Some people just choose to follow the religion of their parents blindly, but my story is a little different. Initially, I believed my Father's conversion story and didn't think he was crazy. He told me of an inspired bishop who gave him the challenge to read in the Book of Mormon and the promise that bishop gave that he would get better grades if he did. My dad wasn't doing so hot in Math at the time so he decided to give it a try. To his surprise, his grades got better, but not only that, he described a warm feeling that filled his body once as he was reading, so based on these experiences, my father decided to stay a Mormon despite his reservations about that faith. My dad questioned the truthfulness of both the Catholic and Mormon religions of his parents, because he figured that if his parents were the kind of people these religions produced, then those religions had to be crap. He would later learn his Mormon mother's lifestyle was not exactly in line with the teachings of that faith.
But, naturally as I hit adolescence I wanted to know for myself. The basis of my own conviction during this period of questioning came from the peace I felt after repenting of my wrongs, the things that I began to find in LDS scriptures that I believed couldn't be explained by conventional logic and the warm feeling I got when I would bless the sacrament worthily as a priest (every worthy male in my Church holds the priesthood and gets the opportunity to use this ability to serve others). However, towards the end of my High School years I hit a period of spiritual confusion. I had heard opinions of leaders I didn't agree with, and I also admit now that my own ideas then were not necessarily in line with what actually is taught within my faith. So I felt kind of dark. I felt like I knew it was true, but didn't know what that meant.
Then something changed after my third year of college. I was sitting there behind the computer and I heard the voice of a character in a movie talk about home. I had watched this clip multiple times before and nothing ever 'hit' me but this time, I felt something and suddenly a realization hit me that I really wasn't home despite the fact I was in the same house with my parents. I realized that my home was actually with my Heavenly Father, or God you might say, and that my purpose in life needed to be to find my way to my REAL home. This set me on a path of self-improvement because I realized that I had lost sight of that. A few days later I got the feeling I needed to go on a mission for my Church too. I actually didn't want to. But somehow, God won that argument. I started brainwashing myself with my OWN wierd ideas about my beliefs (I think I wanted it to make more sense to the 'logical' side of me instead of relying on faith), but then realized I was still confused about my beliefs after a conversation with some non-member friends just before I left.
But then in the Missionary Training Center I was able to iron out all my issues. I realized that I needed to stick to the Gospel of Jesus Christ instead of making wierd logical extrapolations off of what I read in the LDS scriptures and Bible. I realized that the purpose behind the leaders God gave us in the Bible, Book of Mormon and now in the present day in the LDS church wasn't to tell us what to believe about everything (there are standard doctrines in my beliefs, but I learned that opinions of our leaders aren't necesarily doctrine), but what to do to make it back to Him and that the leaders we have now and also in the Bible weren't perfect, but God still chose them to lead us now so we can draw closer to Christ, which, in turn, draws us closer to Him. The next two years on my mission would put my faith in these realizations under fire and cause me to pray and think about them deeply, but in the end, I have to say that yes, I believe Christ suffered and died for me and that God does answer prayers and brought back his original Church by calling a prophet in the 1800s. I know the Gospel brings peace if we live it, and that even though it can be hard, it's worth it in the end and that that home we'll end up at if we do our part is better than anything we have experienced here. Of this I testify in the name of Christ, Amen.
If you would like to learn more about how you can know for yourself you can visit an LDS Church by going to this site and finding the meetinghouse closest to you:
or talk to missionaries:
In any case, thank you for your time, and taking the time to listen.