Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Elder?" Allred

Since we have begun using Facebook as missionaries, I have often wondered what all of my "non-Mormon" friends have thought to get a Friend Request from me, with "Elder" in front of my name. I
have also wondered what they have thought when all they see me post is things about Jesus. So this blog post is to shed a little light on why all of this is the way it is.

I think that most people I went to High School with knew that I am Mormon, or at least a good chunk of them did. They probably knew that that was the reason they never saw me at parties or anything like that. But for them, the simple answer was "because he's a Mormon". Yes, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has standards that are much more strict than most other religions, such as no drinking alcohol, tea or coffee, no smoking and no illegal drugs. There are also high standards for things such as language, music and virtue. I knew all of these things, and I attended church every Sunday with my family from the time I was born, but honestly, I didn't follow these standards because I was a "converted" Mormon. I followed them because I didn't want to make my Mom sad. I am the 4th boy and by the time I was in High School she had gone through enough that I didn't want to be the reason for any more pain. I really didn't know why we were asked to follow all of these standards. Luckily I had a great group of really good friends, and we spent a ton of time together having fun and staying out of trouble. I owe those friends so much, because I now fully understand
the importance of all of those standards that at the time seemed so limiting.

Immediately after graduation, I moved to Utah to go to college. I didn't have a solid group of friends for a while and there was a huge difference in my life. Then I walked on to the Track team at USU and really quickly made another group of solid friends that kept me out of trouble. About 7 months after I left home, one of my closest friends from Helena left on his mission for our church. It was then that I decided that I also wanted to go on my mission. A mission for our church means spending 2 years in some other place giving volunteer service and teaching people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I started preparing for my mission, some of my track friends told me I needed to be reading the Book of Mormon daily, which I started to do. They would remind me day after day. About this time I started to do a lot of thinking, and I started to pray a lot. Two years off from school, track, and work is a major sacrifice, and I needed to know if this was what I should be doing with my life.

Now would be the time that I would tell you about the amazing experience that I had in receiving an answer. But that never happened. I don't ever remember feeling any sense of direction during all of this. I decided that at least I wanted to develop the skills that a mission can teach and that I would benefit in many ways from serving a mission. I received a call to serve in the Washington DC South mission, which is really only Northern Virginia, and I left in July of 2012. At the beginning of a mission a missionary goes to the MTC, or Missionary Training Center, where they learn how and what to teach, and some good study habits and things like that. It was in the MTC that I finally received an answer. We were spending up to 10 hours a day in a classroom studying, and I was wondering if I had made the right decision. I remember one night before bed, praying to know if I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, and in particular praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true or not. I will never forget the feelings that I experienced that night, and I don't think I will ever be able to describe them. Along with these feelings came and overwhelming sense that I had indeed made the right decision.

18 months later I am so grateful for that experience, and the decision that I made to come on a mission. I am grateful that I had lived the way I did in High School, and now I understand the importance of those standards and why they are so high.  I have been so blessed to learn the things that I have, and to have an opportunity to help others learn them. I have learned so much about our relationship with God, and why it is important. Learning all of these things, and being able to watch the way God works through me as a missionary, and other people, has brought so much peace and joy into my life. I want everyone to feel the same way that I do, and to be as happy as I am. I have started this blog and have been posting things on Facebook in order to help others do this, and it's been great! Elder is a title that we hold for the 2 years as missionaries. There are female missionaries, they are called Sisters and they serve for 18 months. I know that this blog has been long, but it is a rather meaningful story to me, that I didn't know entailed so much until I started to write it out. I mentioned a lot of things in this blog that might lead to questions, mainly all of those standards. Feel free to message me on Facebook with any questions you have. Also, LDS.ORG and have all the information.
 Elder Allred's Facebook page

1 comment:

  1. I love your honesty and integrity. Keep sharing and growing Elder!