My Testimony Began in Relief Society


Much was lacking in my life when I was invited to my first Relief Society meeting. I accepted, not knowing why—not at the time anyway. I had heard about some of the gospel principles, such as eternal marriage, and believed them to be true. My husband and I had been introduced to the gospel at Temple Square in Salt Lake City back in 1953, but it wasn’t until several years later that I was ready to accept it.

After I began going to Relief Society, I remembered that I had been so impressed with my first visit to Temple Square that for a whole year afterward all I could think of was taking my beautiful nine-year-old daughter, Terry Lee, there. That opportunity came; and then shortly afterward she was taken from us in an automobile accident.

Thus, much was lacking in my life when a friend came several miles out of her way to take my sister-in-law and me to that first Relief Society meeting. I guess I went more out of curiosity than for any other reason. I certainly wasn’t going to become a Mormon—not me!

I’ll tell you just how it was. I didn’t get much out of it that first day, though the lesson was on social relations. I was busy watching all those women. Why, they weren’t for real! All this love they were showing just wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen before. Then came the second week. Our friend was there, right on time, to take us. Cultural refinement—talking about a “plaid dress” and such. But the next day I began thinking about a poem the teacher had read. Why, it just fit me!

On to week number three. Spiritual living. Now this one I really enjoyed—the teacher explaining about God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Before, I had always wondered about God. I was raised in a church, but I never did really know for sure just who or what he was. So through tears I told her later how much confusion she had cleared up for me.

After the lesson came testimony meeting. That was really something! The first testimony, I remember, was borne by a girl who said she loved everyone there. Really? How in the world can she love me, I thought, when she doesn’t even know me? Funny, though, by the time she sat down I had tears once again in my eyes.

Our friend took us for three weeks, and then we were on our own. She loaned me a couple of books, The Mormon Story and Religious Truths Defined. After much prayer and study, I knew that she was right.

Seven weeks passed, and I knew what I had to do. I had been unable to study with the missionaries, but by now I was sure I knew as much as they could tell me, because I had spent every available minute reading avidly. It took me almost a week before I was able to contact the bishop, who had been out of town. Finally, on a Friday afternoon, he called. He had never met me and so, of course, he was quite surprised, after he told me he could interview me the next day, when I replied, “But tomorrow I want to be baptized!”

And so that night I met with him. After he had talked with me for a while, he said, “You’re as ready as anybody I’ve ever seen to be baptized.” And I simply replied, “I know I am.”

That was over four years ago. My sister-in-law was baptized a few weeks after I, and her family followed. Thus, I have written my story to thank those who have meant so much to me in my conversion—and also to show others that living the gospel does have an influence on people.

Sister Brunaugh, who was baptized into the Church five years ago, is Relief Society librarian in the Puyallup First Ward, Mount Rainier Stake, in Washington.