I learned to hold dear my covenants after experiencing their loss through excommunication.
I was raised in the Church and baptized and confirmed at eight years old. The gospel was a way of life for me and for most of the people around me. The Holy Ghost was a very familiar presence in my life.
When I was excommunicated, I felt an almost tangible feeling leave me. I felt like my thinking process had been disrupted and slowed, and making decisions was confusing and difficult. I was anxious and had a hard time feeling peace.
I never realized how losing my membership would change my life completely. I could no longer wear the temple garment or attend the temple. I could not pay my tithing, serve in any calling, take the sacrament, or bear my testimony or pray in church. I no longer had the gift of the Holy Ghost. Most importantly, I was not in a covenant relationship with my Savior through the ordinances of baptism and the temple.
I was devastated and frightened. My three children were then 16, 14, and 12. They were my heritage, and I so badly wanted to leave them with an inheritance of hope. I sat them down and told them that if I should die before I could get rebaptized, I needed them to perform the ordinance again in my behalf as soon as it was allowed. I was frightened that I no longer had the blessings of keeping my baptismal covenants, and I worried that I might not be washed clean again.