Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Journey: A Timeline and Testimony

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog. Since my last update, I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has been an amazing journey...and it has only begun!

Here is a timeline that describes my pathway to becoming a member of the Church. This timeline will be updated from time to time with events and experiences relevant to my journey.

Early 1990s--Read Book of Mormon for 1st time. From what I can recall, my family ordered copy through a TV ad.

Around 1997--First serious reading of The Book of Mormon.

Summer 2000--While working at Alice Lloyd College’s library during the summer, I received a note from the Pace family thanking me for their efforts in securing a book during a time of carpet removal and carpet-laying by contractors. Included in the note was a pass-along card for the Lamb of God video. I subsequently ordered the video. After telling the operator I would receive the video through missionaries, I later changed my mind--under guidance of my devoutly Evangelical family--when missionaries contacted me by phone. I decided during the call that I would receive the video in the mail. I received and watched the video. It is amazing what the Lord has done through the Atonement.

Fall 2001--I was offered another video over the phone: Together Forever. Like the previous video, I decided to receive it through the mail. The video discusses how families can be together for time and eternity through celestial marriage.

Spring 2003--I was offered another video by missionaries over the phone: Family Answers. I decided to order the video, not knowing how I would receive it.

June 6, 2003--Two missionaries--Elders Kevin White and Greg Burns--made an unannounced visit to my house. Not only did they deliver the video, they discussed the Gospel. I took the discussions through the summer.

August 3, 2003--My first visit to the Hazard Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was Fast Sunday and it was a good experience. I attended a few more meetings.

August 8, 2003--After requesting for a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants, I received the Triple Combination--which includes the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Elders White and Burns leave a great note inside the Triple.

Mid-September 2003--On a Saturday, I discussed my decision with Elder Burns and Elder Groh, as well as Bro. Greer. I decided then that the Church was not for me.

December 2003--Missionaries visited me once again, this time handing a pass-along card for The Joy of Christmas video. I decided not to order the video.

Late January or early February 2004--Received a call from missionary asking if I would be interested in discussing the Church again. I kindly declined the opportunity.

During the ensuing years, I would read the Scriptures, Gospel Principles, and other literature. Looking back, I felt that I was not sincere enough in my prayers regarding the truth of the Restoration of the Gospel.

July 2010--I felt a need to study and examine the Restoration message. I went online and looked at several sites, especially and I also examined the Scriptures. In early July, I submitted my name, postal address, email and mobile phone number for a request to be visited by the missionaries. On July 30, in a chat on, I notified the chat missionaries about the lack of response from the missionaries. The problem seemed to be the use of a PO Box instead of a street address. I re-submitted my street address to them during the chat.

August 2010--On August 1st, while reading Mosiah 15 in the Book of Mormon, I felt a confirmation--a warm feeling--that what I have been reading is true. I immediately chatted with Sisters Betty and Fiorella on We scheduled a private chat two days later (Friday, August 6 at 5pm ET). The chat dealt with basic topics such as faith, prayer, the Spirit, the role of Jesus Christ, His ministry, teachings and Atonement, families, prophets, free agency, Christ’s Apostles, and the priesthood. We scheduled another chat for Saturday, August 7 at 10pm ET. That night, we discussed the Apostasy, the Reformation, and Joseph Smith’s First Vision, which led to the Restoration.

The next day, Sunday, August 8, we discussed Joseph Smith further, including how he translated the Book of Mormon. We also discussed 2 Nephi 3:10-12, which states that all those who believe in Christ will believe the Book of Mormon. We also discussed the steps to prayer. The missionaries also instructed me to pray for the truth of these things per Moroni 10:3-5.

On August 9, I sent Miranda Causey Baker, a Mormon and an Alice Lloyd graduate, a message via Facebook explaining the missionary request I submitted in early July. I asked for any contact info for the full-time missionaries in this area. She did have the info and a couple of days later, I made contact with one of them.

On August 10 and 11, I had telephone chats with the chat missionaries. We discussed doctrines such as the premortal life, Creation, the Fall, the role of Adam & Eve, Satan, the difference between mortality and immortality, the Commandments, Atonement, the postmortal realm (including the three degrees of glory), and baptism. When asked if I would be baptized, I told them I would “strongly consider it.” At this time, I felt that that the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s First Vision were true because of the peaceful feelings I received. I have been praying for baptism, as I am a Christian who is looking for a home church and wanting to be baptized. Everything looks good in my prayers, study and investigation.

On Friday, August 13, the missionaries--and Darryl Greer, my middle school music teacher who is also a Mormon--visited my house. We had a good discussion...we discussed the online and telephone discussions, as well as topics like essential baptism, exaltation, and Satan’s attack on American families.

On Sunday, August 15, I visited the Hazard Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was spiritually uplifted, even though I was physically exhausted when I got home. One of the talks that stood out was Elder Gabbard’s. During his talk, he mentioned how we can use the principles of the First Vision in our own lives.

September 2010--Several missionary discussions and church visits later, I made the decision to be baptized. On September 11, 2010, Brother Darryl Greer baptized me at the Hazard Branch. I was very joyous. The next day during sacrament meeting, I was confirmed as a member. Two weeks later, I was ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood.

January 30, 2011--I was worthy to obtain a limited-use temple recommend, which allows me to do baptisms and confirmations for the dead.

February 2011--On February 5, I attended the temple for the first time. The Louisville Kentucky Temple is a very beautiful house of God. I done several proxy confirmations and a proxy baptism. The next day, Fast Sunday, February 6, I had an interview with my branch president regarding the Melchizedek Priesthood. I was eventually ordained as an elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood.

May 2011--On May 14, I received my patriarchal blessing from the stake patriarch in Huntington, West Virginia. The same day, I attended my first stake conference, also in Huntington. Day two of conference was sent to all units in the stake except Hazard due to issues with the satellite dish and/or receiver there. Therefore, I attended the general session at the Martin Ward in Floyd County.

On May 29, I was called as executive secretary in the Hazard Branch. I was sustained during sacrament meeting and was set apart afterwards. I am humbled and excited for this calling.

October 2011--On October 19, I was endowed in the Louisville Kentucky Temple. I have been blessed by the instruction given in the endowment.

The reason I have investigated and later joined the Church is that I have gone through a lot in my life and need guidance and strength from a home church. When I was 3 months old (June 1979), I had bowel surgery. I had asthma attacks during childhood. In 1995, I was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy. By the grace of God, my condition has improved over the past 15 years. I graduated from Whitesburg High School in 1998 and from Alice Lloyd College in 2002. I have yet to find a job in the nearly ten years after college.

But most of all, I wanted peace in my heart and a church home. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed the only true church on Earth today. I know in my heart that my Heavenly Father sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. Christ rose on the third day and is returning soon. The gospel has been restored in these latter days. The Prophet Joseph Smith was an instrument to restore God’s kingdom, just as President Thomas S. Monson is being used by God today. I say all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.