My conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ has been quite an adventure.
I came to Arizona from Indiana when I was 14 years old. I had never heard of a Mormon.
My mom, 2 brothers, and I came to Tempe in December, and after the Christmas holidays we were enrolled in grade school. I was in the 8th grade. During recess a boy named Gary Echlor asked if he could buy me a soda. He asked me if I was a “Mormon”. I said “I don’t think so.” That was the first time I heard the word Mormon. So the adventure begins.
After 8th grade my mom bought us a new home in Glendale and I had to ride a big yellow school bus to high school.
I would sit behind several girls who would talk about mutual (young women), what they were going to do, and all kinds of fun things. I envied them for the friendship they had with each other. I did not know they were “Mormons”.
My sophomore year I joined the choir not knowing the choir director, Art Gardner, was a “Mormon”. He had quite an influence on me. One of the choir members was Loa Lamb a “Mormon” who had a beautiful singing voice and was also beautiful. She was everyone’s idol.
My junior year I took journalism and worked on the school newspaper. The photography teacher was Mr. Stapley a “Mormon”. He would talk to me about the church. I loved what I was hearing. I still didn’t really know what a “Mormon” was.
My junior year was going to be the year I met my sweetheart. He was a “Mormon” but I wouldn’t know he was till we started dating when I was in my senior year. I was so excited to learn more about the Gospel. During this journey I feel that meeting all these other “Mormons” along the way [helped me prepare until] I was ready.
Grandpa and I were married in Sept. after my senior year and we moved to Tucson so Grandpa could continue his schooling at the University of Arizona.
We went to church at a student ward. They did not know I wasn’t a member of the church. Grandpa asked the bishop to send the missionaries.
I was ready to be baptized and was baptized in a member’s swimming pool. By this time Rob was 2 and Scott was 3 months old.
So thankful for the Lord’s hand on my journey. Because of Him I have been blessed with amazing people in my life. I am thankful for Grandpa, who taught me to love the Gospel. My children are so special to me and I love them with all my heart. My grandchildren make my life worth living. My great grandchildren are the icing on the cake.
I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. So thankful for the sacrifice He has made for me. - Jacqueline Smith