“Mother Called Them ‘Whisperings’” Ensign, June 1999, 56–57
My parents didn’t attend a church while I was growing up, but they did live by faith. We were taught the stories of Jesus and learned the Golden Rule early. Mother taught us to say our prayers each night, and she taught us to listen to the thoughts and feelings that would sometimes come to our minds and hearts. She called them “whisperings.”
Everyone in our family had received these impressions. When I was 10 and my brother, Jerry, was 13, my mother told us she had experienced a whispering that she should take us to church. She investigated several and decided upon a Protestant church. About a year later, Jerry and I were baptized into that church. We enjoyed participating in activities with the youth group, and my mother was content that her children were receiving a Christian education, but Jerry and I had questions and doubts, possibly brought on by the many different doctrines we had been exposed to.
During my senior year of high school, as president of the youth group, I was asked to give a talk about different religions, and I chose to talk about Mormons. Much of my speech focused on what I thought was wrong with their religion.
Six months after giving the presentation, I moved with my parents to Los Gatos, California. I tried attending a local Protestant church, but I didn’t seem to fit in.
Two years later, I was driving home from Palo Alto, where I was to share an apartment with my friend, Susie. We were both 20 and ready to be out on our own. As I approached Los Gatos, though, I had one of those experiences my mother had told me about—a whispering—that I shouldn’t move in with Susie. The feeling came so suddenly that it brought tears to my eyes. I was puzzled.
“Why not?” I asked out loud. I didn’t receive an answer, but I found myself taking the next exit and returning to Palo Alto. I tried to explain to Susie about the feeling I had just experienced and how my mother had taught me to listen to my feelings. I could only hope Susie would understand.
“But what are you going to do?” she asked.
“I have no idea,” I said. “Wait and see what happens, I suppose.” I felt helpless and unsure about what the future held for me, but my mother took the news calmly. “Something—the right something—will show itself. Wait and see,” she told me.
I waited a week; then two weeks passed and I still didn’t know what I should do. At the end of the third week, my mother’s friend, Jackie, called. Recently divorced, she and her two daughters were now living in an apartment in Santa Cruz, California. She wondered if I would be interested in moving in with her to share expenses. There was an opening in a nearby office for a receptionist, and she seemed confident I could get a job there.
The idea wasn’t appealing. Mother had mentioned that Jackie was a Mormon. I remembered my earlier speech and wanted nothing to do with Jackie or her religion. My reasoning told me to wait longer; surely something else would come along, but that familiar feeling—stronger than reasoning—encouraged me to move in with Jackie. I even got the receptionist job she had told me about.
When I moved in, we decided we would attend her church one week and the Protestant church the next. I moved in on Saturday, attended Jackie’s ward on Sunday, and by Thursday the stake missionaries were at our door. I had my doubts about what they could teach me, but my questions came flooding back: What about my older sister who had died at age two without christening? Could she be saved? Why did I always imagine God as a loving Father when so many churches told me He was only a spirit? And what about the “whisperings” my mother had taught me to listen to? Why didn’t everyone have them—or did they?
I wanted information, so I began listening to the discussions. Gradually, I learned the answers to my questions, and I felt peace and understanding fill my heart. After three visits with the missionaries, I experienced another whispering. I knew I had found what I had been looking for: the true church of Jesus Christ. This prompting filled me with the desire to have the Holy Ghost with me always; I wanted to be baptized.
I am grateful for my mother, who taught me about whisperings, which led me to the truth and to the opportunity to receive both membership in Christ’s Church and the gift of the Holy Ghost. When I joined the Church, I knew I would receive even more understanding and guidance in my life.