The very first time I held a Bible in my hands, I was 22 years old. I was living with my Aunt and Uncle. At that time I had a great desire to know which the true church was. For three weeks…every day and late into the nights, my faithful Aunt patiently answered my endless questions. It impressed me that with each question, she took the time to search her Bible for the answers.

She taught me that I could read the scriptures and learn God’s will for myself. I understood that no man would tell me what to believe, as happened in the Roman Catholic teachings of my youth. I was impressed. Soon I committed –I joined my Aunt’s non-denominational church.

Each evening I climbed the stairs to bed and spent hours reading the wonderful stories of Jesus that I had never heard. It was thrilling to discover the truths of the Gospel. I fell in love with Jesus Christ and his mission. My heart overflowed with joy and happiness.

Weeks later, I sprang from my bed, flew downstairs and exclaimed to my Aunt, “Look at this! This is exciting   …a man crippled from birth jumped to his feet and began to walk   … And many wonders and signs were done by the apostles…   Jesus taught His disciples and they were able to do what He did!  …That means we can do these things too!”

With all sincerity, my Aunt exclaimed “Oh no! We don’t believe that. Those powers and miracles were given only to the apostles and were for that time only.”

“But… But didn’t you say I could believe what I read for myself  …?”

Apparently not. “We” did not believe that.  “We” did not believe that the promised Comforter would or could communicate with Heavenly Father’s children today. Weighed down with disappointment, I returned to my room.

“You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off” Acts 2:38

My heart never did reconcile with that church’s teachings. I believed with all my heart for 30 years that if Jesus Christ had sacrificed His life so that we might have an abundant life; it had to be for all time. I could make no sense of the possibility of God’s power being available 2000 years ago and not at all today. My whole being believed that there was more.

I will not bore you with the details of 30 years of stagnation, misunderstandings and let downs. Thirty years of waiting and believing that perhaps a younger generation would arise, believe the Bible, believe in the role of the Holy Spirit and hopefully be inspired to implement changes. Thirty years of studying and rereading my Bible and marvelling over and over again at the truths contained in those pages.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13:11

One spring I informed the Lord that I was planning to leave that tradition – I desired to go wherever His Holy Spirit could be found. I was planning to begin my search that September. (September has often been a great time for me to regroup, to learn a new discipline and make changes for the better in my life)

Our ever faithful Heavenly Father took my prayer seriously and that summer implemented situations in my life that would direct me at last to His true church. That is a story for another time. I never did get to go “church shopping”.

Within a short period of time, repeated four times, I was told, “Don’t take our word for it. Kneel in prayer and ask Heavenly Father with a sincere heart and with real intent. The Holy Ghost is the Revealer of all truth and He will answer your prayer.”

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes,
He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13

This eternal promise is true. The Holy Spirit did bless me with an amazing witness of the truth of this gospel. I am privileged to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (LDS )

I love this church and have found what I sought. The longing and void in my soul has been filled with peace, wonder, joy and happiness, and especially the promised gift and companionship of the Holy Ghost. Heavenly Father knows our hearts very intimately and I still marvel how He set my steps to answer that brief prayer during the summer of 2005.

So many times I’ve wished I could have become a member when I was much younger. When I lament to my brethren, often they too respond that they wish they’d grown up as LDS- even those that were blessed to convert as teenagers. I wish!

 “By the power of the Holy Ghost
ye may know the truth of all things.” Moroni 10:5 (BOM)

 

10 Responses to First, My Story

  • David Carter says:

    Lily,

    I loved reading this. The Spirit truly testified of the truthfulness of the gospel through your testimony. I take for granted the blessings of being raised as a Latter-day Saint. How truly blessed I am for having been taught the principles of Christ’s gospel in my youth! Thank you for helping me to realize this today. I often take this blessing for granted. I miss you and hope you are well. I am dying to take my family back to Ontario, and when I do I’ll make sure to come say hello.

    Until then,

    Elder Carter

    • Lily says:

      Can hardly say how marvelous it is to hear from you, Elder!!! Been sooo long, huh! Sweet memories. I can hardly wait to see you and family in person!!! Any idea when?? You’ll do more than say hello-welcome to stay-anytime!
      Thank you for your encouragement 🙂

  • Emily Capuyan says:

    Funny that we have the same reaction. I joined the church in my early twenties and I asked why on earth I wasn’t found earlier?
    After reading your testimony, I feel encouraged and inspired to write mine down in a journal for my children’s offspring.

  • Spencer says:

    Lily,
    What a powerful witness of the power the gospel has on those who test its capacity. This is the EXACTLY the purpose of social media in the gospel. Helping those who are seeking to understand how REAL members come to find the truth in REAL situations. Oh the power of conversion for the unconverted. WAY TO GO!

    Spencer

  • Curt Heon says:

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  • Steve says:

    Its interesting – you and I have had very similar “let downs.” I returned to the denomination I grew up in for nearly 3 years because a childhood friend requested that I come and help him lead his congregation into new territory… bad idea. It brought back the hurt I had escaped from. In Matthew 12:43-45 it says “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first…” That’s how it felt going back to the place God had led me away from.
    Pretty much any place would have been better for us than where we came from… deliverance brought me so much relief.

    • Lily says:

      Similar frustrations are what I felt as well Steve after reading your FB msg, which I’ll respond to as soon as I can. Glad you visited here so I don’t feel the need to repeat my experience when I do. 🙂

  • Kathy says:

    Lily, this is an amazing story. Similar and yet different from mine. I was searching for God’s true church in my youth. I went to several congregations with various friends, “accepted Jesus in my heart” several times (and wondered why he never stayed) and listened to a radio show that was popular that had religious overtones….searching, searching, searching. When I was 15, I was introduced to the Mormon faith, and even took the discussions. But previous siblings had joined many religions, so my parents told me I had to be an adult to make my own decision. My friend, who was my connection to the Church, moved and I was cast free again. Years later (3), after further investigating more churches, I was called by an Elder Humphries and began the discussions again. Four weeks later, I was baptized and began my LDS journey. I am so grateful to have the gospel in my life! I do want to say, tho, that finding the gospel early doesn’t mean you learn any faster or more than joining when you are older. It took me many years to overcome self-esteem and anxiety issues and allow myself to truly trust Heavenly Father and give up my control fanatic nature. We all grow in the ways and speed we do. I am grateful you have found the Church, and then later, found me on a random Sunday. (Actually, it was pre-ordained, I think.) You are a beautiful person and have TONS more faith and knowledge than some people who have been members all their lives!! Love you!

    • Lily says:

      Thank you for your encouragement Kathy! We enjoy blessings in this church I never could have imagined. They keep getting better and better. Finding you is a ditto for me-like attracts like! I continue to be amazed we KNOW each other! xo

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