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Two Ceremonies

As I was standing in the staging area outside of the SNHU Arena, I recalled another ceremony exactly 2 years prior to the graduation ceremony I was about to participate in: I received my Endowments at the Seattle Temple on May 13, 2014.cropped-img_20130803_1422391.jpg

The trials put in my place before I could get to that point or this, where possibly more than another could bare, but God knows my strengths and He added to them with an abundant amount of support. In a blog piece on MaggieSlighte.com today I expounded on the trials that lead to my graduation ceremony, but I also want to reflect on the Covenants that are more sacred to me than any Temporal Bachelor’s degree. Those Covenants I made exactly two years to the day before my Graduation ceremony.

Twin Falls Idaho Temple

Twin Falls Idaho Temple

From the moment I saw a Temple for the first time, I felt God within it. I felt a reverence for the building that I could feel in Idaho Falls in 2011.  Knowing those who were not members (I didn’t know about the Recommend process at the time) could not enter, I was content to photograph it and say a brief prayer thanking God for the privilege of accidentally coming across the site and feeling His presence there.

On my present journey across the United States, whenever I felt doubts or fears or just needed to thank Him for His graciousness and guidance, I have been privileged to take in a session at a local temple.

In Snowflake, Arizona, a dear friend suggested I take in a session the day before my divorce hearing. It was just the thing I needed. I calmed and remembered the promises I made to my Heavenly Father about my own behavior. I asked His forgiveness for my

Snowflake, Arizona Temple

behavior that had been unseemly towards my soon-to-be ex-husband and the woman who seduced him in her dining room while I watched the previous spring. I was brokenhearted, but I felt the Comforter surround me as I begged for Heavenly Father’s forgiveness in the Celestial Room. The next day I was able to maintain my composure during a divorce hearing that favored my adulterous husband, leaving me without even belongings that I brought into the marriage.

I received guidance from the Holy Ghost to quickly get out of the small town where the hearing was held, and proceeded quickly to Texas. The Houston Temple was beautiful, wp-1492968409929.jpgand I took the opportunity to take in an early morning session prior to leaving Texas to head to Florida for a job I wasn’t quite certain about. Again, the Comforter was near and calmed my fears while I performed the ordinance work for my ancestor.

In Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale on the way back from The Keys, I was forced to seek medical attention at The Cleveland Clinic when a fierce asthma attack took my breath away. They hospitalized me for 36 hours for a “rule-out myocardial infarction” (heart attack). When I was given a clean bill of health (besides the asthma) the next thing I did was to visit the Ft. Lauderdale Temple that was located right around the corner from the hospital. I thanked my Heavenly Father for the Grace and comfort I felt during and after the stressful experience at the hospital. Then my friend Jacob and I were given the opportunity to meet and help out a few patrons with photos after my session.

20170323_132210_hdr-1.jpg.jpgI felt impressed to travel inland in South Carolina in search of information about my ancestors born in that area. I was rewarded with a visit at the Columbia, South Carolina Temple on the occasion of the anniversary of my own Baptism. There I was given the opportunity to attend a session as well as revisiting the Font for some of my ancestors.

I was impressed in Columbia to continue my journey into North Carolina in search of my mother’s family. I was richly rewarded in Rowan County with the original marriage bond from my 4th great-grandparents on microfiche. The most startling part of that was the fact that Solomon Richardson, my 4th great-grandfather, signed with an ‘x” indicating that he was, in fact, illiterate. I had always assumed that all of my family was literate, having come from very intelligent people. This discovery leant even more meaning to my graduation from Southern New Hampshire University on THIS May 13th. PicsArt_04-06-12.27.49(1)

South Carolina was the last Temple I have visited for a few months, but when the day of my second anniversary of holding my Temple Recommend coincided with the date of my graduation, I felt a subtle “nod” from my Heavenly Father. In my head I could hear the Covenants I made on that day, and thanked Him for the opportunity not only to make them, but to have the ability to attend the Temple as I traveled and allowed Him to have a clearer voice to guide me.

I KNOW I would not have had the communication with Heavenly Father to hear His initial suggestion to go back to school if I had not first made Covenants in the Temple, nor would I have found the fortitude to continue my education in the face of adversity without the regular visits to the Snowflake Temple that my dear friends made possible on a weekly basis. I KNOW I could not have participated in the second ceremony, my graduation, if I had not participated completely in the first ceremony, my Temple Endowment.

 

 

Loving My Friends

I remember the nervousness that overcame me not long after I felt the impression to seek out and listen to the Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They talk a lot about “being in the world, but not of the world,” but all of my friends were “of the world,” NONE of my family were members of The Church (except my granddaughters) and most of my friends had “alternative lifestyles.” When I decided I wanted and needed to be Baptized, I prayed almost constantly about the situation with my friends. How could I tell my friends I was now a member of the “Mormon” church, would they want to be my friend anymore? Did that matter?20130323_134149_thumb.jpg

During my repentance process in the weeks before my Baptism I was relatively quiet on Facebook, a social media outlet where I had spent an inordinate amount of time during the previous 5 years accumulating an audience for my writing. At times I had been known to make a spectacle out of myself, becoming rather dramatic about loves and losses and pain and pleasures. I had been known for “letting it all hang out.” How could I reconcile my previous behavior with the life I wanted, no, NEEDED to create and begin to live? I prayed even more.

The answers came gradually, but they came. I was impressed to read “The Articles of Faith.” They all rang so true in my heart that not only did my “bosom begin to burn” but I also wept with joy several times. Then I came to the 11th:

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

The second part of that statement, “and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may [emphasis added]” caused me to completely lose my cool. I broke down and cried loudly; I bawled. Why? Because it was an answer to my prayers. There was NOTHING in the Mormon Doctrine that said I had to exclude those who

Articles of Faith Library Copy

worshiped differently from myself from my life, ABSOLUTELY the opposite!!!

Relief filled my soul. But what about all of the people who followed my social media? Now that I no longer practiced alternative beliefs, should I even be “out there” in the public? What about all my photos and what I had said? As I began to hint about my baptism on social media some people I thought were my friends were quick to delete me from their connections, I cried but continued to pray about it. I didn’t want to lose friends, but those people who had “unfriended” me weren’t acting like friends. My prayers to Heavenly Father continued, so did my tears.

I deleted hundreds of photos of myself that embarrassed me from my social media accounts, I also prayed to know if I should even continue with an online presence. After all, it would have been easier just to delete the accounts. But the impression from the Holy Ghost was persistent: “I needed to be LOUDER about my conversion than I was my sins.” I was at a loss as how to accomplish that. The year before my Baptism was quite humiliating as I looked back upon my own inequity to others in addition to myself. I continued to pray and study my scriptures.

Then came the answer: Start a blog about your conversion to The Church:  Share your  feelings and be honest with those who follow you. My unease continued even after I started the FIRST iteration of Slightely Mormon on Blogger. Then, in June 2013, came a directive in video conference form to ALL the Missionaries and the Missionary Members of The Church. This was the answer I had been awaiting.

In a few weeks, it will have been 4 years since I sought out Missionaries to receive the lessons leading to my Baptism. In the subsequent years I have “cleaned up my act” on Facebook and other social media outlets, but I am louder than ever! I want the world (including my friends) to know HOW being a Mormon has changed my life! In the last four years I have worked hard trying not to alienate my friends and family. It’s difficult to convey to them how much I love ALL of them and I respect what they  chose to believe in, all of that is part of them and I love them. img_20170204_093448_445.jpg

I had an opportunity to travel with a very dear friend of mine recently. Cub, as he likes to be called, is a professional photographer and acted as my assistant on a recent trip. In our travels across the country, we incurred our number of odd looks at us, but he helped me to see my world through different eyes. I saw judgement from my fellow church members when they watched him light a cigarette, I felt their stares and disapproval in both of our directions. That made me incredibly sad.

We visited the Ft. Lauderdale Temple towards the end of our time together. I asked Cub to take some photos of me when I was done with my session; he enthusiastically complied. When we were finished with our pictures another temple patron asked him to take her photo. Cub graciously agreed to do so.

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The first share on Instagram

While he was doing that act of service, I took a few snapshots myself for social media. I shared it first on Instagram as “Cubby doing service at the Temple,” then, after talking it over with Cub, I shared it again on my Facebook page and to a group called “1 Million Mormons on Facebook” with an additional introduction:

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The second photo, captioned for Facebook

 

For a while I almost felt like I was exploiting my friend and his service. Although he had given his consent for both photos to be shared on the internet inclusive of my comment about his lifestyle, he had not asked for the photo to be taken. While probably wished I had allowed him to continue his nap in the car, I felt it important. There was a lesson here for not only me. I am not ashamed of my friends. I love each and every one of them. Not in spite of their beliefs or actions, but as WHOLE people with different ideas about life and different understandings of the universe.

We read in John 13:34 that Jesus Christ himself told us:IMG_20140112_161015_092.jpg

 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

I believe that His love is unconditional. That is something I try to work towards each and
every day.  I am so grateful to ALL of my diverse friends, like Cub, who help me to remember what my Heavenly Father commanded me to do.

 

 

 

Testimony of Forgiveness

Today I bore my testimony.  My Testimony of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. I bore my testimony that They LIVE and give me guidance every single time I ask. But I didn’t say those things.

Those words stayed locked inside of me as I thanked the Manchester Ward of the Bremerton, Washington Stake for their love and prayers during this season. This crazy but yet Testimony-strengthening season.wp-1483916238228.jpg

It started quite some time ago. My first divorce, started six years ago, was full of drama and pain for not only myself and my husband of 22 years, but also for our three children. I was not at all charitable in my actions towards him in my pain.

Three years after that, while I was searching for answers of a deep and eternal type, I was Baptized and Confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

About four months after my Baptism, I was impressed to message my ex-husband, Bruce, and tell him “I forgive you, please forgive me.” A very short, but meaningful sentence to me, to us both. He messaged back, “yes, I forgive you.”

This December, while Bruce lay in the hospice ward of a hospital on Christmas, we were able to spend time together that would not have been possible if I had not followed that impression four years ago. Bruce had not been in the country for a few years, so we had no communication at all during my last short marriage.  When he returned, he had sustained further strokes and had difficulty communicating. This was the week before Christmas.

wp-1483916224009.jpgIt was a blessing to be able to visit with my first ex-husband on Christmas day. We spoke about our children and looked at photos of his parents and grandmothers who had preceded him across the veil.

It was a Christmas when I felt my Testimony of Christ. I felt God’s hand in His timing of Bruce’s passing. He held on for two more days after Christmas.  I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for bringing me back to spend the time with Bruce and with my daughter during her grief.

I know that my Heavenly Father loves and cares for me in ways I have no way of comprehending at this time. I know it was He, through the Holy Spirit, who guided me in my travels back to Washington to be with my family. I know it is He who will be with me every day of my life yet to come. wp-1483915609839.png

I leave this Testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Amen.

 

Receiving Answers

Testimony.

What does it mean to have a Testimony of Jesus Christ?

My own relationship with that word, not necessarily the feeling, began shortly after I knelt to pray and asked how to become closer to Jesus Christ on March 6, 2013.

I was immediately impressed that I needed to be Baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which I had never attended (except once as a guest while a small child).IMG_20140428_140001_226.jpg

When I called my granddaughter’s other grandma to ask her how to get the Missionaries to come to your house (so that I could ask them about this impression I received); she responded, “WOW, what a Testimony!!!”
To which I answered, “What’s a Testimony?”
Since that moment, The Holy Spirit has been teaching me what a Testimony is.

I have a Testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I KNOW this Church is TRUE.

I KNOW that Jesus Christ LIVES.

I KNOW my Heavenly Father, Christ’s Father, Lives.

I KNOW that His Spirit is The Holy Ghost which He has given me to guide me in using the other gift, my agency.

What is the result, the constant gift of having a Testimony? I believe it increases your Faith. If you KNOW The Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father live, and guide you each and every day, it is harder to worry as much. It is easier to know that whatever may come, it is for a higher reason and there is a blessing to be had.

DSCN2828This last winter was a hard one. Constant illnesses combined with my disabilities served to make me feel like there was no way I would survive the season. So, I prayed. Then I listened.

The Holy Spirit witnessed to me that my physical and emotional trials may have been difficult, but they would not be the end of me. It also witnessed that my experiences weren’t only for me, but there were others who would benefit from my trials. I don’t know why, but when He says that, I always feel better. Why would I go through the depths of hell for others, but not for my own progression? Something for me to think about.DSCN2741

As we progressed through the spring, I got physically stronger and with that, my emotional stability increased as well. Finally, I began to feel like myself again. However, I was left with the memories of the prayers in desperation. “God, am I going to live through this?” Isn’t a conversation easily started with one’s Heavenly Father.

In order to start that conversation, I had to have a Testimony. I had to KNOW that He lives. I also had to TRUST His answers. But, I wouldn’t have His answers if I hadn’t listened.

_20160605_164244The Gospel Library App for Android (& iPhone) put out by The Church contains not only the written, but also the audio and the video for most of the General Conferences that have been held since 1971. On The Church’s website, you can also download any of these General Conference talks as well as are many of the devotionals, face-to-face events and other talks from our General Authorities and Auxiliary

Hall of Presidents

Leaders.

I have found that if I take an assortment of talks and save them to a playlist on my phone, then I put that playlist on “random” and ask in prayer for the Holy Spirit to help me listen to what I need to learn in that moment, I am richly rewarded.
The answers that I crave in prayer, are delivered in talks given by our Prophet, Apostles & Auxiliary Leaders.

Heavenly Father has guided the wonderful programmers that have _20160605_164309built this site and those apps, to make our modern scriptures available to us in many ways. Most of us carry our “smart” phone with us wherever we go. These devices can be used to study and share His Gospel. They can also be used to increase our Testimony.

A Temple Testimony of His Holy Spirit

Twin Falls Idaho Temple

I LOVE to see the Temple.

The Twin Falls Temple in Idaho was the site of my “wrong turn” at the very start of the softening of my heart. Where I stopped and “felt” the building radiate out into the street.

 

April 20, 2013:  I went on my first proxy Baptism trip to the Seattle Temple just shy of a month after my own baptism. It was that day when I started my father’s work and my forgiveness of him.

Salt Lake City Temple

October 19, 2013:  I spent my first birthday after my baptism, performing proxy baptisms for my family in the Salt Lake City Temple. Afterwards, I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with the first and only Priesthood Holder who ever asked me out on a date. They served spaghetti at the Salt Lake Temple cafeteria. That’s something you don’t forget. Fortunately, since I was not yet endowed I was in my street clothes, not a white Temple dress. That was the last date Hyrum and I had, but we remain friends and he has since developed a friendship with my husband.

Female Proxy Ordinance Cards

 

May 13, 2014:  I received my Endowments at the Seattle Temple, with 3 friends from 2 different Wards. Later that year, I went through Mt. Timpanogos Temple with one of my Sister Missionaries for the proxy Endowments of both my grandmothers.

Since May of 2014, I have befriended many Temple workers in many Wards and Branches. I have even roomed with one while I was needing a place to stay in close proximity to my grandchildren for a holiday season. She helped bolster my Testimony on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Marian helped me understand Personal Revelation. A Returned Missionary, she helped me trust God. That is a gift I don’t know how to ever repay.

Lacey Washington Stake Center

When I visit a Ward, I find myself looking around. The Temple Workers seem to “glow” with light. I went up to an older, beautiful lady one day in the Lacey, Washington Stake Center that I was visiting. I felt I HAD to know; “Did she work at the Temple?” Yes, in fact, she confirmed that she did. The “Glow” had been apparent across the room.

My Patriarchal Blessing explicitly states that I will bless my family on both sides of the veil with the work I perform in the Temple. In the past two years, I have been blessed to catch rides with Temple Workers on many occasions, giving me the opportunity to perform an entire shift’s worth of Proxy Ordinances while I was there.

Snowflake, Arizona Temple

Snowflake, Arizona Temple

I look at the Temple Ordinance workers with gratitude and amazement. Even though sometimes rather elderly, they seem almost spry. Their minds are clear and their memories amazingly retentive.

This spring, just short of my Temple Recommend needing renewed; I felt an overwhelming compulsion. My best friend (and Visiting Teacher), Anne, had been urging me to not only go to the Temple to perform Proxy Ordinances while she and my other friends worked; she wanted me to volunteer to work there too!

Anne works in the Laundry of the Snowflake Temple, she suggested that I volunteer to work there also. I hesitated, because doing my own laundry is difficult enough for me with a broken back and other chronic pain. But that didn’t deter her. She was convinced I should be working in the Temple with her and several of our friends in our Branch.

At Snoflake, Arizona Temple

In early March, as I was speaking to our Branch President about another matter, the compulsion felt overwhelming. I was attempting to open his office door to leave. The Holy Spirit whispered, “Turn around and ask him…” I knew what the Spirit was speaking to me about. The compulsion was incredibly strong; it was if I could not turn the doorknob I was attempting to reach. “Turn around and ask him,” the Spirit continued to whisper, but I hesitated. I didn’t want to appear too eager, feeling there must be some requirement I didn’t meet. There is no way I felt qualified to work at the Temple. But the Spirit would not cease, so I turned around.

Choose The Right

After asking my Branch President if there was some way I could help in the Temple, some place I could volunteer, and if my services would be adequate, I felt relieved of the compulsion for a few days. That Friday when I visited the Snowflake Temple during Anne’s shift, it returned in the Celestial Room.

“Go talk to the Matron,” the whispering Holy Spirit urged. “Why would I want to do that?!” In shock I answered in my thoughts.

“Tell her you want to work here, tell her your experience.” The Spirit would not let up.

I entered the dressing room to ready (and steady) myself. It was crowded, more crowded than I had ever seen. I sought refuge in the lavatory, but even that room seemed overwhelmingly crowded. I prayed for courage in the stall.

IMG_20150320_154902Sitting in the Matron’s office, I felt silly to have been so nervous. The Assistant Matron was on duty that night and was a genteel lady with a radiant countenance. She glowed. As I explained the Spirit’s (and Anne’s) urgings, and my experience as a retired computer programmer; she shared with me that there was a spot opening up in the Temple Office. A elderly couple that had been with the office since the opening of the Snowflake Temple in 2002 was retiring. Their shifts would not be easy to fill and they would be missed.

IMG_20140428_135909_095I felt a reassurance from my Heavenly Father. There was a service I felt confident I could perform. To be able to share my skills on computers and office work with the Snowflake Temple and help perform the work that needs to be done, felt like an incredible blessing. The Matron seemed happy to be placing my name on the lists to be approved by my Branch and Stake Presidents.

Over the next couple of weeks, during my Fridays at the Temple, I got to know the Temple Presidency through a couple of very informal interviews. By the time my volunteering in the office was approved by the Stake President, my Temple Recommend was up for renewal for the first time. I had to go in for my interviews again

Snowflake

Then it happened, I received a call asking me to come in for an interview at the beginning of my regular Friday visit. That is a day I will NEVER forget. As my friend Anne escorted me into the Temple President’s office, Elder Bradley Foster of the Seventy appeared to be looking for something on the President’s desk. He engaged me in a brief conversation before the Temple President entered. I wish I remembered that he was the one who gave the talk, “It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late,” in the October 2015 General Conference that spoke to my heart, but I was too overwhelmed by the situation. When the Temple President entered, I was surprised when I wasn’t to be interviewed, but quickly set apart as an Office Worker, and sent off to meet the rest of the office staff, Recorder and the Assistant Recorder.

Proxy Ordinance Cards

I made quick friends with the other new worker and briefly met the retiring couple. My life in the weeks since has been blessed as, among other things, I’ve been able to learn my tasks at the Temple Office very quickly and life at home seems easier too. I look forward to my Friday Evenings in the Temple every week.

My Testimony of Temple work is solid. I have a powerful Testimony of the Holy Spirit and I strongly agree with President Monson’s directive to “NEVER postpone a prompting.”DSCN2834

I leave this Testimony with you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Please Let Me Hug You! I’m a Convert

Below is my submission to Middle-Aged Mormon Man’s International Hug-A-Convert Day Essay Contest. After I submitted this essay, I fell 10 feet backwards down an attic ladder, breaking my back.
I am healing rapidly and will be back to blogging very soon!

Last year when I commented on a post of Middle-Aged Mormon Man, he mentioned I should write out my story for his “International Hug-A-Convert Day,” I told him I wasn’t quite ready. This year has been crazy and amazing and I am late in submitting this; but here it goes.

The first time I remember knowing that there was a God, and Jesus ChrisMargaret Slighte age 4t and a part I felt inside of me (only lately did I begin to understand the Holy Spirit); was when my divorced mother allowed me to attend a local Sunday school. We were singing “This Little Light of Mine.” I was about 5. I felt the Lighte of His Love. But my childhood remained full of darkness.

My parents divorced when I was four, my father was a loud atheist, my mom considered herself Christian, and wanted us to decide about religion for ourselves. To help facilitate that; she took us to several different churches.  My younger brother and I learned not to share our church experiences with our dad during his weekend visitations.

When I was about 7, a friend of my mom’s was babysitting my brother and I and asked my mom if she could take us to church with

Shelton, Washington Meetinghouse

her. She attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The memories that I have of that day were that I had to wear my Easter dress because it was the only dress I had that was long enough, and I got a spanking for saying a bad word on the way home from the service.

That was my last experience with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints until my marriage of 22 years ended. During my marriage, while raising our 3 children, we attended a Nazarene church, then I began to explore Wicca & Paganism, then Buddhism and Gnostic Christianity; I was searching for answers. No matter where I looked, I didn’t find them.

While I was in the middle of my divorce, I met an unlikely missionary. After being introduced by several friends several THAT S the SMILE i LIKEdifferent times, we attempted to date. True to my past, I attempted to seduce him. He attempted to teach me about chastity. Both of us failed in our attempts.

Rick was the man I dated, and fell in love with his stories of a God I never had imagined. Something called “Priesthood,” and he referred to Jesus Christ as a Brother and a Friend.

His pain had removed him from activity in the Church of the Lord that he loved. His own marriage, sealed in the temple 29 years previous, had ended in divorce. It was hard for me to understand his faith or associate it with a church he never attended. But he wHim.jpgas quick to point out he considered himself a Latter-Day Saint.

As we agreed that we would loose our friendship if we attempted to continue to date, he promised to me that he would be my friend forever. I had no idea, then, what forever meant.

During the summer of 2010, I received a message on a social network that lead to me meeting the woman my oldest son had married and abandoned 3 years previous. I was also privileged to meet her mother, a Latter-Day Saint and our identical twin granddaughters, shortly before their second birthday.

1433511313573Without me or my family knowing; my oldest son had married, impregnated & abandoned this young woman. Her mother was helping her raise the children my son had never met.  The stories of my son and her daughter pulled Mary and I together. To me, this woman was indeed a Saint in so many ways and she welcomed me with love into her family.

I was disabled, on a meager income, divorced and with no place to call home. Friends across the country began to invite me to stay a week or a day, so I left everything and everyone I knew behind and began to travel.1915365959638

It was a year and a half full of traveling the country running from a life that I no longer had, and searching for eternal answers. During my first trip across the country, I took a wrong turn and ended up in front of the Twin Falls, Idaho Temple. I parked my car and took photos. It was the most beautiful building I had ever felt.

Twin Falls Idaho Temple

Felt. I felt this building. It felt light. Brighter than any light I have ever felt. I felt close to God and Christ. I felt the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know much about Temples at the time, but I did remember Rick saying that they weren’t open to the public. I didn’t even try to go in, but said a quick prayer, took some photos, and went along my way thanking God for checking in on me.

These types of incidents happened so much in my travels, I began to feel like either The Church or Christ, was following me.

On March 6, 2013, I was at my bottom: homelessness, depression and bad relationship choices got the end of me. I got on my knees on the cold wooden floor of an abandoned attic and asked my Heavenly Father how I could become closer to Christ.

I was answered with the immediate impression that I was being commanded to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I called Mary, “How do I get Missionaries to come to where I am?”

She marveled at my testimony and my faith; I asked her what she meant by “testimony.” Not ten minutes passed after I hung up with her, and I received a phone call from Missionaries in my area.Sister Lloyd, Sister Slighte & Sister Johnson

I was baptized 17 days after my personal revelation. Within a month I was impressed to ask for my Patriarchal Blessing. That month also saw me in the Temple Baptistery for my ancestors.

During the chaotic time of my repentance, I realized just how many people on social networks followed my activities. I prayed to know if I should close my accounts and look for different writing venues.

The Holy Spirit witnessed to me that I needed to be even louder about my conversion and about my faith in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ than I had been in my sin. That would be a challenge.

cropped-slightelymormon-header.jpgThe first few posts I wrote in my new blog about my testimony went over well. Those who ventured a cursory gander were even more than polite in their comments to me.

I was still concerned, and prayed to know if blogging or other social networks were the proper use of my testimony. I heard my answers loudly when I attended the “Hastening the Work” broadcast at my local Ward Meetinghouse in June 2013.

Over the past year I have learned some hard lessons about leaning not unto mine own understanding. I have also learned a lot about patience.IMG_20130406_160304_cr

In my first 14 months as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have had the opportunity to attend services in 11 Wards and 2 Branches in 7 Stakes. I am a woman of many Wards.

I was baptized as a divorced grandma on her own, the first church member of my family.

 

I was humbled to have received my own Endowments in May 2014 at the Seattle, Washington Temple. I currently blog at http://SlightelyMormon.org. I am working on a book of poetry and prose from the first year of my conversion.  My life is more blessed than I could ever imagine.

Music Moves My Soul

I was born into a family that appreciated music. Everyone played something or sang, or both. On family trips, no matter who we were travelling with; the music was always cranked loud and everybody sang.Grandpa and Me Makin Music

As a small child, I loved singing with both my mother and father. My little brother grew into a fabulous bass voice when he matured. Together we enjoyed playing with harmonies.

Although my parents divorced when I was very small, music was a constant in both of their households. I remember watching the Osmond Show as a little girl and thinking Marie was country like my mom, and Donny was rock and roll, like my dad.

My Dad in the 1960sMy dad was stuck mainly in the 50s and 60s with his rock and roll. Elvis was a favorite with both of my parents. A fact I found curiously entertaining as a young girl witnessing their differences.  I couldn’t imagine them listening to music together, but I listened to the same songs in each of their homes.

My mom loved country music. Tammy Wynette taught me how to spell the troubles that my family was experiencing with so many others in the early 1970s.

My own musical tastes followed both of my parents as a child. I was often seen and heard dancing and singing around my parents’ homes to whatever they had on.

My first personal music collection began on 8-track tapes. I received a player and a gift certificate for 4 tapes at a local music store on my 10th Christmas. I picked out ABBA, Steve Miller Band, Jim Croce & The Carpenters.

As I grew into a teen, I soon left my school choir performances behind and began performing guest vocals with bands who were made up of friends, and a ID that said I was 20 years older than I was. I loved music. I loved to dance and sing.

My personal music collection expanded to include every type of rock, hard rock and heavy metal. I also enjoyed any and every alternative or female artist. A few country songs drifted into my collection, but the majority was on the very hard side.

When my children were young, I tried to encourage their musical My Oldest Son & Me October 2010interests. My oldest son took up a genre of music that I had actually attempted to keep out of our home when he was a child. He is currently pursuing a career in the Southern California Rap/Hip Hop music scene.

My second son took up the guitar, bass guitar and vocals. As an adult he has experimented with other instruments as well.

My youngest child, my daughter, took up the violin at age 8 and fell in love. A child born with perfect pitch; she has a beautiful voice that only falters as much as her confidence.

With all the music in my life, I was looking forward to dancing when I was invited to my first Mid-Singles LDS dance. It was even a theme: 50s.

Centralia MeetinghouseIt was late spring, I had recently been baptized. When I went through my music collection during my repentance and baptismal times; I was unforgiving. Any lyrics that encouraged feelings in me that were not Gospel-centered were deleted off of my hard drive.

I had replaced much of my music with young adult LDS downloads from LDS.org. A Sister teaching the Young Women gave me a CD. I also listened to Gospel country music. Even though many of the Gospel ideas within them were erroneous to my beliefs; praising God was much better than traveling down an audio Highway to Hell.

When I entered the dance at the Stake Center building, I was surprised at both the music playing and the atmosphere. It was completely contradictory to the Standards of Youth card I had come to carry in my wallet. The lights were all darkened to the point I couldn’t see people’s faces well and the music was more than a little on the “racy” side, and only a few 50s songs. The DJ was a young person who was not a member of the church. DSCN2853-001

As the lyrics of the music began to disturb me more and more; I escaped into the foyer to read The Book of Mormon that was placed there. Having come with a group, I couldn’t leave. But I wanted to.

When I inquired about the music, I was told that no dances have LDS music. No one dances to any type of Gospel music. All dances have popular music. I couldn’t have been more disappointed.

I FEEL the lyrics in music. I am a writer. I HEAR the words. I FEEL the emotion in the strains of the music. When a song speaks of sinful actions or emotions that are not in line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; I have the privilege of feeling them.

1263847552085I used to enjoy those sensations. The evil, just a little bit…. But as an endowed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have NO DESIRE to feel that way again. EVER.

That does not mean that I do not enjoy dancing with my husband. Dancing is still one of my favorite activities. It is the music choice to dance to that is my issue.

My dear husband, a fantastic musician, is currently grappling with my Maggie & Keithmusic situation. I long to be able to procure a baritone saxophone for him. Music without words may be a workable option.

For now… we will dance to the Gospel music from my stereo at home.

My One and Only Sibling

Apparently last week was “International Siblings Day” Facebook. After looking it up on Wikipedia, I discovered that it wasn’t invented by Facebook, and I felt bad that I had missed the opportunity to tell the world about my amazing relationship with my brother. My one and only sibling. Me and my little brother

The Book of Mormon works in mysterious ways. So does our Heavenly Father. When I was learning the lessons getting ready to be baptized, my brother was also undergoing an immense amount of repentance and pain. Heavenly Father began to soften my heart towards my family again. In particular, towards my brother who I had shut out of my life during his involvement in drugs and then prison.

When I was repenting and contrite upon my knees asking my Heavenly Father for forgiveness, I was also asking Him to bless my family, especially my little brother who was suffering the worse loss a person could imagine. Not only the loss of his child; but the loss of a child, barely an adult, for whom he already felt guilt in regards to his absence while that child was younger. I could not imagine his pain.

I was impressed, since it had been many years since we had even spoken, to write a letter to him. Since I was aware that he had previously investigated The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I was also impressed to include a Book of Mormon.

ImageThe other items I included with my letter were a book of stamps so that he could write anyone he wanted to, as well as one self-addressed stamped envelope. I wanted a reply.

The letter with the Book of Mormon reached his residence at an inpatient facility that was mandated by his probation. His return letter indicated that he was also on the path to a baptism. His, by a church near his treatment home.

My brother and I continued to correspond for his remaining time in treatment. When he returned to the area, against the advice of many who remembered the demonic influences in his life and how he embraced them, I decided to meet with him and get to know my little brother again. It had been decades since we had spent a good amount of time alone. The last time we spent time together at all was during a holiday and it ended in disaster and drama. Image

My little brother was born to our mother and father when we were living in Port Townsend. It was 1970, and I was almost 4 years old. When our parents divorced almost a year after his birth, we remained with mom. It was the two of us against the world. Usually also against our parents, using one against the other like typical children of divorced parents in the 1970s. Only I was allowed to beat up my brother, and I would beat up anyone else who tried. Yes, I was the type of big sister who volunteers in her baby brother’s kindergarten class. I loved that kid.

Life in our lives wasn’t easy. An angry, abusive step father as well as a biological father who vacillated between being absent and being the worse types of abusive were the father figures we had. Our mother loved us and loved God. She tried to expose us to many different churches so that we could choose for ourselves. This was quite a difficult task, when if we mentioned to dad that we had attended one, we could end up with not only a spanking, but a ring-side seat at a yelling match from hell between our parents. But we attended anyway. As many times as dad asked each of us to deny our God, it was only with a wink to each other and our fingers crossed. Me saying my prayers for forgiveness as well.

Through the typical drama of abusive homes of divorce in the 1970s and 1980s, my brother and I had each other. We could talk about anything. Satan had his way, in many ways in our homes. Finally, a fog of drugs and abuse took my brother from me.

ImageAs he furthered his way into the drug world, I separated my young family from his. As his family was being raised by other people, I kept him in my prayers. Then there would come short times when he would sober up, or attempt to hide the fact that he wasn’t; and seek to come around. It broke my heart every time I was forced to shut him out of our lives. For my children’s sake, it was all I knew how to do.

It was my little brother who called me on an August 2000 morning, to inform me of our father’s suicide. Neither one of us had been informed officially, our father’s only children, and we were not informed until 10 months after  his death on the weekend of my birthday in 1999. After tearful hours on the phone with his widow, I learned that the timing was not coincidental. In the 15 years that I had not seen or spoken to our father, his abusive obsession with me had not wavered. Our father’s suicide was 50 years after his own father had taken his life when our father was 4.

Major Depressive Disorder, among other challenges, run in our family. Both my brother and I have dealt with this challenge ourselves. After our father’s death, my brother and I saw each other a few times. He was in and out of prison, and I was raising a family. Our mother kept on me to get in contact with him through the years, but it wasn’t until that Book of Mormon that I was impressed to do my best to fix what Satan and our temporal father had attempted through his abuse to tear apart.

ImageThrough the summer after I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my brother and I began to spend a lot of time together. It was the first time since childhood that we had really had the opportunity to get to know one another. I, for one, found in my little brother a friend I never imagined. Someone who knew me, as I knew him. Someone I could give another chance to. Someone I wanted around me.

After a summer full of blessings of the new friendship of siblings, we were put to the test. In October I had been impressImageed that I had $300 put aside to spend on transportation and I had been frustrated at my lack of a car.  I asked my brother to come with me to see if I could find a car to finance. I had the afternoon before an evening meeting at the Family History Center for my new calling.

As we walked, we crossed a double train track. There was clear visibility both directions for at least a quarter mile. We crossed without hesitation. The Holy Ghost was a wonderful companion while car shopping, and amazed my brother by witnessing to us certain flaws to watch out for in each car. I was happy I had prayed that morning. Everything was wonderfully clear.

On our return trip, after having no luck in the auto venture, we came back the same way. Only this time, there was a train stopped on the tracks closest to us. We looked down each way, the train was at least a quarter mile long in both directions; I thoImageught to myself it was going to be a long walk.

While I was thinking this to myself, my little brother did what he had always done while I was in charge of watching him while we were kids: embraced his impulsivity. He said “let’s go” and proceeded to go under the train, stopping to get up between the train tracks before leaning under the train, to beckon me towards him.
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I was in absolute shock. I don’t remember speaking at all. I do remember how wide my eyes got when I felt Satan attempt to take my brother. I heard a witness by the Holy Ghost: Come BACK NOW!!!! I frantically motioned for him to come back.

For one of the first time in our lives, my baby brother actually listened to me. As he ducked and went back under the train, we felt the ground begin to rumble; before he was standing upright on my side of the tracks, a train was passing at an extremely rapid pace on the track that my brother was nearly standing upon seconds before.

If I had followed him, and not acknowledged and obeyed The Holy Spirit, neither my brother nor I would be alive today. We were so blessed to spend the holidays together for the first time in years as a family with our only living parent, one of my children, and two of my grandchildren. We are a family and we are blessed.

With our grandma in the 70s

With our grandma, Margaret Ellen Savage Rebman in the 70s

I did end up spending that $300 on transportation, but that’s another story on the pile for another time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Converts Are Like Butterflies – A Book of Poetry in Blog Form

I have been working on editing the poetry from the first year of my conversion for a while now.

Some poems I have shared here, some I have shared on other blogs.
Most I have not shared at all.

As I am finishing the editing of the poems, readying them for the book, I have created a space just for them.

The book will be called, “Converts are Like Butterflies: Poetry of Testimony”, and the blog is the same.

Converts Are Like Butterflies is the blog where you can watch as I prepare the poetry I have written in the past year for publication.

Please feel free to comment with input.

The dates of the posts will be the original dates that the poems were written, so make sure to check in the past, as I will be “back-filling” them as I get them edited.

Thank you for taking time to read this, may your day be blessed with the Love and Lighte of Christ!

My Faith

My Spiritual journey part 2: My Faith

For those who have followed me for the past few years, the fact that I have faith isn’t a surprise. For the rest, a refresher course in my journey.

On 10-10-10 10:10 I put my life in the hands of God and left everything and everyone I knew, and set out on a journey across the country. God has lead me the entire way; gifting me with angels upon angels in my travels thus far.

From eight days in a rest area in Montana, to a “trespasser strike” on a train in Florida (wait, there were two of those, over a year apart!), to a birthday celebration in the Grand Canyon, and so many more adventures; it is only with hindsight that I am able to really marvel at the blessings I have received since I began to exercise my faith in God.

There have been times in the past few years when I have drifted far off of my path. The farther I became from God, the fewer my blessings, and the more illness and disability afflicted my body and my mind. When Jesus was absent from my prayers, my prayers simply were not heard. There doesn’t get a simpler testimony than that.

I have been guilty of many sins. I will no doubt sin again. It happens. Now that I have started to make them; I will do my best to keep each and every oath and covenant I make with my Heavenly Father. I will strive to do good for others each and every day of my life. That is why I am here. I know that now.
Words cannot describe the happiness that I have felt in these last few months. My life is on track, I may just finally be growing up…. and I am enjoying it. That must mean I am getting old or something. I don’t care. I like me.

I plan to live the rest of my life in service to God. Simple as that. I will do exactly what He leads me to. Sort of like when I left everything I knew, and put my faith in Him to lead me to who and what I needed to know.

He has been with me, in the form of the Holy Spirit; each and every time I specifically asked. As a confirmed member of The Church, I have the Gift of the Constant Companion in the Comforter or Holy Ghost. I have faith in Him to lead me to the Lighte that is Christ. I have FAITH that THEY will lead me HOME to the Love and the Lighte in the Heavenly Eternity.

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