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在我的家庭中最先接触教会传教士的是我的母亲。30多年前的一天,她在路上遇到两名会说中文的外国人,原本只是想礼貌性地打声招呼,却没想到这无心之举让我的母亲因此归信成为了教会的一员。

母亲和比我年长三岁的姐姐在我六岁时加入教会,而我则等待了两年,直到满八岁后,接受洗礼。至于我的父亲,虽然他从未接受过任何的宗教信仰,但他相当尊重母亲和我们的选择,所以我们可以依照自己的意愿参加教会的聚会和活动。

刚加入教会时,母亲非常积极。她不仅带着我和姐姐每周出席安息日的聚会,同时也接受了在妇女会担任事工的召唤。可惜的是,当所有熟识的传教士一一接着返乡, 母亲带着我们到教堂的次数也渐渐减少了。记忆中,虽然母亲和我们每天仍会固定的做早、晚的祷告,然而,除了一年一度的圣诞节晚会之外,似乎很少有机会和母亲一同上教堂礼拜。

高三那年是我人生的一个重要转捩点。当时除了需要面对巨大的升学压力以外,也对自己的生活方向感到十分迷惘。我很希望高中毕业后继续念大学,但是因为高中联考的失利,我没有进入一个理想的高中,以至于考上大学的机会几乎是微乎其微。也许正是这样的情况让我想试着自己去教堂,更进一步地了解是否可以在我所信仰多年的宗教中找到一些问题的解答。

我还记得第一次自己一个人进入小时候熟悉的永和教堂时,非常的尴尬,仿佛每一双眼睛都盯着我看似的。接下来的几个星期天,我总是想,“还要再去吗?”,我必须承认,当时的我一点都不喜欢被人一次又一次问相同的问题或受到过渡的关心以及好奇眼光的打量。现在想来,这样的反应对一个青少年来说,也许很正常吧!

值得欣慰的是,我没有放弃,每周都会静静地到教堂做礼拜,然后悄悄地离开。直到有一天,一位和我年纪相仿的姐妹在圣餐聚会后走向我并告诉我她的名字(洪莉娜),我才认出这位姐妹原来是我国中一年级的同学,真是令人喜出望外!由于她的邀请和友谊,我开始参加女青年甚至福音进修班的课程,自此更深入了解经文和福音原则。

当我第一次看到“女青年个人进步计划 (Young Women Personal Progress)”这本书时的感动,应该是终生难忘的。因为那唤起了一个深藏已久的记忆——我是神的女儿,我能在智能、体能、灵性各方面都不断地成长和进步。按照进步计划的原则,我设定了各项目标,其中一个是教育方面的,很幸运,在大学门槛这一关,我通过了,也为我在学术领域深继续的造开启了第一道门。然而,另一个对我的生活具有更大影响的目标则是灵性方面的,借着每日经文的研读,特别是摩尔门经,我找到了个人的见证,正如基督教导的“寻找,就寻见;叩门,就给你们开门。”

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The first to come into contact with the Church missionaries in my family was my mother. Some thirty years ago she encountered two Chinese-speaking foreigners on the street, whom she at first just greeted out of a sense of politeness, never thinking that this chance meeting would lead to her subsequent conversion and to my mother becoming a member of the Church.

My mother and my sister thee years older than me joined the church when I was six years old, and I had to wait for two years until I reached the age of eight to be baptized. As for my father, though he had never accepted any sort of religious belief, nevertheless he completely respected the choice of our mother and us. Therefore, we were able to attend church meetings and activities according to our own desires.

From the time she joined the church my mother was extremely active. Not only did she take my older sister and me to attend Sabbath day meetings every week, but she also accepted the responsibility of holding a Relief Society calling. Unfortunately, as the missionaries familiar to her one by one returned home, the frequency with which my mother took us to church gradually decreased as well. As I recall, even though my mother and we still steadfastly kept morning and evening prayers, it seems as if we rarely had a chance to go to church on Sunday with my mother, except for attending church on Christmas every year.

My senior year of high school was a turning point in my life. At that time, besides the pressure of needing to confront the next major step in my education, I also felt utterly perplexed about the direction of my personal life. I really had hoped to continue my studies at the university after graduating from high school, but because of a setback on my entrance exam, I was not able to get into my ideal high school, making it unlikely that I would have the test scores to get into college. Perhaps it was precisely this situation that caused me to think about going to church on my own and to understand whether or not I could answer the various questions about my religious beliefs, for which I had searched for so many years.

I still remember the first time that I entered church as a young person all by myself and feeling utterly embarrassed, as if every pair of eyes were fixed in stares upon me. The following several Sundays I kept thinking: “Do I still want to go?” I must admit at the time I did not at all like being asked the same questions over and over again or being looked at with passing concern and curiosity. Thinking back on it now, such a reaction was probably quite normal for a young person.

What gives me comfort is that I did not give up every week going quietly off to church to attend meetings and then silently departing. Then one day a sister about my age walked up to me after sacrament meeting and told me her name (Hong Lina), and I realized then that this sister was a first year junior high school classmate. What a pleasant surprise! Because of her invitation and friendship, I began to attend Young Women’s classes and even Gospel Doctrine classes, and from then on I embarked on a deeper study of the scriptures and gospel principles.

I will never forget the feeling that I had when I first saw the Young Women’s Personal Progress booklet, because it aroused in me a profound remembrance—I was a daughter of God—I could continually increase and progress in every aspect of intelligence, physical ability, and spirituality.

I established each of my goals according to the plan of progression, among which was education and—fortunately—this related to my getting into the university and further became a stepping stone in academia. Even more, the objective of even greater influence on me had to do with spiritual aspects. Drawing on daily scripture study, especially the Book of Mormon, I found my own testimony, just as Christ taught: “Seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened onto to you.”

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Shu-Pei Wang is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University. She received her Ph.D. in instructional psychology and technology at BYU in August 2007 with a dissertation analyzing grammatical (syntactic) errors and attrition among adult native-English-speaking learners of Mandarin as a second language. Previously, she had received an M.A. in language acquisition (with an emphasis on Chinese) from BYU and a B.A. in Chinese literature and linguistics from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan.

Translated by Dana Scott Bourgerie
Posted June 2010