Growing up, I was raised in a non-denominational Christian home, which I loved. I was, and always will be, incredibly grateful for my family and the things they taught me about God and Jesus Christ. But when I graduated high school, Southern Virginia University reached out to me to play lacrosse on a scholarship. I was hesitant because this school was affiliated with the “Mormon” Church, which I had always been told was crazy.
But for some reason, I knew this was the school I needed to attend.
The first thing I noticed about my classmates who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was that they had genuine intentions to do good. I knew from the Bible that I could assess others’ character by their fruits (see Matthew 7:15–20). And the only “fruit” I saw from these Church members was goodness.
Curious, I started asking questions, particularly to a classmate named Coleman, who talked with me for hours about the gospel. When he began preparing to serve a mission, I joined him in reading scriptures every morning. At first, I was cynical about The Book of Mormon. But I started pondering what we read, and I could see the light in the words. I knew I needed to seek the truth for myself.
That April, I watched general conference for the first time and heard President Russell M. Nelson give a talk on faith. He spoke about tiny mustard seeds, saying:
“The mustard seed represents a small but growing faith.
“The Lord does not require perfect faith for us to have access to His perfect power. But He does ask us to believe.”1
With my growing and curious faith in mind, I developed a desire to deepen the roots of my faith in the true gospel. So, I started going to church with my roommates. I fasted and prayed to really know if the Book of Mormon is true.
When I prayed, I felt the Spirit so strongly. It felt like the Savior and Heavenly Father were sitting with me, Their hands on my shoulders. I knew I had found the truth. And I believe They were comforting me because They knew I had a hard decision to make.
I called my mom and told her I had something important to tell her. She jokingly asked if I was joining the “Mormon cult.” When I told her I was indeed going to be baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we both cried. It was a difficult conversation, but I knew I couldn’t deny the truth I had received.
Coleman was able to baptize and confirm me. His family and all my friends from school came to support me. I felt so much love, especially from Heavenly Father.
But my decision to be baptized really strained my relationship with my family. My parents believe I worship a different God now and am bound to go to hell. My 12 siblings all have their own opinions about me joining another Church too. Sometimes it feels like I’m walking on eggshells in our relationships, so I continue to pray their hearts will be softened. I feel the support of the Holy Ghost, and while my family is still adjusting, we make sure we know that we love each other.
Coleman is serving a mission now, but he, his family, and my other ward friends still support me daily. I don’t think I could have made it through this past year without them. And I recently received my temple endowment. The temple has been so helpful to me when I need peace and guidance.
Though not having support from my family has been incredibly hard, God has blessed me beyond what I expected and has given me many mercies as I move forward with faith.
Like Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described, “The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ.”2
It’s been a long journey, but through my struggles, I’ve turned to Jesus Christ and strengthened my foundation of faith in Him. If you are in a situation where your family doesn’t support your faith in the gospel, you can still have peace and hope in the Savior. I know that as we focus on the daily blessings and tender mercies of the Lord, we will continually become more confident in our testimonies and in His grace. He will always lead us to wonderful blessings like good friends and peace and joy in our hearts. Even in difficult trials, He will always provide us with goodness!