Paris France! About a month before my life changed forever I was on a trip to Europe. My friend Anna and I went to visit Roberta in Paris. I did not keep my doubts about the church a secret.
Sacre Coeur is a beautiful cathedral on a hill. The center is reserved for prayer. I entered the prayer section hoping to receive any guidance I could. The second my butt hit the bench a thought screamed out of my head “DON’T LEAVE THE CHURCH!” I hadn’t even had a chance to start praying. This voice I heard in my head was harsh and angry. “Do Not Leave. Bad things will happen.” I was choking inside. I could almost feel a physical pain shoot up my spine. I got up from my seat confused. What was that? I told my friend Anna.
“Well, don’t ignore the promptings from the spirit.” Said Anna
“Yes,” I said, “But I thought God worked with love. I was told satin works in fear and anger. I only felt fear. Cold unloving Fear.”
My comment fell on deaf ears. I remember thinking “Was that really God? It sounded a lot more like me panicked and frightened. How do I know that was not the reaction of 26 yrs of conditioning?
A week later I was in Rome. The Catholic Church is a mystery to me. It was Magical. I entered this big open space filled with pillars. I saw this big church. There was what looked like turn styles to get in, but there was no one in line. I figured I would poke my head in. When I walked in a saw something.
“Wow! That is a really nice replica of the Michelangelo pieta” I thought, “Hold on…that is the pieta!”, I was in the Vatican! My heart swelled. I had walked into the most famous church in the world without even knowing it. I spent hours soaking it in. It was like a dream. I decided to give prayer another shot. If there is a God the Vatican has to one of his favorite stomping grounds. I sat in one of the prayer sections and poured my heart out. I told him I loved him. I asked for guidance. I was broken, humbled, and lost. I heard a voice again.
“Just stop. Stop worrying about what people will think of you if you leave. I know you will find your way. Do what you know in your heart is right. Do not do things to spite the church, but don’t let it control you the way it has. Just follow kindness and love. Be a light in world by being your best self.”
I wrote this down and will never forget it. I felt love and peace. Was Joseph Smith a prophet? Well…he is if his teachings are uplifting you. But if not, don’t be afraid you are not alone.
The next day I met a beautiful Roman Man. After some convincing I agreed to let him buy me gelato. He told me he was a tour guide and offered me a free tour on his Vespa scooter. "YES PLEASE!" I was living the Lizzy Maguire Dream! He showed me all of Rome. Secret places no one knows about. Later he made it clear that there were some things of mine he would love to explore. I thought about it. It would be nice to explore those places but I remembered the words I heard in the Vatican. “Do what you know in your heart is right. Don’t do things to spite the church.” I knew that for me Sex with a man I just met was not something I wanted. We held hands and kissed all in good fun. I didn’t let it go any further. Not for the churches sake but for mine.