My name is Marie Leslie and I am a Mormon. Big surprise, huh? However, Molly is not a term that anyone who knows me would have ever applied. I always tell people that, growing up, I was the poster child for the square peg of the church. But here I am, a Modern Molly Mormon.
I've pretty much grown up in the church. My parents were tracted out by the missionaries and joined the church when I was five. There was a Mormon family across the street. I'm not sure if we joined the church in spite of or because of their example. They were active and are very good people. They just aren't what I would have classified your typical Mormon family.
I lived in the same ward my entire life until I got married to my wonderful husband, who also happened to grow up in the same ward. No, we were not childhood sweethearts. No, I did not wait for him while he went on a mission. We didn't even start dating until he'd been home for a couple of years.
Though I am technically a convert, like Jia, my roots go way back. My something-great grandmother, Polly Ann Ivie Billington, joined the church got married, lived in Nauvoo for a period of time and made the trek west. Eventually, they settled in Spring City, Utah, where they might have lived happily ever after except for a little thing called polygamy, or so the story goes. One of the apostles came and directed my something-great grandfather to take a second wife. The idea didn't sit well with him--I'm told his response was that one he already has was more than enough and not only did he not want Wife #2, but he'd had enough of Wife #1. So, he packed up whichever of the kids would go with him and headed back to settle in Missouri, where he spent the rest of his days persecuting Mormons. And you wonder why I'm never asked to speak on Pioneer Day?
I have always been active in the church. I was a scripture chase whiz in high school. I can still find most of them. As an adult, I've done a little of everything, but I've spent most of my years in Young Women's, where I love it the best. I think Camp Director is the best calling in the church.
I tend to stir the pot every now and then. I'm not big on the status quo and I like to make people think about what they're doing and why they're doing it.
I love the gospel. I love the Savior. I even love church, though sometimes I have to work hard at loving everybody in it. I love hearing from people about how the gospel works in their lives, about the challenges and about the triumphs. I believe in miracles, having been the recipient of many. I believe there are no small ones. I believe we are all here for a purpose and one of those purposes is to lead our fellow travelers to the truth and help them find their way back home, while they do the same for us. And I hope that Modern Molly Mormon can be a part of that journey.