By Vivian Henderson, member of the Richmond Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 37 years. The things about the Church that appealed to me were the spirit that I felt and the focus on Jesus Christ, the commandments, the health code (called the Word of Wisdom by members), and eternal families. I am so grateful to be a member of this church. It has saved my life and helps me to strive become a better person on a daily basis. I was raised by a single mom who suffered domestic violence as a child and in her adult relationships. My siblings and I also suffered domestic violence and other traumatic events.
The Church keeps you focused on overcoming trauma in your past through the atonement and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
I have accomplished raising three beautiful daughters and have three fantastic grandsons. I am also a single mom who attended Norfolk State University and earned a Bachelor's Degree and Masters. I currently work with Richmond Public Schools as a Professional School Counselor. I have so much support from the Church and family in reaching my goals. The Church encourages women to be educated and self-reliant.
Before I joined the Church, I was working at the Department of Immunology and Connective Tissue Diseases at MCV Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. I was searching for a church and I met an African American who belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One day she was involved in an office conversation amongst coworkers who believed that we lived before as animals or other beings such as in predestination. She shared that we lived before but not as animals.
I heard her conversation and asked her to explain more about our living before. We scheduled a time later that day and she explained that we lived before as spirit children with our Heavenly Father. I asked her if I could visit her church and she picked me up several Sundays so I could attend. I did not know the name of the church or what it was about but my first visit confirmed to me that I had found the right church. I met six times with the missionaries to learn more and joined soon after that and have never looked back.
We all need to come together and work for the good of all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
I have followed the Church's journey of reaching out to the NAACP. The biggest challenge is making connections in the African American community and creating opportunities to serve there. Transportation is a problem and prevents some members and communities from participating in activities. Our Church could provide opportunities for African American members to incorporate some of their gospel music heritage and voices.
When I think about the Church, what stands out to me the most is that the teachings are true. It is not a place where you fall into the trap of leaders becoming your idols who you come to worship.
The focus is always on members gaining their own testimonies that God is our Father and that Jesus is the Christ.
My greatest memories have been in the callings I have served in which have brought me closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I loved getting my patriarchal blessing, which contains personal counsel to me from God, and going to the temple where I made special promises with my Heavenly Father.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In the Richmond area there are 29 congregations of Latter-day Saints. We strive to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and spread His light in our community.
This is not an official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.