I have mentioned here that I recently joined the LDS church. My conversion was such a strange and confusing process for me. I have known people who meet with missionaries, have a few discussions, give up their vices and join three weeks after learning about the Plan of Salvation.
It didn't happen that way for me. I met with the missionaries and ran them all out of discussions long before I believed what they were teaching me. I was so stubborn and so disbelieving, so skeptical of their testimonies and their scriptures.
To be fair, I was skeptical about all organised religion, not just the Mormons. Rules bother me and I don't like being told that I can't do stuff (especially when the stuff is so fun). I studied with them, and I prayed and I did all the things that help a person gain a testimony. And I gained - a testimony, an understanding of my challenges and how to overcome them, a new way of thinking about the world.
And, oddly, I don't struggle with the rules like I thought I would. Most of the things I needed to give up weren't really all that fun anymore; drinking caused more physical discomfort than anything else, and smoking... well, smoking was always fun but I certainly don't miss the smell or the amount of money I was spending on it, or the way it made exercise painfully impossible.
The rules we have come from revelation to our prophets, and I don't understand them all. Some of them I downright hate, to be perfectly blunt. Coffee is delightful to me, and tattoos please me endlessly. But I believe in all the rest, so I accept those things as well.
The part that is so foreign to me is my ability to accept things like this - things I don't understand, things I don't even like in some cases. It doesn't really make sense...I kind of think of it the way some people might think of their parents. When you're a kid, you learn to obey your parents. Well - I didn't, but maybe you did. The good kids grew up knowing that their parents made rules for their safety and that they know better, so eventually they found themselves being obedient to their parents on points they didn't agree with or like.
I knew kids like this; I wasn't one of them. They didn't cut class or smoke or have sex because they were taught not to. They might have considered rebelling on small points, but mostly they did as they were supposed to because they believed in the rules and they trusted their parents knew what they were doing.
I was far too rebellious for that sort of obedience for most of my life; until I gained a testimony of the gospel, and then I wasn't. Maybe it's age, or maturity, or wisdom; maybe it's the dreaded selling out I was always so afraid of. I know that I had been seeking a big spiritual something-or-other for most of my life; a way of life that made sense in my head, and helped me understand my purpose and my reason for being alive. Life makes more sense now and I find it easier to see the value in the way of life taught by the gospel.
So, I'm a Mormon. I don't do it perfectly, but I save a lot of money on coffee and cigarettes now.