My Conversion Story Part 3

Behind? You can still read Part 1 and Part 2

PART 3

I mentioned in my last post the need to exercise faith. Well, in my youth I tried to do that, but there was one specific instance where I completely ignored a prompting and had to pay for it. It was stupid really, I will always feel ashamed for it.

I was prompted to not accept a role in a play, and I did it anyway. I don’t know why I was told not to. Perhaps I would have been less stressed out with all of my AP classes, perhaps a better opportunity would have come my way, I don’t know. All I know is that I ignored this prompting and it rocked me to my core.

You see, once you have the gift of the spirit you have to work to keep it. And when I ignored it, I lost it for a while. I even lost a measure of the knowledge and faith I used to have. I began to doubt myself and I began to doubt my faith. I was miserable. I felt empty inside. It was during this period that I let some of my old demons come back and haunt me. I began to feel bad that I wasn’t perfectly accepted at school. I noticed more when people in my classes were rude to me. There was one girl in particular who made fun of  me in her AP English class and when word got back to me about what she was saying I was devastated.

A few things helped me push through this hard time. One was my parents. I told them what I had done and how I was feeling and they were supportive and loved me unconditionally. My dad explained to me a little bit about the repentance process and how I would have to go through it before I could feel the Spirit the same way I used to.

So I prayed and fasted and asked my Heavenly Father for forgiveness. Then one day things got better.I was sitting in sacrament meeting feeling really terrible, I had been fighting with family members, I had tons of homework, and as I said before I was in a bad state generally. I had a severe stomach ache brought on by stress, and I escaped to the bathroom where I sat down and prayed to the Lord. I told Him that I knew He was there and that I knew He could help me. I asked Him to remove my pain from me. Instantly my stomach ache was gone, and so was the burden I’d been carrying around. I had exercised my faith in Him and He had helped me feel His forgiveness. Again I was given a reassurance of His existence and even more of His love for me. It was almost as if I could see his light from the Heavens. His eyes were on me, and I knew it perfectly.

After that instance things began to get better. I continue to have my ups and downs as I strive to be faithful. I want to be wholly converted. I want to give up my sins to know Him. And though I have a long way to go, I know that He’s there to help me and to guide me on the way.

As a sidenote a good friend of mine commented on my last post that it’s OK to have doubts sometimes, it’s how we handle those doubts that really defines us. He said it perfectly, so I’ll just use an excerpt from his quote.

Jayrod said, “I think it is the doubts that make faith really what it is.  Because when we have doubts and continue in the path we have chosen that is when our faith really blooms. Your faith is so beautiful now, because of the very fact that you have chosen to stay true to what you believe even when there has been every reason to doubt it and walk away.”

Thanks Jayrod. Thanks for reminding us that our imperfections help make us beautiful.

My Conversion Story Part 2

Behind? Check out Part 1

PART 2

In my last post I explained my childhood bullying and how it led me to depend on the Lord. As I got older things got better. I found a good group of friends – people I’m still close to – and began learning that I didn’t need to be liked by everyone to be happy.

I had gained a testimony of the comfort I could receive when I was obeying the Lord’s commandments, and I had experienced a few miracles, but my conversion wasn’t over yet.

The next step in my conversion came by the hand of that same caring young women’s leader. She bore her testimony to us every week about the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I always felt an intense stirring when she bore her testimony, and I wanted that same thing. In my eyes she glowed, and I wanted to glow too. When she challenged us to pray about whether or not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was God’s only church I accepted the challenge.

I went to my room, knelt by my bed, and I poured my heart out to the Lord. I told him that I needed to know if these things were true. Different people receive answers in different ways, but for me it was an immediate assurance. I felt so strongly that God was real and that I was attending his church. I felt peace and warmth and overwhelming love. And I just knew. Soon after I read the Book of Mormon and prayed to know if it was true. I received the same immediate assurance.

It’s important to note here that while I wanted all of this to be true, while I had a hope that it was true, I didn’t automatically assume it was. There were some very serious doubts and fears within me that wondered. It’s also interesting to note that just because I received my witness doesn’t mean I never doubted again. I’m ashamed to admit that, but it’s true. As I said in my first post – faith is something that requires constant work. It’s not like riding a bike. It’s more like a muscle, you have to keep exercising it to keep it going.

Check out PART 3 for the conclusion