I love sharing the testimonies of those we teach! Today I am excited to share with you the testimony which Megan has graciously shared with us. Each of those we have met have the most wonderful stories, and everyone is unique. I know this gospel and this church is something which changes all of our lives. The conversion we have is something personal to all of us, and something which comes from our own seeking and asking of God. I know this is something Megan has done, and I know her coming to a knowledge of these things has come from God, through His Spirit, and not just what we have said. But, enough of me, let me share with you her own story:
As little as nine months ago, I would have described myself as a devout atheist. Having been raised by my two young parents and an Irish Catholic grandmother, I had many confusing, conflicting, and harsh feelings surrounding religion, faith, and God. Going to church was always seen as a chore that was saved for rare holidays where we were forced into it by our grandmother. Most of what I knew of God, Christ, and religion had to do with guilt, constant sin, and feeling afraid. Needless to say, I did not relate well to this and clung to both my logic, scientific inclination and my compassionate, humanistic feelings.
I started dating Dave about two years ago. The topic of religion came up on our third date and he told me he was raised LDS but was currently inactive. I remember having no idea what he was talking about but suddenly being suspicious of whether we'd end up making it since I could never see myself with someone who had any faith. After some online searching, I connected the word "Mormon" with LDS and read a very little bit about the church. After figuring out what inactive meant, I decided to give Dave a try. We spent the next year and a half in a loving relationship and through photographs and stories of an active mission and a loving community, I got to know his nostalgia for when he was an active member. He made the church seem like it was something entirely different than the one I was raised in; his portrayal was a church filled with comfort, morality, honesty, and love, for one another and for Heavenly Father. This gave me the opportunity to see possibilities for life beyond our years on earth and for beings beyond our mortal selves. I began to search more at first using only websites and the online copy of the scriptures as references. I contemplated telling Dave of my interest, but was a bit worried that it would scare him away. I was also terrified of making any sort of commitment step, such as contacting a missionary, going to church, or ordering a Book of Mormon. Instead, I took nearly three months of time to make a decision that would change me so drastically yet for the better. I've always been a fan of internet memes and the recent ones surrounding trolling about magnets on the mormon.org chats gave me an idea for a step I thought I could take first. On March 26, 2011, I logged on to mormon.org and started to chat with the online missionaries, Elder Spencer and Elder Howden. I finally got the courage to meet with the local missionaries, Elder Last and Elder Burton, a few weeks later. Soon thereafter, I convinced Dave to take me to church. My first experience at church was a lot like how I expected it to be, mostly due to the preparation Dave and the missionaries provided. It was not uncomfortable and scary like my previous church, but was instead warm and inviting. We talked about charity, faith, and enduring to the end. These topics sat well with me, as did the feelings I had when I was at church and in prayer. I realized relatively quickly that this gospel is the restored truth and that I was eager to be a part of that truth.
|Yay!! I was included! :D|
I have struggled a great deal with my faith in the two weeks before my baptism. I have some homosexual family members and paying a full tithe will be an extreme struggle for me. For these reasons, I considered delaying baptism, but when I prayed about it, I felt that God was eager for me to lose my doubts and make a decision. I was baptized soon after, on July 17, 2011. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to receive blessings so He gives us rules to follow like the law of tithing and the law of chastity so that we can experience all that He has in store for us. I know Heavenly Father will help me find a way to do the things I need to do to return home to Him. So now I am focusing on that--enduring to the end and working to live a righteous life, as Christ-like as is possible for me, to be able to come home and live with my Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom. This gospel shows me that this sense of home that we all long for is a possibility that we can all achieve if we follow the commandments, have faith in Jesus Christ, are repentant for our sins, receive our sacred ordinances, and endure to the end. For this, the plan of happiness, for Heavenly Father's love, for His son Jesus Christ's sacrifice, and for the wonderful experiences I've had learning about these things, I am more grateful than can be expressed.