Many conversations with the sister missionaries took place in my car. We didn’t have a place to go, so we either parked somewhere and talked for a few hours, or drove around and did “Scripture on Wheels.” Sister R giggled one time, “I’ve never actually done a scripture study while moving.”
One night, after “The Night at the Catholic Church,” I called Natalie. My heart was on overdrive and it felt like it was going to launch right out of my chest. I wanted to talk to someone but I didn’t know about what. Did I mention I was angsty?
My roommate was home, so I went out to my car and talked to Natalie for four hours. Neville has heard my entire conversion story. He was there for all of it. Anyway, it was the middle of winter, so every few minutes I turned to car on to warm up. We spent a lot of time talking about my “super concerns,” really, the big things I kept going back to in order to defend myself against conversation about religion. She talked a lot about the difference between church culture and gospel culture. She called me out on some of my worst habits in ways that made me start thinking about how to change those things, rather than my typical move of being defensive and resistant. She helped me realize one very big truth that had been dominating my faith for so long: the only person saying that my family wasn’t worthy of Heaven was me.
When I realized that, I cried so hard. I was condemning my own family in an effort to protect them from people who I thought were trying to condemn them. She helped me realize that it is not anyone else’s job to decide who does and doesn’t get to be in Heaven and that WAY includes me. She said that from what she understands, you’d have to do a lot of work to not be in God’s presence, to not be in the Celestial Kingdom. I realized that as far as my family is concerned, I’m the only one doing that kind of work.
I found that when I took all of those thoughts and feelings about how I feel about my family and how I think the world feels about my family out of the picture, I was a wee bit more willing to consider other things. I felt so peaceful and warm and panicked and sad and sorry at the same time. I felt peace because I got an answer to a question I have been asking for so long. I felt panicked because I knew that everything I had been doing up to that point was so self-defeating and I needed to make changes that were going to bring about a lot of other changes that I wasn’t willing to start thinking about. I felt sad and sorry that I have spent so much time putting a lot of effort into trying to keep my family out of Heaven.
That night, after my conversation with Natalie, I came to a new conclusion: I already knew I wouldn’t do this for or because of MoBoy. If that’s the case, then I also can’t not do this because of my family (I’m aware that this is a grammatical nightmare, but it makes sense in my head, so let’s roll with it). I already took MoBoy out of the picture and it made some space for actual learning. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I took my family out of the picture, too.
That Tuesday night, January 11, I read the Book of Mormon in its entirety. Cover to cover. Until 5:00 a.m. I was shaking. Every cell felt like it was turned on. Bones were shaking, I could feel every hair particle, my heart was racing for hours. By the time I read Mosiah 18:9-11, I knew I had to be baptized. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to be baptized. I just knew I had to be. I had converted and I was not one bit happy about it!
I knew the sisters woke up at 6:30 a.m. At 6:15 a.m., I send them a text message: I’m about 75% sure I need to be baptized.
Sister Robinson called me and said (well, screamed giddily), “Meet us at the church. Right now.”
So much love,