Karlie graduated from high school and found herself in limbo. One day, a friend invited Karlie to visit her in Utah. The friend was leaving soon on an LDS mission, and Karlie thought, “Yeah, I can do that.” She flew to Utah, where her friend was attending LDS Business College.
The two spent the next few days together. “Her friends were fun and the kindest people I had ever met,” said Karlie. “We attended church that Sunday, and I had never seen so many young people my age so stoked about the gospel and learning about God.”
The friends encouraged Karlie to apply for school, so she did simply to appease them. She lived in Washington and had already been accepted at another school. The only problem was the paperwork. Karlie had sent in her transcripts, but school officials could not find them.
After weeks with no response, Karlie drove to the college, only to be told she had missed the deadline by a day and they could not help. She left, sobbing, and returned home to find an acceptance email from LDSBC. She said, “Fine, I’ll move to Utah.” She arrived two weeks later.
“I was thrown at first,” she said. “We opened with prayer at school and openly talked about God all the time. It was cool, but class members would discuss things I had never heard of before. One of my teachers, Mark Christiansen, talked about the atonement and premortal life, and suddenly things began making sense. He gave me a Book of Mormon when I asked about one.”
“When Karlie first came to class, she was somewhat defensive,” said Brother Christiansen. “She was a practicing Methodist, and I wanted to be sure she didn’t feel her faith would be attacked. It wasn’t long before she was befriended by numerous students who were kind, sensitive and understanding. They sat by her and answered her questions with brief explanations that to Church members were second nature but to a non-Mormon seemed like a different language.”
During stake conference, a convert shared her new happiness. “I want that,” thought Karlie. “I’ll get baptized in January.” She began reading the Book of Mormon daily. She let the missionaries teach her. She agreed to be baptized.
“Undoubtedly, the atmosphere and spirit of LDSBC was an ideal setting for Karlie to be nurtured in the restored gospel,” said Brother Christiansen. “One day, she mentioned that when she first came to college she felt many of the students here had something she too desired—a type of joy and peace she longed for.”
Karlie called her parents and said, “Hey, I’m getting baptized.” They asked, “As a Methodist?” She said, “It begins with an ‘M’.” Her parents did not react the way she had hoped.
Her grandpa called and expressed his concerns. He said, “I cannot believe you’re doing this! You’re letting them brainwash you.” Her parents counseled, , “You really need to think about what you’re doing.” She assured them that she had.
On the day of her baptism, Karlie basked in the beautiful talks and the love in the room. Just before entering the water, she hesitated, wondering if she could follow through. “As soon as I came up out of the water, every fear or doubt was gone,” she said. “I felt like there was sunshine inside my body. It was my best day ever!”
When Karlie returned home for Christmas, her grandpa picked her up. He had her read a stack of anti-Mormon articles. As Karlie read, she said, “Some is not true or is half true but out of context.” He said, “You need to choose. It’s either your family or that Church.” She could not turn back from what she knew to be true.
“After her baptism, Karlie came to my office often to discuss her challenges and triumphs,” said Brother Christiansen. “One day, she was so enthused by what she was learning about the Atonement that she could hardly contain her feelings! It was clear that her previous confusion was being turned into light and clarity. Soon, Karlie was wondering how she might someday become an Institute teacher so she could share the gospel on a daily basis. She then decided to serve a full-time mission.”
Karlie called and told her parents she wanted to serve a mission. While they were not supportive at first, they are now interested in where and how she will serve. Her home ward has offered to pay her mission costs.
“Ever since I got baptized, I no longer feel alone,” she said. “I know that God is there and proud of me. The hard stuff is there for a reason. If I have faith, I and others will be blessed.”
Karly received her mission call to Lubbock, Texas and reports to the MTC in February.