It’s been about three months since Rachel Garden joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she has never been happier.
The 18-year-old college student investigated the church for more than a year and was taught by missionaries and embraced by ward members. She has visited the Preston England Temple and was recently called to serve in the Young Women presidency of her LDS ward in Glasgow, Scotland.
What’s unique about Garden’s conversion is how Latter-day Saints in Utah played a part. Digital missionaries from the Cedar Hills 10th Ward connected with Garden online at a pivotal time when she wanted to learn more about the church from members who didn’t wear black nametags.
“I am so thankful for the friendship I have with those I know in Utah,” Garden wrote in an email interview. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t know nearly as much as I do about the church right now. The missionaries and Internet were good sources of information for me at the time, but my focus was really not to just know the gospel but to be able to realistically have the capacity to apply it to and throughout my life. My friends in Utah have shown me this is possible. … They are a blessing in my life.”
Reading the Book of Mormon
Garden didn’t grow up in a religious home but was raised with basic Christian beliefs and values. She doesn’t remember what sparked her curiosity in the LDS Church, but she remembers having a desire to read the Book of Mormon in December 2013. She researched the LDS faith on Mormon.org and requested a free copy of the Book of Mormon from online missionaries.
Garden was introduced to sister missionaries in the LDS Church’s Hyde Park Chapel visitors’ center in London and began interacting with them online.