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Former Non-Denominational Member

 

"Generations Of Accepting the Gospel Of Jesus Christ"

By Adam Barnes

How can one begin to describe a life? A life time of activities? A life time of memories? Of love, of feelings, of experiences? A life time of different emotions; joy, happiness, pain, sorry, excitement, pride, and hope?

How can one begin to describe the beauty of a sunset? How may one go about describing a work of art, such as the Sistine chapel, to someone who has never seen it? What about the musical works of Beethoven and Mozart, to someone who has never heard them?

Have you ever climbed to the top of Mount Everest? What would a person who has say about it? How would they describe it? What about an astronaut that has seen the majesty of the Earth from space? How can you even begin to express your emotions at the awesome sight?

It is something very personal to them, and no matter how many adjectives are used, it is something that must be experience in order to truly understand it.

Such is the challenge for me when I was asked to speak on what being a member of this church means to me.

On July 24th, pioneer day, my family will celebrate our 19th anniversary of being baptized into this church. Into this ward, the Baybrook Ward, as a matter of fact. July 24th, 1988.

I remember it fairly well. I was 11 years old at the time. But let me give you some back story. I was raised going to sort of a non-denominational church. I remember the Sunday school lessons, learning the book of the bible, etc. I never had anything against it, but I would usually be glad when we didnít go because I could stay home and watch transformers or Voltron.

One day after not having been in a while, some one from the church came over and said that it was about time that I be baptized. "Baptized? What? Me? Why?"

For a while I went along with the idea, with the preparation. But when the time came, and the man came over to our house, I hesitated. Here he was at our house, ready to pick me up. I had a change of clothes and a towel, and everything. We were on our way to the church even, yet, I didnít want to go.

I hadnít been exactly looking forward to it or anything before, but now, when it was decision time, I said, "No. I donít want to."

Now, saying this was not a premeditated action. I didnít plan on going along with the plan for a while just to pull out at the last minute. But at that moment, I felt a strong, clear, and resolute impression. "Donít get baptized." There has been only a hand full of times in my life in which I "was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." This was the first of those.

"What? Come on, lets go!" the man said. I stepped back from him and said, "I donít want to." The man stepped forward towards me. But right then my dad held my shoulders and defended me. "If he doesnít want to, heís not going to."

I felt so relieved to have my dad stick up for me. I felt then that somehow, my dad was slightly relieved that I had said no.

So, we continued to struggle with church. Being a kid, I didnít realize what my parents were going through spiritually. They wanted more in their religion. They were searching for the truth, even though they didnít realize it at the time.

After a while, I think we stopped going to church altogether. That was fine with me; I wouldnít have to dress up anymore. But, while I was seeing the short term gains, my parents were looking for something much more. Read [John 4:7-14]

My folks had been taking sips of the water from the water. Their thirst would be temporarily satisfied, but soon, it would return. They were looking for the "well of water springing up into everlasting life." That is where it all started.

One day at a little shop my mom used to run, she was talking to an old friend about church, and how she was currently in-between religions. It just so happened that there was a Mormon stake missionary in that shop who couldnít help but over hear this conversation between my mom and her friend.

Once the friend had left, this faithful stake missionary headed the prompting and bore her testimony of "her church". She mentioned that she had two friends of hers that were full-time missionaries, and that they would love to come over and tell her more about the church if my mom wanted.

Not wanting to be rude, my mom courteously accepted, thinking that it would just be another get together of "churchy people" where not much would come out of it. But a week or two later there came a knock at the door. It was two sister missionaries! Girls?! I didnít know they sent girls!

They each had smiles that would light a room. They were oozing happiness and were beaming with the Spirit. We welcomed them into our home, and quickly we were talking about the pleasures of life. Even my dad sat in on the discussion!

Scuba diving, art, stuffed animals and Barbie dolls were all brought up. We loved having them over again and again. We quickly felt a love for them and them for us. To this day, the Sisters hold a special place in my heart.

Needless to say, we were quickly becoming very involved in investigating the church. Many members of the ward were instrumental in our fellowship. Brother Canon, who was the ward mission leader at the time, played a vital role in helping us over come some trials.

And when the time came to be baptized, I said yes. I jumped up and smiled. "Yes!" I knew then, that I had said no earlier for a reason. I knew that this was right. A year later, we were sealed together in the Dallas Temple.

This leads me to one of the most significant reasons why I love this church so much, the Temple. The sacred sealing power of the priesthood. The eternal nature of families.

Everything that is good in my life, I have because of this church. Without this church, I would not have gotten baptized. I would not have been sealed to my parents and sister.

I would not have served a two year mission to Brazil, (my second favorite country on earth), and there I wouldnít have met and taught the wonderful people and eternal friends there.

Often I have thought about that wonderful sister missionary, Sister Green, and the results of her righteous actions. Her relatively small action has lead to generations of people hearing and accepting the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ. I can only hope that one day we will all see each other in the celestial kingdom.

And then there is MY family. My wife and our children. I canít even think about them without tearing up. Without this church, I would not have met my eternal companion, Katherine, without whom I cannot even imagine living without.

Without this church, we would not have been sealed for time and all eternity in the holy temple. And of course, we would not have had our 3 wonderful children Michael, Matthew, and Ryan. They bring me so much joy, so much happiness, so much pride. My family is my life, and without the church, I would not have had my family.

And so you see, brothers and sisters, how difficult it is for me to convey in words what being a member of this church means to me. That is why the Spirit can teach it far better than I. It is my prayer that it does so today.


 

 

 

 

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