Category Archives: conversion

Ask Mormon Girl: I want to convert, but my mother is deadset against it. Help?

One theme, two letters this week, readers:

I am a 16 year-old girl, writing because I have developed a deep love and commitment for the LDS Church, but I’m facing horrible hostility from my mother. My mother isn’t just suspicious of the Church as an outsider. She was raised a member in Utah, and became inactive when she left home for college and never looked back. So when she criticizes the Church she knows exactly what she is talking about and seems to speak from a passionate place of hurt.

I was raised with no religious affiliation, and because of this, I lacked the kind of community that my Jewish and Christian peers had in their synagogues and churches. That was why a year ago, my mother, also having a loneliness/community crisis herself, got my brother involved in Boy Scouts via the church, and talked a local ward to let me go to Young Women’s. We loved it just as a secular way to make friends and have fun, but for me it became spiritual. After about 6 months, I knew that I believed in the Church and it was the completion to my desire to find a church. (I was obsessed with God and Christ from an early age despite the lack of discussion in my home). Then came the time to tell my mom.

A month ago I expressed my desire to get baptized and I got a long lecture on how it would ruin my mind–I have been raised a liberal and the majority of Mormons think more conservatively than me–make me lonely (the irony), how disappointed she would be in me, and how it would divide us for the rest of our lives. 

There has nothing been more painful to me than hearing that. I have considered giving up on the Church because I can’t reconcile it with her. But that’s equally painful. My goal was to get baptized this year, but now I’ve thought it may have to wait until I’m in college. Until then I’d still like to go to church and other activities, but I’m afraid of alienating my mother just by doing that. 

How can I foster my faith but stay at peace with my mother especially as a youth?

NJJ

I’ve found, through much prayer and reading of the scriptures, that I believe The Book of Mormon to be true. I really want to be baptized. I’m 18 years old and am going to a community college and living with my parents and in two years, I hope to transfer to a four year. Even before finding that I agree with the beliefs and ideals of the Mormon religion, I was considering transferring to BYU in two years. Now I would like to even more because I honestly want to surround myself with like-minded people. I have never met a member of the LDS church that I did not absolutely love. I’m excited to be baptized.

The only problem is that my parents strongly dislike the Mormon religion, mostly because I am half African American and my mother is very sensitive to any person or group of people that has every been racist toward African Americans or Africans in general. I have not yet gone to her to tell her that I want to be baptized, but I did tell her that I want to transfer to BYU.  She was absolutely furious. She told me that I should go find some nice Catholic school to go to instead, because that “would be better for the purposes I have for going”. So it seems that soon I will need to tell her that I want to be baptized. I have no idea how to go about it. I definitely want to avoid destroying my relationship with my parents, but I need to be true to my faith as well. Also, I know there is a very good chance that when I tell them, they will decide to kick me out of the house. I would have literally nowhere else to go and no way to pay for school over the next few years. I’m terrified of being stranded. I’ve considered waiting a few years until I’m out of the house, but that feels extremely wrong morally. It would be like lying. I really need help.

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Ask Mormon Girl: Is there a place in the Church for liberal female converts?

Dear AMG readers:

Just tiptoeing back after a nice post-election break, and what do I find in my in-box but multiple queries from women who find themselves at the door of Mormonism.

First here:

I am a divorced Catholic woman who has a child with an excommunicated Mormon man.  Through a long process of searching, I feel deeply moved to consider joining the Church, even though my fiancé refuses to discuss it with me. I do not know what the vows of baptism and temple ceremonies encompass, but I don’t think I could stand in a holy place and swear that I believe that gays are second-rate humans to be cured. I believe in equal marriage rights. And I do not believe any of the world’s religions have a lock on infallible truths. I have to wonder: Is there a place for a liberal, feminist LDS convert?

And then here:

I am a forty year-old single woman of deep faith. For the last thirteen years god has been sending members (and ex-members) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to cross my path, not only as missionaries, but as door-to-door salesmen, as Buddhists, and as yoga mentors. I often joke that when God wants to get my attention, She sends me a Mormon. I recently moved to a small town and my heart was moved to go to LDS services. Since then, I have been taking lessons with the missionaries every week.  We set a date for my baptism for a month from today. But the organization, the people, the politics, and the statements of the Church—past policies on race and recent stances on homosexuality, for example–make me want to run dripping from the font to a place far, far away.  I am proud of half of what I am seeing and mortified by half of it. I feel so alone in all of this. I am afraid to even ask if there are liberals in my Church here. I don’t know if I should go to my baptismal interview and speak my truth, or say what they want me to say and keep the honesty between me and God. Being baptized and then “going inactive” right away would piss everyone off and alienate myself in a small town. And I don’t want to be a member of the Church in the world (and in this small town) and be assumed to be all the same awful things I dislike about it. I can’t defend the things I find indefensible.

God moves in mysterious ways, people.

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I want to convert to Mormonism, but my parents think it’s the occult. Help?

First, readers, a little plug:  I’ll be speaking this Saturday, June  11 at the Mormon Stories Conference in Salt Lake City.  Would love to see you there!  For more info, click here.

For a few weeks, I’ve been corresponding with a woman who is in a tough place with her family, and she’s ready to reach out for support.  Here we go:

Dear AMG:

I’m a female who’s been investigating the church for quite a while. I want to be baptized, but my parents believe Mormonism is part of the occult due to reading anti-Mormon literature. They’re very strong in their opinion, and very angry. I’m old enough not to need their permission to join, but I don’t want them to worry for me. Advice?

KD

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I’m drawn to Mormonism, but I have questions about the literal historicity of the Book of Mormon. Help?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

I am professional, working, single mom, in my mid-thirties, and am on a spiritual journey that has led me through liberal Protestantism and Catholicism, marriage and divorce, and single motherhood. Since the birth of my child, I began thinking, once again, more about religion and faith.  I have become increasingly curious about the Mormon faith. I have attended sacrament meeting and read many LDS devotionals. I’ve watched the PBS documentary; read books by Fawn Brodie and Robert Millet; browsed apologetics; followed Mormon Matters podcasts; and perused the LDS.org site many times.  I’ve read the accounts of the temple rites; I’ve read the issues with the historical account of the Book of Mormon, the issue of polygamy and past racism; I’ve read and heard the testimonies and Mormon responses to these issues of many faithful Latter-day Saints. I have witnessed and admired the strong testimonies of LDS members. I know there are issues (as any religion will have), but I still feel very drawn to Mormonism. I believe in Heavenly Father and the idea of a premortal existence and eternal progression.  But I honestly can’t get myself to believe in the Book of Mormon as a real, historical account. I believe Joseph Smith may have had wonderful religious insight and visions into the spiritual realm, but I am not convinced in the reality of the golden plates and the historical truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I do, however, regard it as a great religious text full of many great spiritual truths. My question is this–is there room for someone like me in the LDS Church? I pray about this often. I think bringing a child along with me into the faith makes my decision all the more important for me to make a wise choice. I don’t want to confuse my child or have my child be ostracized later for my questions. I would love to find a home there, if there is room for me…

 A Tentative Investigator

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Ask Mormon Girl: I’m about to be baptized. And boy do I have some questions.

This week, readers, I’m definitely going to need your help answering this question from Brent in far away New Zealand:

I’m not a member of the Church but I have decided to be baptized.   As my baptism date approaches I’m starting to think I’m not “worthy” for lack of a better word.  Not that I regret the life I’ve lived. But I haven’t lived by Church standards. At the same time, I’m also worried there might be things I’d miss after baptism.  In married life, for example . . . What is married life like for LDS people?  It’s a hard topic to bring up face to face.  Double thanks if you can answer it.

Brent, first and foremost—heartfelt congratulations on your upcoming baptism.

Second, I have to say, I’ve sat with your question for a few weeks trying to come up with the right response.   There you are on the other side of the planet, taking missionary lessons face-to-face with some very eager elders, and going to church every Sunday with Mormons who are thrilled that you’ll be converting and still . . . you’re sending an email to a total stranger thousands of miles away asking some serious questions about “worthiness” and some other very personal issues.

The internet.  Seriously.  Wow.

There are some fairly easy by-the-book answers to your questions.  And the best place to go online for by-the-book answers on Church doctrine and policy is the Church’s own website, lds.org, where you can use the search engine and research both baptism and marriage to your heart’s content.

What stands out about your question to me is the fact that you don’t feel you have anyone local and Mormon you can talk with about more tricky and intimate issues like personal worthiness and what married life is for LDS people (and if I can read between the lines, I don’t think you’re talking about doing housework and raising kids. . . ahem).  As you say, it can be really hard to bring these things up “face to face.”  Especially with Mormons.  Many of us like to keep the tricky side of being human totally under wraps.

But especially if you have questions that impinge on your baptism, you must try to talk to somebody.  Any religion you’re willing to join owes you a spiritual community, doesn’t it?  If you don’t feel you can talk with those eager 19-year old farmboy missionaries teaching you the discussions (which is understandable), how about your bishop?  Really—if you have any questions about being ready for baptism—you should speak to your bishop.  No matter how straitlaced he seems, he’s probably heard it all.  Very little you have on your mind can shock him.  Even those seemingly difficult questions about “married life.”  Those should be a walk in the park for your bishop to answer.

If I could summon your Mormon celestial fairy godmother, Brent, I’d ask her to send you a friend:  Mormon, male, canny, older, but still young; someone in your ward or stake who is on your wavelength; someone who can mentor you a bit as you get to know your new religion.

I’m no fairy godmother, but I can offer you the advice of the community of readers on this site and at mormonmatters.org.  I’ll post your query, and you can follow the responses, and see if we can’t get you a bit better educated before your baptism date.

Welcome, Brent.  Now, readers—do you have a bit of guidance to extend? Please?

Send your query to askmormongirl.com, or follow askmormongirl on Twitter.

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