Do you ever have an “Oh WOW moment”? Today during Sunday School, I had one of those moments. One of my life’s goal was to convert my Grandmother to become a member of my church, but trying to do so was impossible in this lifetime. It wasn’t that she was against my beliefs….her arguments were based on the examples of “bad Mormon bishops”…but, she had her hang-ups in this life that made it difficult for her to see and to understand truth which I call, “The Word of Wisdom” problems. I always told her if she gave up smoking and drinking, she would convert. Giving up drinking was a decision she came to many years past as she was either going to drive herself off a cliff, or to Alcohol Anonymous; grateful by her posterity, she chose the later. She was ready to give up both vices at the time, but the leaders of AA told her to focus on only one thing at a time. Thanks to AA, she never drank again, but thanks to AA, she kept smoking another 30 yrs.
Around the time I returned home from preaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in Honduras, I made a challenge with a promise to my Grandma “No”, as I have called her since a tiny tot because I couldn’t say Eleanor, that if she would quit smoking, she would convert and have a desire to become baptized a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When she turned 87 yrs old, I went to visit her on her birthday. I noticed she wasn’t smoking and I asked her how she quit? With a smug on her face, she simply said, “Oh, I changed my mind”. I chuckled as I thought about the mental fortitude of this amazing woman who, though successful at marring and divorcing (10x’s) and an a self-taught entrepreneur, had just accepted my challenge given to her 20 years earlier.
My “Oh WOW moment” came today when I realized that, although my Grandma “No” was never baptized in mortality, the miracle of her vanquishing physical vices in this lifetime has allowed the door to be opened for her spiritual progression. These acts alone are proof to me and to the Lord of her changed heart. Whether she has chosen to accept the vicarious baptism done by her namesake granddaughter is yet to be known. This I do know, she did quit drinking and smoking, and I have faith that she accepted my challenge because she used her agency wisely in mortality when she gave away her sins and vices to Jesus Christ and began her spiritual journey. It is my prayer and hope she has accepted the temple work our family has done in her behalf since her passing. I know her spiritual eyes were made open and she is progressing in the next life. Never was there a night that I spent with my Grandmother when I did not see her kneeling beside her bed in prayer. She was a spiritual woman who always has and will always remain true to her own sense of what is right and now she can align her will with God’s and have the blessings that are promised those who obey the Word of Wisdom.