27 Jun

LDS Convert Guest Post: Gina

Posted by Jenna, Under Religious

Someone on Formspring asked if I would share a guest post from someone who had converted to the Church, telling the story of how their life changed after joining the LDS Church and why they joined. I think they were hoping that TH would write a post (I was too), but he said he joined so long ago that he can’t remember. :) Gina saw the question and volunteered to write something up for me. I love her story and I hope you will as well.

First summer together

“HE’S WHAT?!?” I nearly screamed.

“He’s mormon.” My friend repeated of the boy who was close to becoming my boyfriend.

Thoughts flooded to my head, “polygamy, racism, patriarchal, brainwashed, cult….”

Everything I had heard about this religion went against this boy I knew. He was sweet, a complete gentleman with the utmost respect for women (I saw it especially in the way he treated his mother), he was smart–not just smart but intelligent. He wasn’t a follower. Most of all I saw happiness, it was a happiness I had not seen anywhere else. It radiated from his inner being.

Ultimately I trusted him and who he was. I decided that really all I knew about mormons wasn’t from mormons at all. I decided to go ahead with the relationship.

Nearly three years later I would have a complete stranger call me “a bleeping bigot” while trying to promote an Mormon activity on the University of Washington campus that I was attending.
I was Mormon.

My journey to becoming a Latter-Day Saint (which I prefer over being called Mormon because it lacks the stigmatization) was life changing.

I dated Kyle for a year before he left on a 2 year mission. During the year before he left he shared his faith with me and I shared my fears of faith with him. All my life I had not been interested in alcohol, smoking, or drugs. I was one of those teacher’s pet straight A students. I had a reputation for being a prude at school which I was fine with.

As Kyle shared the standards of the Church with me I felt more and more comfortable with the idea of Mormons. He challenged me to dress more modestly. He told me I was beautiful and that what truly made me beautiful was the way I respected my body. I didn’t need to show it off because my true beauty came from inside through my eyes. I became addicted to this philosophy. I love that people focus on my face, my eyes when they tell me I look pretty, or beautiful.

Last day together before he left on his mission

Kyle left on his mission and I promised to wait the two years for him. Little did I know that 3 months after he left, I would be getting baptized. Why? People always ask.

For him? A little.

Mostly it was because the gospel of Jesus Christ had entered my heart in a way I could never imagine. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught me beautiful things about myself, my purpose, and my future.

Baptism day

I waited to meet with missionaries until he left because I wanted to do it for myself. Yes, he was a part of it because he introduced me to the church but my joining was far beyond him. They asked me to get baptized at my first meeting, which is fairly unusual. I instinctively said yes. I remember being surprised by my answer. But I knew it was right because it came from my soul, my spirit. It was not debated between my heart and head. It was a pure choice. I have been so grateful for that experience.

My life has changed in small and big ways. Like I said the drinking alcohol, abstaining from drugs was easy. I never liked coffee growing up so that was easy too. Tea was a little more difficult but I felt like it was such a small thing to give up for all that the Lord had given up for me. I started going to Church every Sunday. In the past 4 years of being a member I have missed maybe 4 Sundays total. That was HUGE change from before. I was a holiday Catholic. I liked being at church but I felt no need to go every Sunday. Now I LOVED going to church. I wanted to go. I looked forward to the beautiful truths I would hear, my heart, mind, and spirit expanding each time.

So what were the BIG changes?

I had a new perspective on life. I had purpose, direction. I had a relationship with my Heavenly Father. I prayed to him everyday, I spoke to Him knowing He heard me. My relationship with the Savior was most impacted. The church explained His love and sacrifice to me in ways that I had never heard or understood elsewhere. The explanations and real experiences of prophets, apostles, teachers, and friends touched me. The atonement of Christ became very real in my life. It changed how I acted everyday. I wanted to use the gift Christ had given me. The forgiveness he offered to become something. To continually grow and change into the beautiful daughter that He saw in me. I felt my sins wash away as I was immersed fully in baptism. I felt His love. I wept.

Reading the scriptures was hard. If you do not grow up with them consistently, they can be difficult. Even though I was an English Lit major, I struggled. I still do. But I still find beauty in the words of God. Words that speak to me perfectly, like the words were written just for me. Accepting the Book of Mormon wasn’t difficult once I read it. It clarified questions that I had always wondered about. It taught me more about the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior.

Wedding day

The temple. I love the temple. As soon as I heard about the promise of being sealed to my family for all eternity I fell in love with the temple. I knew I wanted to be married there. There was no question about it. When Kyle returned from his mission, almost a year later we were married in the Seattle, Washington temple. My family was not there for the ceremony. I am sure it was difficult for them, it was difficult for me too. But they understood and accepted my faith. They saw how happy it made me and how important it was to me.

This leads me to the most asked question about my conversion, “How was your family?”

They were wonderful. My family is all about support in dreams, in aspirations, in hopes. I remember asking my mother why she was ok with it all and she said, “As long as my children aren’t destroying society I will support them in whatever they do,” (aka no killing, stealing, beating up people).

My friends had a more difficult time. Did I know I couldn’t have coffee? Wear a bikini? I wasn’t exactly a religious person, why now? All I knew was that an amazing relationship had grown from giving up these little things. I relationship I cherished. They seemed like such trivial things to give up in comparison to the blessings I was receiving.

The hardest change was telling people I was Mormon. I am proud to be Mormon, don’t get me wrong, but every time I tell someone, I think about those thoughts going through their head. Those thoughts I knew weren’t true. But it pains me to remember how judgmental I had once been. I hate that people might think that about me. My tactic is to let me faith come naturally. I let them get to know me for me and then when the opportunity arises I tell them.

This church has changed my life. I am a person that I always dreamed I could be. I have a deep testimony of my Heavenly Father, of His son Jesus Christ, of the Book of Mormon in testifying of the Savior’s divine ministry and the love of our Father. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the restored Church of Jesus Christ that was established in the New Testament. The blessings of the temple are real, the words of the prophet touch my heart and inspire me, I am grateful that I have direction in my life. Direction that is leading me closer to eternal life.

–Gina

Thanks Gina! If you’d like to read more about her life, please visit Gina at gidgetgoestorome.blogspot.com

I would love to post more LDS convert stories here! They can focus on how your lifestyle changed, how your friends and family reacted, what made you convert, bear your testimony, etc. If you’d like to write anonymously that would be fine as well. Please email me for submission guidelines if you are interested!

25 Comments


  1. These stories are all so beautiful and I love reading them :)

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  2. I still have so many questions!

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  3. Wonderful story, Gina! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Loved that story! Thanks so much for sharing! I also love your wedding picture – you both look so happy and beautiful. I’m so glad you’ve found the church and that you and your husband have this wonderful story and past to draw from!

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  5. Marissa C says:

    Please don’t take this as rude or condemning your decision–I’m truly interested. As a Catholic, I always wonder whether former Catholics, especially “Holiday Catholics” as you called yourself ever look deeper into their own faith before making the decision to pursue another. I’m not just talking about LDS, but other religions as well. My aunt is a similar story, though she felt hurt by the Catholic Church (came upon a very rude priest) and I think that prompted her to look at other religions. Just wondering :)

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    Sophia Reply:

    I’ve wondered this as well. It seems as though most converts to the Church- not all, but most stories I’ve heard- have grown up with some sort of Christian denomination in their life that they were kind of ambivalent about. So, they already had the Christian framework in place, and then they learn about Mormonism- usually at a time when they’re ready to be more committed to religion in general- they’re older, thinking about family, heading off to college and wondering what to do with their life, etc. As you clarified, my comment isn’t meant to denigrate the sincerity of the conversion either, but there does seem to be a bit of a pattern of the background of a typical convert. When I was dating my LDS bf, there were jokes about how the Catholic church gives Mormons the most converts (the jokes weren’t in bad taste, or insulting to Catholicism).

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    Gina Prescott Reply:

    Good question. My mom is Catholic and my father is Episcopalian. We went to both churches growing up. Sometimes more than just the holidays, but sometimes not. As I got older, it was definitely more just the holidays. I went to a private Catholic middle school and took religion courses taught by a very kind and loving priest. I remember a lot of His lessons. He definitely taught me a lot about Christ and his life. I remember sometimes though things wouldn’t make sense to me. The trinity especially and the Catholic confession process. As I looked into the LDS church, many things were clarified to me. Mostly I remember feeling the spirit during the lessons. The things they were teaching me felt like I had heard them before.That was the main difference between my experiences, there was a power in their words that I recognized and couldn’t deny. They were comforting. I think the reason a lot of the convert stories are similar (a lot of converts come with a background) is that Heavenly Father prepares us to receive His message. I truly believe that. That Heavenly Father placed me in a specific situation and gave me lessons that helped, and lessons that left me searching for more and finding that in the Church of Jesus Christ.

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    Kacey Reply:

    My husband is also a convert to the LDS faith. (He was raised Lutheran.) And I’m going to agree with Gina–I believe being raised with a religious background prepared him for his conversion at 15. He knew of Christ so it helped him recognize the gospel of Christ when he heard it. He wasn’t necessarily looking for a new faith, either. A friend introduced him the The Church and he just knew it was true. I know that wasn’t a coincidence…Heavenly Father prepared the way.

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    Marissa C Reply:

    You know, thinking more about it, it really doesn’t surprise me there are a lot of Catholic–>LDS converts. While I truly believe in the Catholic Church, it seems the LDS Church does a much better job explaining their faith to their members and making it a living, breathing part of their daily life. Sadly, if my mother hadn’t made our faith a huge part of our lives growing up, I wouldn’t have bothered to search out the answers to my questions later in life, which only served to make my faith stronger.

    Though there are some definite, fundamental doctrinal differences, the LDS Church seems to espouse a lot of the same moral issues and emphasis on family that the Catholic Church does (but really could do better at in practice), and I can see how a Catholic could find a home in that.

    Really, I admire how the LDS Church makes sure its members understand what they believe and are committed to it. A Catholic can born born and raised Catholic, attend Catholic schools, and still have no idea what their church really believes unless they do a lot of work to seek it out on their own. I see a lot of “lukewarm” or “Cafeteria” Catholics out there, but very few “lukewarm” LDS members. I may not agree with the beliefs, but bravo on the execution of them.

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    Annie Reply:

    I was a Catholic but am very close to converting to LDS. The problem with being a Catholic, in my experience, is that you fall in love with the traditions and faith in general, but SO many Catholics are only secular Catholics and half of them don’t believe in God. Then on the other end of the spectrum you’ve got so many hypocrites- priests who say to respect life and reign in sexuality are abusing little boys. Or you’ve got the nutso Catholics who think all pro-choicers and gays should be shot. You start to wonder if this is really a religion or just a social thing. You start looking for a religion with similar traditions but fewer hypocrites, who believe in the eternal permanence of family – that’s a big big draw, btw- and you find the LDS church.

    Gina, your story was absolutely beautiful. You and your husband are THE most adorable couple I have EVER seen!!! I agree with you 100 percent. I also feel uncomfortable telling people that I plan to become a Mormon. I’m not ashamed of it at all, but I don’t like the judgements!!!

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    Marissa C Reply:

    WIth all due respect, how much have you looked into what the Catholic Church really teaches? Every religion has its hypocrites, and with the size of the Catholic Church and the 2000 years of history it has, there are bound to be many who call themselves Catholic but may be only in the loosest sense of the term. Don’t judge the faith on those who practice it (or at least solely on those who practice it)–made your decision based on the beliefs, whether it is LDS or Catholicism.

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  6. Jenna. I’m a convert. Got baptized on my 18th birthday after waiting almost three years. I’d love to write a post.

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  7. Jeannie says:

    I loved reading your story, Gina. Thank you for sharing. And I loved that you attended UW and the Seattle Institute!! (At least it looked like the downstairs of the institute bldg. in your baptism picture.) That’s where I met my husband– we sang in the choir together. :) Your experience is inspiring and your testimony has strengthened my own. My family couldn’t attend our temple wedding either. And though it was difficult that day, they have been blessed immensely over the years by our decision to be married in the House of the Lord.

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  8. Gina thanks so much for sharing your story with us! Your wedding picture is gorgeous!

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  9. I love your wedding picture;you’re so beautiful! How is the Book of Mormon different from the Bible?

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    Gina Reply:

    The Book of Mormon correlates with the Bible. We use both to study and understand our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and their plan for us. The Book of Mormon is set in the Americas after a family in Jerusalem is commanded to leave. We believe that the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God only once by Joseph Smith. So its translation is untainted by the beliefs and philosophies of intellectuals and those without power or authority. The Bible had undergone many translations (which were necessary for the word to be spread) but it wasn’t done by the power of God and many personal interpretations were inserted. The Book of Mormon clarifies some confusing aspects of the Bible, but really it just supports the belief in the Savior and his mission on earth and all that He has done for us. It testifies of His divinity and love for us. One of my favorite chapters is when Christ visits the Americas after his resurrection in Israel. It’s beautiful to read.

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    Paula Reply:

    Another big difference is that the Bible was written from collections of writings and too many authors to count beginning in about 3000 BC to about 300 AD. It’s very hard to pinpoint when the first of the Old Testament writings may have been written, and there’s much debate over exactly when the Gospels (New Testament aka Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were “finalized.” In both the OT and NT, it’s believed by academics that there were many original source documents that informed/inspired the texts that have since been canonized. Those source texts have been found in some instances, and are just theories in others.

    The Book of Mormon was first published in 1830, so it comes nearly 1500 years after the last of the New Testament was written.

    I don’t mean to open a can of worms around the unfallible word of God, but if you look at the academic study of when the texts were written, it’s really fascinating. The history of the Bible was one of my favorite parts of Divinity School :)

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  10. Thanks for sharing this. You two both look like really happy people!

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  11. Interesting read, thanks for sharing your story! You’re a great couple and seem like a wonderful person. I just wanted to give you a word of encouragement on people assuming things about your faith – keep your head high and keep explaining yourself well. I’m in a different boat (atheist, former Lutheran) but people do the same thing – assume I’m a devil worshipper with no morals, or upset with god, etc – and it’s annoying to no end. If we all spoke openly with each other and listened without contempt, the world would be a much better place!

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  12. What a wonderfull depiction on how religion has changed someone for the better. Not only did it bring her closer to her true faith but the person she was ment to spend the rest of her life with.

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  13. I am more of a spiritual person than religious, but I have always found other people’s beliefs to be sooo interesting. Thank you for sharing your story! You are a gorgeous couple!

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  14. I would love to share my conversion story! How would I do that? I believe that conversion stories are some of the most powerful things you can ever share. It correlates so closely to my testimony!

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    Jenna Reply:

    I’ll email you!

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  15. I would love to share my story as well…I actually have a blog where I do just that, I would love for you to read it Jenna (it would be an honor, i love your blog!) I started it for my family…so they could understand what ‘my story’ is, but also for others to read…you’ll have to start with the very first post :]

    Kristen

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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