Three years ago as of last month I made a choice. This choice has changed my life. It changed for the good. Sometimes it has felt like it has changed for the worse. This change in makes my life feel so much different then what it was before. Like the life I had before almost, was just a dream. Three years ago come June 28th was the day that I decided to enter the waters of Baptism. It seems so weird to talk about this because I hadn’t really thought about it for a while, heck I haven’t really had my heart in the faith for some time now. Both my faith and testimony has shrunk to such a size that it feels lost in my heart.
I remember my investigation and conversion. I had just decided to look into the church after having been Anti-LDS for as long as I’ve had a “knowledge” of God. This change of heart came because of a life changing experience mixed with the influence and love of good people in my life. Cooper being one, as well as others such as Blake, Taylor, Lacey. He pushed me to come to church, that was scary, not only have I not been to church in years at this point but I had not been to a LDS church since I was in J.R. High. After a strong testimony from someone that I used to buy pot off of Cooper decided to make my first appointment with Elder (Cris) Stiles and Elder (David) Rummler. I was NOT a happy camper at all. I did not want to take the lessons (not knowing how the process worked of course) and I did not like missionaries at all. To make a long story short we became great friends, they taught me so much, and those lessons where some of the best memories I have had about my life in the past few years. I have to thank Cooper and Lu for this because of not for their love, patients, and unending supply of Breakfast Pockets, I don’t think I would have converted; I will always love and be indebted to them for this. I remember the Spirit, the love, the clarity of mind and heart that I had felt during this time. I also remember running my missionaries all over town, calling them at all hours of the night, playing horrible pranks and always trying to bug them for free LDS videos and swag. I also remember the lesson about the Temple that made me cry, the trip with Cooper and Lu to Temple square and how in awe I was with it all. Yes even though I have lived in Utah and been to Temple square before, I had never felt what I felt that day. It was because of all of this, plus hours of study and discussion and questions with Blake and Taylor at work (when I should have been working) that changed my heart, and my mind. I wanted to get baptized.
(For the love and effort of everyone that helped me get to this point, you will always have my deepest love and gratitude, thank you!)
I remember the day of my Baptism very vividly. I didn’t really sleep much last night because I had been very nervous about being baptized, what if I couldn’t live up to the standards? What if I didn’t want to? What if I flaked off on this commitment like I had with others in my life? I had a ton of questions in my mind mixed with a resolve to do my best because I KNEW that it was true beyond a shadow of a doubt, I had been through too much in my life, even so much in just that last year to be able to deny the truth that is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember June 29th, hotter then heck, an absolutely beautiful day, I couldn’t have asked for more. I had my missionaries speak as well as Blake and Taylor speak. I was so excited, nervous and happy by this point and their talks where awesome! I had people there that I hadn’t seen in a long time and others that I didn’t believe that would have come, like my own parents. I am proud to say that it was Cooper that baptized me, he did such a good job, even though he clowned me afterwards because the changing room was cold, I was wet, so I had shrunk. Still does to this day the bastard. Afterwards Cooper and Lu had a BBQ in their backyard in my honor for the day which was a lot of fun. I remember the next day being my confirmation, again Cooper did the deed as well as others, it was such a peaceful day and by the end of the weekend I was as happy as I could remember.
This whole experience has to be by far, one of the best experiences I have ever gone through. I remember the excitement, the happiness, the willingness I had to do everything I could in the church, not just advancing, but serving my callings, I read and I studied and I pondered for hours. I was excited every time I got a new book, or learned something new. My life for once had purpose, happiness, peace, love, excitement, among so many other positive feelings that I can’t describe, I even remember my first experience with personal revelation (or I should say the first time I recognized it for what it is). I felt so blessed to have had it, I felt blessed and loved for every, and I mean EVERY little thing that I was blessed to experience and feel.
Where has that gone? Where have I gone wrong? Was I right in thinking that I would flake out, was I wrong in thinking that I would actually do this? The new car scent of being a new member has worn off and that makes me sad, because that excitement of being a new member not only kept me going, but it made me happier then I could remember. I wish I could still feel that way, I miss it so much that it hurts. What also hurts is knowing that I now need to rely the principles of the Gospel without that new member excitement and grow a true and deeper testimony without the training wheels.
I realize that’s what I’ve been doing these first couple of years, riding the bike of the Gospel in my life with training wheels on and the Lord has taken them off and so far I have fallen off my bike and am just barley trying to get back on and ride. Can I do it, do I still want to? I think I do, and I am going to try my hardest because I do love God, I love Jesus Christ, I love the Gospel and the Temple in all that they both are and give me in my life. I know this is true, even if I haven’t felt it, or lived it, I know it is, and because of this I will get back on track. I will grow, I will ride that damn bike even I fall off 100 times. Because as long as I am trying to ride it, I know I will be doing the right thing, even if it hurts, and I know that it will, and I know that one day I will ride it and not fall, that’s the goal and with the Lord with me where ever I go, I know I will make it!
|Elder Cris Stiles on the left and Elder David Rummler on the right|
|My parents, Cooper and I|
|Cooper and I|