Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The Best Decision My Parents Ever Made
I love podcasts and I listen to them nearly every day. I especially like some of the podcasts on the Mormon Channel. One of the podcasts I listen to frequently is called Legacy and it discusses events in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I really like it even though some of the podcasts really are incredibly boring (Do not listen to the episode about the history of the gardens at Temple Square -- it's a snooze fest). One thing that the historians on the show say over and over again is that everyone should could keep a detailed record of their life. They regularly recommend that everyone write their own personal history. I took their advice and started doing that in my spare moments in the evening. I figured that now is the best time to start writing since my memories are only going to continue to fade as I get older and I better record them before they get too hazy or I lose them completely.
Yesterday a girl in one of my classes asked me if my ancestors were Mormon. I said no. She then asked, "Then how did your family become Mormon?" I said, "I can't tell you that because we're at school. And it's a shame because it's a really good story." Since I've been working on my personal history I just so happen to have already written the story of how my parents joined the church and I'd like to share it here since I can't share it at school. Here's an excerpt from what I've written so far. It ends rather abruptly because in my personal history I go on to discuss other things.
My parents got married on 7 July 1971. One year later on 14 October 1972 they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They stumbled into the church rather by accident. They weren’t looking for a church and they weren’t searching for truth or meaning in life either. When the missionaries showed up at their door they listened more out of courtesy than out of interest. My parents didn’t buy it at first. Really? An angel told a 14 year old boy to dig up golden plates from his backyard and then translate them? Why would God call a prophet with such an uninteresting name as Joseph Smith? My mom’s maiden name is Smith and the idea that someone with her incredibly common last name would be a prophet was absurd to her. My parents felt sorry for the missionaries because they acted so innocent and actually seemed to believe those silly stories. My parents believed that those poor, naïve missionaries had been duped.
Whenever the missionaries weren’t around they would make fun of the church and had no problem believing it wasn’t true. For some reason, however, they let the missionaries continue to teach them. During the fourth lesson about the Plan of Salvation my dad felt something. My dad felt something stir inside of him as they taught him about his life before he was born, his purpose here on earth, and his eternal destiny as a child of God. At each lesson the missionaries had given my parents pamphlets to read as well as sections of the Book of Mormon to read. They had also invited my parents to pray to know if what they were being taught was true. My parents faithfully did all the reading they were asked to do, but hadn’t prayed and asked if it was all true.
After learning the Plan of Salvation, my dad, for the first time, really wanted to know if what the missionaries were teaching him was true. After the missionaries left, on his own and without saying a word about it to my mom, my dad knelt down and asked God if what the missionaries were teaching him was true. He received a sure witness from the Holy Ghost that the teachings he was receiving were indeed true. My dad had stumbled upon Mormonism and in an instant was converted to it. This created a very serious problem for him. He had been teasing and mocking the missionaries for weeks and now he had to tell his wife that he believed them. He was apprehensive to tell her that he knew it was true because he thought she’d think he had gone nuts. He decided that whatever the outcome he needed to tell her what he now believed. Right before their next meeting with the missionaries my dad summoned his courage, pulled my mom aside and said, “Ginny, I have to tell you that I believe what the missionaries are teaching us.” She looked at him and with relief in her eyes responded, “Thank goodness, I believe it too.” They had both petitioned the Lord secretly and had received the same answer.
My parents were baptized on 14 October 1972, three weeks after meeting the missionaries. They were the first members of the church in both of their families. It was a bold and courageous thing for them to do and they have never looked back. They have been faithful, active, and exemplary members of the church ever since they joined it.
When my parents got married they were both school teachers. My dad had to deal with kids all day and didn’t want to have to deal with them at home too so he and my mom decided not to have any kids. And being a teacher myself I can understand his line of reasoning. My mom always wanted to have kids and assumed that my dad would eventually grow out of his I-don’t-ever-want-kids-of-my-own phase. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a very family oriented church and it’s no surprise that my dad went from not wanting children to having four.