Please Let Me Hug You! I’m a Convert

Below is my submission to Middle-Aged Mormon Man’s International Hug-A-Convert Day Essay Contest. After I submitted this essay, I fell 10 feet backwards down an attic ladder, breaking my back.
I am healing rapidly and will be back to blogging very soon!

Last year when I commented on a post of Middle-Aged Mormon Man, he mentioned I should write out my story for his “International Hug-A-Convert Day,” I told him I wasn’t quite ready. This year has been crazy and amazing and I am late in submitting this; but here it goes.

The first time I remember knowing that there was a God, and Jesus ChrisMargaret Slighte age 4t and a part I felt inside of me (only lately did I begin to understand the Holy Spirit); was when my divorced mother allowed me to attend a local Sunday school. We were singing “This Little Light of Mine.” I was about 5. I felt the Lighte of His Love. But my childhood remained full of darkness.

My parents divorced when I was four, my father was a loud atheist, my mom considered herself Christian, and wanted us to decide about religion for ourselves. To help facilitate that; she took us to several different churches.  My younger brother and I learned not to share our church experiences with our dad during his weekend visitations.

When I was about 7, a friend of my mom’s was babysitting my brother and I and asked my mom if she could take us to church with

Shelton, Washington Meetinghouse

her. She attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The memories that I have of that day were that I had to wear my Easter dress because it was the only dress I had that was long enough, and I got a spanking for saying a bad word on the way home from the service.

That was my last experience with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints until my marriage of 22 years ended. During my marriage, while raising our 3 children, we attended a Nazarene church, then I began to explore Wicca & Paganism, then Buddhism and Gnostic Christianity; I was searching for answers. No matter where I looked, I didn’t find them.

While I was in the middle of my divorce, I met an unlikely missionary. After being introduced by several friends several THAT S the SMILE i LIKEdifferent times, we attempted to date. True to my past, I attempted to seduce him. He attempted to teach me about chastity. Both of us failed in our attempts.

Rick was the man I dated, and fell in love with his stories of a God I never had imagined. Something called “Priesthood,” and he referred to Jesus Christ as a Brother and a Friend.

His pain had removed him from activity in the Church of the Lord that he loved. His own marriage, sealed in the temple 29 years previous, had ended in divorce. It was hard for me to understand his faith or associate it with a church he never attended. But he wHim.jpgas quick to point out he considered himself a Latter-Day Saint.

As we agreed that we would lose our friendship if we attempted to continue to date, he promised to me that he would be my friend forever. I had no idea, then, what forever meant.

During the summer of 2010, I received a message on a social network that lead to me meeting the woman my oldest son had married and abandoned 3 years previous. I was also privileged to meet her mother, a Latter-Day Saint and our identical twin granddaughters, shortly before their second birthday.

1433511313573Without me or my family knowing; my oldest son had married, impregnated & abandoned this young woman. Her mother was helping her raise the children my son had never met.  The stories of my son and her daughter pulled Mary and I together. To me, this woman was indeed a Saint in so many ways and she welcomed me with love into her family.

I was disabled, on a meager income, divorced and with no place to call home. Friends across the country began to invite me to stay a week or a day, so I left everything and everyone I knew behind and began to travel.1915365959638

It was a year and a half full of traveling the country running from a life that I no longer had, and searching for eternal answers. During my first trip across the country, I took a wrong turn and ended up in front of the Twin Falls, Idaho Temple. I parked my car and took photos. It was the most beautiful building I had ever felt.

Twin Falls Idaho Temple

Felt. I felt this building. It felt light. Brighter than any light I have ever felt. I felt close to God and Christ. I felt the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know much about Temples at the time, but I did remember Rick saying that they weren’t open to the public. I didn’t even try to go in, but said a quick prayer, took some photos, and went along my way thanking God for checking in on me.

These types of incidents happened so much in my travels, I began to feel like either The Church or Christ, was following me.

On March 6, 2013, I was at my bottom: homelessness, depression and bad relationship choices got the end of me. I got on my knees on the cold wooden floor of an abandoned attic and asked my Heavenly Father how I could become closer to Christ.

I was answered with the immediate impression that I was being commanded to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I called Mary, “How do I get Missionaries to come to where I am?”

She marveled at my testimony and my faith; I asked her what she meant by “testimony.” Not ten minutes passed after I hung up with her, and I received a phone call from Missionaries in my area.Sister Lloyd, Sister Slighte & Sister Johnson

I was baptized 17 days after my personal revelation. Within a month I was impressed to ask for my Patriarchal Blessing. That month also saw me in the Temple Baptistery for my ancestors.

During the chaotic time of my repentance, I realized just how many people on social networks followed my activities. I prayed to know if I should close my accounts and look for different writing venues.

The Holy Spirit witnessed to me that I needed to be even louder about my conversion and about my faith in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ than I had been in my sin. That would be a challenge.

cropped-slightelymormon-header.jpgThe first few posts I wrote in my new blog about my testimony went over well. Those who ventured a cursory gander were even more than polite in their comments to me.

I was still concerned, and prayed to know if blogging or other social networks were the proper use of my testimony. I heard my answers loudly when I attended the “Hastening the Work” broadcast at my local Ward Meetinghouse in June 2013.

Over the past year I have learned some hard lessons about leaning not unto mine own understanding. I have also learned a lot about patience.IMG_20130406_160304_cr

In my first 14 months as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have had the opportunity to attend services in 11 Wards and 2 Branches in 7 Stakes. I am a woman of many Wards.

I was baptized as a divorced grandma on her own, the first church member of my family.

 

I was humbled to have received my own Endowments in May 2014 at the Seattle, Washington Temple. I currently blog at http://SlightelyMormon.org. I am working on a book of poetry and prose from the first year of my conversion.  My life is more blessed than I could ever imagine.

Music Moves My Soul

I was born into a family that appreciated music. Everyone played something or sang, or both. On family trips, no matter who we were travelling with; the music was always cranked loud and everybody sang.Grandpa and Me Makin Music

As a small child, I loved singing with both my mother and father. My little brother grew into a fabulous bass voice when he matured. Together we enjoyed playing with harmonies.

Although my parents divorced when I was very small, music was a constant in both of their households. I remember watching the Osmond Show as a little girl and thinking Marie was country like my mom, and Donny was rock and roll, like my dad.

My Dad in the 1960sMy dad was stuck mainly in the 50s and 60s with his rock and roll. Elvis was a favorite with both of my parents. A fact I found curiously entertaining as a young girl witnessing their differences.  I couldn’t imagine them listening to music together, but I listened to the same songs in each of their homes.

My mom loved country music. Tammy Wynette taught me how to spell the troubles that my family was experiencing with so many others in the early 1970s.

My own musical tastes followed both of my parents as a child. I was often seen and heard dancing and singing around my parents’ homes to whatever they had on.

My first personal music collection began on 8-track tapes. I received a player and a gift certificate for 4 tapes at a local music store on my 10th Christmas. I picked out ABBA, Steve Miller Band, Jim Croce & The Carpenters.

As I grew into a teen, I soon left my school choir performances behind and began performing guest vocals with bands who were made up of friends, and a ID that said I was 20 years older than I was. I loved music. I loved to dance and sing.

My personal music collection expanded to include every type of rock, hard rock and heavy metal. I also enjoyed any and every alternative or female artist. A few country songs drifted into my collection, but the majority was on the very hard side.

When my children were young, I tried to encourage their musical My Oldest Son & Me October 2010interests. My oldest son took up a genre of music that I had actually attempted to keep out of our home when he was a child. He is currently pursuing a career in the Southern California Rap/Hip Hop music scene.

My second son took up the guitar, bass guitar and vocals. As an adult he has experimented with other instruments as well.

My youngest child, my daughter, took up the violin at age 8 and fell in love. A child born with perfect pitch; she has a beautiful voice that only falters as much as her confidence.

With all the music in my life, I was looking forward to dancing when I was invited to my first Mid-Singles LDS dance. It was even a theme: 50s.

Centralia MeetinghouseIt was late spring, I had recently been baptized. When I went through my music collection during my repentance and baptismal times; I was unforgiving. Any lyrics that encouraged feelings in me that were not Gospel-centered were deleted off of my hard drive.

I had replaced much of my music with young adult LDS downloads from LDS.org. A Sister teaching the Young Women gave me a CD. I also listened to Gospel country music. Even though many of the Gospel ideas within them were erroneous to my beliefs; praising God was much better than traveling down an audio Highway to Hell.

When I entered the dance at the Stake Center building, I was surprised at both the music playing and the atmosphere. It was completely contradictory to the Standards of Youth card I had come to carry in my wallet. The lights were all darkened to the point I couldn’t see people’s faces well and the music was more than a little on the “racy” side, and only a few 50s songs. The DJ was a young person who was not a member of the church. DSCN2853-001

As the lyrics of the music began to disturb me more and more; I escaped into the foyer to read The Book of Mormon that was placed there. Having come with a group, I couldn’t leave. But I wanted to.

When I inquired about the music, I was told that no dances have LDS music. No one dances to any type of Gospel music. All dances have popular music. I couldn’t have been more disappointed.

I FEEL the lyrics in music. I am a writer. I HEAR the words. I FEEL the emotion in the strains of the music. When a song speaks of sinful actions or emotions that are not in line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; I have the privilege of feeling them.

1263847552085I used to enjoy those sensations. The evil, just a little bit…. But as an endowed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have NO DESIRE to feel that way again. EVER.

That does not mean that I do not enjoy dancing with my husband. Dancing is still one of my favorite activities. It is the music choice to dance to that is my issue.

My dear husband, a fantastic musician, is currently grappling with my Maggie & Keithmusic situation. I long to be able to procure a baritone saxophone for him. Music without words may be a workable option.

For now… we will dance to the Gospel music from my stereo at home.

Writing or Righting Personal Histories

What is the right way to write one’s life?

What is the proper way to remember another person’s life?

With what filters do we present our lives and those of whom we’ve shared; to our descendants?

Is it proper to filter out the times when children of God entertained demons of pride, vanity, ambition, depression, doubt & fear; resulting in addictions and abuse?
IMG_20140428_140703_115Is it proper to “white wash” a personal history?

Does it negate or minimize the triumphs of the abused and oppressed??

How do we maintain an Eternal Perspective when writing our personal and family histories?

I began pondering these questions and more in regards to writing family histories a while ago. When Family Search implemented their “stories & Life Sketch” portion of Family Tree; it was a topic that rarely left my conscious thinking.

As I have alluded to in previous blog posts, I am a survivor of early childhood abuse.  I contemplate if there is a purpose, now that I am working on forgiving my abusers, to remember the abuse I sustained at their hands.1504931699038

When started the process of forgiveness, I began remembering the happy times. Christ says that when He forgives us, He will not remember our sins. Then He states that we are commanded to forgive our brother.
Is continuing the legacy of abuse, through documentation and stories, true forgiveness?

Then there are those stories that made it into documentation anyway. The newspaper articles that pieced the horrors of PTSD together after my hero-grandfather’s WWII service brought up painful emotional scars for my aunt, but yet helped me to understand the method and timing of his death.

1315904093466Either way, I don’t believe you can write a history about someone without trying to emulate the forgiveness of Christ. To attempt to understand that your ancestor or whomever you are writing about, is a Child of God, first and foremost, with challenges like all of us.

WRITING A PERSONAL HISTORYChristmas 1991 in Las Vegas Typing recipe cards fo

I was reading a blog yesterday, and I remembered my own fairly recent decisions to document my own happier times through journaling. The failed attempts at journaling from my youth and young adulthood had been filled with lamenting and usually anger at my now ex-husband. All that they seem to hold were negative entries. Including times when I struggled with the deepest of depressions.

That was something I realized I did not want to leave to my descendants. I tried to begin looking at my life from the perspective of my grandchildren.  I used this when I needed to find the grace to handle ex-drama right before my Baptism.

IMG_20130207_143606This change in perspective came with a change in habits as well. Over the past few years I began taking paper (usually a composition book) and a pen with me wherever I go.

It has been in my journals where I have learned to talk to God. Journaling has been a form of prayer for me. It was where I learned to converse with my Heavenly Father.

During the first years of my conversion, in these past few years before I came to The Church, there was God. My Savior, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost whom I called upon in my prayers frequently. Through my journaling, I learned to talk to Him, through Them.

I learned to become quiet. I learned to listen and ponder. Then, I would write my observations.

When I found the Gospel and began taking lessons from the

Holy Bible

Missionaries; I reveled in my alone time. Time to ponder, study The Scriptures, pray and write.

I continued to write. I wrote during Sacrament Meeting and in Relief Society. I wrote at the dog park and at stop lights. More than once, I pulled over the car to write down something that caused a smile to cross my face.

I often look back at those journals. Journals I keep, finding it necessary to eventually label and organize them. Easily referred back to by date and circumstance (pre-baptism/post).

IMG_20130208_134151Many of them have post-it flags still denoting poetry and prose yet to transcribe, expound upon and share.

Heavenly Father, through the The Holy Ghost, has a way of guiding me to revisit my own journal entries at times.  More often than not, it is to remind me of a scripture verse or General Conference talk that impressed something upon me and it has come time for me to read that advice.

As I look towards the task of writing life sketches for those of my ancestors, I also acknowledge the challenge of writing my own.  To condense many lives into a quick and appropriate “Life Sketch.” What do I want my grandchildren’s grandchildren to know about me?

This is the question I ask myself constantly.1915-The-Slighte-Boys-Thomas-Percivil-7-George-1-Ray-10_thumb.jpg

I know the obstacles I have overcome, I know the lessons I’ve learned; I seek my Lord’s guidance in filtering what generations to come do not need to know, or repeat.