This is one in a series of articles about Lauren’s conversion story. To read more about her experience, click here.
It was just another, sunny, brilliant afternoon in Moab. I sat wedged between my friends on the wooden pews. It was the first Sunday of the month, which meant everyone was invited to walk up to the pulpit and share their testimony. It was wonderful watching the different people speak about their love for Jesus Christ.
I fiddled with my hands, thinking about everything I had been learning. Earlier that month, one of my friends who had also been investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received revelation that the Church was true. I’m not going to lie, I was incredibly happy for him, but a part of me was slightly jealous when I found out. I had been reading the Book of Mormon and praying diligently almost all summer, asking God if this church was true. I was ready to join, ready to convert, ready to take it all in…. once Christ gave me a sign. I had not received my green light yet, so I sat on the edge of believing and wanting to be a part of this church without committing to a baptism. I had to know that Christ wanted it for me. Without some sort of sign or answer from Him, I was not willing to become a member.
One by one, we watched people share their testimonies. Then my friend leaned toward me and laid her hand over mine.
“You should share your testimony,” she whispered.
I shook my head aggressively and turned away. How could I share a testimony that I didn’t quite have yet? But her words planted a seed within me, stretching out from my heart and slowly igniting like a flame till it was all I could think about. Something deep within me ached to stand up and share my love for Christ.
My fears were suddenly penetrated by a still, clear voice urging me forward.
I lifted myself from the pews and scooted past my friends, walked up the stairs, and faced this church I had spent the past three months learning about. With a trembling hand I pulled the microphone towards my lips. Tears streamed down my face, and, like a waterfall, a testimony poured from my heart. I never had to think about the words once—they just sprang to life from my throat as if my soul had been aching to belt this song since before I was born. I knew this church was true.
I believe Heavenly Father wanted me to act on my own agency. I kept waiting to be acted upon, waiting for each moment to line up perfectly, waiting for all my questions to be neatly answered and all my doubts calmed. But the gospel does not work that way. We must give Heavenly Father our faith. With faith, He will work miracles into our lives and speak soft truths in our ears. The fullness of truth is given in His own time and could only be heard to those faithful enough to patiently wait.
Since this day, many of my own questions have been answered in time, others have not. Regardless, the Spirit’s voice is quiet, and our hearts must be humbled and meek enough in order to hear it. If we wish to receive any sort of answer, revelation, or guidance from God, we must first calm the raging in our minds and give our lives to Him. By accepting His timing, His will over ours, and His path for us instead of the one we may have planned out, truth, liberation, joy, and pure love may be found. It will ring iridescent in your lives and you will be blessed.
The moment I walked up to the pulpit, I found a testimony that had been growing inside me since the beginning of summer. God needed me to act in faith and when I did, the sweetest truth rang out. From there I have walked a path completely redirected from the one I thought I would be on. I have harbored questions I did not know the answers to, but I have walked on and experienced joy in a capacity I did not previously know existed. My life has been so blessed, and it is because of the gospel.
I am so incredibly thankful for my Father in Heaven, our Savior and Brother Jesus Christ, and all those loving friends who helped me that summer. My friends reached out their hands and, with bare feet submerged in icy water, they helped me walk onto each stone step by step until I arrived at Christ’s feet. My beautiful friends—where would I be without them? They were there for each step.
I want you all to know that the efforts to gain a testimony are worth it. There were so many moments of anger and misunderstanding, moments I thought there was no way I could become a member of this church. My friends were diligent in talking to me with authenticity, love, and honesty. I think that’s all we can do in this church. If we share the love we have found and pray for the meekness of others’ hearts to receive it, we are doing our part—and it is worth it.
My life was changed for the better because of it.
As a homegrown Portlandian feminist, Lauren Mckinnon sometimes wondered how she fit in as a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — but through her testimony and everyday experience, she realized that no matter how different we may feel, we all belong in Jesus’ flock.