Hugs for Deborah!

Deborah Royal

When I was a child, I was a seeker. I attended a large variety of churches—the one up the hill that the neighbor went to, my cousins’ Catholic church, my friend’s Methodist church—whatever I could find. I knew there was a God and I wanted to find him, even if my family of origin was content with a nebulous belief in a vague Christian God.

In Junior High, I had a friend who was a Mormon. She invited me to all the dances, once we were old enough, which was very exciting. However, only I remember going to Church with her one time. Unfortunately, she never really told me anything about the doctrine, except this—when she got married I would not be able to go to the wedding!

When I was in college, I met another young woman, who had converted in high school, but she never shared either. Her religious activities were all very mysterious. When we later ended up in the same town being young mothers together, I used go through her Family Home Evening Manuals. Her Home Teachers would leave them on their monthly visits to this “inactive, part-member” family. She later told me she thought I was “too Woman’s Lib” and would never accept the Gospel, so she didn’t even try.

After my grandmother, who helped my mother raise me, died, I began to wonder where she was. I also had these odd dreams that my grandmother was alive, and living in our old house, although there was no furniture there—no pictures on the walls, no decorations—nothing. But, there seemed to be something I could do to fill the house back up. I didn’t know what that was, and it bothered me.

One day I decided I should go to church and see if someone could tell me where my grandmother was. So, since my husband (at the time) and I had been married in the Methodist Church down the street, I walked down there one Sunday to attend services.

Oddly, there were no services. Just a few people sitting around talking. They didn’t look up, they didn’t greet me, they just went on chatting. I later realized I missed out on being a Methodist due to Daylight Savings time and me not setting the clock! But at the time I thought Methodists were just too unfriendly for me! (I later got Methodist in-laws and they were very friendly.)

After that disappointing venture, I went home and called my less active LDS girlfriend and asked her if she and her church knew where my grandmother was. She said, basically, well,  by golly, they did know. And I could find out, too. She said she had been thinking of going back to church, so I could go with her next week.

I later learned she had called the Bishop and that was why there were Stake Missionaries at the door to greet us when we arrived. I took the lessons from Sister Harper and Sister Eberle (the latter whom I just re-connected with this past month). I would like to be able to say, “And the rest is history.” But there was that one little glitch where I said that I didn’t think I could join.

My husband  at the time was not a fan. He didn’t like religion in any form. He actually had been raised a Methodist, which may have been why we got married in that church—at least it was familiar.  So, in the interest of peace, I one day told the Sisters that since I didn’t feel it, and my husband was against it, I would not be taking lessons after the next one.

On that “last” visit, when they taught the lesson, I had a different feeling. When they asked me how I felt I told them “I feel kind of funny” and I wondered why. They said they had been fasting and praying that I would feel the Spirit and believe the Truth. I couldn’t deny it any longer. My husband signed the requisite forms, (which he later claimed to have regretted doing) and I was baptized close to 40 years ago. I never had that dream about my grandmother’s house being empty again. (And yes, I have had her temple work done!)

I am grateful to have found the Gospel. Maybe the fact that I had to go seeking after it has helped me to keep my belief through the ups and downs of these past years! And it probably helps that my current, wonderful husband is a convert and a true believer and that we were married and sealed in the temple. (I might have invited my friend from Jr. High, but she had passed away by then. I hope she was able to see what we were doing, and that she was pleased.)

Deborah Royal


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  1. I have no doubt that your junior-high friend was right there with you, the day you were baptized and in the temple. I have felt the presence of those beyond the veil that have been a part of our lives, besides members of the family. She will be waiting for you to hug you close when you reach the place she is. Hugs here and now, from the living.

  2. “When I was a child, I was a seeker.” What a great opening line. I really “felt” your story. Especially loved the example of the power of fasting/prayer. Hugs to you!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story Deborah . . . it certainly proves the point that we should never prejudge whether someone would be interested in hearing about our beliefs!

  4. Well, my FB bestie – it was nice to finally read your conversion story. Thanks for sharing it! I’m glad the sisters fasted and prayed for you and that the spirit converted you. Very nice, indeed!!

  5. Sure made me think tWice about who I haven’t invited or opened up to about the church! Thanks for sharing. : )

  6. AuntSue
    Hugs for you! What a long time seeking, before you could really find. Good thing you were determined.

  7. Wonderful to read! So glad you found the gospel, Deborah! And what an example you are of it also!

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