I am coming up on a big anniversary soon, the first anniversary of my Baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (AKA the LDS church or the Mormon Church). I have written about my conversion here and my baptism as well, but I wanted to share more of the moments that helped build my testimony as I approach that anniversary. This weekend a year ago I attended my first service at the church and because I wanted to really see if this conversion was the right fit for me I decided to go the weekend without drinking coffee to live in line with the Word of Wisdom. When I decided to stop drinking coffee I was not sure I would make it one day, I used to drink over 12 cups of extra strong coffee a day at home and stopped by coffee shops regularly. When my friends starting teasing me that I could not survive without my coffee it brought out my stubborn side and I wanted to see just how long I could go without coffee. Meanwhile, the Spirit was working on me and I soon found I did not need the stubbornness, I didn’t even miss my coffee- I had found something so much better.
Around this same time I began my first reading of the Book of Mormon and our oldest, Damien, really wanted a copy of the book himself. The Elders I was working with were more than happy to give him one, and Damien was in love with it! He carried his Book of Mormon everywhere, even while playing with other toys. He was so inspired by his book that he greeted almost everyone with an exclamation of, “Hey Girl, want to read my Book of Morma?” Whether or not the person was a girl had little bearing on his excitement to share what he was learning about the gospel right alongside me.
As for me, I could not wait to begin reading as soon as the Elders gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon. I began reading from the beginning as well as reading any scriptures specifically suggested by the missionaries. From the first day of reading, the Book of Mormon changed my life, I found a sense of peace and clarity while reading that I had not felt before. I was impressed with the Book of Mormon but I was at first still looking for a reason to not accept the gospel, I was not sure if I was ready for such a drastic change in my life. Like many investigators I was actively looking for the thing I could point to say “No, this is crazy and I cannot join this church”. To that end I combed the scriptures pulling out passages that concerned me and quizzed the Elders on them, without fail they were able to provide additional scripture references to help me better understand what I was reading and every concern I raised was soothed by the power of truth found within the Book of Mormon.
One thing I was struggling to accept as an investigator, was the concept of a living Prophet. Not being raised within the church when one who has been raised in the world hears the word Prophet they do not have a good image, it comes off kind of hokey. One night while reading the Book of Mormon I came across a scripture that completely changed my outlook. In 1 Nephi 10:18 it says:
“For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.”
Reading that it occurred to me that I have never questioned that men like Moses were Prophets and if God really is unchanging, as I have always believed and was proven in scripture, why would I believe he provided Prophets in the past and would not give the people of today the same blessing of having a living Prophet? This was a game changing moment in my conversion and that moment would not have come without the Book of Mormon and the encouragement from the Elders to keep searching and keep reading.