That commitment carries her through some quibbles she has with sermons. "I worry that the beauty and expansiveness can get muzzled with too many talks on obedience, duty, and 'be ye therefore perfect' themes. I have seen people in psychological trouble trying to please disapproving, perfectionist parents. I have seen the same phenomenon with people in the church trying to please God or the prophet or the vague but powerful entity called 'the Church.' Often these people just leave. The pressure is too great. None of us is capable of perfect obedience, but Christ has provided himself on our behalf. That is clearly the message of the atonement."

Another sister with Pentecostal roots laughs when she recalls the reaction some of her friends had when they heard she had become a Mormon. "They thought I was nuts. I told them nobody joins a church because they think it's the wrong one. I think this is the right one, and I'm staying!

"It's a different kind of experience being Mormon--still Christian, but like in another language. Some things I loved from before just haven't gotten translated yet," she says with a laugh.

 

One thing she misses is the exuberant music that was part of her previous worship experience. Mormon worship services include hymn singing and musical numbers, but this woman describes the tone as "sedate." "There is something full-bodied about worship where you're really singing out loud, where you can shout 'Amen!' I go to the Mormon Church now and wonder when these folks are going to kick out the jams and really do some singing! But I have a good time, and I think I'm loosening them up."

Why I Like Being a Latter-Day Saint
Beliefnet members discuss what they love about their faith.

PLUS: Join the discussion. Converts make other adjustments--getting used to having children in the worship service, the three-hour block of time, the nomenclature of Mormonism. Some miss the responsive readings of Protestant backgrounds, the kneeling and communal prayers of Catholic traditions. Some find taking the sacrament weekly startlingly frequent. Some find having water instead of wine or grape juice a surprise. Nobody seems to mind not having a collection plate passed, though of course the little gray envelopes for private donations and tithing payments are in every foyer.

So, do converts find the Kingdom of God on earth? "Some do; some don't," admits one woman. "But finding it here is not really the point. Building it here is the point to me. I have close friends who felt the church in its 21st-century incarnation was not a good fit, and they decided to leave. This breaks my heart, because I need them. For me, I'll be staying. I honestly believe Jesus wants me to be here and that his authority is here. I have made promises to do everything I can to build up the kingdom of God on Earth. I love that part--that we all have a say in its building. Maybe we're all just serfs right now, learning how to serve the King."