Friday, February 3, 2017

Why I Stay

I often get emails about my conversion.  The trend lately has been people incredulous that I'm STILL Mormon, as if it were some kind of infection they were certain I'd have recovered from by now.  Let me tell you why I stay.

When I was protestant, I lived a faithful life. I studied my scriptures diligently. I prayed. I strived to keep my life free from sin. I did my best to serve. Yet, whenever I read the verse from John 10, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me," I'd get worried. I couldn't hear His voice no matter how hard I tried.  I was sure that meant I wasn't "saved".

I talked with my husband about it. He always blew it off saying, "If you're not saved, no one is." While I appreciated his confidence in my spiritual life, I couldn't help but feel a shard of ice cold fear. I spoke with a pastor about it. He asked me to go through 1 John and look at the "tests" of discipleship. I would always pass that test with flying colors, no matter how many times I took it. Yet, I didn't feel at peace. Why couldn't I hear the Savior's voice? I'd pray and ask that question all the time. Heaven seemed silent.

Enter my conversion.

While my worries about the passage from John had absolutely no influence on my conversion, one of the HUGE (and surprising) benefits I received from being Mormon was an answer to that prayer. Suddenly, I could hear and recognize the Savior's voice--clearly and often.

I can't begin to describe what a blessing that is to both myself and my family as a whole. That single answer to prayer is enough to keep me Mormon forever. I'm not willing to give up my intimate communion with the Savior through the Spirit of God simply to make my life easier and my religion more palatable to others.

I stay because it has brought me closer to my God and Savior than I ever fathomed possible.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

You Need a Shower!

I had the privilege this weekend of going to an elderly relative's house and going over her bills and medications with her and getting her ready to be transferred to a new place. One of my goals going there was to make sure she got a shower.  She hadn't had one in a while. A long while. She has a stronger will than her previous caregivers.  I was determined my will would be stronger than hers.

I'd prepared her ahead of time telling her one of my goals when I came was to get her clean. I reminded her when I arrived we were going to get her a shower.  She kept finding things to go over to avoid it.  She made many excuses. When that failed, she cried.  She did not want a shower. I felt for her, but I knew getting clean was important.  I was trying hard to be patient, but firm.

Then when I'd finally got her compliant there was no hot water.  I saw a smile creep across her face. I couldn't make her take a cold shower.  That would be cruel.  She thought she was off the hook.

I walked over to a neighbor's house where I knew there was a man and asked him to come look at her hot water heater and tell me if it was an easy fix.  He graciously obliged and determined the heating elements were out. Now she was sure she was off the hook.  He knew what was happening and offered his shower to us.

When this dear woman heard plan B, she literally wailed. Suddenly, she determined she couldn't walk over to his house.  She actually could, but to let her know I was serious I said we'd carry her if necessary.  More tears.  The whole way to his house she told us why she couldn't do this.  The neighbor tried to suppress his laughter. It was like dealing with a toddler.

The shower was no easier. She complained the whole time. While I washed her hair. While I cleaned her back. While I gave her a soaped up washcloth and instructed her how to get herself clean anywhere I thought she was capable. The entire time I reminded her how much better she'll feel after she was clean.  She didn't believe me.

It occurred to me there was something to learn from this experience. Sometimes we're in need of a shower. Not a literal one--the cleansing of repentance. But, like this elderly woman, the process of getting clean sounds like the worst possible experience. It's going to be hard. We like our dirt.  It's comfortable. It's easy. Then when we finally think we're ready, we realize we don't have the resources. Fortunately, like this woman's neighbor, Christ has provided what will get us clean through His atonement.

I made a decision while showering her. I never want to fight against what's good for me. I don't want to get in a battle of wills with my Savior. When He tells me I need a shower, I want to jump in. I want to be clean.