In His Arms Again

I don’t suppose I will ever forget that dream. I had just turned five and was in my first year of school. I went to a private school in Yorkshire, England, where each day was filled with first attempts at reading and writing, punctuated with stories from the Bible.

Perhaps we had just heard the story of Jesus blessing the little children; I can’t remember. But one night I dreamt about my Heavenly Father. I remember seeing him sitting on a beautiful chair, wearing a glowing white robe. As I ran toward him, he smiled at me and took me into his arms.

At school the very next morning we again had a lesson on religion. The teacher walked up and down the aisles repeating a creed he said we should memorize. One sentence stuck in my mind. It said that God is a spirit. I wanted to raise my hand and tell everyone it wasn’t true. I had felt his arms around me the night before.

After 11 years of school I enrolled in a two-year technical college. I was 16, active in a singing group, and had lots of friends, but somehow I could never fit in. I wouldn’t smoke or drink with my friends, and their language upset me. I didn’t like to hear what they did late at night after their dates. They were my friends, but as I looked at them, I couldn’t help thinking, “What’s wrong? Why is the world this way?”

As if responding, my friends would ask me, “Why don’t you start living? It’s human nature to do what we do.” I told them the person in my dream could not have meant human nature to be that way. Their response was usually the same: “You’re crazy, Anna! You belong to another world!”

Often I prayed to my Heavenly Father, asking him to help me find people who thought as I thought or, as my friends put it, who were of “my world.”

Turning on the television one afternoon as a break from my studies, I saw a group of boys singing. I’m a serious-minded person and have never had a pop music “idol,” but something about these boys made me stay and listen. They were dressed in white, and as they sang, “Is the answer up above?” my heart responded, “Yes!” I learned they were the Osmonds and that they were Mormons. I decided to read some books about the Mormons, but I couldn’t find any.

One afternoon as I was upstairs studying, I heard a knock at the door. My mother answered it, and I could hear her talking to two young men. As I went downstairs, I heard mother try to give them some excuse and turn them away, but I said I wanted to talk with them. She let them in, closed the door, and went back to her work. The missionaries gave me the first discussion that very afternoon, and I began to get the same feeling I had experienced as a little girl as I ran into the arms of my Heavenly Father.

A week later they came to give me the second lesson, but my mother met them and told them they were not to come again. She told me later the missionaries were only after my money. That night I heard my parents arguing about the Church, and I decided I would not see the missionaries again.

Just before I turned 18 I finished school and decided to go visit one of my friends. She had married my uncle, and they had moved from England to Switzerland. The week I arrived in Switzerland, two Mormon missionaries knocked on their door.

I eagerly asked them to teach me and decided to be baptized after only three visits. Two weeks after my 18th birthday I was baptized. I had found my people, my world, and was in the arms of my Heavenly Father again.

[illustration] Painting by Harry Anderson