Julie Monroe, from the Aliso Creek Ward, decided to join the church in June of 2002. She was 22 years old. She had said that growing up, she knew several friends who were LDS, but that she learned the most about the church from her then high school boyfriend Chad, whom she later married. Julie had grown up a Lutheran but said that “it just didn’t feel right”. She stopped attending in high school. Before she had the chance to learn more about Mormons, Julie said she mostly thought “they were really nice people with big families and the fact that they didn’t go out on Sundays was really weird” to her. Regardless, she was interested in learning more. She started attending Institute and then soon after, began taking the discussions. It didn’t take long from there before Julie decided she was ready to be baptized!
“Within the first lesson with the Missionaries I knew I wanted to be baptized,” Julie says. And one month later...she was! What an exciting time for Julie and her life. The Gospel and its principles seemed to come so easy for her and was easy to accept. But most good things in life do come with trials. Julie said that the biggest challenges following her baptism involved her family accepting the decision she had made in joining the church.
“My family was not happy with my decision at first, mostly because they didn’t understand the religion and heard all sorts of crazy stuff about it being a ‘cult’. It took a few years after my husband and I got married in the temple for them to finally realize that this church wasn’t a bad one.”
And life would throw more trials Julie’s way. She was later diagnosed with cancer. But because she had the gospel and Jesus Christ, Julie said that it brought her closer to God in “every single way”. That even though she had a plan for her life, “God had an even better plan.” Julie said that she knew God loved her and “even though having cancer was very scary, I saw that He was there for me in every little detail of my life. People from the ward and friends were working through God and He was letting me know that He was watching over me and taking care of me.” Her testimony of the Spirit and the companionship it brings shows the great strength of Julie’s faith. Facing a scary trial and yet remaining true to the Gospel and trusting in the Lord’s plan for is a sign of Julie’s strong foundation.
Julie leaves us with a bit of advice for any who are interested in learning more about the church: “In the days that are hard or that you feel the world is against you progressing in your journey, just stick with it. Stay close to God. Read your scriptures, say your prayers and it will all work out okay in the end.”