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Hi I'm Laura Nelson

I have 3 adopted sisters. I've climbed the Great Wall of China twice. I am a writer and a librarian. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

It's hard to describe who *exactly* I am. My entire life, I've always loved doing pretty much anything. I love to cook, I love to read, I love to learn other languages. In general, I guess, I just love to learn. I have a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Masters of Library Science in Archival Studies. I currently work for a university in California and *love* my work. I also love to travel, teach and explore. My picture is from when I was climbing the Great Wall of China - the second time around. I love to write too. Stories, poetry, a little bit of everything. I also have 3 amazing sisters from China. Between all of this and my love of learning, I've had a chance to experience many things, all of which have solidified my testimony of the Gospel in one way or another.

Why I am a Mormon

It's hard to explain exactly why I am a Mormon. The gospel is such an integral part of my life that it is impossible to give only one or two reasons for why I believe. Throughout my life, there have been so many times that I have been blessed by following the principles of the Gospel. I grew up in the Church. My father's side of the family can trace its membership back to the original pioneers. My mother, however, is a convert, joining the church as a young adult. Listening to their experiences, as well as having my own, has solidified my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. I am blessed to have parents who taught me to believe in the Gospel, not because they did, but rather because I investigated it on my own, allowing me to choose whether or not to believe for myself. As a small child, they would take me to church, but as I got older, it became my choice whether I would go or not. I've also always kind of been... well, stubborn. Unless there was a valid reason for something, I wouldn't do it; but if I had my own belief and testimony that something was true, it is hard to sway me otherwise. While this was frustrating at time for my parents, it was one of the main reasons for why I believe in the Gospel today. I believe, not because others believe, but because of my own pursuit for whether or not the Gospel was true. Living outside of Utah, people constantly would ask me questions about the church and why I believed, once they found out I was a Mormon. I am thankful for this because it allowed me to gain a firm testimony of the Gospel. One that I received through my own study and time, not a testimony based on others' beliefs. Most of the time, people would ask questions just our of curiosity, but there were other times when people would try to challenge my beliefs or prove me wrong. I have had many experiences where I was told that I was only a Mormon because my parents were Mormons. This pushed me to further study the Gospel for myself. I wanted to know whether I truly did believe what I had been taught my whole life and if I did believe, was it really the truth? Like most people, my testimony didn't come through a sudden miraculous shock or some mind blowing event. It came through living what I believed, proving to myself whether the principles and doctrines of the Gospel were correct and praying about everything. Regardless of anything else, I've always had a firm testimony of prayer. Since I was a small child, I have always known that if I pray about something, the Lord will listen and answer my prayers. This has been reaffirmed to me when I read both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. In short, my testimony has come from every part of my life: experiences, trials, answered prayers, as well as feelings of peace and reassurance when I followed the principles of the Gospel. I am a Mormon, because, frankly, I believe. Throughout my life, I have proved and tested Gospel principles and time and time again, I have found them to be true. I have found my life to be blessed in so many ways because of those principles of the Gospel and that is why I believe.

How I live my faith

Ever since I was little, I always tried to be a good example and live my faith to the best of my abilities. Not that it is always easy, but then things rarely are. I have always been willing to help others and found enjoyment in it. Going to church in a singles ward, (a ward specifically for young adults, often other college students, to meet and connect with each other) there are many times when people need help moving, etc. In situations like that, I try to help to the best of my abilities. Mostly though, I try to live my faith at all times, not just in church on Sunday or with church members, but with everyone. I volunteer at a local nature center a couple times a month, teaching and playing with the kids who come in. In the past, I've volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and other programs. I've traveled to China to teach English as a volunteer. I guess the best way to explain it is this: I try to make my faith who I am. I help people, not because I've been told to or because I'm being forced to; I do it because I want to. Growing up in the church, I was taught that everyone on earth, be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, atheist or whatever, are ALL children of our Heavenly Father, and that alone means that if someone needs help, I should do my best to help them. While that is only one aspect of my faith, it is a part that I believe in strongly. In the Bible, it talks about charity being the pure love of Christ. I am thankful to say that because of the principles of the Gospel, of Church doctrine, and of applying those principles to my life, that I have been able to understand more deeply what charity is and how wonderful it really is. That has helped me live my faith to the best of my abilities.

Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

Laura Nelson
The reason Mormons don't drink coffee, tea or alcohol is because we believe in something called the Word of Wisdom. Many faiths have specific dietary laws on what they can and can't eat. For Mormons, we have been told not to drink or eat certain things because they are not healthy for us. While the Word of Wisdom can seem restrictive in some ways; in my life I have found that it has been freeing in a sense and I have found blessings in following the Word of Wisdom. When I was in college, I had a grande mal seizure and was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy. Right after, one of my doctors told me that I couldn't drink tea, coffee, energy drinks, etc. because those could trigger more seizures. I was and have been extremely thankful for the Word of Wisdom since then, because had I not been living it, recovery from my seizure would have been much harder than it ended up being. Living the Word of Wisdom has been freeing in other ways. As I have gotten older and many of my friends have begun to drink, they've mentioned the pressure they sometimes get to drink too much, or regretting being drunk and doing things they don't really remember. Because I believe in the Word of Wisdom and already choose to not drink because of my beliefs, there are many times when I don't have to deal with that pressure; I don't have to worry about doing something I won't remember in the morning and I don't have to regret doing anything under the influence; and that in itself is freeing. While most people who are familiar with the Word of Wisdom, are familiar with the things that Mormons aren't allowed to do, like drink coffee, tea, alcohol, etc, there is more to it than that. The Word of Wisdom also talks about healthy living. It talks about eating healthy foods, like fruit and vegetables and whole grain, that kind of stuff. The thing that I find the most comforting about the Word of Wisdom is the promise that comes with it. At the end of the scripture that contains the Word of Wisdom is a promise that says that if people follow it, they will be healthier for it, they will gain wisdom and knowledge, they will have the energy to do what they need to, etc. I know in my life, that following the Word of Wisdom has blessed me in many ways and I have had the promise at the end of the Word of Wisdom happen in my life. I have felt healthier, had more energy and been able to learn more when I followed the Word of Wisdom than when I haven't followed it. Show more Show less