Becoming Beautiful


My life had turned ugly. I hungered to feel the same sweet purity I had known as a child.

“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.” I smiled, as the boy I loved whispered in my ear. We were holding hands, waiting to enter the sealing room of the temple, where we would be sealed for time and all eternity. As we entered, I caught a glimpse of us in one of the golden-edged mirrors in the sealing room. We did look beautiful—both of us, dressed in white, smiling, glowing, filled with a joy we didn’t know existed. I felt my eyes become moist as I watched the room fill with friends and family. The Spirit of the Lord was strong.

As the door closed I reflected on a time when I did not feel so beautiful. Four years before I didn’t know much about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of my friends were members, and I knew they didn’t smoke or drink alcohol, but I didn’t know much about their religion.

My first year at college was exciting. It was the first time I was away from home, and I was determined to do and try everything I had never done before. I ate junk food and stayed up all night chatting with my roommate, who was a member.

Then I began to date Todd. He began to take me to parties at his fraternity. At the time I did not have the gift of the Holy Ghost, but I could still sense darkness at those parties.

Soon Todd began to pressure me to do things I was uncomfortable with—things my parents had warned me against. After one such night of resisting his pleas, I lay in bed and wept for hours. I remembered a feeling I had when I was a child that was sweet and pure. I had felt close to God. Now, I felt far from Him.

I knelt and began to pray. I pleaded with the Lord to forgive my sins, and I told Him I would give anything to feel sweet and pure again. Afterward, I felt as though a burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. I had a warm, peaceful feeling in my heart. I knew the Lord had heard my prayer. Everything would be all right.

The next day my roommate asked if I would care to come to church with her. I reflected on the previous night with Todd, and agreed to go. I needed some spiritual guidance.

The church was much different than the ones I had attended as a child. I was surprised there was no priest. It was fast and testimony meeting, and I was interested to see how deeply the members felt about their religion. I began to feel a desire to be that committed to the Lord.

I started talking to the missionaries. I liked what they told me, but each night I asked the Lord if the Church were true, and each night I received no answer. My parents were upset that I was investigating the Church. They gave me some anti-Church literature that confused me. I asked my member friends about what I had read, and every question I had about the Church was answered. Finally, I felt as if I would burst if I did not know. I knelt in my room and pleaded with the Lord to reveal to me if this was His true Church.

What happened then is hard to describe. It was as if the veil was parted, and I remembered what I knew from the premortal existence. Everything that was confusing before was now crystal clear. I saw the truth so strongly that I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the true Church of Jesus Christ. I was filled with an indescribable peace. I knew the Lord had answered my prayer to find my childhood feeling of peace again.

I made the decision to be baptized. It was not an easy decision. My parents told me I would tear the family apart if I went through with it. Many of my friends, including Todd, would not speak to me when they heard I was joining the Church. I felt alone.

When I was baptized my parents did not come, but as I came from the waters of baptism I knew I was home. I had found the truth and I would never let it go. I felt closer to God than I had ever felt before.

I felt beautiful. It was the deep and glowing beauty that comes from righteousness. It was the same beauty that I saw in all the faces surrounding me in the temple. And as I knelt across the altar from my future husband and saw our reflections go on forever in the mirrors that surrounded us, I knew I would give up everything to be worthy to be in that room. I would give up everything to feel the peace and joy and beauty that filled my soul. It was beautiful, and nothing on earth could ever compare.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Greg Newbold