I went with it.

Well, I have risen from the ashes. I am sitting here thinking of ways I could explain my happiness, but words fail me. They fail me every time. I don't how this happened. But that is where the beauty of faith comes into play.

Lets start from the beginning. My parents raised me Catholic...in a sense. I was baptized, but I realize now that it was more tradition then anything else. I never really understood the meaning of it all. I did my confirmation and first communion not feeling anything. Which, now I understand was super disrespectful on my behalf. I know better now. Well, as I've spoken about before in prior blogs, I was in a severe rut. I couldn't find my way out. Until one day I decided that I need to get my life together. I need to change my attitude and I needed to stop aiming for perfection. And it was before I made my move down to Cedar City. I realized that Cedar is where I wanted to be, that I needed to make it work! I needed to work a little harder. And I did. And things were going great! I had great friends, my roommates were awesome and I was loving me. I wasn't perfect, dipped my spoon in the alcohol scene, the huka scene and what not, and I was happy. Are these things vital to my exisitance?! No, the are not. Anyway....one day I was sitting my Apartment 44's living room. I don't know how we got talking about it, but I was asking them questions about the LDS religion. Questions of things that I had a hard time understanding. I remember getting this feeling, it was a good feeling. Everything that was being said to me felt right. I leave their humble abode at 7 am with a Book of Mormon. What the hell is happening here? Is that the question that popped into your head? Because that was my question too. I just wanted to learn as much as I could. I was scared. I was confused, and very resistant to the idea of me one day becoming a member. I just wanted to learn. So I began to read the Book of Mormon. The feelings I would get reading it are feelings I simply cannot describe. I got a sense of calmness and peace. The things I have been searching for for awhile. I start to experience what I like to call my spiritual crisis. What were my fears you ask? Well, I didn't want to seem like I was selling out. Since I could remember I didn't want to be Mormon. I wasn't about that. I wanted to belong to some type of church and feel something, but I was so sure that the LDS faith was not for me. I had bad idea of what it really was, and I had shut it down before I really gave it a chance. So, I didn't want my non member friends to love me less, and I did not want my members friends to love me more. Another thing that scared me was that I might not be doing it for the right reasons. I didn't want to do it because everyone around me told me it was so great, and I didn't want to stop myself from doing this because other people told me it wasn't great at all. I wanted to decide, and I searched for the answers. My girls answered my questions and helped along the way. And for that I couldn't be more thankful for. So here I am, lost, scared, confused and needing some help. I went over to apartment 44 and was hanging out. I don't exactly remember what we talked about, but I remember leaving feeling like I was being pulled in five hundred different directions. My mind was full of "What if my parents don't love me anymore?" or "What if my friends that aren't members don't love me anymore?" Silly right? But at the time they were real fears. So I decided that night that I needed to shoot up a prayer to the big Man upstairs. So I asked Him to help me. I told Him that I was scared and lost and that I just need His help. I kid you not, the next morning I wake up to 2 missionaries at my front door. Is there a clearer sign? I think not. Its not like I could down play this or interpret this any differently! God had answered my prayers by sending me Elder Dowd and Elder Romero. I told them my situation and we set up a time to meet. As soon as they left I wanted to throw up. I was freaking out! Once again, I didn't understand what was happening. The first meeting I tell the boys that I'm just ready and wanting to know if this is right for me, but that it doesn't mean that I want to ever be a member. I just wasn't down and if they felt like they needed to leave that they could. I didn't want to waste their time. They stayed. They are the best! They start teaching me. They tell me to read some scriptures and assure me that they love LOVE questions. So I do so! And they always had the best answers to my concerns. I was falling in love with a book. And they would tell me to pray to see if it was true. I wouldn't...because I was afraid of the answer. I did want to know if it was right for me, the minute I picked up the Book of Mormon. But I wanted to know now and that wasn't happening, and me not asking if it was true...or not true was not helping in the least. Again, it was my fears. But at the time they seemed like rather rational fears. So one day, Romero and Dowd ask me to read 3 Nephi 11, and tell me to pray before and after. At this point, these boys and I are best friends. They are the best missionaries ever and are so patient with me. They are sincere and truthful, and not once did they get offended at some of the ridiculous questions and scenarios  I would propose. So I do as I am told. They come back to finish teaching me about the Plan of Salvation. I was seriously loving every step of it! They even drew me a picture which is now in a frame. That is how much I love it! But, we have three circles at the end that I still need to find out what they are at this point. The date is January 26th. The walk in, we say a prayer, business as usual. And I start off by saying "Guys, its about Jesus Christ, to me this is true." Boom! Things start spinning out of control...in a good way. Next thing I know, I'm asked to admit, out loud that the Book of Mormon is true. I was resistant but after 5-10 minutes I said it. I mean, the feelings I would feel every time I read it, I can't describe. They were magical. This small book was making me one happy gal. Then Dowd asks me if I would like to get baptized! He phrased it a lot better then that, but that was the main point of it. At this point I am freaking out! I was like woah! Everyone needs to calm down! I just want to learn! And he asks me again, but this time tells me that no one has ever said no to him when he has asked that question. So, challenge accepted, but I couldn't say no. I couldn't lie to myself. Elder Romero says Feb. 19th and nothing more. I was like WOAH! Hold on a minute, that is a little too close for comfort. I asked them to give me a night to think about it. They aren't very found of the idea. But as soon as I ask them to give me a night, I start thinking through my head if I give myself a night to think about it, I'm going to let someone talk me into it or out of it, and it then stops being for me. And that was and is the most important thing for me. I want to always do this for ME! I had given up coffee, alcohol, and all other things that are looked down upon in the LDS church and I wasn't even thinking of becoming a member. What did I have to lose? This had already made me so happy and I want to prove that I do believe that The Book of Mormon is true and that Jesus Christ in fact is the MAN! The coolest one EVER! So, I said yes. Yes, I did want to be baptized. That Sunday, I went to church for the first time. You should know that people scare me. I was scared of what the people there would think, but I had to put that fear aside. Also, I  HATE skirts and dresses. Buying an outfit for church was like getting my eyeballs ripped out of my sockets. But, it was something so little and insignificant that it couldn't hold me back from going to God's house. I loved it! It was so awesome.
I get news that one of my Missionaries will be transfered. At this point I am saddened. I love my boys Elder Romero and Elder Dowd. People tell me that they are like my first loves and that I will always love them for teaching me about the Gospel. I will agree to that fact. They'll always have a special place in mi corazon. But I freak out! They told me that they would both be there every step of the way, and now one of them was leaving?! I was upset! But I missionaries transfer and ruin my life...kinda! hahaha But that Tuesday, I find out that Elder Dowd is leaving me :( He was the best teacher. His analogies were perfect for my learning style. He came to teach me one last time and introduce me to Elder Moscon. This boy speaks Spanish and is rather funny. I liked him, but I was still not happy! Next, they continue to teach me. I learn that my faith will be tested and that there are going to be days when I will want to give up, but that with God's help, there isn't anything I can't over come! This makes me beyond happy and I just love Jesus because he died for ME! What a guy right?! He suffered all the pain of the world so that I could be saved. I love Jesus. At this point, I'm feeling like there is nothing I can't overcome. Nothing I can't do! I get this magical idea that since I have this there will be bad days no more. But I again realize that not having bad days isn't the point. The point is to remember that every trial is a stepping stone to our Heavenly Father. We live and we learn. What is greater then that? I don't know! The Gospel made me so happy I'm jumping off walls! Then Elder Romero tells me that he was actually called to serve in Tuxtla GutiĆ©rrez, Chiapas, Mexico. This really upset me. He didn't want to tell me because he knew how upset I would be. And bingo, I was upset. But I had to understand that his work here was done. What kills me is that I had already asked him to baptize me in Spanish. And before Elder Dowd left he said he would confirm me. I mean everything was ready to go, but now it was not. Elder Romero was the most sincere guy I have ever met. I can't put into words how great of a missionary he was and the things I learned from him. I needed to stop being selfish and understand that he had other lives to change. He said that I probably didn't need to worry because it would takes months maybe and Feb. 19th was only like two weeks away. And then I get introduced to Elder Aulick. He is so happy and funny! A great addition to Me, Elder Romero, and Elder Moscon. Then, on the 10th I want to say, Elder Romero gets his visa. I was seriously heart broken, and even thinking about it now breaks my heart. You could tell he was upset as well, but he told me that I would be fine. That it didn't matter who baptized me, because it wasn't about anyone else but me. 
I don't know if it was him leaving or maybe that Satan was working his magic but I feel like I'm taking 100 steps in the wrong direction. I start to panic and what not. Elder Moscon and Elder Aulick are doing a great job, but I just feel like I had lost my spirit. My faith was still in place...but I was starting to rethink. I ask Elder Aulick to baptize me. He even learned the prayer in Spanish. How sweet right?! The week before my baptism was HELL! The Tuesday before I was so ready to call it off. I was ready to give up. I would just sit and think of everything. I couldn't understand how I could go from not wanting something in such a matter of fact manner to wanting it all of a sudden. I wasn't sure if I was ready to give up all the carnal pleasures of the world. And there were several times before I wanted to give up too, but Katy and the girls always lead me back to my faith in God and Jesus Christ. I kept on trucking and then boom. Feb. 19th is here. I'm freaking out. I wake up with a stomach ache and a text telling me that my parents couldn't make it! They said that they loved me very much and supported me. But that they just couldn't find a way to get here. Our truck was having issues and not to mention the awful storm that had just arrived! I understood, but I was still upset about it. I started off the baptism with my testimony. But not in the white jump suit! I had a diva moment. I refused to do it in the jump suit. The Elders and the Bishop were so very patient with me. I can't thank them enough. 
 I was standing in the baptismal fount freaking out, asking Elder Aulick to give me a second. Then I get dunked. I was scared for a mili second, then, I wasn't any more. Like in one split second my life had reset itself, for the better. It was one second, but it was the best second of my life.  I reemerge and my whole body just felt fresh. I was standing there being perfect. No sins. New start. There is nothing greater. I have never been happier. This isn't going to be easy. I am going to have to work at this everyday of my life. I have given up coffee, green tea, well caffeine in general and other things. I'm wearing dresses and going to Church. Yes, this is hard. But I promise you that it is worth it. I know that I will fall, and there will be days that I will want to give up, but with my faith in God and Jesus Christ, I will endure until the end. I have a long way to go, but I have the most amazing support system. After this summer and my severe depression, to know that I was never alone, Jesus was at my door, I just needed to open it. Jesus and God love me more then I could ever comprehend, and there isn't a greater feeling. They love me for exactly who I am. I have a long way to go, but I promise that I will always try my hardest. That when the going gets rough I will pray and read my scriptures to help me. 
I left out some parts but this is the story of my conversion. I wish I could right down every emotion and every trial and every smile that came from this, but there isn't enough room!! 




February 19th was the best day of my life thus far. I can't wait for what is to come. And all the things that I have to learn. And on Feb. 20th Elder Dowd did confirm me. He was transferred to another area in Cedar and was able to make it to both my baptism and confirmation. Only people missing were my parents, Elder Romero, and some of my closest friends from up north. But I know that they were there in spirit. Non-the-less. It was amazing. 


 

Comments

  1. Marla - this is Mer's sister Melanie. She share the link to this blog with me (hope you don't mind) and I loved reading your story. I kinda feel like I know her Cedar City peeps, so it was fun to hear the story told in your "voice". Congratulations! Stay strong and always always remember what you have learned through the subtle language of the spirit. Satan will try to get you to forget or dismiss those impressions, but you have felt and are feeling the confirmations that this is so right. I'm so happy for you! Hope to meet you in person at some point, but in the meantime - hug that sister of mine and know that your story blessed me tonight as well :-)

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  2. Melanie!
    I don't mind at all! I feel like I know you as well! And thank you for your support and encouraging words! I know I need them! And I too hope to meet you! Thank you!

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  3. Marla...this is Katy's Grandma Kathy. Angie told me I needed to read your wonderful conversion story and I'm so glad I did. I'm so proud of you and want you to know that I know you did the right thing. Things won't always be easy from here on out...you'll have a lot of things to get used to but just remember the feelings you've had are real and isn't it great that so many "different" people feel the same way. You don't need to lose your individuality to be a member of the church...and that's a good thing! Come visit with Katy again!!!

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