So…now, of all things, and of all things most astonishing, I have finally decided to quit messing around, and ask for baptism in the LDS Church. What?! Yes indeed, you read that right. I have asked for baptism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (That’s where the initials “LDS” come in.) The LDS are otherwise known as “Mormons.” Gasp! The Mormons?! You are astonished. (I knew you would be.) Seriously?? Yep, honest–the Mormons. Me, one of them. My baptism date is tentatively set for December 31st, 2016. And my confirmation date will be the next day, January 1st, 2017, which is a Sunday. I’m excited! Actually, this is a journey that began in 2012. I will tell that story in another post. It’s definitely worth sharing. (Right now I’m on my tablet, and I think it would be terribly difficult to write that all out by pecking with the index finger of my right hand, which is exsctly what I am doing right now. So that will have to wait. Perhaps I will post it today.)
Anyway, that’s my latest. There are some issues I’m working on, the two biggest right now being my smoking cessation, and the elimination of coffee and tea in my life. (Part of baptism preparation is keeping the “Word of Wisdom,” which is a Church regulation of abstinence from coffee, tea, all forms of nicotine, and any and all other mind-altering, mood-altering addictive substances.) I actually have a solid plan for smoking cessation, which I implemented yesterday, and I have cut my coffee intake by roughly 66%. (I was consuming about 6-8 cups of coffee a day, and now I am down to 2 or 3. Quite proud of myself, but will not take all the credit.)  And there has been another huge breakthrough, which I don’t at all mind sharing. About 3 years ago, in the spring of 2013, I picked up using kratom. (No, I don’t want to go into a lengthy explanation of what kratom is. Suffice it to say that it is a mild mood-altering plant, with mild energetic and pain-relieving properties, related to the coffee plant.) Well, as with any substance, my addictive personality almost immediately became psychologically, and then physically dependent upon it. I then struggled for the next 3 years, up until last month, to quit using it. Everyday I would begin and end my day with using this mild habit-forming drug, and everyday I became more and more despondent and depressed about it. Finally, at the end of last month (October 2016) I decided enough was enough. I had started studying with the LDS missionaries again, and desired to really get clean and be clean, so that I could move forward with baptism. So I checked myself into one of the psychiatric hospitals andhere in the valley, and under the care of my regular psychiatrist, I detoxed from kratom. (I couldn’t have done it without Dr. A., who readily helped me with medication that eased the physical withdrawal, and subsequent cravings.) So finally, after being very addicted to kratom, Iam finally off of it. Thank God! (And I mean that literally.) And so, now I can move forward with the baptism. I am finally 100% completely off the kratom, have drastically reduced my coffee consumption, and have begun a solid plan for quitting smoking. If Heavenly Father helps me, I can be ready for baptism at the end of next month. I think that to be baptized at the end of one year and then to be confirmed at beginning of the next is quite a special thing, maybe even a sign for me, because God knows how much emphasis I put on specific dates and such. This particular baptism date gives me a great deal of motivation, which is why I’m doing my best to truly prepare myself for this sacred ordinance.

And so, all is going well, and I ask God our Heavenly Father to keep the Light of Christ shining in me, and also to continue to rightly influence me by the power of the Holy Spirit. I thank Him with my whole heart and soul, and look forward to the day that I am received into the Church that bears His name and carries on His work: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. May I one day join them in spirit and in name. I say all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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