My name is Marie-Rose, and I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Until recently, when making that statement, I always replaced "member" with "convert to," seeing as how I hadn't been baptized yet. But now I'm all official, and it makes me happy :D
In 7th grade, I was invited to Wednesday night activities by my Mormon friends. We made gingerbread houses :) it was the first time I'd ever gone to a "Mormon" event. I had a blast.
Around that time, I started asking questions. I didn't know anything about the Mormon faith, and once I learned that they didn't have priests like Catholics have, I had to know more about this weirdness. Granted, my Mormon friends thought Catholicism was pretty weird, too.
So we were all asking questions. This required me to learn more about Catholicism so I could answer their questions, and they had to learn more about Mormonism to answer my questions. There was much learning and spiritual growth happening all around.
The summer after freshman year, they invited me to girls camp. Oh boy, was that a blast :D at camp, I went to my first testimony meeting. It was a powerful experience. Most of camp, I focused on hanging out with friends and having fun, but I was very interested in the spiritual side, as well. I was impressed that people my age were so into religion. I hadn't thought it was "cool" to be "into" religion. Well, come to find out, these girls didn't care that it wasn't cool.
The same summer, I also went to Youth Conference. Many much religion classes and discussions took place at YC. I attended my second testimony meeting. Right before the meeting, I was talking with one of my friends, Sarah, about random stuff in general. One topic was colleges. I had no clue where I wanted to go, but I was pretty sure my mom would be a major influence in the decision and I did not want that, especially because it meant I would end up super close to home. I wanted to go to BYU! Another topic was how Katie, another friend, was mad at Sarah. Anywho, religion wasn't a major focus of the conversation. But I started breaking down. I teared up (cuz of the colleges topic, believe it or not). After testimony meeting, I teared up more (Maggie, another friend, was moving out of state soon after YC). There was lots of emotional stuff going on. And suddenly, on the way home, I was suddenly questioning my entire Catholic belief system for no apparent reason. I totally broke down. My emotional state was not good.
That fall, I started doing research. Finding answers for my questions about Catholicism, not just answers for my friends. I didn't always understand or agree with what I found. Everything seemed to be the "textbook answer," and I already knew most of those. It just didn't make sense. That was the year I was to be confirmed, so that got awkward real fast. I didn't tell my parents till after I was confirmed in the spring (side note- I didn't feel the Spirit at that confirmation. Problem? I think yes). My mom booked me an appointment with a priest at the church my family goes to, thinking I just had "major questions," not "major problems." I let the priest think he'd answered my questions, when in reality he didn't give me too much more to go on than the internet had the previous fall. He did do a good job of explaining things, and I totally understand how someone could believe those things. I just personally don't believe them.
That night, June 12, 2012, after that appointment, I was reading True to the Faith, an LDS scripture reference book. While reading the section on the Holy Ghost, I suddenly thought, "I want to be baptized." Whoa, slow down! Where did that come from?? It sure wasn't me. I believe it was the Spirit.
The next morning, one of my friends texted me about a Book of Mormon question I'd had the previous night. Within two minutes, another friend texted me from EFY (another church camp), saying she had some BOM verses she felt that I should read. I already had my scriptures out - if that wasn't Divine Inspiration, I don't know what is! Since then, I never once doubted my decision to get baptized. I debated which day it would happen quite frequently, but I always knew it would happen someday. My first baptism date was June 14, 2014, but when I turned 18 roughly a month before that day and told my dad I intended to get baptized, he spazzed a little and requested I push it back so he could figure out exactly what was going on. Then my plan was to get baptized before I left for college in August, but that didn't happen either. I started wondering if I wouldn't get baptized till after college....
In the time between my decision and my baptism, I went to girls camp a second time, as well as a second youth conference and my first and only history trek. History trek was THE BEST, and that trip was when Heavenly Father reassured me that I would eventually get baptized, but it required faith in His timing. (Read that post here.)
I ended up not having to wait a super ridiculous amount of time, but the waiting made it seem like forever: after 2 years, 5 months, and 3 days, I was baptized out at college on November 15, 2014 :D My parents both made it, as well as one of my sisters (the other one had to work), a friend from back home, and 4 nonmember friends from various classes.
|My missionaries, Michael, and me :)|
*all names have been changed