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Former Methodist Church Members

 

A Witness of The Spirit
 

By Beth Young

 

I grew up in a home where we identified our religion as "Catholic". However, it was in name only because we only attended church for special holidays. It was a family tradition, not a profession of faith.

In my high school years my best friend was Methodist, so I joined her church and attended regularly. After a year I took their confirmation classes and was looking forward to being confirmed into their church because they had shown a movie about the gift of the Holy Ghost and I was eager to feel that acceptance from Heavenly Father.

When I was formally confirmed a member of their church, as several ministers laid their hands on my head I was eagerly awaiting a witness of the spirit. Unfortunately, I felt nothing but heavy hands on my head, no witness of the spirit. I was so disappointed and figured I just wasn't good enough.

I still continued to be involved in the youth program and served as an usher each Sunday. My journey to develop faith in Christ was slow baby steps and I had a longing to know more but didn't know where I could find the answers.

My senior year in high school I was involved in student government and became acquainted with a young man who was a Mormon. Due to my responsibilities in student government, I would work with him on projects at his home and became acquainted with his parents. He would leave for baseball practice and his mom and I would have discussions that always led to religion.

As I was preparing to go away to Northern Arizona University for school, his mother said something that would change my life forever. "If you want to get involved with kids like you that don't smoke, drink or are unchaste, go visit the Institute of Religion. You can take religion classes and meet a bunch of nice kids."

My roommate at school was my Methodist Ministers' daughter. So the first week at school she and I went to the local Methodist church. It was so different from our church back home, and we didn't feel like we fit in, so we never went back.

A week later I decided to try my friends suggestion and check out the Mormon Institute of Religion. When I walked into the building, it felt warm and welcoming, it felt like I was home.

I was met by the secretary who quickly introduced me to the director of the institute. He was a gentle and kind man whom listened to my story and my desire to take a Bible study class. (None of this Book of Mormon stuff for me!)

He kindly obliged and arranged to fit me into a class where we studied the New Testament. He also asked me if I had ever considered being in a sorority? I explained I had no interest in sororities because I didn't drink and they didn't represent what I wanted to associate myself with.

He explained that Lambda Delta Sigma was a Mormon sorority and they had the same high stands that I possessed and their focus was on Jesus Christ and Christ-like attributes. He invited me to check it out by attending their rush week.

Much to my surprise, all the girls in Lambda Delta Sigma were of high moral standards, very nice and a pleasure to be with.

Soon I found myself heavily involved in Lambda Delta Sigma and the Institute program. I developed close friends who accepted me, had similar standards and had a deep love for the Savior.

It wasn't long before I was taking the missionary discussions. I'll never forget my first discussion, the Elders showed me the movie of The First Vision. It struck me with such power that I wept and didn't know what I was feeling. I soon learned what the Spirit of the Holy Ghost felt like as it testified of the many truths I was learning.

My journey of faith was rapid as I eagerly tried to learn, understand and begin to apply the many truths they taught me each week. I soon decided to be baptized and was eager to feel the gift of the Holy Ghost, but I was a bit nervous....what if I still didn't feel any different?

The day of my baptism was also the day I was formally initiated into the LDS sorority. I fasted and was eager to enjoy this day of spiritual feasting.

After I was baptized I felt such joy and peace, but I was still a little nervous about being confirmed. The father of my friend who introduced me to the church was going to confirm me after I was baptized.

I'll never forget how nervous I was as the men with the Holy Priesthood of God laid their hands upon my head to confirm me. As he began the prayer it immediately felt as if my head was on fire. The heat radiated throughout my whole body and I wept tears of joy and gratitude. I was so thankful to Father for the physical witness that He knew was the unspoken desire of my heart.

At the conclusion of the prayer, the man who officiated slumped to a nearby chair and commented that it had been such a powerful experience that it made him weak.

My journey of faith has continued for the past 28 years. My faith has grown in ways I never new were possible. I realize I'm just a few steps into the true journey, yet the depth of my love and gratitude for our Savior is unfathomable. The strength and comforting peace I feel as I live the Gospel of Jesus Christ keeps me humbly serving and testifying of Him, my Redeemer.



 

 

 

 

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