Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ


Both my parents were baptized and became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their adult years.  They were married and sealed in the Manti Utah temple.  My younger brother and sister and I were all baptized at age 8.  Despite this, our family didn’t attend church very regularly, nor did we spend time together in Gospel instruction that I remember with family scripture study, prayer, home evening, etc.  I attended girl’s camp and seminary, even EFY, and also stake dances, though I didn’t participate very much in the spiritual side of things.  As a result I was spiritually wayward, and felt like I was always grasping at straws trying to find real happiness.  I had blue coloring in my hair at the ends and a strip through my bangs at one time and hot pink highlights at another; I stayed out way too late and never had a curfew; didn't have the greatest influences as friends; I didn’t always dress modestly; I played in soccer tournament games on Sundays; I stayed up till morning and slept till the afternoon.  Searching for peace in all the wrong places, I didn’t know there was a better way of living.

The summer before my junior year of high school my 16th birthday fell on a Sunday.  For some unknown reason I decided I would spend my birthday going to church.  I have a few memories of Primary and Achievement Days, and one thing I do remember is getting a pencil for my birthday in Primary.  This small thought played a part in my going to church that day.  I didn’t know which class I was in or where they met, I hadn’t previously talked much to the other youth in my ward.  I don’t remember who I sat with or how I got there.  But I went and I was happy to be there!  I decided in the middle of Young Women’s that from that day forward I wouldn’t stop coming to church.

The same summer in the next month was girl’s camp, and my first year as a YCL (youth camp leader).  I almost didn’t go because I didn’t really feel like I knew anyone I would be there with.  But I ended up going and I’m really glad I did.  The Spirit pierced my heart that week.  During the Thursday night devotional and testimony meeting with my ward, I stood up to bear my testimony, something I never had previously done.  “I don’t know what I know; I just know that I know,” was the only way I could describe the feelings I had.  It gave me hope and a sense of purpose.  Girl’s camp and the events leading up to it sealed the deal for me, and I’ve never looked back!

It was tough though, to start over.  I was halfway through high school, established like everyone else, I had finally made friends I felt accepted with, and here I was, abandoning everything I previously “knew” for some glimmer of hope of the unknown future.  I tried to run with a different crowd where people were on the same page spiritually as me, though I never really completely felt like I belonged through the rest of high school.  It wasn’t an easy transition, but I was solid in my determination to stay true to what I knew.  Seminary was my rock through the rest of high school and a daily source of spiritual strength and rejuvenation.

Since then it’s gotten much easier and has become a joy to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  I’ve had a great time learning and growing through college, married life, and motherhood.  The Gospel is everything to me, and though part of me wishes I would have had a more spiritual childhood, I’m grateful for the experiences in my life because they have helped make me strong in my faith of Jesus Christ and brought me to where I am today.

My life is not free of challenges, nor is it free of mistakes.  I constantly have to be on guard and make sure I try my hardest to choose the higher ground and the better part.  I'm continually gaining testimony of the Gospel as I show my commitment to Him by living the eternal principles taught by prophets of old in the scriptures and modern prophets in our day.  My conversion is a process as I am converted to choosing daily to follow Christ.

We all face trials, and we all experience heartache.  I know what it’s like to be lost, and I also know what it’s like to be found.  Nothing else in this life can bring greater and truer and more lasting happiness and peace than following Jesus Christ and living His Gospel.  I am eternally grateful and feel hugely blessed to have the Gospel in my life!

Elder Bednar -- Converted unto the Lord

P.S. -- I feel like I need to mention that there have been countless good people throughout every part of my life so far who have had positive influences on me no matter how long or short our association has been.  It would be impossible for me to list the people or the instances but know that if you have come across my path, you have put a drop or two or many in my testimony & conversion lamp.  Even still today!  Keep being good people in the lives of others, I know you are blessing many with your goodness by simply being you!  THANK YOU from me and everyone else's life you have touched!

12 comments:

  1. Wonderful story! My childhood was similar. My parents didn't make the best choices and us children were left to find our own spirituality. From a very young age I determined that I would go to church. I was the odd man out. Often going by myself. Walking to and from church. I didn't know why. Everything in my life went the other direction. But I couldn't not go to church. I knew it was where I was supposed to be. I have remained the only active member of my family until a couple months ago when my mom told me she was going to do everything she could to get her temple recommend. She will have it in a few months. I still don't know why I was so determined as a child and young woman to go on my own but I know that it has been the greatest decision of my life. I have prayed daily for my family to come back. Slowly they will. ☺

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    1. It's amazing the joy that comes into our lives as we follow the Spirit, even when we don't know why at the moment! And it's such a sweet and tender feeling to watch your family come back! Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. I love this Kami! I remember you right before you started coming to church regularly. I am so incredibly proud of the woman you have become. I appreciate the phrase about constantly needing to try your hardest to choose the higher ground. I love that. I needed that thought! Thank you for your example. -You are pretty amazing.

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    1. Thanks Cherise! I'm glad you could take something away and use it to inspire you! :)

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  3. I rarely (almost never) read blogs! Only because there are so many good ones out there and I would spend all my time reading! But I saw yours tonight and wanted to read. I loved reading your conversion story as I remember you at all phases of your life and always thought you were a sweet, strong spirit (even with blue hair!) I love Trissa and Weslin too for their strength and courage to stay strong in the gospel! You have good parents that taught you some great values and you put those values in the right place and the right time to become the amazing young woman and mother you are today. Thanks for sharing! Love,Dana

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    1. Thanks Dana, I have had lots of good people who helped nudge me in the right direction and you are certainly one of them!! :) <3

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  4. Oh my hecky becky! My daughter used my computer and it shows me as Jeff Miller! It is Dana Elmer! Even when my kids are all grown up they still steal my identity!

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  5. Kami you are one in a million! I remember your younger years as well and I also remember how much I loved you then as I do now. Living the gospel is wonderful. There will be times that you will have to reflect on your younger years for your children, and they will see how much you've grown over the years and it will be priceless! You are a fantastic woman! May you be blessed in your efforts to serve the Lord and your family. I love you

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  6. Kami you are one in a million! I remember your younger years as well and I also remember how much I loved you then as I do now. Living the gospel is wonderful. There will be times that you will have to reflect on your younger years for your children, and they will see how much you've grown over the years and it will be priceless! You are a fantastic woman! May you be blessed in your efforts to serve the Lord and your family. I love you

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  7. It's a pretty crazy ride we are on, this life of ours. It took a special kind of girl to figure out on her own what she needed to do to be "traveling" properly. Yes you had great influences to guide you along, but I believe you will be eternally blessed for having made these choices all on your own. It's how we find true joy! And that can't be found any other way. You can try to find it by pursuing other things, but you'll search the rest of your life without success. Faithfully living the gospel is the only way to lasting joy, and you found it! I'm so proud of you, as a daughter, as a wife, as a mom. You're enjoying the journey!

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  8. Sweet kami..I remember you bringing your two younger siblings and sitting in sacrament meeting and thinking...that girl has got it! Who else at 16 would be brave enough to do that? Not me!
    You amazed me then...you amaze me now! It has been a joy to watch you grow and mature in the gospel. I'll never forget the example you were to your siblings back then.
    Heavenly Father loves you and has many great and wonderful things in store for you and your beautiful family.

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