Early July Morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Are You A Pioneer? YES!

When we think of Pioneers, we think of those people who, long ago, went west to settle that vast area. These people were strong and experienced many things...both good and bad. 

The other day, I was reading an article which asked the question..."Are you a pioneer?"  I have heard people talk about their pioneer heritage and have marveled at the many stories they have shared. My first response to that question would be, "No." But then as I read on, I found that, well, maybe I am a pioneer. 

The definition of a pioneer is someone who was the first. That could mean the first to attend college, or even graduate from high school. Maybe you were the first to play a varsity sport. There are a lot of ways that any of us can be pioneers. I would like to share my pioneer story with you.

I grew up going to a Catholic school and yet was a member of the Baptist Church. I remember my mom taking us three girls to church every Sunday. We attended the First Baptist Church in our hometown. I was about eight when I was baptized there. As the years went by, I started have many questions. I remember one time talking to our minister about some of them, and the answers I got disturbed me. 

One question I had was what happens to us after we die? Will we know our parents? Our family and friends? The answer I got was, "No. We will have no recollection of this earth life." Now I do know that many Baptist Churches believe in an after life. This particular minister did, but how he explained it to me, that we would not know our parents in heaven as our parents on earth, seemed so, well, not right. What is the purpose of this life anyway?

As I asked more questions, I can remember the minister telling me that I should not question God. Well, I was not questioning Him, I just wanted to know Him better. Soon after this, at the age of about 12, I quit going to that church. Our congregation at the time was loosing a lot of members due to some type of uproar, which I won't get into. My mom also felt uneasy, and so we started going to other churches...all Baptist, just different congregations. 

Eventually, my best friend and I decided to start visiting other religions. We went to all kinds, but still, I was not getting my questions answered, and I felt uncomfortable at these other places. By the time I was 14, I was not going to any church, and I was also not attending the Catholic school anymore. I was in high school. 

The second semester of my Sophomore year, I met a girl who was a Mormon. I really did not know much about Mormons, just that the Osmond's were Mormon. Not quite sure I even realized it was a religion.

One day, my friend came to lunch with some strange looking gold book. She had given a speech about her religion...Mormon. Hmmm. I started asking questions...A LOT of them, and she was able to answer ALL of them. Hmmm..I was very interested in this church. By the time we were graduating from high school, we were pretty good friends, and she was heading out to a Mormon school in Idaho. 

Our family was about to embark on a six week trek across the country from Florida all the way to California, into Mexico, up the West Coast of the US, into Canada, and then down through the Rocky Mountain States and then home. One place we were going through was Utah, and my friend suggested we go to Temple Square. 

I loved Temple Square. I loved everything about it, and before we left, I filled out a card so that I could receive more information about the church. Several weeks after we got home (I had forgotten all about getting information), my information showed up...in the form of two young men. We let them in, and they proceeded to teach us about the church. 

After several visits, my dad told the missionaries that we were not interested. I was very sad, because I was interested. I pretty much thought that was the end of that, but soon, my friend returned from college for Christmas break. We hung out a lot together during that two weeks...I even attended a church meeting with her. She eventually went back to school, but ended up coming home for the summer, and that is when I really started to do my investigating of the Mormon Church.

Long story short, I ended up going to the church college with my friend, and it was there I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Six months later, my mom joined. It has been 36 years since I was baptized into the church, and it was the best decision I have EVER made. Because of the Mormon Church, I am who I am today. If it was not for the church, I hate to think where I would be...not a good thought. 

Many do not understand that members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day saints are indeed Christian. One thing that impressed my mom when she was learning about Mormons, is that everything we do, is in the name of Jesus Christ. When she was learning about the church, she was a Baptist Sunday School teacher, and found that in her lessons she was actually using the Book of Mormon to clarify many of the teachings in her class. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ, it helps to understand the Bible. The Bible and the Book of Mormon go hand in hand in testifying of the Savor and his atoning sacrifice for ALL of us.

As members of the church, we are far from perfect, but we strive to head in that direction. Most of us try to be good examples, we pray to our Heavenly Father for guidance and direction, and we read scriptures often, many times daily. Family is very important, and we believe that if we live in accordance to our teachings and through our temples we can live with our families forever.

If you want to know more we have a great website mormon.org. Also at the top right of my blog there is a link (I'm A Mormon) to part of my testimony. Or you can just click here. You can check that out, and even read testimonies of other members. I hope you check it out. 

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