August 22, 2010

It all added up

My name is Melissa Baxter, I have an eight year old boy who keeps me very busy, I’m going to school full time to become a physical therapist, I have a temper, I’m shy, have a tendency to be vague when speaking verbally, can be prideful and selfish on occasion, but I have Jesus Christ in my life to help me become a better person.  I look to Christ, I am a Christian, but I am also a Mormon. 

I believe there is a prophet on the Earth today to help guide the general body of Christ.  I recently watched the documentary; Lord, Save Us from Your Followers and in it someone described the body of Christ (he was speaking of everyone who called themselves Christian) in a similitude of Frankenstein which I found very interesting.  Because in 1 Corinthians (6:15, 10:17, and pretty much all of 12) Paul speaks of the body as one and in 1 Cor 12:25 he states “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”   An image of Frankenstein as the body of Christ, the only thought that came into my head was… all Christians have their moments of falling out of line with the will of God, but so much so that the body becomes a monster?  Then I thought about The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints, and how I feel comforted that this church, being the true church of Christ, in my opinion is the most unified whether speaking of a local branch or ward or the whole global community, we are united by one faith and one spirit. I see this unity as possible because we are being guided by a prophet of God; we are being guided by apostles.  No matter where you go the same teachings are found in every one of our churches.  That keeps us one in body and spirit, as Christ would have us be.  Think about it, what other church gets together twice a year to hear the exact same message.  Over 13 million members uniting maybe not physically, but spiritually we come together as one body to hear messages from our prophet, apostles, and other general authorities.  One body, one faith, one spirit, one baptism.  Where there is unity you can bet Christ is in it.  

This is what I believe to be true now.  However, that wasn’t always the case.  A year ago I didn’t even know what a Mormon was really.  I had heard the term before but had no clue what it meant.  I didn’t even think I knew any Mormons.  The funny thing is, it turns out I did know some.  Another thing is that I have come to understand and realize I had been looking for The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints for a very long time. 

I can barely remember but I was probably eight or nine years old when a couple of boys knocked on our door.  My mom didn’t let me answer it.  I think she did answer the door and obviously told them no.  But I remember looking at them through my front window and being drawn to them.  I found these two guys walking around my neighborhood completely fascinating.  I think I tried asking my mom about what they were doing.  I don’t remember much of what she said but I know she told me they had to knock on peoples doors for two years.  She made it sound mandatory.  Which I know isn’t the case…in case any out there are wondering.  I wondered what it was they were trying to talk to people about.  I remember wishing I could talk to them and ask them questions.  It’s pretty incredible; those two young missionaries were probably very discouraged that day, walking around, no one willing to listen.  Little did they know they had planted a seed just by knocking on doors.

I mentioned I am a single mother.  Never married.  I had my son just  ten days before my nineteenth birthday.  I was troubled for quite a few years and made many bad choices along the way.  I used to smoke cigarettes, drink excessively, and I also partook of marijuana for a time.  I was a mess.  I was deeply depressed and had no idea what I was doing with my life.  I hated myself.  However, during this time there were a couple of occasions when I thought of God and wanted to be close to him.  I would try going to either the Presbyterian Church I attended as a kid or I would try some other one out.  When I would get into one of these God Modes, I would s kim through scriptures and listen to Christian radio stations.  And in these modes, I would ALWAYS come across the scriptures like 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God  dwelleth in you?”  When I came across these, I would often think that I was not living worthy to let the Spirit dwell in me.  But I would fall back away from God shortly after.

That cycle went on for some time.  I managed to get myself in a really terrible relationship which was very damaging for me and my son.  With the help of my best friend, I was able to get out of it.  For a year my friend and I shared a three bedroom town house.  It was great.  We would spend many nights out on our balcony smoking cigarettes and drinking wine or beer.  I wasn’t making a lot of money, and a lot of the time I found myself spending most of it on cigarettes and alcohol.   I also found myself wondering why I needed to drink.  I needed to drink to be sociable, to have a good time, to have deep conversations into the morning hours.  Why couldn’t I do these things on my own?  Why did I need to be drunk or buzzed to do it?  I remember wishing I could do those things without drinking, but I had forgotten how. 

During our time together, my best friend had been laid off from work.  This meant once the lease was over we would have to part ways.  Through a miracle of God I found a really nice apartment that would keep my son in the same school and a land lady who would let me rent it.  I think it was that miracle from God that made me want to go to church again.  I found a church and started to attend.  However, after three months I began to feel my spiritual growth dwindling like all the other times.  I also still felt like a complete outsider to this church.  I stayed after the services, I tried to small talk with other moms there, but I just wasn’t connecting with the congregation at all.  I didn’t want to turn my back on God and Jesus again.  I needed them in my life, I knew it.  So I prayed.  I prayed to Heavenly Father, I begged Him to help me find a church that felt like a family.  A place where I could always feel the Spirit, where I could grow in His grace.   I tell you now, He answered my prayer with the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints.  I tell you now that God would not EVER answer a prayer with a lie.  He cannot, he is God, He is Truth, and He loves me and would not do anything cruel to me.  I am so grateful to Him.  It was in this church that I gained a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I know this church is Christ’s only true fully restored church.  I know this because He has been calling me to it for a long time. 

I know my body is a temple, and it is worthy to hold the Holy Ghost.  Nothing will ever be enticing enough to make me let go of that Gift.  I pray that those who have had the seed planted that you let it grow, that you pray with REAL INTENT to know where the straight and narrow path is.  You are not going to get the answer you want by asking mortal beings, but you must go to the one true source.  Your Heavenly Father can and will tell you the truth.  But you have to be willing and receptive to hear it and to follow it.  There is safety, comfort, love, joy, peace, and relief in the arms of the Lord and in His true church.   Read the Book of Mormon, Pray to know if it is true or not.  Pray to know if the missionaries are the Lord’s servants spreading His Gospel.  Pray to know if the church is true.  Have Faith that God and Jesus Love you and want you home.  You will get the truth revealed to you and it will set you free.  

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