Linda Grace Cox is a member of the LDS Church

In my last post I started by saying I’m a woman of faith. I want to tell you exactly what this means.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ has restored His church through Joseph Smith. I haven’t always known that.

Until I was 16 years old I had never met a Mormon. When I was in elementary school I saw a Mormon family cross the plains on Little House on the Prairie, and that’s all I knew.

As a senior in high school I was a professed atheist. I sat behind Denise in chemistry class at my new school. I was as inquisitive then as I am now. When asked about her religion, she told me she was a Mormon.

I was fascinated when she told me that they had early morning seminary – a church class for high school students, before school. “Wow,” I asked her, “you go to church every day?”

Denise’s relationship led me to meet her brother, Rob, who was home from college waiting for his Mission call~ another shocker! Rob was devoting two years of his life, at his expense to preach? Amazing! After dating for a few weeks, Rob invited me to listen to the missionaries. I learned a bunch from them and more about the church from the lessons he taught by example.

When Rob wouldn’t take me to the movies on Sunday it was another shocker, “What,” I asked, “you believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy?” When both he and Denise encouraged me to say, “Gosh” instead of the Lords name, I only chuckled.

I listened to the missionaries once a week for months. When I attended sacrament (worship) meeting with his family, the program was dedicated to Rob’s mission farewell. The entire family was crying and Rob’s dad shook my hand. He said to me, “There Linda, you’ve had your first spiritual experience.”

I thought to myself sarcastically, “Spiritual experience? Everyone is sad that Rob will be gone for two years! It’s normal emotions, not ‘the spirit’.”

After Rob left to serve his mission in Scotland, I started attending other churches to compare for myself. I continued for months, still seeing the missionaries almost every week. I did as the Missionaries suggested, I was obedient to the commandments and prayed to receive witness that there was a God and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the “only true church” as the missionaries were claiming. I came to recognize there is a God but I wasn’t ready to hear if the LDS church is where I should attend.

I continued comparing churches, until I came to the conclusion that if I was going to join a church, it would be the LDS church because it followed the Bible the closest. At that time I didn’t want to devote my life to God and the gospel. I was getting grief from my family and friends for even considering it. I remember writing in my journal, “I am so confused, I don’t know what to do! I just want to live a ‘normal Bailey existence’.

But I new too much, I could never live with myself if I denied the Church of Jesus Christ, no matter what my friends and family thought.

When I told the missionaries I was ready to be baptized, they were very excited and surprised that I was only 17. I’d need my mom’s permission to be baptized.

My mom denied permission for almost 6 months, then finally relented, assuming it was a whim and I’d forget about it when I moved back to live with my dad in Michigan for the year before college.

I was baptized a year after I was introduced to the church, October 10, 1981.

Thirty years later, my testimony is stronger than ever. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the vehicle that will take us back to Him. As a member of this church, I live a wonderful life, of course full of bumps and bruises, but I’m helped and supported by God himself (through the hands of His people) to get through and I’m honestly happy because of it!

Thank you for letting me share my beliefs!

Linda

About our Co-Founder: With a bachelors in Social Work, Linda is 53 years old, happily married with eight children and 17 grandchildren. Diagnosed with MS in 1995 and now having accepted and truly embraced her new reality, Linda has created MSrelief.com. She is dedicated to proving that joy can be chosen while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Linda specializes in helping others, especially those with MS attain the lifestyle, independence and happiness amid living with MS.

31 Comments:

  1. Linda,

    I want to thank you for your transparency in sharing your beliefs here with our MS community. Your beliefs, spiritual and otherwise, are so intrinsic to the beautiful woman you are.

    This blog was conceived in the spirit of sharing specific information about MS – AND – to help others find joy and self acceptance by sharing our own stories that highlight and explain the sources of our strength.

    It is no surprise to me that your faith is elemental to your strength. While I do not share your particular religious beliefs, I also attribute my own religious beliefs to my strength. And, our experiences appear to be confirmed thus far according to results of ongoing studies directed at detecting the correlation between religion and coping with illness.

    In one such study, Koenig, D. Larson, & S. Larson (2001) found that “religious involvement appears to enable the sick, particularly those with serious and disabling medical illness, to cope better and experience psychological growth from their negative health experiences, rather than be defeated or overcome by them.”

    So, again, Linda – thank you for sharing your religious beliefs and for opening up the conversation about religion/faith and illness. I hope for and encourage our readers to also share their perspectives.

    Luv Ya’ 🙂

    Dena-Lynn

    Koenig, H.G., Larson, D.B., Larson, S.S. (2001). Religion and coping with serious medical illness. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 35(3), 352-359.

  2. Dena~
    Thank you for saying so! I was hoping (and praying ;)) you would feel this way! You are a very eloquent writer. You’re right, no matter what our religious beliefs are, we are happier people because of them!

    I also hope our readers will share their experiences and perspectives!

  3. Hi Linda,

    I respect you for being so honest and sharing your experience and feelings.

    I must say that we have been making breakthroughs with MS.
    I can share some information if you would like.

  4. I love reading your story.. It is so very inspirational.. I’m so glad that God is with you all the time.. And I know that God will always helping us.. I admire tour beliefs..

  5. I love the video you have provided us here…Thaks for sharing it…

  6. Thank you for sharing the story to us…Linda, you did a great job here!!

    • Lydia,
      Thank you for commenting! I have been given much comfort being a member of the LDS church. I think I said before that I know the Church is only a vehicle to take me back to the true comfort, my Savior, Jesus Christ.
      Linda

  7. You have an inspiring story. God is good all the time, He’s always in a perfect timing.

  8. Interesting!..I also hope our readers will share their experiences and perspectives!…Keep up the fabolous work and progress..Best wishes and have a great day!!!

  9. Rowena~
    Yes, I agree! Why don’t you share you experiences and perspective! I’d love to hear!
    Linda

  10. I salute you for being honest and for sharing your experience to us. I really like the video! Thanks for a great blog Linda.

    • Krysthal,
      Thanks you for saying so! I agree, sometimes when we’re living online, we keep a lot of ourselves hidden. Well, I guess it’s when we’re online and off!
      Linda

  11. Good to hear that from you.At least now you had your personal relationship with God.Would you mind to share your experience and perspective?Thank you for inspiring us.

  12. Hi Linda,

    It is nice to hear people share about their beliefs and faith and how this has helped them in their struggle in life. Your story is such an inspiration to all of us.

    Thank you for taking the time to share.

  13. Inspiring article.It’s really great to know that a lot of people still trusting God and believe in him.Hope to hear more from you about your faith and perspective.

  14. This isn’t my experience but my husbands. We met 2 years after he and his ex broke up after a 6 year relationship. At first I didn’t even want to talk or go near him because he has a tattoo on his forearm that reads “God Does Not Exist”. But after a few months, I didn’t mention that we met at work, we became friends, turned out that he’s a really great guy, funny and really thoughtful. He told me that for 28 years of his life, he never missed to pray before he go to sleep or missed a mass on Sundays until their break up. I was really sad for him when he told me that, he lost his faith because of that girl? I love to tell the whole story, but its really “Looooooong”. So to make it shorter, I fell in love with him knowing that he doesn’t believe in God anymore, he fell in love with me even though he promised never to fall in love again. On the next Sunday 3 days after we became officially together, he asked me to go to church with him, I asked why, he answered (with a cute smile on his face) “I want to thank God for forgiving me and sending me you to put me back on track”. I’m crying now! Shhhh! We’ve been together for 2 years now, he still have that stupid tattoo, although he’s been planning on getting rid of it, hopefully soon. Sorry for this long comment Linda! Just wanted to share this!

    • Sandra,
      You have a beautiful story, no need to apologize! I’m happy that you found each other! It’s amazing how we can let situations (especially relationships) influence us to the point of distraction from what brings us the most pleasure, a relationship with God! It’s awesome that he sees our Heavenly Father in you two coming together!

      I can relate about the tattoos, they are so permanent! I just had this conversation with my 19 year old daughter. Her boyfriend was getting a ‘memorial’ tattoo on his back to pay tribute to a friend who died in a car crash. That made Jaimi think of getting a cute little something on her neck. When she looked at my 40 year old friend with the same idea when she was younger, Jaimi changed her mind. The 40 years turned the once cute tattoo into a blurry mess!
      You have a great day!
      Linda

  15. Hi Linda,

    This is such an inspiring story and thank you so much for sharing it to us. I am so delighted to hear about your faith.

    Thanks for posting.

  16. Hi Linda, I want you to know that i really enjoyed the video and the article… I salute you for the honesty and it really sank into my heart. Thank you for sharing…

  17. Looking forward to hear a lot about your faith and perspective.I am really great to know that a lot of people still trusting God and believe in him..Thanks for sharing this inspiring articles..

  18. Thank you for sharing this story of yours. This really touches every heart that read this. There are instruments that God really sent to each of us for a lesson learn.

  19. You have an inspiring story Linda. It’s really great to know that a lot of people still trusting God and believe in him.

    • Joel,
      You must be a believer too! It’s interesting to see the polarization happening in these days; the good getter better and the bad getting worse…
      Linda

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