By Tammy Fryer
I am the first woman in my family to choose a religion that no one in my family has ever chosen before. We have Jehovah Witnesses, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Prodestant, Atheist, and all kinds of religion in our family. I’ve attended all their churches. Not sure if any of them had even heard of my religion before. I’ve always been on a search for the right religion for me and my children. I’d pick a church and just go (religion hopping). If my kids didn’t like it then I’d find a different one.
As a child growing up I remember asking my grandma if I could go to the church across the street. At 5 years old I was going to church by myself. At 6 years old I’d save a seat at lunch time for Heavenly Father to sit next to me. I’d pray to him every night. My relationship with God was strong and I trusted him. It all faded away as life became unstable for me, abuse and neglect started, and I couldn’t handle the stress adults would put on me.
I was always untrustworthy of religious leaders. I would always wonder what they did with the congregations money (never seeing a financial statement), if they were a pedafile (just not caught yet), or what sin they were hidding (mostly because of the news). I disliked how they always tried to portay themselves as perfect and put themselves on a spiritual pedestal. I really disliked it when I walked into a church and they were running it like a business putting a person/family on the spot for donating money into their gold plate or basket they passed around. Some churches would try to lure people in with food or live bands. I started to dislike all religions and it would become more of a social thing with High School clicks.
One day someone at my work was making a joke and I didn’t get the punch line because it was a religion reference. I started asking questions about the religion but they didn’t know the answers. Later on someone at work was dating a girl that knew someone else at her work that was in this religion. The day I decided to delete my Facebook account there was a man (who’s name had been mentioned at work) that wanted to add me as their friend. I decided not to delete my account and add him so I may learn more about this religion. We connected on Facebook and then started texting. One day some missionaries knocked on my door (no he didn’t send them) and I’ve always been one to let the Jehovah Witnesses in and allow them to share a spiritual thought. I hadn’t heard of any other religion that knocked on people’s door. It was the Mormon Missionaries. Anyways, to make a long story short I took some time to study and research this religion. I looked forward to the missionaries visiting me every week to answer my questions and teach me a lesson. I would start attending the church every week, getting a feel for the environment, and realized all the lies people had recently fed me about this religion weren’t true at all.
What I loved about the church:
1. The people were really genuine people who tried to make the right choices all the time but admitted to making mistakes.
2. There was not just one person that ruled over the congregation that people considered better than them spiritually or in any other way (a preacher or priest). Instead the Bishop is called or chosen over prayer and never stays the same person.
3. There was not a plate passed around asking for your money or making you feel awkward if you didn’t give them something in return.
4. I was able to feel the spirit because everyone (including most of the children) were reverent. Families are all together and together forever.
5. People were there for the right reasons and not to get free food or party like it’s a concert. No dramatic praying, screaming, fainting, or crying.
6. There were no clicks and everyone recognized we are going to the same place no matter how rich or poor you are. Everyone treated others as equals with respect despite differences.
7. Willingness to love and share. Everyone was so educated and knowledgeable. They built eachother up instead of tearing eachother down. Encouraged genealogy work.
8. I loved what the church did for their community, country, and world without boasting about it. So much good they’ve done and continue to do without being recognized or expecting a reward.
9. They have wonderful programs for those struggling with addiction or mental illness (including pedafiles). They recognize real people with real problems and help them.
10. They teach and help with self reliance and independence. There are so many resources and holy activities provided.
11. They provide a financial statement and report statistics every year.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).