10 years

October 10, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 10:14 pm   Category: Life

Today is the ten year anniversary of my baptism. Forgive me for being sentimental.

To Larke- thanks for giving me that Book of Mormon, for talking to me under the stars about what you believe, for never forcing your views on me, and for everyday since then. Your strength and Christlike love have been things I have tried to emulate as I have tried to be this thing we call a Saint. Before we decided to be married, I had a picture of you on your mission that I carried with me, and I’d look in your eyes and imagine that those were what Christ’s eyes looked like.

To Seth and Taylor- thanks for being my missionaries. No other two would have gotten me through. When I needed to talk about pre-mortal spiritual handshakes and what the purpose of existing forever was, you were still available. A lot of missionaries wouldn’t have done that. Your friendship and strength have pulled me through some tough moments over the years. Knowing you are still there means a lot to me.

To Jon, Chad, Sal, Caitlyn, Matt, and Mark- Thanks for being my friends when I first joined the church. You were there everyday, even when I wanted to be left alone, and you fellowshipped the heck out of me. We talked about girls, went dancing, placed proximity mines, did McTwists, and talked about naming children “Short Sleeve”. You all were awesome. You made the Gospel something we discussed everyday, not just something I did on Sunday.

To my in-laws, thanks for making your home my home, your family my family, your stories my stories, and your food my fat cells. Thanks for telling me straight from the get go that the church is full of imperfect, crazy people. Most of all I am grateful that you taught me that Mormon women are awesome, strong, butt-kicking wielders of Christ’s name. I can’t wait for my daughters to grow up and be like you.

To my mission President and his wife, thanks for telling me rules were meant to be broken, for telling your conversion story every other zone conference, for using the word “pisscicle”, and for telling us your Baptist preacher was right, you were brainwashed, otherwise you wouldn’t be in the Philippines for three years. Thanks for loving me like a son and for treating every missionary with respect and dignity. You were the best mission president I could ever have had. And your wife’s favorite ice cream being coffee flavored just tops it off!

To my first Branch President, thanks for being there for all my questions and confessions. Thanks for being easy going about things like Coca Cola, R rated movies, and when I quoted Scrooge saying “bah humbug” in the church bulletin, or for saying that you thought Joseph Smith was joking when he said “more good” was the translation for Mormon. Thanks for giving me a calling right away, and for making me your executive secretary the day I became an Elder. Thanks for telling me to stop reading the Miracle of Forgiveness and for constantly talking about how you only had a couple years until you could go on a full-time mission.

To that guy who only knew me for 5 minutes but offered to pay for my mission: I turned you down, but I’ll never forget you. I have forgotten your name, but you I will never forget.

To Truman Madsen, thanks for making tapes about each of the prophets. I gained a testimony of each listening. Thanks for hinting at all the amazing stuff underneath the surface. And thanks for being my wife’s stake president. Sorry about saying sometimes you sound like you are doing a Captain Kirk impersonation.

To the Internet Mormons, thank you for being there from day one. When I was investigating, Jeff Lindsay was there, 1 Minute Answers was there, Mike Ash was there. When I got into some anti-stuff when I got home, thanks for not minding that I used the internet to e-mail everyone of you (and 50% of the BYU religion department) I could find e-mail addresses for. The fact that every single one of you e-mailed me, a stranger, back wasn’t lost on me. Thanks Kevin Barney, for being there to take care of my fears about the Tanner Satanism Stuff. Thanks Julie and Ardis for being two of the most incredible women I don’t really know. Thanks to Blake, Jacob, Jeffrey Gilliam, Jonathan Stapley, and Geoff J. for helping me become acquainted with a depth of theological thought I otherwise never would have known. And thanks to Steve Evans for personally emailing me one time when he was worried he had offended me.

To my Family and Friends from before, thanks for respecting my decision, and for reading books I sent you and for sending me things in the paper that mention church welfare or mention Indians having boats that sailed across the ocean. Thanks for only occasionally teasing me about my magical underwear. Thanks for accepting me for who I am, even when I was a jerk and refused to eat when we went out for dinner one Sunday.

To those who didn’t make it, I’m sorry for not being a better friend. I know you told me that I should have fought harder and debated more with you, but I’d rather respect your choices and hope you respect mine.

To God, thanks for these past ten years of my life. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I don’t know or understand why you love me so much to have given this life to me, but I believe you did. I hope I can give it back to you. Thanks for giving me a reason to care.




  1. Matt, congrats! It’s been great having your company in the Bloggernacle.

    Comment by Steve Evans — October 10, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  2. Thank you, Matt.

    Comment by mondo cool — October 10, 2008 @ 11:00 pm

  3. Matt, your conversion story last year was inspiring. Congratulations on another year!

    Comment by Ray — October 10, 2008 @ 11:10 pm

  4. Congrats! And thank you for sharing and for being around the blogs. Converts who stick with it are a real source of strength for us life-longers.

    Comment by Tom — October 11, 2008 @ 5:47 am

  5. I love reading conversion stories and stuff like this. Thanks!

    Comment by danithew — October 11, 2008 @ 6:53 am

  6. Happy anniversary, Matt — the first ten years of, oh, I don’t know, the happiest 54 bazillion aeons of eternity. You’re one of my favorite bloggers, and it’s an unexpected honor to be included. Wonderful post!

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — October 11, 2008 @ 7:08 am

  7. Congratulations.

    Comment by smb — October 11, 2008 @ 8:07 am

  8. Wow. Don’t know how to praise this post without gratuitous use of superlatives. This is beautiful. Congratulations on 10 years.

    Comment by sister blah 2 — October 11, 2008 @ 8:09 am

  9. Congratulations- and thanks for sharing your amazing journey.

    Comment by Tracy M — October 11, 2008 @ 8:12 am

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed the sentimental, Matt. Great post. Being in the same stake and all, I’d like to actually meet you one of these days.

    Comment by Clean Cut — October 11, 2008 @ 8:36 am

  11. Matt- Thank you for loving my daughter, thank you for loving truth, and thank you for loving the Lord. I love you!

    Comment by nonna — October 11, 2008 @ 8:42 am

  12. Wow! Great post! Congratulations. FWIW, I could write a thank you post to you for helping me understand the depth of doctrine in the Church, and I was raised LDS.

    Comment by BrianJ — October 11, 2008 @ 9:06 am

  13. By the time I got to the guy who offered to pay for your mission you had me tearing up. This is a beautiful reminder of the influence of kindnesses big and small. Thank you Matt.

    Comment by Jacob J — October 11, 2008 @ 9:10 am

  14. Congratulations Matt!

    Comment by Howard — October 11, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  15. Congrats.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — October 11, 2008 @ 10:44 am

  16. No, thank you Matt.

    (For, among other things, keeping the Thang alive when the rest of us needed a break… and for another Bouncing Souls link… etc.)

    Comment by Geoff J — October 11, 2008 @ 10:54 am

  17. Happy ten year anniversay! Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    Comment by Barb — October 11, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  18. Congrats Matt! I recently reread your conversion story from the archives too! Glad to have you around.

    Comment by TT — October 11, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  19. Cheers, man.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 12, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

  20. Thanks for writing that. I loved reading it.

    Comment by JKS — October 12, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

  21. Only 10 years? I would have thought it was more than that. Well done so far.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — October 13, 2008 @ 5:45 am

  22. Thanks for the kind remarks all.

    Comment by Matt W. — October 14, 2008 @ 7:28 am

  23. Really? It’s really been 10 years? I still think you and Seth should have painted your toenails. Oh well. Thanks for making my mission 272% more awesome by “forcing” me to listen to Blink-182 on the way to a fireside and introducing me to Parappa the Rapper. Oh and you’re right. I’m still here. Always will be.

    Comment by Taylor — October 16, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

  24. You rule bruv.

    Comment by Matt W. — October 16, 2008 @ 9:12 pm