My name is Abbey Miller. I was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ Forever. Looking back on how my life has unfolded, I could not be more thankful. Some may say I lived a “sheltered” life growing up. Maybe. But I am grateful for the way I was raised. I am thankful that my parents cared enough about me to correct me, discipline me, and say “No” once in a while. I am thankful that my Pastor and Church members held the standard of truth and righteousness: to live as Jesus lived in this present world. Was it always easy? No. But I have never lived in bondage. I was safe, loved, and happy. I was raised with some of the best friends a person could ask for. We spent summers together at Church Camp where I have some of my fondest childhood memories. In fact, it was during one of those summers that I realized I wanted to become a doctor. But growing up in a town that labeled you as “part of that cult” was, at times, painful. To feel ostracized by the whispers and looks from kids at school would be hard for any child. Thankfully, by the time I was in middle school, the gossip and lingering cult label had at least become less obvious and making friends became a little easier. I was involved in summer softball through Nash, the marching and concert bands, school sports, and school activities and clubs. My sister and I took piano lessons from one of the best music academies in the area. We were taught to be truthful, work hard, love deeply, think for ourselves, and stand for what is right, no matter the cost. Every child should be taught these things.
When I was in Junior High, I was given a place of leadership in our Church. If you knew me back then, that would probably shock you. I used to be a shy go-with-the-flow person, but by the grace of God and the wise counsel of Kale Aluli, Jackie Jacobs, and Roselani Aluli-James, I am a strong, independent, confident woman. God, my Father, absolutely knew what he was doing! I have witnessed nothing but love and care from the leaders of my Church. Love isn’t all butterflies and good feelings though. It comes in the form of correction too. Did I always enjoy the correction? No, who does? But did I grow from it? Without question, yes.
I’ve seen my fair share of former members leave the Church and each one was heart-breaking. Many of my best friends left as did my brother. Each time I heard that one of them had left, I was devastated, angry, and most of all sad. Sad that they were walking away from the calling of God on their lives. I believe each of us is created for a purpose. The Creator of the universe has a purpose for each of us and these friends and family that I grew up with, learned with, had fun with, worshipped God with, and loved had each in their own time and way walked away from their purpose. I pray that each of them comes to the realization of what their purpose is in Christ, that they stand before their Creator in truth.
Some may say I’ve been brainwashed to think a certain way, unable to formulate thoughts and analyze information, and incapable of reasoning for myself. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I have lived on my own in four different states working my way through graduate school, medical school, and medical residency training. During that time, I’ve had to develop my thinking, learn how to speak more clearly, improve my reasoning, problem solve, become more outgoing, think about others, carry myself with confidence, stand for righteousness, and overcome depression to be truly happy no matter what. Did I do this on my own? Absolutely not. Without a doubt, I never would have made it through even undergraduate schooling, let alone graduate school, entering the workforce, medical school, and my residency training without the strength of the Word and the love and support of each person in The Church of Jesus Christ Forever – from the oldest to the youngest. Each of them has given of their time, resources, and love to help others both within and outside of our Church.
I recently completed my medical training and am now board certified in Family Medicine, and I have NEVER felt more fulfilled and more happy that I do today. Have I struggled? Absolutely! Have I done wrong in the past? Most definitely. But have I been forgiven and washed pure by the blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Absolutely without a doubt! And do I now walk to the best of my ability according to his Holy Spirit to be perfect? Unhesitatingly, YES! According to all of the Holy Scripture, this is possible.