What is bravery and how do you know you have it?
When I was 16 I had fabulous friends who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were great examples to me and taught me about the gospel through their actions. I ate in their homes, swam in their pools, went on vacations with them and in essence, became an additional member of their families. The summer before my junior year I began taking the missionary discussions and knew after the first discussion that I needed to be baptized.
I had spent my entire life searching for the gospel. When my sister and I were little girls, probably 5 and 8, we boarded the Emmanuel Baptist Church bus every Sunday so we could attend their weekly services. My mom would give us change for the offering basket and off we would go. When I was in middle school, I went to a Christian church with a friend, attended the Wednesday night youth group and went on a few youth retreats. In high school, I went to St. Patrick's mass several times with another friend. In attending all of these different meetings, I never fully found what my spirit was looking for. There were always unanswered questions, things that didn't make sense to me and a feeling that was lacking in my heart.
In my first missionary discussion, everything I spent my childhood searching for, I found. I was thankful to finally know what my Heavenly Father sent me here to learn. I discovered why all of my friends were so happy. I learned that I was a daughter of God, that my spirit was eternal, that there is indeed a living prophet on the earth and that I had the potential to create a family that could be eternal.
Of course, I immediately wanted to be baptized. Unfortunately, my parents felt differently. In order to keep peace in the home, I decided to respect my parent's wishes. They agreed to let me attend seminary so I could continue to learn more without making a huge commitment, one they felt I would eventually regret. The first day I attended seminary was difficult. My non-member friends were wondering what I was doing, and the other seminary students kept looking at me wondering why I was on their
territory. Eventually, people got used to me attending seminary. Doing so only made me desire my baptismal date more.
About six months after taking the discussions, I knew that I
needed to be baptized. I needed the companionship of the Holy Ghost to help me navigate through the challenging period that is called High School, and of course through the rest of my life. Without my parent's consent I arranged my baptism with the missionaries. The date was January 4, 1998. As I was leaving my home for the stake center, my mom stood in front of the door, sobbing, begging me not to go. She was determined that I was making the biggest mistake of my life, that I had somehow allowed myself to be brainwashed. I gave her a hug, told her how much I loved her, and bore my simple testimony of the Savior, His love for me and her and His desire to see all of us enter the waters of baptism. At that moment, for the first time ever, I felt brave. To that point in my life, that was the most difficult thing I had done.

Marshall (who is also Marilyn's youngest brother)and I just before my baptism

With Elder Fry and Elder Bennett
What ever happened to those guys?
Since my baptism 9 years ago I have had too many challenging days to count. Days that have required bravery, conviction, and faith. There have also been too many blessings to count. My life was forever changed the day I was baptized, changed for the better. My parents are wonderful and have admitted their thankfulness that I joined the church, married in the temple and continue to live the standards I set for myself at the ripe age of 17. 

What have you done that has shown your bravery?


  1. Danyelle, thank you for sharing your story. I remember coming to 3rd ward for a family baby blessing or mission farewell, and Brooke pointed you out to me. (You had just been married) She told me that you had joined the church in high school, and I was so impressed. I love to hear peoples' stories of how they found the gospel, and what it took to get them where they are today. It took a lot of courage to go against your family's wishes, especially at such a young age. I'm sure your kids will want to hear this story over and over again.

  2. Danyelle, I am in tears. This was so beautifully written and it took me back to that awesome time in our lives. I will never forget that baptism. It was POWERFUL.

    Taking the discussions and getting baptized was just the first step in showing forth your bravery. I can only imagine how hard it was to get married without your Mother and Father there. You are a wonderful example to many and I appreciate you sharing this wonderful story.

  3. Loved the narrative. I've known you for how many years??? I'm glad I finally heard the full story. :)

  4. Danyelle, this too was an unexpected trip back in time. Hearing you tell the story, it seems like it was yesterday. I love that you told it today. I don't think there is a member on the planet that doesn't love to hear conversion stories. Yours is awesome! I remember being amazed at your courage and maturity in joining the church at age 17, even though it meant a lot of crap from your non-member friends, and reading your story and remembering how it was for you, I am even more amazed. I still chastize myself to this day for not seeing how interested you were, for never making an attempt to share the gospel with you. Thank goodness for Missionary Marshall!

  5. From one convert to another...

    I didn't join the church until I was 21 and at college, and the hard thing about that obviusly was that all of my friends were headed to the bars when I was headed to the discussions. It was a difficult time, although my friends supported me completely. My parents, on the other hand, were extremely hurt and disappointed in my decision. I couldn't completely understand it then but I do now. I remember calling them from college and having them tell me that I wasn't allowed to come home from Christmas. I was heartbroken and while they did have a change of heart and allowed me to come home, I remember feeling like there were conditions to their love. I know now that they were incredibly confused and hurt and it turned out to be great growing experience for all of us. I'm so thankful for the gospel and for my husband who stood by me the whole time.

  6. Great conversion story. I am always amazed when people find the gospel and convert. I often wonder would I have done the same if I weren't born into it. I would hope I would be as brave as you.

  7. I meant to add I loved this story the first time I heard it.

  8. I loved reading your story! I think we would all benefit to have the courage and strength of character you wrote about.

  9. thanks for your story. i love to hear how people find the church and choose to change their lives. yours is a great one and you wrote it wonderfully.

  10. Should I just say ditto to everyone?! Thanks for sharing this story, I had heard bits and pieces of it and truly thought you were BRAVE. It is a very beautiful story!

  11. Okay, I know this isn't my blog, but, seriously, anonymous, come clean. Who the heck are you? You're making me crazy.

  12. Marilyn wrote exactly the words I wanted to write. You would think she was related or something. I could never forget that time, but it was so wonderful to hear how beautifully you described it and labeled it "bravery", because it certainly was that. Being a convert myself I know that feeling of opposition, although I was married with one child, but it is a strange feeling to be doing something you know is right and not get the support of your parents. It goes against the order of things when a child has to set their parents straight. I will cherish all the memories of you in our home, not just during the discussions but all the times. I could always feel your longing for family and the family unit. You are such a wonderful Mom and a wonderful representative of the Savior and his church and I know Marilyn thinks of you as the sister she never had and I think of you as a very dear friend and I like to think of you as daughter as well. I am so happy for you and thrilled that we were there to witness this incredible time in your life. You two look so young in those pictures. I guess you were young. A side note. My experience growing up was so similar to yours in so many ways. I think we have our mother's to thank for instilling the desire for truth as they sent us off to church on Sunday's. Little did they know that introduction to religion would actually be the first step toward the truth. I too was left with more questions than answers from my pre-LDS experience and after going to so many churches where the spirit was not it wasn't too hard to recognize the truth when it was presented. Thanks again for sharing something so brave and precious. Love ya!!!!