Before Sam and I got married, we talked about our opinions on church and religion and where we thought that would fit into our lives. I was raised Methodist, with a brief stint in a Bible-thumping Baptist church, turned post-divorce C & E’er (meaning I would go to church Christmas and Easter and occasionally at other times throughout the year). I had been burned, so to speak. I was looked down upon by my church family and pastor for getting a divorce. Who needs that kind of outside negativity in their life, when they are dealing with their own internal war? Besides, wasn’t the church a place of safety and love? Wasn’t the church a place for sinners like me to find acceptance and peace? So I pretty much walked away from “organized religion” and clung to my own personal belief in Christ and what salvation meant to me.
Once we were married, we tried a local church (back in PA) for a few weeks. We enjoyed parts of it, but we disliked other parts. We walked away from that experience with a mutual decision that these big churches with bands and large screens, just weren’t for us. We like tradition. We both enjoy traditional hymns, played on an organ. So, where did that leave us? Should we return to our childhood roots of a traditional Methodist church? Then Sam made a recommendation. A recommendation to try a church that he joined as a teen. A church that he still believed in…deeply: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I agreed, and within a week we were having our first lesson on church history and doctrine with two young missionaries from Utah.
So, fast forward to living here in MO about four months after beginning our quest for answers and investigating truth through the lessons that the missionaries have been teaching. (It has taken a little longer due to the hurdle of relocating!) Those lessons have answered questions that I’ve had about “religion” my entire life. Specifically, why do Mormon families always look so happy?!?! (and how can I get some of that?!) I don’t have all the answers. I’m still reading and learning. But I’m trusting and have faith that we are in the right direction. I feel a sense of peace and am closer to God than I’ve ever been in my entire church going life!
We have figured out what the missing piece was to our family puzzle…the church piece. Believe it or not, it’s a big one! We have found our church…our people. We are learning and taking steps every single day towards eternity with our Heavenly Father and our eternal family. We are happier, both individually and as a couple, knowing that God intends for families to be eternal, that it doesn’t just end here. I can’t tell you how much of a blessing that truth means to me!