I grew up never knowing my real father. Sure, the man who raised me and taught me his trade (carpentry) was a good enough guy, but there was always something missing in my life. Sometimes I felt like a burden, like my parents didn’t really want me around. Once they left me at the temple and forgot all about me for a couple of days. Needless to say, I had self-esteem issues. Through my teens and twenties I let myself go spiritually and physically. I wanted to be different, so I adopted a hippie style, letting my hair and beard grow out and wearing ratty old robes and sandals. I felt like I had hit bottom when I was invited to a wedding, and it turned out they just wanted me to bring the alcohol.
Confused and lost, I left home at age 30 and went from town to town looking for meaning in my life. I thought I had found my calling teaching people about being good to each other and healing the sick. I thought I’d made friends and finally felt like I belonged, but my friends deserted me when I needed them, and I ended up alone on a cross, wondering what had happened with my life.
But then two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knocked on my door. I was curious about a religion that coincidentally bore my name, so I invited them in. What they taught me changed my life.
Why I’m a Mormon
Since my baptism into the LDS church, I have learned that I have a purpose in life, that my time here on earth has meaning. I’ve cleaned myself up, trading the grunge look for a clean-cut, businesslike look. I don’t have to wander around among strangers desperately seeking validation through pathetic attempts at “charity.” Now I know that true fulfillment comes from dressing in white robes and sitting for a couple of hours to watch a film and recite oaths, signs, and tokens. I go to the temple three times a week to make up for lost time.
I’ve also become more humble. I recognize that it’s rather arrogant to presume I know more about medicine than qualified doctors, like my bishop, so I have stopped healing people just to show off. Besides, I keep very busy as my ward’s physical maintenance coordinator and as a stake public affairs representative (we are making a lot of progress towards helping people to see that we’re normal).
Some of my friends think I’m too focused on rules and “standards,” but I know that diligently reading my scriptures, paying tithing, and attending meetings has helped me become a better, more Christlike person. I am so grateful for a bishop and stake president who have the priesthood authority to declare me worthy to enter the temple. Having a temple recommend has shown me what it means to be clean and pure before God.
Someday, I hope to find a worthy eternal companion to take with me to the temple to be sealed for time and eternity. I thought I had found “the one,” but she turned out to have a problem with following the prophet. Seriously, how can you jeopardize your eternal destiny just so you can wear an extra pair of earrings?
I know that we are led today by a living prophet, who stands at the head of the corporation sole, even The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Without his guidance, who knows what I would be doing with my life? I am grateful that he has shown us the way and the truth through bad poetry and shopping mall construction.
If you would like to find the same happiness I have, please contact the LDS church and have them send missionaries to teach you. You won’t regret it.