After taking a deep breath, Hannah Krieg approached what she describes as the "least intimidating lady" in the foyer of a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse, a woman named Teresa.
It was the first time Krieg, a former Catholic, had ever attended a Latter-day Saint service, and—looking into a crowd of members who know each other well—it was understandably intimidating.
Previously, "My knowledge basically comes from short discussions with missionaries and what little education was snuck into the Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon," Krieg writes in her article "Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Visiting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Krieg adds, "I’m guessing this musical is to Mormons as Wikipedia is to academics."
But this investigation of the Church was driven by more than curiosity. According to an editor's note on the article, Krieg "is often critical of people who accept the beliefs of their parents, or the first and only option they have explored. When she stepped away from Catholicism, she stepped away from all religion without a second glance. So, Hannah is visiting different places of worship to rectify this hypocrisy and hopefully have a meaningful spiritual experience along the way."
And the first stop of her examination of different religions was that Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. Fortunately, Krieg couldn't have chosen a better guide for her then-three-hour-block worship experience.
"Teresa knew everyone and I think she wanted me to know everyone as well," Krieg writes. "At Catholic church, I exchanged niceties with some women before mass, but at the LDS church, Teresa introduced me to bishops, a few potential husbands, and the two lovely women whom she sat me next to for the sacrament meeting."
After experiencing sacrament meeting, Sunday school, and Relief Society, Krieg writes, "The LDS church is all about community and honoring God in everything they do. For them, though there is a deep reverence for their God, God is a part of their day-to-day life, too. By the closing prayer, I was beginning to see the root of Mormon missionaries’ happiness."
After just three hours, Krieg was also impressed by the way Church members dedicated herself to serving others. "The community’s commitment to each other and God was notable," Krieg writes. "In fact, all positions at the church are volunteers. Even their bishop, a busy father with full-time employment who dedicates 20 to 30 hours weekly to the church, receives no compensation beyond spiritual for his service."
While Krieg says she won't be transferring to BYU anytime soon, the experience has left her with a desire to begin building a "stronger community in my own life and serving others more" to bring her "closer to that spiritual fulfillment I’m looking for."
Read Krieg's full experience at dailyuw.com.