By Kat West
I was brought up in a family with no real religious connection. I went to the Catholic church with my grandma a few times as a kid, and I hated it. So over the years, I decided that religion just wasn’t for me and had no plans to look into it. If I’m being completely honest, anyone who openly expressed their belief in God or Jesus was usually mocked within my social circles. In my opinion, there was no such thing as God, and those who believed were just naive and scared of death. Although, there was a part of me that was jealous of their claimed personal relationship with Jesus and their certainty of an afterlife. The truth is we’re all scared. We all fear death, and we all want to be comforted that there is someone watching out for us. However, that wasn’t enough for me to go searching on my own. Never in a million years would I think I would be able to truthfully and proudly proclaim that I believe and trust in both Jesus and our Heavenly Father. But here I am, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Being a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has forever changed my life.
Maybe you are like I was and don’t know much about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Or maybe you’ve heard that Mormons are weird and have believed all the misconceptions that surround that title. The first time I was exposed to the faith was almost two years ago with my boyfriend of just a month. He had told me he was Christian when we first got together, and I thought nothing of it. A few weeks later, we were at dinner at his dad’s house and someone in his family said something about being Mormon. Whoa! Wait a second! Red flags were popping up in my head. That’s not what he had said before. Why was he hiding this from me?
Later that night I confronted him, and he said, “Well, we are Christian, but yeah, technically
Mormon.” Knowing nothing, I turned to the internet to answer all my questions. After browsing for a few hours, my mind was filled with weird rituals and rules I didn’t understand: baptizing the dead, getting sealed in a temple, and no drinking coffee or alcohol or even tea! But what bothered me the most was how many stories there were from non-Mormons on dating a member of the church and their warning to stay away!
They warned that you will always be seen as a second-class citizen in comparison to those who were a part of the Mormon Church, and they are encouraged to date a person of the same faith. I was terrified, so I talked to my boyfriend. He confided in me that he dated his past girlfriends because they were Mormon. At that point, I cried and told him if that’s ultimately what he wanted, to get sealed in some secret temple, then he needed to find another girl. That wasn’t me. Never would be. And maybe we needed to break up. He comforted me, told me he had no intention of converting me, and wanted me exactly as I am. He had made his choice.
It didn’t take long at all until I found out for myself you can’t trust everything you read online. The people of the church and the Mormon faith were completely misunderstood. From the start, I not only felt fully accepted and welcomed into both his family and church but also foolish for judging
them preemptively. I had no idea that this man would become my husband, and despite how fervently I resisted the idea to start out with, I would indeed come to share his same faith.
Please continue to join me in my spiritual journey through my monthly blog. I will share all my ups downs and in-betweens that come along as I adapt, grow, and change my life through my first 18 months as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Up next: Month 1 – Marriage & Misconceptions.