Terrie Lynn Bittner

I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just after my seventeenth birthday. My parents belonged to two different faiths but did not attend either church, so they told their children we could choose our own religions. In time, they came to value the way the Church taught me to draw closer to my family at a time most teens are pulling away and the way the Church provided a circle of care for one another and for my entire family. Although they did not join the Church, they supported my membership. Terrie Lynn Bittner

Today, I am married and the mother of three adult children and grandmother to two children. I am the author of two traditionally published books and oversee LDSBlogs.com as an independent contractor for a non-profit organization.

I homeschooled my children and have written extensively about homeschooling, family, disability issues, history, women’s issues, and my faith. I began my first writing career when my children were young, working from 4-6 AM before my family life began. When I started homeschooling, I took eight years off after praying about it because I was not successfully juggling all the pieces of my life. I maintained a website of my own and wrote an online column, however, and was, at the end of my hiatus, offered a book contract to write about homeschooling.

My search for a faith began very young. I took my parents’ invitation to choose a faith very seriously, being that sort of child. I knew there had to be a single true church and set out to find it. When I was ten, a vacation Bible School teacher taught about the Old Testament prophets. I immediately saw that this would solve the problem I had already identified: Every church, while teaching different things, considered itself to have the truth. Excitedly, I asked who the prophet was today and was told we don’t need prophets anymore. Even at my young age, I knew that wasn’t true and added a search for a prophet to my to-do list. My list also included things I knew to be true without ever having heard of them before—eternal families, pre-mortal life, and prophets, for instance. My heart just knew they were true.

Over time, I started a list of religious doctrines I heard about. I added three columns to the list and marked each thing as “Agree,” “Disagree” or “Not sure.” I noted which religions had each thing. Eventually, of course, I realized that only told me what I believed. It did not tell me what God knew to be true, but I didn’t know how to find that.

When I was sixteen, while investigating the Church, I told a new LDS friend I hated not knowing what was true. She said she knew what was true and taught me how to pray for answers. That day changed my life. I found it reassuring that the Church was not afraid to have me confirm their teachings with God. I know I found God’s church when I became a Mormon. My relationship with God and Jesus Christ went from a formal and stiff relationship to a personal and loving one as I was taught how to know them better through prayers that were personal, not recited. I came to realize how well they know me and how much better they are at helping me plan my life and to find my place in the world than I am on my own. While it wasn’t easy for me to let go and trust them, today, my life is so much more meaningful as a result of my increased faith.