Dating: within the church OR outside of the church?

Relationships are hard enough as it is, but dating someone outside of the church can be even more difficult.

I don’t have much experience dating members of the church, mainly because there are absolutely no guys that are my age in my ward 😂 I think dating within the church would be a little more easier for me because they already know what I know and believe to be true, providing they have a testimony of their own. It would definitely be nice to be able to pray with them, read scriptures and attend church and activities together. I know guys in my ward who barely open their scriptures or pray unless they’re in a lesson, which really sucks. Don’t settle for someone who “just goes to church” many go, but many are not fully invested in Christ. They will only be invested when they want to be.

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If you’re someone who wants a temple marriage, date someone within the church. You cannot keep saying how much you desire a temple marriage and raising a family in the gospel by dating outside of the church. Especially with the young adults, it’s very rare that you’ll find someone willing to convert. People are so good with words that their actions don’t back it up. You can’t force the gospel on anyone. If they don’t have a little faith in Jesus Christ to begin with, no matter how hard you talk to them about your beliefs, how important the church is to you or even if they come to church with you, nothing is guaranteed that they will commit to following Jesus Christ. You must ask yourself if you’re OK with being with someone who doesn’t share your beliefs. The person you’re dating may get baptized, but you have to make sure they are doing it because they have come to know Christ and not because it’s important to you. After they are baptized, they could easily fall away from the church. Converting isn’t easy, so make sure you’re there for them when they have concerns.

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Make sure YOU are living your life to the standards God expects of you. I promise you that God will send The One to you when you are living the gospel. You can’t be wanting a temple marriage or even a relationship with someone within the church if you are not living the standards yourself. There will be temptation in any relationship, but be strong willed and make sure you’re making the right choices. The consequences are very real! Make sure you set some guidelines for your relationship whether they’re a member or not. Do NOT allow them to influence you to make a choice that you will regret. It isn’t worth it.

Take it from me, there are some people outside of the church who won’t understand your faith, the reasons why you pray, why you go to church or why the law of chastity is important to you. I used to hide the fact that I went to church from guys because I knew what they would say. The moment I started to be honest with any guy I met, I still got criticism and a guy told my friend, “just because she goes to church, doesn’t make her a saint.” I have never claimed to be a saint. I’ve screwed up and I’ve repented. Narrow-minded people have absolutely NO idea what church is for, what we learn or how we can change. If they accepted my many offers to come to church, they would learn a thing or two. I could not be with someone like that. I have found 2 guys that didn’t have a problem with me going to church. In a relationship, it’s important to have our own interests. I don’t want to be around someone 24/7.

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I don’t like being around people who smoke or drink so much that they get drunk or high. It’s not my scene. It’s very rare to find a guy outside of the church who doesn’t drink or smoke. The first thing a guy will suggest is that you go out for a drink. There are plently of other ways to get to know someone that doesn’t involve alcohol. If a guy I am dating likes to drink then it’s ok, but not to the point where he can’t handle his drink and gets drunk. From the way I live my life, I am much better off dating within the church. I know that. Like I said earlier, there just isn’t any guys in my ward who are my age, but I do want to venture out and see if there are any guys my age in my stake. I will still date guys who aren’t members, providing they understand that the church and my faith are the most important to me. I have no problem living the church standards and if a guy can’t accept that, then he isn’t right for me. As Haleigh Everts said in her book:

“If R and I got married, I would have to do that; I’d have to be Mormon by myself and keep my beliefs to myself. I guess that if it’s meant to be, we’ll find a way to make it work. But that makes me wonder where my loyalty to the church went. Why am I willing to spend my life keeping the biggest part of myself quiet? I need the church in my life, I want the priesthood in my home. I don’t want to do it on my own; I want a husband to go to church with me and raise our children in this gospel that I love. I’ve seen families in my ward who have fathers to give blessings when they’re sick or to start a new year of school, I see dads baptizing their eight year old children, I see families taking up a whole pew at church — I want all of that.”

If you’re like Haleigh and dream of everything she ever wanted, would you settle for a non member? Could you live with keeping an important part of your life to yourself and having no one who can enjoy it with you? Why would you want to do that, if the gospel means everything to you?

The main thing in any relationship is that you’re happy. You can’t help who you fall in love with, but know that God always has the one He has in mind for you. I would just advise anyone to make a list of the pros and cons and always pray for the guidance you need.

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Helping the less active return to church

It sucks when your friends become less active in the church and trying to get them to come back is no easy task. I have spent countless hours, days and months talking about what I know to be true and discussing their concerns with those who have asked for my help. I can’t imagine what being less active feels like, and how you fall completely into Satan’s trap and have no way of avoiding temptation. To bring yourself from the dark influences of Satan back to the light of Jesus Christ and follow the commandments you made at baptism is a hard transition. I know less actives that are so far gone that they will not attend church ever again. No matter what you do or say.  The truth is, the less actives are going to have to want to come back to church for themselves. Not because they have friends there but because they truly do love the Lord and know that His church is true.

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From helping less actives I have learned that the reasons why people go inactive has very little to do with their belief in God or what the church teaches. It’s more to do with what’s going on around them; relationships with non members, work commitments on a Sunday, other people in the church that may have harmed them in some way or just not knowing where they “fit in” at church. Some may have relied on the late Thomas S. Monson’s testimony to get by. All of those reasons to me are nothing that can’t be resolved. If you want Christ to be in the centre of your life, you need to make changes and repent for your wrong doings. Returning to church activity and repenting is a clean slate. A new beginning in the church. Repenting of serious sins cleanses you, and from that very moment in time you’re able to move forward with God and the Saviour who have both forgiven you. No need to ever speak of those sins you made ever again as long as you make it right. Sure, it’ll be scary to go back after being inactive for so long, but the was your choice and there are people at church who will make you feel welcome. I’ve always said there’s a seat next to me if anyone wishes to come back.

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I look forward to seeing my friends leaving their bad habits behind, changing and returning to be more Christlike and attending church on a regularly basis. Attending activites is one thing, but attending church and taking the sacrament, singing hymns and learning, that’s where you show your love for your Saviour and Heavenly Father.

YSA Devotional with Elder and Sister Kearon

Sunday night was the worldwide broadcast of the YSA devotional with Elder and Sister Kearon. What an incredible devotional it was! Definitely my favourite of the ones I have watched in the past.

I feel that spiritually, I am in such a good place. My faith is so strong in the gospel that I am kind of in my own little gospel bubble avoiding anything that may harm my spirituality or steer me in the wrong direction. More than anything, this devotional to me, validated the reasons on why I am a member of the church. In the past, I’ve watched devotionals or conferences because I was feeling low and would be looking for that guidance. This time, Sister Kearon confirmed what I already know to be true. I’m worthy to my Heavenly Father, it’s what He thinks of me that matters, everything happens in His timing and my Saviour has felt my pain, whether it was mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Sister Kearon spoke so much about our worth. We must recognise our worthiness and that our Heavenly Father loves us. Nothing else matters than knowing our Heavenly Father loves us and we’re worthy of His blessings. We can bounce back after sin or from being less active. We can change. Turn to Heavenly Father in prayer, read the scriptures, speak to your bishop and talk to members of the church. You can overcome anything and everything with faith and your Heavenly Father and Saviour.

I really loved the personal experiences Sister Kearon shared. We have to go through tough times and it’s not because God “hates us” or is punishing us. Sister Kearon said, “we wouldn’t develop any meaningful degree of patience, compassion, humility, long suffering, love and kindness, endurance, discipline, selflessness or faith, hope and charity.” You can’t tell me that your tough times haven’t made you stronger and more grateful for the sacrifice the Saviour made for you. The light at the end of all your hard times is there! Keep pressing forward with faith.

When anyone speaks to the young adults, they always mention about dating and marriage. I really loved what Sister Kearon said about her husband, “He has not once made me feel small or unloved, and he has never made a joke at my expense.” Things like that do happen when dating, but remember not to fall into the trap of being treated like that. You may think you love them, but someone who loves you would not treat you that way.

Elder Kearon spoke about service and helping just about everyone and anyone.

There are 3 types of service that he mentioned;

  1. Service assigned at church; your calling.
  2. Service we choose; act of kindness.
  3. Public service; charity, helping the community.

You show your passion for Christ and the gospel by taking 5 minutes out of your day to help someone. Whether that’s sending a text to someone who isn’t feeling well or was missed at church to buying an inexpensive meal for the homeless, to donating food to your local food bank. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. By serving others we have the ability to reach the standard our Saviour set. Elder Kearon said, “He constantly taught, blessed and guided others to change their point of view and therefore, their lives.” You may think you don’t have the ability to change someone’s point of view or life, but sending that text, sharing the gospel with someone, something, somewhere will make a great impact on their life. That little light in their soul that is currently dim will get brighter and brighter. You might not see it overnight or in a month, but eventually, that light will be shining through. Serve those around you to show your willingness to be more like the Saviour.

Dating: Know what you want and what you deserve!

Before you even think about asking someone you have in mind out on a date know the following;

What you’re looking for in a person.

Do you want someone who is faithful? Someone who shares the same values as you? Is their belief in God important to you? Someone who knows how to make time for you, as well as their own interests?

What you want from a relationship.

Are you the type who casually dates and wanting something short term? Or are you looking long term in hopes to marry and raise a family with them?

What you deserve when it comes to dating and relationships.

Well, everyone deserves respect and love 110%. Everyone also deserves a response to a text in a timely manner and not left wondering if you made a bad first impression on a first date.

Maybe you haven’t dated that many people to know what your heart truly desires in someone or even in a relationship. We all have an incline to know what we deserve. If you’ve had your fair share of dating the wrong people, you could write a list of what you don’t want. Don’t dwell too much on the negatives, it’s just to remind yourself of what you may have tolerated in the past but won’t in the future. Stand your ground.

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Some people say writing lists aren’t a good idea for dating because you’re always changing your mind on what you want. It depends on what you’re actually writing down! If you’re writing what you want them to physically look like, what job they should have or what car they should drive. Put the pen down! Being shallow won’t get you anywhere! That’s not the purpose for the list and none of that is nowhere as important as finding someone who respects you.

When it comes to dating, I think some of us settle for what we think we deserve. Don’t settle for anyone because you’re lonely or feel like they are the only person that is interested in you. Believe me, there is someone out there better than the last one and who will treat you so much better. None of us deserve to be mistreated or led on. Heartbreak after heartbreak gets tiring after awhile and there comes a time when you need to make changes. Deep down we know ourselves what we deserve.

Writing these type of lists helps you not to cave into a relationship that may be toxic for you. You know what you want (or don’t want), be strong and don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. I’m not saying you need to find someone that has every quality you have on your list. Just 2-3 qualities that are the most important to you are good enough to focus on.

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As Elder Holland mentions above, do not waste your time with someone whose actions are like this towards you. I honestly wish I prayed about this particular guy who was a member, before I let myself be mentally and spiritually broken. He would call me names, tell me I needed to change my attitude, change the way I looked and dressed as well as other things that were hurtful. It was hard to deal with and I have no idea what I did to be disrespected. Despite all of what happened, I am now stronger and wiser. I turn to Heavenly Father if any guys are interested in me. I know the second, a guy shows me that he doesn’t respect me, is the second I should not entertain his behaviour.

At the end of the day, when you’re dating never assume that your new interest will turn out like your ex. Stay positive. Not everyone is your ex. Always trust your gut feeling and please, like I mentioned in my previous blog, prayer is so important. You need that guidance from Heavenly Father before dating, during dating and when you establish a relationship.

Dating: Seeking the Lord’s Guidance

Before I joined the church, I never really thought about praying about someone I was interested in or about the person who was interested in me. Since I had a not-so-great experience with someone who is a member of the church, I decided I needed to let God handle my dating life. It’s a great feeling when someone is interested in you, but I really do advise you to take it to the Lord before you consider saying yes to a date. As someone who has had her heart broken time and time again, it’s refreshing to spend a moment in prayer and let my Heavenly Father help me out. Don’t let your feelings get caught up in what God might be protecting you from. He knows the kind of person you deserve and He will protect you, as long as you trust Him.

There was this guy, I’ll call him Thomas. We knew each other a long time ago, so he isn’t a member of the church. We are simply acquaintances. I arranged to meet up with him as it’s always great to reconnect with people. We spent time just talking at the park about our lives. At the end of our time hanging out, he asked if he could hug me. I thought that was such a gentleman thing to do and I told him that he could. In that moment, I was really uncomfortable and put it down to me not wanting to be physically touched by a guy because of what I had recently been through. I actually love my hugs, so why was I uncomfortable? He told me how much he wanted to take me out to dinner, but that never happened. Story of my life 🙄 we still kept messaging back and forth but never met up again. I just didn’t understand why we weren’t going on a date despite my efforts trying to plan something. I know that if a guy is interested in you, he should pursue you. I’m a firm believer in that and I will never chase a guy. And I told him that. I honestly don’t know why I tried so hard. Maybe because I didn’t think he thought I was interested in him. In the middle of us exchanging messages I met another guy. I’ll call him Eric. Eric and I clicked immediately. Nothing between us was forced. Our conversation flowed naturally and he asked when he would see me again. We saw each other just 2 days later. Easy, right? When you want to see someone, you make it happen. Stop with the excuses. When he hugged me, (more than once), I felt so secure and happy. So, I started thinking about Thomas and why I felt so uncomfortable.

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I prayed to Heavenly Father day in and day out about Thomas. I even asked him to pray, since he said praying is something he does. It makes sense to both be on the same page and praying about what you both want. Eventually, I received an answer and had a prompting to search his name on Google. I know how crazy that sounds and I would never normally do that. Why would I? And anyway, what could I possibly find? Then I saw it there in black and white. A news report. I’m not going to go into detail, but it made me question so much. I know we all have a past, but I knew God was protecting me. I could have experienced something horrific again and who would believe me? It was hard enough getting people to believe me the first time! I don’t want to find myself in that position ever again. So many times I had ignored the Spirit prompting me to close the door on him, but I never listened. I set myself up for heartbreak even though I knew something wasn’t right. I told him I prayed about him and that it wasn’t going to work. I asked him if he received an answer and he never replied to me. He then later told me I had given him a “cop out” answer and that I was scared. So much for being someone who prays, right? And scared? Scared of what? When I asked him about what I had found, he was angry and told me I should have asked him before I searched for it. How would I have known about this if I didn’t pray about him? He also told me it was false. Well, false or not, I know I was uncomfortable for a reason. I’m glad that chapter of my life is over with. Aside from what I read in the news report, I also didn’t like his controlling behaviour and his jealous nature. He wasn’t even someone I was dating or in a relationship with. Why would he care so much about what I’m doing or who I’m with? I’m so grateful I never got the chance to find out what he would be like in a relationship. I can’t be with someone like that again, and the Lord knows it.

Once you do establish a relationship with someone, continue to pray for guidance and for the person you are in a relationship with. Sometimes, we can be so besotted with someone once we are in a relationship that we can’t see them for who they really are. God will reveal a person’s true intentions sooner rather than later. Ask Him. If you’re dating someone who isn’t a member, prayer is even more important. You need the Spirit on your side and consistent prayers to help you resist temptation. Be strong in your faith, your morals and your standards. Let God lead you to the one He has for you.

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Book Review: Why I Left The Mormon Church and Came Back by Haleigh Everts

Back in February, I was looking for books in the faith section on Amazon and came across Haleigh’s book to pre-order. I wasn’t particularly looking for LDS books, but Haleigh’s book was definitely one I was interested in reading. I searched for Haleigh’s name and found her YouTube channel where I watched the video of her explaining why she left the church and came back. Her video struck a chord with me and brought me to tears so much that I just had to email her. When she responded, little did I know, we had so much in common. After reading her book, we have even more in common!

I laughed, I cried (happy and sad tears) and felt the Spirit. Haleigh begins her story as her 10 year old self learning about the church after her mother is taught by the missionaries and gets baptized at the age of 55. We then follow Haleigh’s life from getting baptized at 15, going through trials, receiving her patriarchal blessing, her dating life, attending BYU to finally getting married in the temple and welcoming her little girl, Ireland.

Haleigh has no filter. She really doesn’t. She is so personable, real and honest that she doesn’t sugarcoat any of her trials or consequences from her bad decisions that she has made. I feel a lot of people do act like sin isn’t that big of a deal but believe Haleigh (or me, if you know my story), the consequences are a big deal. She’s open about her relationships with family, friends and ex boyfriends. Everything Haleigh has been through has made her the woman, wife and mother she is today. I really admire and respect her for being so open and honest about everything she has dealt with, and still deals with today. Even as a married woman, Haleigh talks about the struggles. As a convert attending church I always thought Mormon families in my ward were so perfect, happy and united, but I know that couldn’t be further from the truth. It isn’t our business to know what goes on in a relationship between two people, but Haleigh is an open book and she will help so many others going through the same thing.

I don’t want to share too much from her book because other people really should read it for themselves! I picked out a few quotes I wanted to talk about.

Haleigh always had the goal of getting married in the temple in her heart and on her mind. In the quote below, she’s talking about the non-Mormon guy she is dating at the time who definitely won’t lead her to where her heart desires. It makes me sad when young adults believe someone will get baptized for them just to make them happy. People are so good with words and they can string you along and get your hopes up and eventually, nothing happens. Haleigh is a smart girl. I love the last part about her questioning her loyalty to the church. It’s true. How can you preach so much about a church you love when you’re dating a guy who doesn’t accept your beliefs and will most likely lead you astray. Who wants to be with someone like that? Not me!

“If R and I got married, I would have to do that; I’d have to be Mormon by myself and keep my beliefs to myself. I guess if it’s meant to be, we’ll find a way to make it work. But that makes me wonder where my loyalty to the church went. Why am I willing to spend my life keeping the biggest part of myself quiet? I need the Church in my life.”

Another quote I really liked was when Haleigh spoke about her past boyfriends and how they always said she deserved better. She really did deserve better! I’ve heard it myself a few times and like Haleigh, I thought it was an excuse just to go and be with another girl. What I love most about this quote is how she said, it’s God guiding them to let her go and to let Him lead her to the one He has been preparing her to meet.

“They each felt like they needed to let me go so I could live the life I was meant to live. I thought it was such crap at the time, just a stupid excuse! But now it is clear to me that God was guiding them.”

So, why did I want to read Haleigh’s book? Well, it wasn’t just because she’s a convert like me. It did help, but I was genuinely interested in why she left because as a convert it really, really is difficult. I’m not exaggerating. It’s been an absolute rollercoaster ride. You can feel so alone and such an outsider sitting in the chapel with members who grew up in the gospel. Members who give you not-so friendly glares and it’s enough to make you not want to be there. I wanted to know if Haleigh ever had the same feelings as me towards the church or if I was just completely alone in thinking the way I did. It turns out she did have the same thoughts and feelings towards the church as I did. We’ve also had the same experiences when it comes to non-Mormon and Mormon guys 😔 it was nice to know that I was never alone and that someone, somewhere had dealt with the same things as me at some point.

I genuinely believe her book will help recent converts who may be struggling. I’m grateful for Haleigh for writing Why I Left The Mormon Church and Came Back. She has really inspired me to carry on the path I’m on and not let anything stand in my way of reaching the ultimate goal. She’s also given me hope that someday, I just might meet a nice Mormon guy. I’m also grateful for her testimony and the last chapter of her book which filled my heart with so much love. Haleigh is a beautiful person inside and out.

“We all have to recieve our own witness of the gospel —and it often doesn’t come until after the trial of our faith.” – Haleigh Everts

General Conference April 2018: Sunday Session Thoughts

For me, the talks I liked most during the Sunday session which took place on Easter Sunday, were the ones that spoke about the Spirit and how to be more aware of the Spirit.

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Elder Wilson said, “What an incomparable gift comes to those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. That gift is the Holy Spirit giving us what the New Testament calls ‘life in Christ‘ but do we sometimes take for granted such a gift?”

We absolutely do take the Holy Spirit for granted. The Holy Spirit helps guide and comfort us. We can sometimes ignore the Holy Spirit’s prompts because we think we have better judgement.

Elder Wilson stated the key points on how we can receive the Spirit’s guidance more frequently.

  1. “We must each be making the effort to sign our lives with God’s commandments in order to be directed by Him.”
  2. “Instead of just listing our problems in prayer and asking the Lord to solve them, we ought to be seeking more proactive ways of receiving the Lord’s help.”
  3. “We need the Holy Spirit as our guide in calm water so His voice will be unmistakeable to us in the fiercest storm.”

Sometimes we can’t hear heaven’s signal because we are not worthy. Repentance and obedience are the way to achieve clear communication again. The Old Testament word for repent means “to turn” or “turn around.” When you feel far from God, you need only make the decision to turn from sin and face the Savior, where you will find Him waiting for you, His arms outstretched. He is eager to guide you, and you are just one prayer away from receiving that guidance again.”

If you know you need to repent, you must do so. If you make a huge mistake that’s big enough to drive the Spirit away because the Spirit does not dwell in unholy temples, you will find out how lost you are without the guidance of the spirit. You cannot blame anything or anyone but yourself for driving the spirit away.

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Elder De Feo spoke about being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. What makes someone a true disciple of Jesus Christ? Well, all we need to do is look to our Saviour and how He treated others. He is our example.

  1. True disciples love to serve.
  2. True disciples love to forgive.
  3. True disciples love to submit themselves to the Lord with peace in their heart.
  4. True disciples love the Lord more than the world and are steadfast and immovable in their faith.
  5. Pure love is the true sign of every disciple of Jesus Christ.

My favourite quote from his points was, “True disciples know that the real blessings are not always what they want but rather what the Lord wants for them.” In life, we can’t always have we want, that’s just the way life is. You can pray and pray but God’s “no” is exactly that. His no isn’t to mean you don’t deserve it, but that He will bless you with something greater than you have ever desired. Everything always happens in His timing.

Elder De Feo compared those points of true discipleship to the Saviour. Our Saviour did everything on a much larger scale compared to anything we will ever do, but the key thing is, it’s all about LOVE. Do things out of LOVE. Not because you want to boast or gain attention, but because you love others and want to be more like Him.

“In the midst of His greatest pain, in the garden that night, He was the one who needed help, suffering in a way that we cannot even imagine or comprehend. But in the end, He forgot about Himself and prayed for us until He paid the full price. How was He able to do it? Because of His pure love for the Father, who sent Him, and for us. He loved the Father and us more than Himself.

The next time you take the sacrament, really remember what the Saviour went through for YOU. The next time you make a mistake and are able to repent and start again is only because of Him.

He paid for something that He had not done. He paid for sins that He had no committed. Why? Pure love.Having paid the full price, He was in the position to offer us the blessings of what He paid for if we would repent. Why did He offer this? Again, and always, pure love.”

Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ means we love others just the way our Saviour loves us and His enemies. Love conquers hate. The gospel is all about love.

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My last favourite talk from the Sunday session was from President Eyring.

“Every day I am blessed to know that, because of His Atonement, I may someday be resurrected to live forever in a loving family. I know those things by the onlyway any of us can know them. The Holy Ghost has spoken to my mind and heart that they are true  not just once but often. I have needed that continuing comfort. We all experience tragedy during which we need the reassurance of the Spirit.”

That’s what the Spirit is there for. Not only to guide us  but to provide us with that comfort that we need during our trials and moments when we’re struggling. You need faith in Jesus Christ.

“My hope today is to increase your desire and your ability to receive the Holy Ghost. Remember, He is the third member of the Godhead. The Father and the Son are resurrected beings. The Holy Ghost is a person of spirit. It is your choice whether to receive Him and welcome Him into your heart and mind.”

“More precious than a memory of events is the memory of the Holy Ghost touching our hearts and His continuing affirmation of truth. More precious than seeing with our eyes or remembering words spoken and read is recalling the feelings that accompanied the quiet voice of the Spirit. Rarely I have felt it exactly as the travelers on the road to Emmaus did—as a soft but unmistakable burning in the heart. More often it is a feeling of light and quiet assurance.”

I remember when I was dealing with repentance, I prayed so much and continuously said the same prayer day in, day out. After a lot of crying during those prayers I felt that comfort and assurance. I was at peace. I felt that everything was going to be OK and that someone was giving me the biggest hug imaginable. I saw the light again.

President Eyring recalled Joseph’s example on how to receive continual spiritual direction and comfort through the Holy Ghost:

  1. Be humble before God.
  2. Pray with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. Obey.
  4. Pray to know the needs and hearts of others and how to help them for the Lord.

And as always, pray with real intent and the answers to your prayers will come in His timing.