Chat With a Mormon Online
I'm undecided in a major, learning a lot about what I want in life. I like to read and write, and learn from both. I love to be in the mountains and hang out with friends.
I have learned through experiences that God is a definite being that both hears and responds to me. Just like with any other relationship, I have taken time to speak to Him, and tried my best to listen. I have confidence in God, I know that He loves us enough to give us the right answers. He first had to teach me how to understand His answers, but know that I recognize them, I know that this is a church He Himself has organized to better guide His children.
I was baptized when I was eight years old into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I didn't understand everything about Jesus Christ, but I knew that Jesus taught us to be baptized. I knew that baptism is a promise to follow Jesus. I had a child-like faith and desire to obey Jesus and follow His commandments. At first I thought this was too young (this is the youngest age anyone can be baptized in the church of Jesus Christ). But thinking back on it, I was more pure and Christlike than perhaps I am now. Jesus specifically taught that "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 18:3 I go to church every week trying to keep myself clean, and to have that same child-like trust. No matter what age you are, you really need to trust Jesus Christ before getting baptized. But when you have that trust, enough to follow His example, you are ready.
When I was 16 years old, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma Cancer. Lymphoma is a very fast spreading cancer, and it was in my neck, all over in my chest and starting in my lungs. I was involved in church at the time, but it was more because of my family's influence than real belief. Family, friends, and neighbors began to fast and pray for me. I learned from their examples that prayer has a very real and tangible power. I could feel it, instead of discouragement or fear, I felt hopeful and reassured. Normally when something like that happens in your family, you feel helpless. You love the person and want so badly to be able to help, but you have no control over something like cancer. But prayer and service were principles that I saw firsthand. Complete strangers began bringing meals over to my house when my parents were taking me to doctors appointments and surguries. There was an outpouring of love. I remember once when some friends from church came and stapled strings with balloons all over my front lawn the day I had my first chemotherapy treatment...on Valentine's day. When you really care about someone, and you look for little ways to serve them out of love, like Christ did, you can really influence them. Over the course of the summer and into the fall, I had surguries, a blood transfusion, a bone marrow biopsy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments. I still go in periodically for tests, but I am now cancer free. It doesn't always work out like that, but I know that God acomplished many great things with that trial. My faith has grown and I know that whatever challenges come into our lives, God wants to be a part of it.
I was a missionary in New Jersey for 2 years, and I learned Spanish to be able to teach all the different people there. It is a time when you completely forget about your own life and you focus on the problems and needs of complete strangers. Never before have I been exposed to that kind of lifestyle, and it taught me how to follow Jesus Christ, I was doing the same things Jesus focused on in His life. I couldn't "love my neighbor as myself" until I served them more than I served myself. I met people whose problems made mine look like a cakewalk. I felt an overwhelming desire to help, but had no idea what I could possibly offer . Then I began to see firsthand what the teachings of Jesus Christ can do to people. I watched people change habits, start following commandments, and turn their lives around. Their problems didn't go away at once, but they had so much more hope and determination. Their attitude and faith in Jesus Christ shaped their actions and reactions. They experienced the peace that Jesus promised to leave his followers. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." -John 14:27 Serving a mission was a personal sacrifice that deeply influenced me, and taught me. Christ really is "the way, the truth, and the life." I thought I believed that before, but know I know it.
God expects us to live our religion in every part of our life, not only when we go to church on Sunday. During the week I participate in youth activities when I can. On Monday nights we spend time as a family, reading the scriptures, playing games or things like that. We try to go out at least once a month to visit people. Sometimes they come to church, sometimes they don't. We talk and try to support them if they are going through challenges in their lives. It's another opportunity for me to think about other people, and less about myself.