In the spring of 1992 I was pregnant with my daughter. I had been an Anglican all my life, having attended regular services with my parents, Sunbeams, Sunday School, and Confirmation classes. I had been a substitute organist for the parish of which I was a part since the age of eleven or twelve. By all accounts, I considered myself an active Anglican even after leaving home to attend university. Thus, it was with some trepidation that my boyfriend and I were asked to meet with my priest.
The Reverend was very polite to us and was obviously concerned. She asked us many questions about our intentions and was quite dismayed to hear that we did not know if we were going to wed. She informed us that if we did not get married then our child would be ‘a sin and an abomination’. I was shocked. How could this be true? Well, our child would be a bastard unless we married before she was born. I asked why this was based on the date of marriage rather than the date of conception. I received no satisfactory answer, and asked,for further clarification, about my next door neighbour who was one year older than me, also pregnant and also unmarried. I was assured that her child would be fine as she and her fiance were getting married while she was six months pregnant. I was astounded. How could her child be fine in the eyes of the God while mine would be ‘a sin and an abomination’? I commented that I felt that if anyone was a sin and an abomination it should be my daughter’s father and me, not an innocent child, and was told that if we got married, our child would be fine, too. With a heavy heart I stated that if that was what Anglicans believed, then I was not an Anglican.
Thus began my search to find a religion that I could believe in with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I began reading anything I could find about any religion. I had grown up in a family culture where I was very close to my cousins and often spent nights and weekends at their homes, always going to church with them when the opportunity arose, had attended special services at churches with the Girl Guides, and had completed a Religion course in high school that studied the beliefs of various faiths. As a result, I was somewhat familiar with many churches already, and read to further my knowledge about them. United, Catholic, Salvation Army, Pentecost, Jehovah’s Witness…none of them seemed right for me. Over the next couple of years I branched out into non-Christian religious readings, but again, did not find anything that was right for me.
Yet, I do not want to appear as though I found these churches and religious beliefs completely wrong, for I didn’t. Without fail, I always found something good, something that I believed was true…but never an entirety of belief that I could call mine.
Then, in 1995 I saw a television ad for a free Book of Mormon. I had not read anything about Mormonism nor did I have any first-hand experience with this church as there was no Mormon church where I grew up. I called the number and requested one. A few months later I had read parts of it, had met with the missionaries several times, and had started a search to find out as much as I could about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Then I accepted a two year teaching position in Canada’s Arctic, in an area that had no LDS church. I took all my literature with me – both pro-LDS and anti-LDS- and continued to study and learn about the Church. The more I read, the more I liked, but I still had many, many questions.
In 2000 I acccepted a kindergarten position in a little town in mid-western Ontario. I started meeting with the missionaries again, where my questions were slowly being answered. In late November a mother of one of my students who volunteered every afternoon in my classroom gave me an invitation to a Christmas Creche activity at her church – a tiny LDS branch about forty minutes from my home. She was pleasantly surprised to see my daughter and me at the activity, and I began meeting the missionaries at her home every week. Still, I had many, many questions.
One day in mid-June of 2001 this mother came to volunteer, as usual. I walked up to her and said, “Okay. It’s time.” “Time for what?” she replied. “Time to be baptized, of course,” I said. With a look of astonishment she asked me if I could come to her home that evening to review the missionary discussions. I knew that it was time to be baptized when I knew that I agreed with all of the doctrine of the Church, and could explain why I felt detractors of the Church were wrong in their assertions.
Two weeks later I was baptized by her husband, with her son – my student – giving the talk during the service. Four months after that my daughter was also baptized. There have been ups and downs, trials and tribulations, joy and sorrow along the way, but I have never looked back. I have a strong and true testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of Joseph Smith, of the Book of Mormon, and of the eternal nature of the family. I pray that as I share some of my experiences,understandings and beliefs, that others will come to know of these truths and understand them a little better.