A Testimony of Fast Offerings

As a convert who has a very modest income, I am used to the public questioning my decision to tithe and give an honest Fast Offering each and every month. These last few months not only have my decisions to pay an honest tithe been questioned much louder and with much more confrontation, but the questions have not only been from those in the public, but also some in the church.IMG_20171105_102234

My current income is made up of disability insurance from money that I paid in while I was working. I am a student working on my Master of Arts in English – Nonfiction writing to better my opportunities to support myself. I recently finished my Bachelor’s degree in General Studies with a focus on nonfiction writing. My rent payment is about 5/6 of my income at this point and I do find myself humbly asking for assistance more often than I would like.  So, why do I pay when I have to ask for help?

My reasons are simple and yet very complex. First, I believe in being obedient and paying tithing is about obedience. Second, I believe in the divine discernment that is given by Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit to our Bishops.

When someone asks a Bishop for assistance, that Bishop has the right, ability and responsibility to seek revelation for that person. I have experienced more than one time when I did NOT request assistance, but a Bishop felt compelled to offer it when he understood better than I did I was going to have financial difficulties ahead. If my Bishop believes I don’t need assistance and I will be able to get by without it, I know I need to trust his discernment.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has developed one of the most admired welfare programs in the world. Though not formalized until 1936, early Latter-day Saints took care of each other.

One of the wonderful blessings of the extensive program of the church is the opportunity to serve. From farms to Bishop’s Warehouses to the distributions of food, where members are encouraged to help one another pick up food, members of the church are given numerous opportunities to serve within the welfare program.

PicsArt_11-05-10.35.43When I recently explained to a young friend my reasons for making sure my tithing was the first thing I pay each and every time I am paid, I included the numerous times that I was provided for when that was the last thing I expected. The times that a Bishop was impressed by my Heavenly Father to let me know that I was worth much more than I thought I was, the times I was treated like a daughter of God. How could I not want that for others?

Paying tithes and fast offerings is a personal and very private decision. It is my feeling that God has entrusted me with some and if I wisely use it and give back 10% plus a fast offering for The Church to use for others in need, I am being prudent.  I know personally how humbling it feels to receive of the offerings, I pray I have the opportunity to give much more very soon.

 

 

 

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Guest Post: The Moments I Knew

A few days ago a fellow writer noticed me sharing “Experimenting on His Words” in a Facebook group and asked if I would be open to sharing a guest post. I thought it was a fabulous idea, and we agreed to exchange posts. Watch for my Testimony on his blog soon as well!  Enjoy “The Moments I Knew” from Daniel Christensen:

Church members can often point to a singular experience when they “knew” it was true. Maybe it was the knowledge that God existed, or knowing that the Book of Mormon was true, or that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

I never had that experience. I’ve actually had thousands of them.

We as humans are good at a few things and horrible at others. One thing that we reeeeally need to work on is remembering. God understands this better than anyone, and especially knows this of me. In moments of weakness, I forget about the moments that I “know” the truth, yet choose to do the opposite. It’s really frustrating.wp-1509068224209..jpg

I imagine this is true of everyone. That’s why I think we are given so many reminders. I’ll tell you of my most recent reminder. I listened to Tad Callister’s talk about the Book of Mormon and it hit me particularly hard. He asked logical questions about the origins of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s involvement. I normally am a little apprehensive about trying to “prove” certain things within the gospel because I had always felt that it was not a logical matter, but a spiritual one. I realized, however, that some people need that, and at certain times in my life, I’ve needed a logic to back up the spiritual claims made as well.

It’s not like I’m constantly asking myself, “Is the Book of Mormon True?”, but it is nice to have some assurances once in awhile. As I was reading, I came across an oft-quoted passage, 1 Nephi 3:7, which says, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

PicsArt_10-03-01.11.25.jpgI’ve known this scripture since I was a little kid, but this time I focused on the “accomplish” part. I don’t recall the other authors in the Book of Mormon using that phrase-ology. So I went hunting, and sure enough, Nephi uses this exact phrase another 4 times. The other 418 pages of the Book of Mormon show no other such reference. Zero. Would Joseph Smith have been able to keep that phrase just within first and second Nephi and never use anything similar in the rest of the Book? To me, the answer was a resounding ‘No”, and it was just the latest moment that I “knew” the Book of Mormon was true.

wp-1509068895564..jpgThese experiences can happen quite frequently if we are able to recognize them. They add just one more time in our lives that we can look back on and remember, that at that moment, we “knew”.

img_1474Written by Daniel Christensen

Experimenting on His Words

Personal Revelation has been an integral part of my conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since the beginning.  Having indefinite “feelings” about things in my and my children’s lives is not new for me…or for them. Knowing where those feelings come from, is.

Since my pre-Baptism lessons four and a half years ago, I have been learning about The Holy Spirit, or The Holy Ghost. I LOVE the Holy Spirit. He is the third part of the Godhead, the only part of the three that does not have a body of His own, He resides in US!IMG_20170905_190814

It is through The Holy Spirit that we feel comfort, a confirmation of truth of the Gospel. IF we are listening closely, He will help guide us in our choices throughout our lives. When we receive revelation about our lives, it is through The Holy Spirit.

I LOVE personal revelation. The fact that our Heavenly Father cares so much about each and every one of us that He WANTS to communicate with us, to HELP us to make important decisions and prepare for important events. He knows each of our names, has numbered each of the hairs on each of our heads, and wants us to succeed in those things we desire. He is our Father and communicates with us as often as we will listen.

Many times in my life I have not listened well. I’m sure my earthly parents were overheard saying just that during much of my youth. But, in this respect, I mean not listening to my Heavenly Father very well.

When I did learn to pray, study my scriptures and ponder to listen, I found myself craving silence. That time when just between Heavenly Father and myself when that still small voice would speak to my heart. Little hints, here and there, but enough to let me know if I was on the right track. Those little words when I needed to keep me going. Those little things that Heavenly Father wanted me to know, not meant for anyone else.

IMG_20171013_143523109.jpgEach and every time that I acted on the information received in personal revelation, I experimented on the Word of God.  When the information proved correct, and my actions were those I needed to do to prepare for that future, my faith was strengthened. Each and every time this happens.

Like everyone else with a strong testimony, at times I forget or lessen the importance of these small and large events. Each time personal revelation reveals future events and actions I should take, I am taken aback. I don’t reveal the details to many, but those who have shared the knowledge have had their testimonies strengthened as well. I need to keep a better record in my journals of these events.

As I look around this apartment that God impressed me to apply for, I smile when I remember a phone call I received this week. Only God could know what I needed to do to get into this place. Only He could move the mountains that stood between me and this home. Only He could tell me exactly what to do and when. But I had to listen. I am glad that I was listening this time.PicsArt_07-26-06.10.35

One of the most precious gifts we can receive is that of the Holy Spirit. It is through our relationship with this part of the Godhead that can help lead us to a much more revealed life.

 

 

Four Years After Baptism

 

On March 23, 2013 I was baptized. March 23 of this year came around and I was visiting Columbia, South Carolina. It seemed a fitting day for a temple trip. After all, I was in the area hunting up ghosts of my ancestors.

During a middle of the night genealogy session spurred by The Spirit, I was reminded that one of my “brick walls” was my 4th great-grandmother, “Becca Wassin,” on my mother’s mother’s side. She had stated in her marriage record to her husband Solomon Richardson that she was born in South Carolina, but after several searches and reading more probate record archives than I would have liked from the mid 1800s (a rough awakening for this “northerner”); I could not find her family in South Carolina. Her marriage bond was found in Rowan County, North Carolina at the Rowan County main library,  but I could not tie her to any family in South Carolina to any degree of certainty.

The original marriage bond for Solomon Richardson and Becca Wassin

I decided to make an appointment for a baptism session for myself after my regular session. It proved to be a very spiritual evening to celebrate my milestone of 4 years in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


A few hours before my sessions, I recorded this video of reflection and testimony at the Columbia, South Carolina Temple. Enjoy

 

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 lose 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.

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!