"Yes, and I still am," I reply. I am with my group of 11 students for the week and we are seated around a table taking a break from scouting for wildlife to eat lunch. More questions come in the days that follow. Did you serve one of those missions? Where do you go to Church? Not all of my students nor all of my new friends in Gardiner ask these questions. Most stop asking after finding out I went to Brigham Young University and that I have five brothers and sisters. I can see the wheels turning and turning when I do not order an alcoholic beverage with dinner. "Aren't women sort of oppressed and held back?" one man asked. I explained that women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not second class citizens. Rather, we are full and equal partners in every way. Another inquired, "Do you want a family?" and "Are Mormons Christian?" Affirmative to both. The questions don't bother me. In fact, I am glad to be able to answer a few and (hopefully) be known as a good Christian.
For I do believe in Jesus Christ. I do believe that He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, and suffered and died for each person's sins. I do believe that He rose from the tomb on the third day giving the gift of eternal life. I believe in eternity. I believe in this church to which I belong. I believe that Joseph Smith did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I believe the Book of Mormon is true and it tells of Christ. I believe in prophets today. I believe that God knows and loves each person. I believe in prayer. My faith is the heart of who I am and who I strive to become. It lights my way--it is the star I follow. Like C.S. Lewis, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."