Me & Vicki at my baptism
Well, tomorrow marks my two year anniversary as a member of the church. These two years have literally flown by. Maybe that’s because all I do is work? I was thinking a lot about my two years this morning. I’ve had some wonderful experiences, and some that have been less than wonderful. I’ve made friends and I’ve lost friends. I had people show me how beautiful and sacrificing people can be for one another, and others who showed me how wicked people can be.
There are people in my life who strengthen my testimony, and a couple of people who Satan uses regularly to assist in destroying it. I’m grateful for both. That may sound insane, but it is true. I think if I only experienced godliness from those around me then maybe my testimony would only be on the foundation of the character of those around me. That is a dangerous way to build a testimony. On the contrary, each time I am faced with wickedness I am forced to re-examine my testimony. That is good for me.
My first year was a glorious bliss of getting to know completely new people, a new culture, and a new faith. It was confusing and exhilarating simultaneously. I was impatient to get to the temple, and if I had to do it all over again….well, I would still be impatient to get to the temple. I asked a million questions and received about half a million answers. The other half million will just have to wait until eternity, or if I can corner one of the apostles for a few hours of answering questions.
My second year was at best difficult. The one bright spot was getting to the temple. The rest of the year I faced trials and temptations I not only never expected in a million years, but felt (and still feel) crippling to me. Some I passed and some I failed. I was confronted with wickedness from unexpected sources and lost a feeling of trust I was just beginning to develop in a real way for the first time in my lifetime. It had shattered me.
There are two paths these types of life experiences can take you. First, you can let them destroy you. For me that would mean blaming the gospel for the behavior of others. Many people have let the offenses of others keep them from the church. I didn’t want to be one of those people, although I will admit to being tempted. The second path you can take is to choose to learn and grow from it. To become stronger, or at least wiser. I don’t know if I’m either yet, but I am choosing the second path.
I am looking forward to many more years as a member. Each time I read my Scriptures I see a richness to the gospel that I had not seen before. There were a few new doctrines that I thought could only be realized by the Spirit and the Book of Mormon. Now, I’m also seeing throughout the Old and New Testament. I just had let the template of my former theology blur them. I feel like I’m on a wonderful adventure where I get to understand my Father in Heaven better than I have ever before.