Hi, I'm Amanda, and I'm a Mormon missionary!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Probably One of the Weirdest Conversion Stories You'll Ever Hear

People are always saying "I WILL NEVER DATE A NON-MEMBER!" You know, that's a good rule, so you don't lower your standards. However, there is this weird story that I'm going to tell you where dating a non-member was a GREAT idea.
It's called my conversion.
I'm not saying that the "flirt to convert" philosophy works often, but it does work sometimes!
It all started in 8th grade. I got the romantic lead in our middle school play, "Guys and Dolls," and this kid Jaden got the other. I had never seen him before in my life, and but thought he was pretty cute... and kind of awkward. Anyway, we had to kiss a lot on stage--and I was his first kiss, though he totally won't admit that. We tried to keep it professional, or at least as professional as an 8th grade play can be.
Weren't we adorable?

After a while, ALL the girls started being totally into him, and my very competitive self thought "hey, why not take this challenge?"
Long story short, 2 years later, when I was in 10th grade, I asked him out. After dating for 4 months, he broke up with me because he wasn't 16 yet. I didn't exactly understand why being 16 was such a huge deal. So what does he do? Defend his faith and show me For the Strength of Youth! It very clearly says that he had to be 16 to date. I thought that was stupid at first, but then I thought about it. Maybe having morals would be a good idea!

So I began going to church. I really loved how nice and loving everyone was. Other churches I had visited just condemned people who weren't them. I love the Mormon idea that God is merciful and gives people second chances. I began going to church in January 2010. March of 2010 was the General Young Women's Broadcast. During Uchtdorf's talk, the spirit simply whispered "you need to be baptized." His talk helped me finally realize that I have divine worth and I deserved to be treated well by boys and that would eventually happen. I didn't really understand what that entailed because I had been objectified for long, I really didn't know the what "respect" was. Uchtdorf helped me realize that the changes I was making in my life to become more moral and a better person were going to be worth it in the long run (fun fact, it was hard, but TOTALLY worth it! One day I got home from Austin's before we were even dating and just cried tears of happiness because I finally knew what it was like to be respected and it felt so amazing. He has never treated me like any less than a daughter of God and future goddess!).
When I said that I wanted to be baptized out loud, it seemed that every girl in the stake looked at me. It was kind of scary; I didn't really know what exactly the big deal was. Anyway, I was baptized a month later on April 25th, 2010!
It was prettttty cool :) I didn't feel some huge difference; I just felt good! :)
When I was baptized, I did it because it FELT right, not because I had a legitimate testimony. It wasn't until 3 months later that we went to Palmyra for youth conference that I actually felt the spirit testify that the church was true.
We went to the sacred grove, and at first it just seemed like a regular forest. In all honesty, I thought Joseph Smith was kind of crazy. But in this amazing forest it was revealed to me that he truly was a prophet of God who saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, translated the Book of Mormon, and restored the gospel to the earth. I'm so grateful for the sacrifices he made so that this work could be brought to pass!
I didn't have some huge spiritual confirmation or anything. When I prayed if the church was true, I simply felt peace. The spirit doesn't yell at you--it whispers at you. It helps you feel at peace.
Of course, my testimony has grown significantly since then because of my continued efforts to grow spiritually and learn more. Something that truly amazes me about the LDS church that really proves to me how real it is is the fact that everything simply works together. Everything just makes sense! I think that was what really formed my testimony, was just that additional information could be added without any conflict. This is probably because EVERYTHING points back to the Atonement! Without the Atonement, there is no Plan of Salvation. We wouldn't be able to return to live with God. We wouldn't be able to have agency and be able to actually deal with the consequences on an eternal level. We couldn't have prophets--because the point of prophets is to testify of Christ. We wouldn't have any happiness at all because we would be basking in the sorrow of our sins. We wouldn't have anything. We NEED the atonement. I didn't realize it until I finally learned about it just how badly I needed it, and after taking advantage of it and the repentance process, I finally am truly happy. I've found happiness on a higher level than simple worldly "happiness," which isn't true happiness to begin with because it simply includes the natural man fulfilling its carnal desires. By living worthy enough to have the spirit guiding my life, I've been able to find real happiness because I better understand what it is.
THAT'S why I'm going on a mission. I want people to know what true happiness is and how to get it. I promise, if you live the commandments that God has set out for you, no matter how hard it may be at first, YOU WILL BE HAPPY! I'd like to testify to all the young women especially that you are worth so much more than the world makes you out to be! The world tells you that you need to be skinny and beautiful and perfect. But guess what? You are beautiful. I know it sounds corny, but think about it: God created you. You are his daughter. You are the daughter of a GOD! You are preparing to become a goddess! If that doesn't say that you are worth a lot, I don't know what does. Oh wait, yes I do! <This song helped me through sooo much! And it can help you too! It can help you recognize your worth in God's eyes and his love for you, his child. Forget what the world has to say. The world is STUPID. Start to look at your life in the eternal perspective, and you will find peace and joy, I promise! :)

Well, this blog post is over BUT

I'd like to quickly show you all a few things. First of all, Jaden's entire family is adorable!
Here they are at my sweet 16! They got a candle:)
P.S. I know, my shoulders are showing. I wasn't taught modesty by then :p

Second of all, I was looking for pictures of Jaden and I and... it turns out that this is our friendship picture on facebook. He's going to kill me for putting this up but whatever, it's hilarious. It was 80's day at school :p

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