My Why

I was born and raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I loved the church and always had a strong testimony as a young child and early teen. When I was 14, our family moved to Utah after spending almost a decade overseas. I was used to being the minority when it came to being a church member. All of a sudden, there were members everywhere. Utah culture is unique, especially when you have such a high demographic of Latter-Day Saints. It was during this time that my testimony started to crumble. I allowed the actions of others to dictate my testimony, and instead of following the Savior and forgiving others, I did the opposite. I became angry and bitter and would wallow in all of the hurtful actions of others.

What might surprise many is that even though I was not forgiving, I still served a mission. Those 18 months helped me have a stronger foundation of the gospel, and teaching others and seeing them choose Christ grew my testimony by leaps and bounds.

Like many, I was endowed before me serving a mission. I loved how I felt when I was in the temple, but I also was intimidated every time I went. So I stopped going and ignored our prophet’s counsel to attend the temple regularly. Life went by, and I married the love of my life in the San Diego temple. We had two kids and just kept plugging along.

Throughout my life, I had one influence in my life that was negative, and I fed on that negativity and found myself becoming negative too. I remember once my mom saying to me, you don’t want to be that person that when you enter a room people find reasons to leave.” I was turning into that person and did not like it. My testimony was hanging by a thread. At one point I told my husband I was done and couldn’t do it anymore. His response was, “that is a deal breaker.” I know that sounds mean, but when we were dating, he was semi-active, and I had just come home from my mission and used those exact words on him at the beginning of our courtship.

Because my testimony was hanging on by a thread, I leaned on my husband’s testimony. I did what the scripture in Alma 32:27 “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than a desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.”

I did just that, that little desire I had, and held onto it. In the meantime, I took an inventory of my life. At this point, I still had a negative influence that was not doing me any good. Out of nowhere, that negative influence was gone. I had no warning and was left confused and hurt. I decided to pray at this time because I did not know what else to do. I prayed as I had never prayed before. I poured my heart out to the Lord and just talked to him like He was sitting beside me. As I closed my prayer, a clear impression came to my mind. “Regardless of the negative influences in your life, you are unforgiving and angry at everyone and everything.” Needless to say, I was shocked and went right back to my knees, asked for forgiveness, and asked what I needed to do to correct my wrongs. Over the next few months, I focused on the repentance process. This process looks different for everyone. It meant going to specific people I knew I had hurt because of the anger I held in my heart. It was not easy, and I often prepared myself to get a tongue-lashing. Most people were kind and loving. For the first time, I felt like I could breathe and no longer needed to lean on my husband for my faith.

I started dedicating specific time for scripture study and could tell the days I missed my scripture study. During all this, my husband suggested we go to the temple. But I was afraid and kept putting him off. Finally, I decided that my birthday would be the first time I would return to the temple. So in July 2018, I went to the temple after many years of absence. I had a lot of anxiety that day because it had been so long, and I thought the temple workers would judge me. I was mistaken; no one judged me. I judged myself. I was so worried they would see this almost 40-something women who did not know what she was doing. It turns out that was what the adversary wanted me to believe.

By the end of 2018, this persistent thought kept coming to my mind. I knew I was turning 40 in 2019 and decided that I wanted to attend the temple 40 times before I turned 40. I have a July birthday, so I only had seven and a half months to complete this goal. When the clock struck midnight and 2019 commenced, my journey began. Little did I know where that journey would take me and who I would become along the way.