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My Spiritual Track

A few months ago, I wrote an article about religion. It consisted on interviews I had with several people of different faiths. I interviewed a Messianic Jewish woman, a Catholic, a Protestant, and a Mormon. Each person I interviewed held a contentment in their respected religion. Upon completion of the article, I prayed I would have the same contentment. I held a longing for a peace about religion and struggled with which one of the two were greater, a relationship with our Heavenly Father or religion?

I was no stranger to religion. I was raised Catholic and Baptist, (my father was Catholic, my mother Baptist) and for five years I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses. After leaving the Witnesses, I spent four years trying to find the 'right' religion.

"Religion is man-made and not instituted by God," I told myself. I thought by visiting several churches and reading my Bible, I could teach my children what they needed to know. I wanted them to have a spiritual foundation, but I found it was more difficult not having a solid foundation of my own.

I briefly went back to the Catholic Church, finding some solitude of peace when I attended Mass. I still needed more scriptural knowledge, so my search for a home church continued. I found a little log cabin of a church that reminded me of the church I attended with my grandmother in Alabama. It was non-denominational, yet leaned towards Pentecostal. During the praise session, I was often moved to tears. I found myself wanting to gravitate towards others Christians, but something was still very much lacking in my soul.

Throughout my years, I have known and befriended a good amount of LDS people and used to joke that they were in my 'LDS Collection' of friends. It never seemed to fail that when I met someone I really liked and asked what church they attended, they'd tell me they were LDS.

I had the missionaries over to my house a few times over the years, but nothing they said ever resonated with me. I wasn't truly listening to what they had to say, because my mind (and heart) was completely closed to the notion of learning about Mormonism.

In March 2009, I had a strange and interesting dream. The dream haunted me and it was weeks before I told anyone the contents. In my dream, I was panicked because I was late arriving to something very important. I remember walking into a changing room and changing into a white jumpsuit. I remember going into a baptismal font and being baptized. Instead of feeling good about the baptism, I felt dread and overwhelming sadness. I remember in my dream looking out towards the people watching the baptism. All were smiling, but they were all strangers. My husband and my children were not in attendance. This dread caused me to question my decision. In my dream, a voice said to me that I would never have peace if I couldn't accept the gift and be happy. I needed to stop concentrating on the people who weren't there…but be joyous for GOD was there! I distinctly remember a tall man in the baptismal font motioning for me to walk towards him. I remember his smile and the way I felt when he baptized me. I can still hear the sound of the Spirit telling me I was not alone.

The dream was compelling and distorted, but the message was clear. However, I discounted the notion of joining the Mormon Church and took the dream to mean that I had to rely on God and not myself.

I spent the next few months devouring books about Jesus Christ and our Creator. I read my Bible and starting to work on the article about religion. While sitting at my kitchen table with my Bible opened, I asked God for direction. I remember seeing the letters: L D S in my mind and thought to myself that I never have given them a fair chance. I didn't really have anything to lose, nor did I believe my life would change so dramatically.

The two missionaries, Elder Bailey and Elder Bjorkman entered my home and it was as if I knew them both my entire life. There were no awkward silences between the three of us. I had made a promise to myself that I would be open to being taught, so I had already read The Book of Mormon and given up coffee…just to see if I could.

There were many instances during my study with Elder Bjorkman and Elder Bailey where I felt the Spirit. The most poignant moment was during my baptismal interview in which I had a sudden feeling of angst come over me. After a few seconds, a calming peace ran through my body and the words, "This is the beginning of your life, stay firm,"ran through my head.

The days before my baptism were difficult. My husband refused to allow my children to attend church and wouldn't allow the children to attend the baptism. He also chose not to attend.

As I walked down the baptismal font and I saw Elder Bjorkman, I realized all those times in which he looked familiar made sense. I remembered in my dream the person who had baptized me and it was him! When I asked him to baptize me, I didn't think anything of it…other than it just seemed right. I can't even articulate into words what that moment was like. It was a missing piece to a puzzle that finally came together to make perfect sense. I will never forget it as long as I live.

I've realized religion is not greater than the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father, but the right religion enhances our relationship. Opening my heart to the whispers of the Holy Spirit has given me what I always wanted: Contentment. While it hasn't been easy since my baptism, my world is chaotic and filled with adversity; there is still a peace and overwhelming contentment that never leaves me.

And it is with that...I know I'm on the right spiritual track.

Jaime Chase is a wife, mother of four and lives in Anchorage, Alaska. She is a writer and public speaker. She is currently studying to receive her Bachelor's Degree in Religion and Philosophy. She currently writes on her blog, Chase N Kids, and is working on her second book, a memoir about her life and religion.

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