As I've mentioned in a few other posts, I lied to my parents at the beginning. I kept my Book of Mormon hidden under my mattress. I would drive to the mall parking lot 20 minutes from my house and receive the lessons over the phone from some online missionaries. I told my parents I was going to an AP Chemistry Lab when I was really going to early-morning seminary. My plan worked brilliantly... until we studied the Old Testament and I was reminded what happened to liars in the hereafter... then I realized I had a problem...
Of course telling your parents, or even your family in general, that you're exploring a new religion is a unique experience. Heavenly Father made all families different and naturally they'll all respond differently. Here are four ways, though, that I think will help everyone
1. Check out Mormon.org
Okay, so open a new tab. Got it? Good, now google "I'm a Mormon" (or just follow this helpful little link here). This was one of the most helpful tools I used when getting up the guts to tell my family what I was up to. Here you can read, watch, or listen to the stories of Mormons all over the world and their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Better yet, you can find Mormons who are similar to you by entering your age, ethnicity, and gender along with key words that will help you find people who had to courage to tell their families the joy they had found with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For me, I would type in "Catholic" or "Convert" along with a dozen other things I could think of, and let me tell you-- the stories are so inspiring. Are there stories of people getting disowned by their families? Yes, but there are so many more of people who grew so much close to their kin by involving them in their investigation process.
2. Start with one
Remember when you were little and you had that one sibling you'd drag into all of your scheming? Well, time to drag them in again. Having someone in your corner from the beginning, before you break the news to your other unsuspecting family members. For me, that was my mom. My dad was very, very Catholic and my brother... well, he was 12. My mother, however, had Mormon relatives, was historically much more open minded, and-- of course-- she was my mom. She had to love me. Of course I was a little nervous talking to her about the things I had come to love so unintentionally, but the relief I felt afterwards was an absolute godsend.
3. Study the scriptures
Someone once told me there is no other book that can make stories of murder, sex, and intrigue so painfully boring quite like the bible (pardon the blasphemy). I have to admit, sometime that is the case, BUT there are so many incredible stories of harrowing bravery if you know where to look! For me, I get my kicks by studying the women of the bible-- some say there's not a lot to study, but they're straight up wrong. Growing up, I always considered the Virgin Mary to be the bravest woman throughout all history, but when I was facing my faith crisis, it was Esther and of Ruth and their stories of courage and faith that helped me come clean to my family.
4. Ask for a higher help
This one is really important, so listen up. I tried going about my investigation process on my own, and that landed me spinning my wheels for the greater part of two years. Sure I prayed and listened to General Conference talks, but I wasn't very good at listening with my heart instead of my brain yet (still haven't nailed that down). If I had done just one thing, I think I would have been ready to make the covenant of baptism a lot sooner than I did, and that was to ask for a priesthood blessing. Let me repeat that: ASK FOR A PRIESTHOOD BLESSING. These blessings, administered by a worthy priesthood holder, can relay the words Heavenly Father has for you directly to you. You can ask the elders in your ward, your bishop, or even a close friend who is in tune with the spirit. Heavenly Father is cheering you on and a blessing is the best way for him to let you know that, and having that kind of support makes everything feel so much easier.
BONUS: What to do after you take the plunge
So you've told your parents, you've committed to baptism, you've been confirmed into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-- congrats! Now go get in your bishop's office again and start talking about receiving you patriarchal blessing. A patriarchal blessing is a special blessing given from the stake patriarch that offers divine guidance for the rest of your life. Some are short and some are long, but no matter what they are incredibly helpful. Normally I would say everyone is ready for their blessing at a different time, but I would strongly recommend converts in their teenage years and beyond to receive theirs within the first year of baptism. I will never regret my decision to be baptized, but Iquestioned my decision a lot within that first year and had it not been for patriarchal blessing, I could have very well lost my way.
If this post was too long for you and you just skipped to the bottom, know this: Enjoy your time learning about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and be sure to actively involve your family, too-- because, no matter what their response, they deserve to know. Best of luck to you, investigator, and just remember how many people-- both on this earth and in the hereafter-- are cheering for you!