April 6th, 2013 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of my baptism as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has been a day and night of deep reflection. I am a Jew, with a heritage in the Ukraine, where my father was born and where my mother’s folks were born. My earliest memories are of the synagogue and the teachings I received therein. The very idea of Christianity was forbidden in my home, and I was always discouraged from having much to do with those not of my faith. Fortunately, I learned some basics of the full Gospel in my studies of Judaism.
I grew up in an abusive home. I ran away from that environment many times before I was able to support myself. I encountered and wrestled with many overwhelming problems that lay in store for me. Somehow, during those confusing years I managed to educate myself and obtain good employment, but I also suffered the effects of depression, anxiety, of homelessness and loneliness. I was always plagued with deep insecurities. My writing ability, a gift I discovered early in life, was without purpose of intent or direction, a further frustration.
I married and divorced more than once. Religious life became a thing of the past. I suffered through some humiliating times and put myself in the way of dangerous circumstances which threatened my life and deeply scarred my emotional well-being. I was not able to successfully direct myself. I knew no peace nor joy nor trust in what the world had shown me. I contemplated ending my life. In short, I needed help which only the Lord could render.
It was through a series of remarkable events that I was led to finally examine my life as I reached maturity. Those events involved numerous souls who contributed their knowledge and help. My first book, Notes of A Jewish Convert to the LDS Church: Conversion of a Soul tells my story.
It took a number of years for the disparate parts of my life and work to come together, including the visit of a holy messenger, but in 1988 I stepped into the waters of baptism administered by one having authority, to be born anew. I became a Jew fulfilled, free of my past’s baggage, free to make a new and correct estimation of my gifts and to join with the Lord in reassessing my possibilities for growth, success and happiness.
The results are no less than staggering to me. I have truly become a new person within my heart, mind and spirit. I embrace the peace that my Christ brings to me. I have the blessings of the priesthood, an enduring marriage. The temples of God are my constant refuge. I am deeply and forever grateful for the changes that have been wrought in me.
I thank my Heavenly Father for saving my life and providing work and direction for me through dedication to his purposes for time and eternity. My love for my Savior and Redeemer fills my spirit with love and joy. I know that I am a child of God. I do not worry, for I am learning that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear…” (1John 4:18).
There is no secret to success as a person on this earth. In following the teachings of all our prophets with a clean and honest heart, having faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, human potential will be maximized and eternal joy attained. I am a young woman of 25 now, still a neophyte in the Gospel, in the fertile fields of the Lord, free to grow, to love, to succeed in my purposes because they are also His purposes. Often the path to perfection seems clouded, but it is there if searched out, sure and perfectly reachable. On my 25th anniversary, I give thanks for my membership in the Lord’s Church. I look forward to endless lifetimes of benefits.