This past Wednesday marks the 7th anniversary of me entering the MTC. It was that decision that led me to a lot of where I'm at today in so many ways, both good and evil, for better and for worse. I remember that summer just after high school. I had no direction and no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had just finished public school and was feeling a sort of elation. I had just finally forgiven myself for ever liking this one guy almost two years before that. I no longer hated myself as I had felt during high school. My only biggest concern was feeling guilty over watching porn and masturbating.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea where I was going. I had no firm conviction of what I wanted at all. I was adrift without purpose that summer. I believed in the Church, the prophet, and the Book of Mormon though I harbored doubts because I had never once felt any conviction that the Book of Mormon was from God.
It was a summer that should have been one of transition and adjustment but instead I did what I normally did and refused to change, refused to adjust to what life was offering me. I allowed myself to be talked into going on a mission. I went and spoke with the bishop and passed my interview but I harbored feelings of guilt over porn and masturbating. I thought I could beat it back and do what God had asked of me. I thought all sorts of things back then.
The dry, terribly hot summer continued on and I soon met with the Stake President. In the interview, I felt overcome with guilt and was frustrated and depressed. I confessed of my sins and was given time to think over it. I felt I needed to repent. My parents were alarmed by this. What would make their son not want to serve a mission? At first they gave me space, wanting to let me figure things out. But as the weeks dragged on, they finally confronted me. My mom suggested I pray about going on a mission. So I did so...or felt too guilty to bother God with such a question. I knew I needed to go. So I figured that was my answer and was soon called to serve in Colorado. I was to report to the MTC on the 29th of September in 2004. I tried to get ready, I tried to do all that I thought I should do. But I never could seem to do it.
Sentry, it's been seven years since that day. Seven years since I chose to serve a mission for the LDS Church. It's kind of funny now, looking back on that decision. I still can recall the desire to do what was right, or what I thought was right then. I can still recall the curiosity and desire to believe in visions, revelations, God, and the Holy Ghost. I can even recall the weight of despair that I felt whenever I tried to imagine I life without ever having a person I truly loved in it. I believed that I would be dead by twenty-five. So powerful was that idea that even after I shed my beliefs, I still harbored a nervous fear that such a view would come true in my twenty-fifth year of life. I'm twenty-six now, so I guess that was an unnecessary attitude to have.
Serving a mission and going to BYU were to decisions that have impacted my life. They have so powerfully and so completely altered my life that I can't even begin to fathom it now. I divide my life, when looking back, between before serving my mission, serving my mission, and after serving. How many times have you, Sentry, felt the same thing? Felt that realization that one particular decision has so powerfully impacted your life? It has created a whole new category to make decisions in.
What about you, Sentry? What decisions have you made that have impacted your life in huge ways?
10 months ago