I remember the first time I ever went to a Mormon church. I was 18 years old and a senior in high school. Trust me when I say I had no desire to be a Mormon. My parents divorced when I was a baby, and growing up my mom was a wonderful example of virtue, goodness and working hard to reach your potential. She brought us kids to a local Baptist church, where I learned to love the Lord as a little girl. I am thankful for my upbringing and my mother's powerful influence because I don't know who I would be or where I would be without her. I had just been crowned Miss Teen Nevada, and my dream was to become Miss USA.
During my senior year of high school, a dear friend gave me a Book of Mormon, which I read occasionally in my spare time. We went our separate ways for college; he went to BYU, and I moved to the DC area to attend school at George Mason University. When I left for college, I had a sincere desire to learn more about religion and its role in my life. I was determined to surround myself with good people who could uplift me and challenge me to be a better person. My first day in Virginia, I joined a student Christian organization called Campus Crusades for Christ. I also visited at least 10 different Christian churches that first month, trying to find a new church and religion.