I was born in a small town in Louisiana and was raised by a very strict father who grew up southern Baptist. My father and mother were born in Arkansas and raised 9 children in Louisiana. My father was a share cropper and we all worked along with him picking cotton and so forth. Even though my father wasn’t much of a church goer he made sure that all of his children attended on Sundays. My mother passed away at age 34 and left our dad with 9 children to raise by himself. At the time of her death I was only 6 years old and I can’t tell you how much pain I felt not having her around anymore. I had not thought about death very much until my mother passed away and I became very angry with God. It was my mothers death even at the age of 6 that put me on a course of religion. I became obsessed. So I became a religious junky. I started staying away from my family. I was praying in secret not wanting them to know. As I grew older I wanted to move away from my family so I could do more searching beyond the Baptist religion. I didn’t worry about what my family thought anymore. I just had to keep looking for that yearning I was having deep inside of me. I needed to know.
At age 15 I had a son and at age 18 I left Louisiana and moved to California and lived with my older sister. My sister helped out a lot with my son as I searched out my new life in California. One of the things that my sister didn’t know I was looking for in my new life was religions. All of my family was southern Baptist and had no desire to change, but I didn’t let that stop me from searching. You see religion was all that I was thinking about as soon as I set foot in California. I wasn’t going to let nothing get in my way. I knew there were lots of religions in California and I wasn’t interested in much of anything else. I found many Baptist churches, but I didn’t want anything to do with them anymore because they didn’t give me the answers I was looking for. I could go on and on about all the religions that I investigated, but there was only one that caught my attention.
One day in the beginning of the 80’s a knock came on my door. It was two young men from the Mormon church. Any one who mentioned Jesus or God to me I was willing to listen. These two young men seemed to have all of the answers that I had been searching for. When I talked to them about my mothers death they told me how I could see her again. I thought this is it, please teach me more. I wasted no time diving into the Mormon religion. I asked them to baptize me on the 2nd discussion I was so exited. Because of my mothers death being so young I wanted to get to the Mormon temple as soon as possible. After joining the Mormon church I did go to the temple one year later it seemed to have the answers that I was searching for. The church taught me that I could be with my mother after I died and this is what I needed to hear.
I was attending college at the time. One month later I went on an 18 month mission to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After returning back to California I felt that it was time to move on. So I decided to move to Utah where there were lots of Mormons. My son who was 23 at the time decided that he wanted to move to Utah so he moved here a year later. My son also had joined the church a year after me but stayed home in California and helped to support my mission. My son continues to live here in SLC and Has 6 children.
I went to church every Sunday, keeping the rules and doing everything I was told to do for many years. All was well, then things started to change inside of me. I was a person who wanted to feel free and happy. This is what I have been looking for all of my life. I always felt that everyone should be treated equal so they could be happy. I no longer felt this way in the Mormon church. In the late 90’s I had a big change of heart and started to pull away from the Church. Eventually a short time later I completely stopped attending the Mormon Church. I remember thinking that this isn’t right either. So at the time I was not believing in any religions. I decided not to attend any churches. I decided only to listen to my own heart and see what it was saying to me.
Some years later in 2007, while living in Bountiful Utah, I met a wonderful person named Julie Taggart who gave me an invite poster to attend a meeting in the SLC library. I did attend this meeting where I met Christopher Nemelka and many others. The date was February 25th 2007. The invitation didn’t say anything about religion, but I did worry at first. Religion was not brought up at this meeting. I have to say my eyes were opened at this meeting because when I saw Christopher walk in to the room I said Jesus is back. Then I looked around the room and I thought that he has his disciples here with him. The message that Christopher gave that day went right to my heart. I knew that I had found the answers that I was looking for all my life. As time went on I continued to attend these meetings. Each time I listened to Christopher and read the sealed portion I began to feel free. I have to say I have never felt happier than I do now. The real truth really does set you free. There is nothing like feeling this happiness and peace. I love the humanity party. The real truth is just amazing.
Dorothy E. Washington 4/27/2019
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