Editor's note: This is an excerpt from "Why I'm a Mormon" edited by Joseph A. Cannon, which includes the testimonies of 53 influential members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I loved studying in America. I met many great people who taught me interesting things, but I stayed close to my mother's teachings: have respect for yourself and others; stay away from alcohol and drugs; don't go places you shouldn't go; behave like a lady. She was my hero! She worked hard to help me get through school with scholarships, student loans, and her extra savings.
I was grateful for her sacrifices and felt her love all the way from Norway throughout my five years at the university. Her constant love and care and her ability to forgive and forget also helped my brother, who had made choices on the wrong side of the law as a result of my father's physical and emotional abuse.
After receiving my bachelor's degree, I pursued my golfing dream and joined the Ladies European Tour. I soon became the "famous golfer" in my country. I'll admit I loved receiving so much positive recognition from so many people.
On a golf course in Austria, I met my two Mormon angels, Reeve and Laurette. Laurette was a professional golfer from South Africa who had played on the Tour for many years, and Reeve was her golf coach from Zimbabwe. Every time I bumped into them on or off the course, I felt comfortable in their presence. We soon became good friends. When I started touring Europe, my mother and stepfather often traveled to watch me play. My mom saw Reeve giving Laurette a putting lesson one day and said, "Please teach my daughter how to putt! She is useless at it!" So, through my mother's inspiration, Reeve became my coach — another event that changed my life.
Reeve, Laurette and I were sitting at a friend's kitchen table one day when the subject came up of faith and what we believed. I had quite a few things to say! I spilled out my feelings about how I didn't believe in anything, and how there was no God because if there was, how could he make such horrible things happen to me and my family, and by the way, where is my dad now and my best friend who died much too early?
Reeve listened patiently, and then she gently shared what they believed as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I didn't think much about it afterward. I knew very little about the Mormons and had no interest in learning more. But the first small seed was planted in my heart. Meanwhile, I was on my way to the top, or so I thought — playing great golf, making money, getting famous and signing autographs. I was ranked 27th in Europe, slowly reaching my goals of fame and fortune. Since my childhood had been such a struggle, these goals had been my incentive. Silly me.
Cecilie "CC" Lundgreen, of Norway, was at one point ranked as Norway's top female golfer. She has competed in Nordi, European and World Championships and also attended Florida Atlantic University on a golf scholarship. She serves in the Young Women presidency in her ward.
More excerpts from "Why I'm a Mormon":
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