I’m part of the Mormon stock that people joke about. You know, the kind who comes from polygamy decent, has 7 brothers and sisters, was born in the church, had 100% seminary attendance, and followed in the footsteps of his 4 older brothers who went on missions. One distinguishing fact about me is I’m not from Utah, but just on the other side of the mountains in Denver, Colorado. I’m your average, ordinary brown hair, brown eyed Mormon returned missionary who had to find his transition between being saturated in missionary work and becoming a productive member of society.
I knew I wanted to go to BYU-Idaho for a while. My older brother went there when it was Ricks College and he had great things to say. My friends talked highly of the institution and I even visited the school before my mission and was impressed. Months after returning home from Africa with an obvious farmer’s tan I opened my car door with a little resistance from the 18 degree frozen tundra of eastern Idaho. But this was home for the next 2 years of my studies. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and quality education. Oh and the best thing happened there too. Let me tell you about it.
My almost constant headache from studying anatomy and physiology hours a day was slightly relieved from the A I just got on the big test. I celebrated with friends by going out to dinner. Steve, Jared, and I decided to go to a local Mexican restaurant, Costa Vida. This is where it all began:
While I was eating my dinner I looked over my shoulder and saw a ray of light around this girl form across the restaurant. I thought I was going a little crazy from over-studying because there was no light source in the dimly lit café. My two friends were talking and I didn’t hear much. I glanced over again and it was still there. I was literally attracted to her. She was the most perfect woman I’d ever seen. Then I stepped back into reality with my buddies.
“Do you see those girls over there? Do you think we should say hi?” After minutes of contemplating this daring move, we finished up and decided to go talk to them, but we couldn’t find the courage. We left the restaurant, but determined as we were, devised a plan at Deseret Book nearby. “I have to talk to this girl. Maybe we can buy the three girls desert or something.” I had never done anything this bold before but we shoveled up(no pun intended) the courage, determined to make the best of this cold, damp night and we returned to the café. We offered to buy them desert. They accepted. Onto Wendy’s we went, just around the corner. Each of my friends bought a frosty for the other two girls. I bought a frosty for the woman I was so drawn to. After what seemed like hours of talking and laughing I got her number.
The next few weeks I’d get to know her more and I was intrigued. She was so different yet, so familiar. She was a convert to the church, she told me. She detailed how she had to hide The Book of Mormon under the couch so her parents wouldn’t find it. Her story kept me on the edge of my seat and I was in awe being in her presence. She told me how she read the Book of Mormon in less than a week. It reminded me of Parley P. Pratt when he read the book non-stop to the point where eating and sleeping was a burden. She lost family and friendships because of her decision to be baptized. Her passion for the Restored Gospel was even stronger than mine and I’d served a mission. An amazing instance of her faith being tested is her decision of where to attend college. She had been offered a full ride scholarship to Washington State University shortly before her baptism. Because of her belief in the importance of the gospel she turned that down and decided to attend BYU-Idaho where she would be successful in her own right. She became the news director of the broadcasting department for multiple years. Her faith impresses me, because I’m more conservative in my decisions.
With Kayla being a convert I know she appreciates the Gospel so much more because she knew what it was like not having it. She grew up without primary, without young women’s to help guide her in those key decisions growing up. She is my rock. Marrying her was the best decision I’ve ever made. Because of her I love God even more. Because of her I love others more. Because of her I can’t wait for forever.