I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have been my whole life. Lest you think that is somehow a disqualifier for my experience, let’s add that I walked away from church pretty early, at ~13 years old. I didn’t go back for years, and the LDS church was the last place I went.
[. . .]
Then, as so often happens, the “carefree” and falsely independent bubble of youth popped, and I found myself alone on an hour plus bus ride confronting a heart-wrenching death. I had received some news, terrible news at the time, and I couldn’t bear it. Not even a little. As I slumped down in my chair and rested my knees on the bench in front of me, my heart slowed. Enough to scare me. Enough to think that perhaps my life was in danger.
[. . .]
An idea came to me. I had been taught to pray. Why not give it a shot? “It can’t hurt. And if God isn’t there, nothing changes. But maybe He can help”, I thought. To be clear, even the idea of praying was muddy. It wasn’t some brilliant flash of light that crossed my mind, it was a desperate, feeble, last-ditch idea that I figured had little chance of helping.
At the ripe age of 21 I confess I had only said one sincere prayer before that, to my memory, when I was 12. The forms had left me (not that I think they matter much in situations like these), but the content was clear. And honest. Maybe honest for the very first time.