Eight years ago this month, two young ladies, Sisters Johnson and Lloyd, taught me the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Having first given me a Book of Mormon to study, they learned my ravenous desire to be educated in the Gospel was not to be quelled with that book alone, and shortly after giving me the Book of Mormon (a hardback that I passed on to a relative), they presented me with a Triple Combination and a Holy Bible.
I have photographed these scriptures quite a bit.When I attended the Seattle Temple the first time to perform baptisms, I marked the occasion by purchasing tabs that I could insert to assist me in studying my scriptures. I had the thought I could remember the temple experience daily, each time I touched the tabs.
I highlighted in more colors than I had highlighters. Highlighters came and went, yet my scriptures have remained.
I have made markings in pencil and in pen. I have sticky tabs highlighting passages throughout.
When I was homeless, I would put my scriptures on the dashboard as I slept, taking them down as dawn broke to start my day with the sunrise and the One who Created it.
Why this all about my scriptures?
On Monday, during a video call, I was casually shuffling things around on my very cluttered table where I have been studying my scriptures for my new show, Strangers No More. I placed my Triple Combination on top of my Parley Pratt Autobiography, not realizing that I had left a highlighter inside of Parley’s book.
The scriptures on top– in a slow-motion effect– slid quicker than I could react– off of the paperback autobiography–and off of the table.
In utter and complete disbelief, my words were taken from me in front of the video call I was in the midst of, as I watched in shock as my beloved Triple splashed into my dog’s water bowl.
It was saturated in the five or ten seconds before I could reach it.
I went silent on my video call as I placed the beloved book in a towel in front of a fan, before turning my attention back to the call and completely away from the scriptures. My eyes were tearing up. I could NOT react.
I needed to pray.
How could a simple book, one I actually wanted to replace with the newer version that was printed the year I was Baptized, mean so much to me?
Eight years of daily study. Eight years of conversations with God. Eight years.
It wasn’t about the book.
It was about the EIGHT years I have spent refiniing my Testimony of Jesus Christ USING that BOOK!
It is about EIGHT years of understanding that I AM A CHILD OF GOD!
Did you know that? I didn’t know that until 2013?!
I didn’t! I thought I was a “spawn of Satan!” I sure seemed to hear it enough! (Be careful what you say around kids, they pick things up and own them!)
I learned, in March 2013, that I am A CHILD OF HEAVENLY PARENTS WHO LOVE ME!!!!
STOP THE PRESSES!!!
We are ALL ETERNAL SOULS!!! WITH A DEVINE HERITAGE!!
It’s more than a book. It’s more than a religion.
Yes, I have a STRONG Testimony of my Membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I have an EVEN STRONGER Testimony of my PERSONAL relationship with my Heavenly Parents and my Savior Jesus Christ!
My constant companion, The Holy Spirit, is MY PERSONAL piece of God that resides WITHIN ME!!
I mean, seriously, how cool is that?
I want to share something with you that I haven’t shared before.
When I was little, I think about 6 or 7, my mom allowed me to go to a Sunday School class in a house nearby our home. I literally think it was about 3 houses away, around the corner from our house in Shelton.
During that time, I remember talking about God. We sang a song that taught me that that inside me was a lighte and it belonged to God. That song was “This Little Lighte of Mine.”
This last year, I began hearing from the Holy Spirit that God wanted me to share His Lighte with the world in a YouTube show, and we needed a theme song. (If you have an issue with the misspelling of ‘light’, this particular blog may drive you crazy–my last name is spelled “Slighte,” so, I refer you to my ancestor who added the ‘e’ and doomed his descendants to arguments with spellcheck devices forevermore),
I went about researching the copywrites behind “This Little Lighte of Mine,” and was quite interested to learn that the song’s origin had been erased through time. It was without copywrite.
I asked my friend, Spencer Stevens, to work with me on an arrangement that would incorporate a few changes in the lyrics that would be appropriate for the Strangers No More show and podcast. He and I played with the lyrics for a couple of days before we were both satisfied, then he recorded it and sent it to me.
I sent it on to our audio-visual engineer, Andrew Mair, with a promise I would possibily record a harmony to add and send it on to him.
But I didn’t. I’m far too shy about my vocal abilities at this point to share those. I was THRILLED when Andrew turned out to have a wonderful voice and added the harmony himself in studio!
As I head into my month of Baptism, the month I celebrate and reflect on my Testimony each and every year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for connecting me to some wonderful Saints this year.
Andrew, Dennis and I joined with a young gay man I met on Twitter, Bradley Talbot, who runs Color the Campus. A Senior at BYU, Bradley’s desire to discuss the Come Follow Me curriculum in an inclusive environment resonated with the idea of what we were planning with Strangers No More, and I invited him to join us.
I can’t be more happy that he accepted the invitation. I can’t be more happy to connect to all of the Strangers No More hosts and our singer, Spencer. They all influence my life for the better each and every day.
I have found that sometimes you don’t find “your clique” until you reach FAR outside your comfort zone. Sometimes you just have to keep being you and they will find you. Even in church. Maybe, especially church?
If we spent less time being worried about what others think about us, and more time expressing our outright love for The Gospel and everything Jesus Christ taught, maybe we would open ourselves up to others seeking The Gospel? Maybe we would attract those who believe those things we do?
Maybe if we embrace who we really are, even at church, more people will embrace their love of Christ without anxiety or embarassement?
I’ve spent much of the eight years I’ve been a member, attempting to fit a mold I do not come close to fitting into. I am a mentally and physically disabled woman who has a long history before I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ. When I share my challenges and frailities with others, my friends share thier challenges with me and others around them. In an extention of that, the Strangers No More show is focused on an audience of those who don’t feel part of mainstream.
March 23rd will mark eight years I have spent as a Baptised Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. March 24th marks my Confirmation anniversary.
Eight years now, of developing my relationship with God, using my gifted scriptures, into what it is now.
Although my Triple Combination could not swim, it did dry and maintain most of the markings that I have made within it these last eight years. As I lifted up my Scriptures to study, the book fell open to Moroni 7:40, and I saw the pencil mark in my handwritting that had remained in the margin in spite of the swim, “hope.”
I Testify that God lives. I testify that God led me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through The Holy Spirit.
I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel in these Latter-days.
I leave my Testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ.