My story starts two years ago. I was 17, already jaded, and a very unhappy person. I was doing a lot of things that were harmful to me and I was carrying a lot of emotional baggage. I was a staunch atheist, and figured that I would always be that way. One day a friend mentioned one of the beliefs that she held as a Mormon, which sparked an academic interest in the Church. I have always had interests in other cultures and subcultures in America, and Mormonism seemed to be a very interesting and elite group of people. So I went online, looked up all kinds of information about the church, and came away with a very weird feeling. All I was reading about was how awful, racist, cultish, etc. the Church was. None of the Mormons that I knew displayed any of these characteristics. As far as I could tell, they were not involved in some awful brainwashing cult, so I kept looking. Thats when I stumbled across Jeff Lindsay's site in favor of the Church. He presented well thought out arguments...so well that I started thinking that maybe some of what the Church claimed could possibly be true. After reading his site and becoming confident that I would not be kidnapped or served poisoned kool-aid, I asked my friend to take me to church with her.To those of you who work to share pro-LDS information with others who are seeking for something, experiences like Mandi's remind us that it can make a difference. "LDS Apologetics" is not about converting people with arguments, but helping people to understand that there may be something more to the Church than what they hear from its enemies. It's about helping them to keep searching, thinking, studying, and praying, to be able to get to the point where they can seriously reach out to the Lord for guidance in their lives. But if the mind has been permanently closed by hostile assaults (cult! non-Christian! evil!), the journey that might forever bless the lives of humble seekers never might take place.
Something amazing happened to me. I began living the standards of the Church. I started living the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, and I stopped cursing. I didn't know why I was compelled to do these things, sense I still didn't really believe in God...but I did know that my life felt so much better and I had energy and motivation that I had never felt in my life. I started talking about the Church with my friends, talking about Heavenly Father and their beliefs. For the first time in my life, I was listening to people speak about their love for Christ and actually GETTING it. It felt amazing. In time, I learned how to pray and gained a testimony of Heavenly Father and His love for me. When the missionaries asked if I wanted to start taking the discussions, I poured over LDS websites (mostly Jeff's!), reading about the Church and battling any doubts that came to my mind. I decided that I wanted to be baptized, and I have been active in the Church for over a year now.
Since I found the Church, my life is 100 percent better. I wake up every day happy and in love with the world. . . . If it had not been for [Jeff's] website, and others like his, I would have had to accept the lies that anti-Mormons put out there. I probably would never have set foot in a church. I can not imagine living away from this Church now, and I would never ever want to. I am just glad that there are people out there who care enough to dispute the lies. So I just want to say thank you to everyone who has written a blog or video about in favor of the Church. Every single one makes a difference, and I can testify to that.
May we all keep working to let the truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ be known so that those who are seeking for it may experience the rich blessings it brings. The stories of those who accept the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ are so often lilke this, reporting that they are happier, much happier, with a higher quality life in many ways. I'm personally so grateful for the joy and peace that I've found here, and while I recognize there are many paths that bring peace and happiness to people, I think there is something unique and wonderful that we have to share.
Thanks again, Mandi! May the Lord bless you richly in your studies and throughout the rest of your life.