of myself.

Moral of the story. Assumptions make and ass out of...well, you know.

Food Storage: The Reason I Stink at Being Mormon

Hello! I'm Jia and I'm a Mormon. Normal might be a bit of a stretch though. Either way I was asked to be a contributor here at Normal Mormons and I am very honored by that request. (I normally blog over at Modern Molly Mormon, and I think it's okay for me to link my own blog, because the Normal Mormon herself blogs over there as one of my contributors.)

Anyways, I wanted to do a semi-follow up to the last post. Converts are very different from life long Mormons. But there are also the small things in us all that makes us a little less "Mormon". I know a Bishop who drinks Dr. Pepper like it's going out of style. A Relief Society President who doesn't scrapbook. A Primary Teacher who doesn't know the Primary songs. And me my friends? I hate food storage.

Don't get me wrong, I like having food storage, and eating food storage, but the moment anyone says "Cannery" to me, my brain somehow shuts off completely. Almost the same way it does when I hear "Genealogy". I don't know how to do it, so I shut down a bit and leave it to the pros. However, one day I'm certain I'll be called do head up the Cannery or something along side it, therefore I must learn! But how? Afterall, going up to anyone and saying, "Excuse me, but what's a Cannery?" Just labels you a convert! And since I've actually been a member for over 8 years, it might also label me pretty stupid too LOL!

But I have however found some great links on the internet to provide information regarding food storage for those of us who are a little more inept than the rest of the congregation:

Food Storage Calculator
Order Food Storage Online
The Church's Preparation Website
Food Storage Pamphlet (Click on a language to download the PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions
Cooking with Food Storage

Birth Mormons vs. Converts

I haven't been in the church long enough to really notice a distinct segregation between LDS converts and those raised in the church as groups. I have noticed at on a case by case basis, the differences between the two are quite funny.

I married into a family that were all raised in the church. I however, am a convert. Along with his family, it seems the large majority of the members are alike in several ways. While I love the church, the gospel, and everything about it - there are a few things that I cannot succumb to in order to "fit in." Of course, there are a few things that I am innately good at that I enjoy doing that just happen to be congruent with popular Mormon culture. Here are a few things I do differently:

1. I don't pray like everyone else.

And thank the Lord. Everyone who was raised in the church (that I have seen) pray's the EXACT same. It's quite annoying. "Our dear kind and gracious Heavenly Father we are so very grateful thy spirit....we ask thee to bless...blah blah blah." They also use the EXACT same inflections in their voice every time. I know there is a certain way you should pray, but I'm sure God didn't want us all to sounds like Mo'bots. Mix it up a little people. God made us different for a reason.

2. I don't wear floor length skirts, brown with black, floral print, have curled bangs, and other fashion faux pas.

Why? Because they are all hideous. I understand we don't go to church to make a fashion statement, but the statement you make is really "I don't care enough about myself to try." Yeah kids, work, school, being a SAHM is always stressful and we don't have time to dress for the prom. But a little effort in the fashion department couldn't hurt.

Things I do the same:

1. I blog.

Blogging in Mormon culture is just a given. Especialy for SAHMs that have nothing to do. Even though I am at work right now. *oops*

2. I'm crafty.

I have always been really crafty, artsy, etc... Until I joined the church and now I am like everyone else. Actually, I would say I am craftier than many people in the church anyway.

3. I like cooking, cleaning, and being a good housewife.

I am not necessarily GREAT at it yet. But I like the feeling of responsibility. I hate the feeling of being TOLD to do it, or EXPECTED to do. Especially because I work full time.

Of course these are just some examples. Those who were raised in the church also have a certain air about them. It's a little muted, low contrast, vanilla, etc... But I think converts also have that. I go out of my way NOT to tell people I am a convert because the respect level shoots downward, and the judgement begins to rise. No one talks about it of course, because people in the church tend to put on the "Mormon Front." It's a wonderful, perfect gospel with imperfect people following it. Which is what bugs me about those who leave the church claiming that they felt ostracized. Just because you don't like the people, doesn't mean you shouldn't follow the gospel. But that's another post.

My statements here aren't to be completely taken seriously, and I am not attempting to categorize every single LDS soul into categories. Like I said, my husband's family was raised in the church and mine was not. His family had seven children, mine had two. Among the nine kids are 4 college graduates, 3 felons, 1 high school dropout, 2 working mothers, 1 divorcee, 1 in prison, and 1 doctor. Of course these overlap a bit, but it's still quite a mix. And I bet you can't guess who is in which family!

The Mormon Baby Name Game

I got this from a non-affiliated site called Normal Mormons Husbands (go figure). It's hilarious.

Play The Mormon Baby Name Game!

Let the fun begin! The Mormon Baby Name Game is now available. The possibilities of this thing are endless. Please feel free to score your own name, children's names, friend's names, future baby names, etc. to see if we can collectively come up with the perfect Mormon baby name.

If you are understandably uncomfortable posting full names in your comments, just post the last initial.

Good luck, have fun, and keep the comments coming! Without further ado, the Mormon Baby Name Game:

The "Here Comes Pat!" Test: Give boy name to boys and girl names to girls:

10 pts. - No mistaking the baby's gender (Nathan, Robert, Rebekah, Elizabeth).
5 pts. - Some ambiguity, but the name is predominantly associated with one of the genders (Courtney, Shannon, Jerry).
0 pts. - Interchangeable between boys and girls (Pat, Chris, Taylor, Cameron, Jamie).

The "Queen Lili'uokalani" Test: Do your child a favor and make the name easy to spell. Especially if the name is somewhat common, do not alter the spelling just to be "original":

10 pts. - Common name, common spelling (Samuel, Tyler, Grace, Faith).
5 pts. - Most people should be able to spell and pronounce the name. If the name is hard to spell, it is not our fault (Sara vs. Sarah, Erik vs. Eric).
0 pts. - We took a perfectly common name, replaced common letters with "cute" letters, and our child will change the name the day they turn 18 (Nykkol vs. Nicole, Jaysun vs. Jason)

The "Mean Jay" Test: Think like the meanest kid in school and ask yourself, "How could I make my kid cry by using his/her name?"

10 pts. - Almost impossible to logically make fun of the name (this should be a very rare score because mean kids can be very, very evil).
5 pts. - I could see how the name could be twisted to be made fun of, but our child should not grow up hating us because of it. (Earl can easily be called "girl", "squirrel", "hurl", etc.)
0 pts. - Bullies won't even have to try (Melvin will get constant wedgies, for example).

The "Helaman Chapter 5" Test: Give your child a name to live up to, and she just might do it!

7 pts. - The name is prevalent in the scriptures or in church history (Leah, Rachel, David, Joseph).
3 pts. - Minor scriptural name and/or church history reference. At minimum, the name does not have a negative connotation associated with it.
0 pts. - We are praying the child does not live up to the namesake (Jezebel, Osama, Paris, Cain, Madonna).

The "I'm Changing My Name to Salem" Test: Avoid names that are so popular that your child will share a name with half of his/her kindergarten class. Click here for the list of most popular names (you can even change the year as needed):

7 pts. - The name is ranked #75 or higher.
3 pts. - Ranked between #21-74.
0 pts. - It is currently in the top-20.

The "Logistical Nightmare" Test: Avoid making up names that mean nothing, but sounds "pretty" when said:

7 pts. - Traditional, recognizable names (Daniel, Samantha).
3 pts. - Sounds like a name, but has no real roots (Tristan, Jalynn, Dania, Briley).
0 pts. - That's a name? (Zephyr, Temptress, Efren, Traxler, Lyric).

The "Back Porch Shout" Test: If you yell the child's name from the back porch or in a crowded mall, how well does the name carry:

7 pts. - The name can be clearly distinguished amidst a cacophony of sound - usually three syllables (Jennnn-iffffff-errrrrr! Zaaaakkkk-aaaaaa-REEEEE!"
3 pts. - The name carries well, but could get drowned out - usually two syllables (Maaa-thew! Haaaa-naah!)
0 pts. - The name will get confused with all of the other noises out there - usually one syllable (John! Anne!)

The "Moe's Tavern" Test: Avoid giving your child a first and last name that make an embarrassing combination (e.g. Amanda Huggenkiss) or a repetitive first and last name (e.g. John Johnson).

5 pts. - No embarrassing first name/last name linkage.
3 pts. - With a little creativity, the combination could sound funny.
0 pts. - We have always loved the name Stormy Weathers and we are sticking to it!

The "I Got An F In Geography" Test: If the name is found on a map, don't put it on the birth certificate.

5 pts. - No city, state, country, peninsula, or fjord shares a name with your child.
3 pts. - A little cross over with the name of a place, but the baby is not being specifically named after the city/state.
0 pts. - The baby is blatantly named after an important location.

The "La-Utah" Test: Do not put the Utah-inspired "La-" before the baby's name.

5 pts. - Does not start with "La-" (Mitch, Sadie).
3 pts. - The name starts with "La-", but not in the corny Utah style (Larry, Lauren).
0 pts. - We took a perfectly normal name and slapped "La-" at the beginning (LaVern, LaDell, LaSarah, LaBrandon).

The "Ghosts From the Past" Test: The child's name cannot be the same as a former boyfriend, girlfriend, or high school nerd.

5 pts. - The name carries no baggage with it.
0 pts. - The name brings back bad memories for one of the parents.

The "Wayne-Ray-Lee" Test: Approximately 63% of all male inmates have Wayne, Ray, or Lee in their name somewhere. Avoiding the name could mean preventing a visit to Juvie in 14 years:

5 pts. - Free of all such "perp" names.
3 pts. - The first and middle names bleed over to include one of the names (Kyle Erik, Ezra Yusuf).
0 pts. - We are naming our son after grandpa Wayne, even if he is not granted parole to attend the blessing.

The "B.A.D. Initials" Test: Every time your child beats the high score on a video game or gets a new set of scriptures, his initials need to be entered into the system or embossed on the outside cover in gold leaf. Don't embarrass the lad with lame initials:

5 pts. - The initials do not spell or mean anything, especially something that could be made fun of (M.J.A., C.R.W.)
3 pts. - With a little creativity, the initials could potentially be embarrassing (D.F.S. = Doofus, W.D.O. = Weirdo).
0 pts. - Really bad initials. (L.S.R. = Loser, J.R.K. = Jerk, D.U.D., B.U.T., etc.)

The "Letter Hog" Test: When you have seven children and all of the names start with the same letter, you are going to paint yourself into a corner.

5 pts. - We are proudly not letter hogs and this child's name will start with a different letter than all other siblings.
3 pts. - We are letter hogs, but we are using a common letter that offers a lot of flexibility (R,S,T, all vowels, etc.)
0 pts. - We are letter hogs, and we are officially running out of additional names with the letter we selected (Zachary and Zoe were good names, but what's next? Zeniff? 'Zabella?

Our New Ward

So, on Easter Sunday my husband and I attended our new ward for the first time. In our meeting with the bishop, he referred to it as a "Newlywed, Nearly Dead" ward, which in our findings was eerily accurate.

Rows and rows of white hair, interspersed with screaming babies and children running loose in the aisle ways. One dad in particular was keeping his son at bay by holding onto his overall straps. Four or five mothers and three fathers stood in the back of the church, comforting their babies. My husband couldn’t pay attention to save his life – so he kept whispering to me and fiddling with my hand. In front of us were our neighbors, whom we had only met once. Of course in our desperate attempts to make friends, we were excited when they began talking to us after sacrament.

Sunday school was actually intriguing, as I learned more about the inner workings of our new ward. It seems our ward is slightly dysfunctional, with rumor mills, inactive members/people who leave after sacrament, and a slight separation of “class.” I figure we will fit in just fine. The Sunday school teacher expressed dismay at the “rich” people who live in the nicer houses in the new subdivisions, and how the “good” people are the meek ones who live – where she does. I think she said this not realizing that half the ward lives in these “rich” suburbs. Her statement got chuckles from two women sitting in front of us, who undoubtedly are married to doctors, and live in these forsaken places.

I know why they call it “Relief Society.” What a better way to escape children and husbands than to talk about God and crop night. I sat down in a corner alone, hoping someone would sit by me. Someone younger than say, eighty. All the ladies sat together chatting front and center. A young, pretty, smiley mom introduced herself as the RS president. The two younger women from Sunday school entered and made a beeline for me. They were blonde, pretty, and held babies on their hips. As the meeting began, I looked around and noticed I was the only person in the room who isn’t a mom. The girls who were pregnant or holding babies sat on one side, and the older ladies on the other.

This week is going to be interesting. During the last two meetings, we were introduced as the “new” people, and were asked where we live. Without thinking, we blurted out our address. I expect they will be showing up around 7pm every night this week.

Jesus Christ's Mug Shot

Last night our Bishop stopped by unannounced. We just moved (two months ago) and have been debating going to the family ward, or the student ward. So in our perilous struggle for the right ward, we have been putting off attending church altogether. The student ward begins at 9am and is across town, and the family ward begins at 12 and is within walking distance. Yeah, a real hard choice – I know.

When we heard the knock, my husband sprinted upstairs in his garments (he was laying around in them) to change. I answered the door and the Bishop walked in and introduced himself. My husband started getting winded as he picked up the living room and covered his computer screen where he was watching a pirated version of “Rambo.” We talked, but I felt one edge seeing as our house was a pig sty (to anyone else’s standards really) and my husband was wearing the fleece pajama pants I made him. Keep in mind I made them from bright blue fabric with cartoon frogs all over it.

As the Bishop tried to take us seriously, we made an appointment to meet. After he left, we exhaled and my husband said, “Hey nice job with the stuff on the walls honey.” I looked at our living room wall. An 18” x 24” framed photo of Jesus Christ exiting his tomb, and my hand-made 8” x 24” plaque that says, “Families are Forever.” So just in case the Bishop had any doubts he might be in the wrong place, our only decoration in the entire house proves it. No one can argue that, although all Christians would theoretically have the same décor, Mormon décor is particularly identifiable. (Note pix below.)

I find it hard to resist Deseret Book and their many pictures of Jesus that I could put up all over my house. I admit, really the pictures are corny. But what Mormon house do you enter that doesn’t have the beautiful Jesus mug shot in the doorway? Or large plaques with cute sayings on them, that are most likely hand-made with rub-on letters and crackle paint? Or a peg board with hanging names for FHE?

Okay, I don’t just want pictures of Jesus so people know I’m a Mo when they walk in the door. I also don’t want the same pictures everyone else has. (See below.) Unfortunately, Deseret Book Charges upwards of $300 for good stuff. Sheesh. I need to go into the Mormon painting business.

This idea of the "Mormon Front" is something I haven't come to terms with yet. I don't hate it, and I don't like it. It's just this silent thing that goes on in LDS communities. As a convert I don't understand as much as those who have been in the church their whole lives. You put up pictures of Jesus, have a few Ensigns laying around, have those stickers on the back of your van that indicate how many members of the family there are in stick figures, etc... Given that I might have done all this anyway had I not converted, I don't feel particularly cultish. But man, can we get some VARIETY!!!???

P.S. I love Jesus.

More Notes on Polygamy

This is a neat website for anyone brave enough to understand historical facts about the a bunch of other cool stuff about Mo's.

The Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley stated in October 1998:

“I wish to state categorically that this Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. Most of them have never been members. They are in violation of the civil law. They know they are in violation of the law. They are subject to its penalties. The Church, of course, has no jurisdiction whatever in this matter.
"If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church. An article of our faith is binding upon us. It states, 'We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law' (Articles of Faith 1:12). One cannot obey the law and disobey the law at the same time.

"There is no such thing as a 'Mormon Fundamentalist.' It is a contradiction to use the two words together."

Mormonism today does not practice polygamy, but neither does it claim that its past practice of polygamy was wrong. The practice was commanded by God through living prophets and forbidden by God through living prophets.

Simple eh?


Here are a few thoughts on the subject:

1) For anyone who is curious, members of our church don't (or shouldn't) believe in the practice of polygamy today.

2) Polygamy was once accepted, and necessary by more than just Mormons.

3) Today, in my personal opinion, it is a horrible and evil practice that enslaves children to disgusting old men, and aids in the unnecessary over-population of the Earth. It has been distorted, and abused.

4) People who aren't LDS, and even those who are, don't seem to understand. Scriptures tell us some things, prophets tell us more things. If you believe in the Bible, you should believe in prophets. When our scriptures tell us that polygamy is acceptable, it's because it was at one point. Even in the Bible it was. When prophets give revelation that polygamy is not needed or acceptable - we should listen. You can't pick and choose what to believe in when the prophet says it plain as day.

5) If you are a member of the church and claim that polygamy is still necessary, and that you have to have MULTIPLE wives to go to the celestial kingdom - sorry - you are sorely mistaken and NOT a member of this church.

6) I am not interested in lists of scriptures that 1) Are from Mormons (or non-Mormons really) giving me reasons why polygamy is great and 2) Are from Non-Mormons giving me lectures on any of the above statements.

7) All other comments and insults welcome.

Three Kingdoms of Heaven Just Makes Sense

I was just thinking about a talk I had with my mother about what people in our church believe. She didn't understand the whole "kingdoms of heaven" thing, so I tried to explain it to her. After I basically gave this description, she gave me a surprising response.

"Okay, so for example - there are three women - one is Baptist, one is Muslim, and one is Buddihst. They all live their lives spiritually, are charitable, and shining examples of great women. According to most Christian religions, the Buddhist and Muslim would go to Hell for not being "saved" and accepting Jesus as their Savior. However, we believe that every one of these women can go to heaven. When everyone, and I mean everyone, dies they go to the Spirit World. This is a place where those who have never heard or never accepted the gospel can hear it from those who have. Then Jesus Christ comes and shares the gospel with you in person, and if you accept it with your whole heart, you can get into Heaven. However, Heaven isn't a free for all. Murderers, rapists, adulterers, etc... aren't going to the same place as say, you or I would. That just isn't, well....fair! God thinks in gray areas. He will place us according to our works. Why would he look upon a person who was misguided on Earth and committed many horrible sins the same way he would look at someone who lived their lives fully in the gospel? Why is it fair for people to be sinful up until they are on their deathbed repenting? It isn't. God is merciful, and he is also just.

So, there are three levels of Heaven, and each is more filled with glory than the next. Jesus said: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). Paul tells about being "caught up to the third heaven," where he heard unspeakable words (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). He then describes three degrees of glory in 1 Corinthians 15:39-42 and spoke about the various levels of resurrected beings who would inherit them."

My mom just looked at me and said, "You know, I always believed in something like that. I always thought God would give everyone a second chance, even after death. I always thought that it's good to do good works, even though we are saved by grace. Where do I sign up?"

My Conversion

I grew up in a Baptist family. My parents were what some considered "hippies" and we went to church on Easter and Christmas. Mormons were a major population in my high school, and actually compiled most of the popular crowd. I was always bitter at seminary students, as I thought they got a grade for attending. I thought Mormons believed in Joseph Smith instead of Jesus, that their rules were stupid, and that they were going to Hell. Of course, I was in high school.

While in college I met my husband online (of all places) and he was a member of the church. (At this point everyone stops listening to my story and assumes that I converted because of him, and not for myself.) One of the downfalls of meeting online is that you live in separate parts of the country (or in our case - state) and in-person visits are rare. But through online chats, phone calls, and weekend visits we ended up falling in love. He never pushed his religion on me, but I was always skeptical. When I asked questions, he answered. But he always encouraged me to talk to the sister missionaries. Set out to prove him wrong, so I began to visit with the missionaries, hoping that I could refute everything they said.

I asked every question to three sets of missionaries over a period of 2 years. I didn't want anything to fall through the cracks. When it comes to salvation, there isn't room for ignorance. I researched and researched until I became blue in the face. For some, the answer comes quickly but the answer for me came slowly. I realized that knowing what I know now - about Joseph Smith, the Apostasy, the Book of Mormon - there was no turning back. I already believed the history. I already knew in my heart that it was true. God gave me an answer and I didn't listen.

I was too concerned with what other people thought about me. I lived in a sorority - the worst place to convert to a church that doesn't allow drinking. People looked at me like I was an idiot. They went out every weekend, got drunk, had sex, and looked down on ME. My mother was mildly supportive, maintaining that I was Baptist at heart and as long as I wasn't sacrificing animals it was okay. The day of my Baptism, my father -who had been sober for 8 years - got drunk at a local bar. My stepmother blamed me for his fall off the wagon.

I was baptized on April 26th, 2005. Even though the water was cold and the day was cloudy, my heart was finally warm and full. After I came out of the water the missionaries and church members were there supporting me - and everything else didn't matter.

Since then I have been plagued with Anti-Mormon material, former friends who don't listen, and every manner of negative information about our church. I have taken it in and STILL, my testimony becomes stronger with each day. I accept the imperfections in our church and in the people in it, but I also am smart enough to know that what I feel in my heart every day is stronger than anything people say. Now, I have a better relationship with my parents than I have ever had.