"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."- Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Updated: Sep 4, 2018
We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and today was a great "Mom Day"! Stockton ordained Madsen a priest and Seleck was set a apart as the Executive Secretary in his YSA ward. It was a day I had looked forward to for some time. I am proud of our "fab five." I echo the scripture in the New Testament, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ( John 1:4)
Now, we are not a perfect family- believe me we fight- Rigby and I disagree often, we are a little too judgmental, we cheat in Uno games, and get way to competitive in front yard basketball. But in the end, we love each other, we support each other, and we talk openly about our faith!
Every Sunday, I have the opportunity to rub shoulders with 30 plus young women ranging in ages between 12 and 18. These women are talented, bright, athletic and musical. They are cheerleaders, dancers, actresses, athletes, student leaders, and artists. And they ask questions. They want answers. And I want them to ask questions. I want to help them find answers. I want them to develop their faith. I want them to become converted. Not for me or the other eight women with whom I work, but I want them to ask questions for themselves. I want them to build a fortress of faith. Because there will come a time when their faith is tested. I know this because mine has been.
At age 44, I am a life long active member of the church. I have a strong pioneer lineage. As my mother says, "I am of strong pioneer stock." My ancestors crossed the plains to "Zion" in wagon trains, handcarts, and by foot. My ancestors were taught at the Prophet Joseph's foot (I can trace my lineage to the first 150 members of the Church), they were baptized in the Sweetwater by Wilford Woodruff, My great, great, great (you get the picture) grandmother was the 14th woman given in polygamy to the Prophet Joseph), my ancestors were at Zion's Camp, Kirtland, and Winter Quarters. One was a captain in the Mormon Batallion and a body guard to the prophet Joseph Smith. They went on to come to the valley of the great Salt Lake, and build the temple there. They settled in Centerville, Logan, Parowan, Spanish Fork, American Fork, Layton and Utah's Dixie. Their faith was tested beyond measure. I know this because I have studied their lives.
Polygamy was not easy. Obedience did not always make sense. But they followed the prophet because they had faith. They had no air conditioners- they hung wet sheets. They had no email- they had the pony express. They had no "google"- they asked God.
Like their faith has been tested so has mine. As a child I was a victim of sexual abuse. Growing up I had an anxiety disorder- there were no answers in those days- no one reached out to help me. But I sought God in prayer and followed the prophet. The atoning power of the Lord Jesus Christ has become my balm in Gilead.
I have had two miscarriages. They were difficult. There were Sundays I did not want to go to church because I did not like my bishop. There were times I did not want to go to church because I had no "big" calling. There were times I have not wanted to go to church because of my "big calling," but I have hung on.
My husband and I have had health challenges. He suffered a stroke at age 35. It was difficult for him to pray. He felt no connection to God. He did not turn to the world to "heal" him or to soften his pain. He turned to God and hung on- even when his prayers were not answered.
My body has been stretched upon an emergency room bed with my heart beating 240 beats a minute- they could not find the answer. The doctors struggled to reset my heart. I begged the doctor for my life so I could raise our five beautiful children with my sweet husband. I felt my spirit leave my body and then I felt it return.
I have watched our children struggle with anxiety and depression. Some of which has been so severe that I have literally begged Heavenly Father to watch over him. To take him into his arms.
I have seen my children friendless, directionless and alone. And I have seen them with many friends, but perhaps with friends not of my choosing.
I have had questions of my own in regards to the teachings of the church- the first vision, blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, same gender attraction... the list could go on. But I have hung on.
I have chosen to follow the prophet because my life has taught me that he does know the way.
Most likely one of our "fab five" or more will leave the church, experience same gender attraction, or some sort of addiction. I will hang on. And I pray I will love them regardless.
I pray that like my ancestors that I will cross my "own plains" and find my strength intact, my integrity in tact, and my love of God intact. Not because my parents or the church has "brainwashed" me but because I have faith. I have felt the Savior hold me, succor me and fight for me.
I know God lives, I know he loves me, and I know he will lead me home as I am obedient, study his scriptures and follow his prophet. It will not be easy- nothing worth having ever has been. But I definitely know it will be worth it and I pray that when I get there as in the words of a woman who "knew" Lucy Mack Smith "that we (my sweet family) may all sit down in heaven together."