I’m a teacher. I’m originally from Ohio, where there aren’t really very many Mormons. The religious experiences that I had there caused me to turn away from organized religion for 22 years. When I was 21, I moved to Vegas. I taught in southwest Vegas for nine years, and there was a large LDS population at the school at which I worked. For years, at the beginning of the year, a group of students would come up to me, and one of them would say, “Hey Ms. Bowers- we’re Mormon.”
I had no idea why they were doing that.
But regardless, I always knew who the Mormons were, because they told me. If I ever had any questions about their religion, they were more than happy to share. Also, I noticed that they were a lot different from the other kids. They were kinder, more polite, and more responsible. If they got a grade they didn’t like, they didn’t say that it was because I didn’t like them. Instead, they came to me and asked what they could do to improve their grade. Then they followed through, made the necessary corrections, and earned a higher grade. Even when they didn’t know that I was watching, they behaved pretty admirably. I remember seeing one of them react to an adverse situation, and thinking to myself, I wish I was more like that. That’s not something that a thirty something usually thinks about a thirteen year old.
At the time, I had three small children. I decided that I wanted them to turn our like the Mormon kids, so that meant that I needed to find out what the Mormons were doing to make their kids turn out so well. I started asking more questions, and reading more.
Towards the end of the year, I was facing some difficult challenges. I was crying every day before school, and all through my lunch. After a couple days of that, a group of my LDS students asked if they could eat lunch with me. I said yes. They ate lunch with me almost every day of fourth quarter. I couldn’t believe that this group of thirteen year olds was willing to give up the one free half hour they had every day to eat lunch with a teacher. But they did. I called one of the girl’s mothers to ask her about the church. She thought I was calling because her daughter was in trouble, which I don’t think had ever happened before. When she realized that I was calling about church, her mood improved immediately. She sent her daughter to school with a Book of Mormon, and I started going to church with them after the school year ended. I got baptized four weeks later. I am so grateful for those kids, the examples that their parents set for them, and the examples that they set for me. I cannot imagine my life without the church. I depend on the gospel every day.
~ Rosemary Bowers