Sunday, January 18, 2009

Our Story - Part 3

Mark - The missionary discussions went well, however I continued to be an unusual investigator. I had no trouble accepting most parts of the Gospel as it was presented to me. I struggled only on two points. I accepted Joseph Smith as a prophet (who else would have translated such an amazing set of scripture as the Book of Mormon). Yet I didn't accept that there was a modern-day prophet. Why? Well as it was explained to me, it sounded like there was a dictator that was in charge of the Church and everyone blindly followed him. I was assured that I could read and hear what he said and decide for myself if it was true. That sounded good.

Then in what was probably the most comical moment, I told the missionaries that I wasn't sure that I had a testimony. They kind of laughed and shared with me my own words that I had said to them when I first met them. They also reminded me of the prayers I had made to know the truth and the impressions I had had afterwards. There was nothing left for me to do other than to set a date for my baptism.

That day came on November 13, 1993. I was only nineteen years old at the time. I went to my baptism having no doubts or regrets at all. I knew what I was doing. It felt like it was what I had been looking for my entire life. I was so energized with new feelings that immediately after my baptism, I turned to the Elder that had baptized me and asked him it would be alright if I gave my testimony. I got that familiar amazed stare from him as he said "sure, why not?". After my confirmation, I shared with everyone what was in my heart. It was amazing even to me. But the gifts that Heavenly Father would have for me would not end there.

Afterwards, I was standing to the side shaking hands with everyone. One hand shake in particular made an immediate impact on me. It was electric in fact. I stared into the eyes of the young woman who stood before me. Something was strange, very wonderful but strange about those eyes. I never wanted to let go of her hand. I thought to myself, "Don't let go. Please don't let go", over and over. I think she finally pulled her hand away after an awkwardly long time. I tried to make sense of what happened. I thought to myself, "Was she someone I was to date?" I quickly dismissed the thought. After all she had her boyfriend standing right next to her. I felt foolish for having such a thought and dismissed the whole experience as just some strange event.

Julie - Dating Von was wonderful but confusing. It seemed like we were always spending time together and always on the phone with each other. I would go over to his apartment and cook him dinner. And he would help me with writing my college papers on his computer. At the same time though, he would say that we weren't "in a relationship". But for me actions were louder than words and certainly felt like we were in one. Why else would we hold hands and continue to spend so much time together?

One of my callings at Church during this time was to prepare the Sunday Bulletin and also make programs for baptisms if someone asked. The missionaries called to say that there was going to be a baptism and asked if I could put together a program? They also wanted to know if the Young Single Adults would come to the baptism to support the new convert as he was a young adult as well. They said that he would appreciate being welcomed to the ward and being invited to some Young Single Adult activities.

I told the missionaries that I'd be happy to do that and was given all the important information. I talked to Von and the other Young Single Adults and we all agreed to go to the baptism and show our support. We even decided afterwards, to have a little welcome party at one of the other young adult's house to watch videos and hang out.

Von and I went to the baptism together. I had never met Mark before. I was surprised by how young he looked. I thought to myself "This guy couldn't be over twelve years old" (or so he looked to me). You could really feel the Spirit during the baptism. After Mark was confirmed, everyone was a little shocked when he got up and bore his testimony. He sounded like he had been a member of the Church for years. This guy was just a little bit different.

When the baptism was over, I went up to congratulate Mark and let him know about the Young Single Adult activity. When we went to shake hands, it was like someone had hit me with a bolt of electricity. I can't remember what we talked about as I stood there looking into his eyes. I can remember thinking "would you let go of my hand" and hearing a voice in my head saying "don't let go, please don't let go". This was so confusing. What was Heavenly Father trying to tell me? I already had a boyfriend.

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