I was baptized as a baby into the Anglican Church because my mom’s side of the family was Anglican. My dad’s family was Catholic. We stopped going to church when I was four because the Anglican Church by us closed down. Still, I was taught Christ-like values at home. On the first day of grade ten, I met a new girl at school. “Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m a Mormon,” she said. I had no idea what that meant. I went home and researched online about Mormons. That was before any of the Church websites got launched like mormon.org, so I went completely off the stuff on the internet. At that time, not a single negative thing about Mormons showed up on the web pages. I stayed up until three in the morning reading everything I could on the Church. Everything I read made sense and I enjoyed it all. She moved away after the first month of school. She planted a seed, but it didn’t grow after that.
My mom and I always talked about politics and religion, well, the idea of religion, anyway. I was convinced that there had to be a God but didn’t know if any church was true. We always said that if we ever become religious again we would go to the Mormon Church because of the family values it taught. Religion was just in the back of our minds. After high school graduation, I started to think more about it. I pondered on my future life. I thought about how I would raise a family. I started looking into religions a bit more, looking at positives and negatives. After my first year at university, I decide I wanted to act as Christ-like as possible, because I did believe in a God and if Jesus Christ is His son acting like Jesus was the best way to live. I did as much service as I could, helping at work or anywhere. I figured Christ wouldn’t say no to anyone so I wouldn’t say no either. After two to three weeks I met a girl, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she invited me to church with her.
That week was the first week of a missionary transfer. Two new sisters, Foley, and Peterson moved into the Kamloops area. They were having no success. No one wanted to meet with them. On the same day, I got invited to church the sisters while tracting felt prompted to leave a card with the address of the Church and their phone number in my door, which happened to be about a five-minute walk from where they lived so I had all the information I needed for Church.
The high counselor scheduled to talk that Sunday didn’t make it to the meeting, so the Bishop had the missionaries come to the pulpit and bear their testimonies instead—a powerful moment for me. I definitely felt the Spirit. I finally found what I’d been looking for, but I didn’t want to have missionaries convert me. I wanted to know the truth for myself before talking to them, so I hid in the crowd for a while. Since no one knew about me, I sort of fell through the cracks, but that worked out well for me, or so I thought. The next week I attended again. It was a fast and testimony meeting and I listened to the testimonies of all the ward members. Having the members talk about all the little miracles in their lives and about how Heavenly Father has blessed them made me think, “This is where I need to be right now.”
The third week I went to church it was General Conference. The message from one of the talks spoke plainly to the members, “You need to find one person for the missionaries to teach.” After the meeting, I informed the sister missionaries sitting in front of me, “I’m the person you are looking for.” They didn’t understand. “You need to teach me what I need to do to get baptized,” I said. Because they’d seen me in meetings the two weeks they’d been there, all dressed in a suit and tie they thought I was already a member. They were so excited by my statement that they gave me all the pamphlets they had and a Book of Mormon. They made an appointment with me for the very next day. But, in the excitement, they forgot to get my address and phone number. A ward member who had witnessed the conversation suggested they get my contact information.
The sister missionaries taught me the next day and invited me to get baptized in two weeks. It seemed fast to me. I told them I would think about it and let them know the next day. At home, I prayed about it. I started reading the Book of Mormon and I instantly knew it was true. If it’s true, then the Church is true and I need to get baptized,” I said to myself. The sisters taught me everything I needed to know to be baptized in two weeks. October 26, 2013, I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, five weeks from my first attendance at a church meeting.
After being confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost, I received the Aaronic Priesthood and accepted a call as a ward missionary. I started going to investigator lessons with the missionaries. Being a ward missionary is great for me. I learn more with each lesson, more than the investigator. They ask me to testify about what I know. My testimony grows as I speak from the heart and I realize how much I actually know. I baptized one sister just six months after my own baptism. To feel the power of the priesthood work through me was something I will not forget. I performed the first baptism in the new YSA branch, a young man. My own experience of going from not knowing about the gospel to having it was a great inspiration for him. He tells me that my faith was a contributing factor in his decision to be baptized. It impressed upon me the importance of the member missionary. I’m not a perfect member, just a regular person. Just by being myself I had an impact on someone which shows me the importance of sharing because there are people who are ready for the gospel.
As I progressed I received my patriarchal blessing, another spiritually strengthening experience. After three months I went to the temple for the first time to do baptisms for the dead. What an amazing thing—for everyone in the world that didn’t have the opportunity to have the gospel like I did, there is a way for them to have the ordinances. It made the whole gospel seem so real and true. My mom did a lot of family history in her life and after working with her, I started doing my own family’s baptismal work. After a year and a half, I received the Melchizedek Priesthood and was called as Sunday School president of the Kamloops Young Single Adults.
May 30, 2015, I received my endowment in the Vancouver Temple. I’ve been able to go to the temple just about every other week throughout the summer. I can’t say enough about how much I love the temple. I absolutely love it. I look forward to continuing on with all the temple ordinances including getting sealed in the temple. Having a family is a huge priority for me. I’ve always wanted to be a dad. Living the gospel is not always easy, but whenever there’s a hard point I think of the kids I’m going to have and that helps me. I focus on my future family. I want to continue to be a faithful member and do the best I can in any calling I receive because I know Heavenly Father chose me for that role and he will help me through. I will accept anything that comes my way.
I want to continue my family history work. I have a lot of names that need to be found. I hope to continue to be a light for my family and friends who aren’t members of the Church, to always be there for them. I want everyone I care about to feel the joy that the Church has brought me. That’s what I want most in life. Heavenly Father will put the people who are ready to hear the gospel in our paths.