So, I've been meaning to post about my conversion. I'm going to do it in at least two different posts because there are two parts to my conversion.
I was raised in a pretty secular home; my mom taught us to pray, and a basic moral code. Growing up, if you'd asked me I would definitely had said I was Christian. But, in that broad "I don't kill anyone, and I'm a pretty decent person" sense of the word. My mom did not have us baptized for a number of reasons, primarily because she thought it best to let us choose which faith we wanted. I think that she had the best intention with this, and I think that she did better for us than her parents did for her.
Growing up I had a huge desire to be close to God. We went to church sometimes as a family, but when I went regularly it was with a friend. I was drawn to her Lutheran faith with all the rituals and the solemnity involved. I was drawn in (NOT pushed away) by the fact that I was not able to receive Communion there. They were a strict congregation, and you weren't allowed to receive unless you were a Lutheran.
As I mentioned, my parents did their best to instill a moral compass based on their experiences in the world. Their experience was relatively secular. I don't mean this in a bad way; this is how my parents were raised as well, and I know that they did their best to teach me what was right and what was wrong. Unfortunately, I didn't hear all of what they were saying, and they also didn't say it all. I made a lot of bad choices from about 17 years old to 23 years old; I'm not going to go into what these choices were because I don't want to think about them that much. They didn't make me a better person, I'm not glad I had those experiences, and I don't have any desire to relive them. Suffice it to say, they ran the gambit of bad choices and sins; I am incredibly thankful that my baptism washed it all away and yet I still felt compelled to do extra penance. But, I digress.
When I moved to Lamar, in 2005, I started working at the hospital. I was now at the back end of my life of bad choices and I was hurting in so many ways. I had such a longing to be close to God, but I was so afraid of stopping the destructive path I was on. Not, afraid in that I loved what I was doing, but afraid in the sense that it was all I had known for so long that I didn't know what I would do without that. I had some toxic people in my life that made me feel horrible, but who I felt like I had to keep in prominent places in my life.
Basically, I was ripe for the picking. Insert wonderful coworkers who happened to be Mormon, who spent A LOT of time telling me that I'd make a good Mormon and basically otherwise prepping me. Finally, I was invited to "hear the lessons". If any of my readers knows about Mormons, this is when the missionaries come over and tell you "all" about becoming a Mormon. (only they don't tell you everything. Stay tuned for my blog post about Mormonism to Catholicism) Well, in my case, I was invited over for lunch on a Sunday to my boss' house and the missionaries met us there. The first two were goobers, I won't lie. But, my boss and his wife corrected them and made what they were saying make sense. Sort of. Remember how I mentioned that I didn't have a lot of church in my background? Well, that certainly helped the missionaries because I didn't know any better than what they were saying. Since I knew so little of Scripture, I certainly didn't know anything about Church history. So, OK, I could totally buy that there was an apostasy. I mean, they used Scripture (from the good ole King James version which I had at home), so it must be the truth right?
From that first lesson on, I was entrenched in this wonderful group of people who were fighting to have me learn at their homes. Everyone wanted me to come over and spend time with me, and learn and be part of their families. It was so breathtaking; I've never been so wanted in my life. I needed people to want to be around me; I needed good, wholesome people to think I was worthy. I have to say that I think that is what made my conversion so easy for them. I didn't question anything; when some of my friends or family brought things up, I asked but took the Mormon responses easily and unquestioningly.
I worked with 3 Mormons; one was my boss, one came back to church because of me, and one...well, he and his wife were like "the cool" crowd at school and people just wanted to be around them. She was so cool in fact, she didn't come to anything for work (picnics, dinners, etc), and you never could tell if she liked you or was just being polite. But, they had me babysit so I think they liked me. ;-)
Oh yeah, the kids....if nothing else had sucked me in, that would have. I love kids and I always have; I got to babysit and otherwise hang out with these wonderful little people who adored me.
My family tried to be supportive by coming to my baptism, but they didn't understand it. They didn't understand this major shift that was happening in my life. I think, sometimes, they still don't understand it. One of the major rules of being a Mormon is no alcohol. This is because Joseph Smith said it is a bad thing, it is in the Doctrine and Covenants, and you. just. don't. do. it. So, I gave up drinking. Blind obedience made me quit alcohol, it wasn't until my true conversion that realized why I needed to give up drinking.
So, when asked how I was converted to LDS, I think it's safe to say I was fellow-shipped in. They saw a weakness, a need, in me and they seeked to fulfill it. I don't think that this is a bad thing, I think it's just good "business" so to speak. I don't think anyone becomes a Mormon because of documentation or history. That isn't even what they rely on, it's a "burning in your bosom" kind of religion; you have to feel the prompting of "the Holy Spirit". I put that in quotes for a reason; I think that the LDS church is a product of Satan deceiving us on Earth. I don't say that lightly and I don't say that meaning that I think that Mormons are knowing Satanists. I say it out of genuine concern for their souls. Most Mormons are good and true, and they think that they are following the Holy Spirit. However, Satan is a deceptive guy and he can mimic the good feelings that the Holy Spirit gives us. Also, just because we are bound by religion, does not mean that God is. The Holy Spirit can work through Mormons just as much as He can through good, holy Catholics. I think that at times I did feel the true Holy Spirit. Like when I was at a family's Monday night Family Home Evening and we were playing games (religious or not) and the older kids were helping the younger kids. Or when I was teaching the Sunday School class about the Old Testament. But, when it came to teaching actual Book of Mormon stuff, no, I don't think that is the Holy Spirit. More on that in my next post though...