Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Testimony

My Sister-in-law requested that for Christmas this year everyone in the family write their testimony. I think it’s a wonderful idea. So here it goes:

I’m not quite sure where to start… I love this Gospel and I have a testimony of every part of it. It would take so many pages for me to express all of my feelings, so it’s hard for me to know where to begin.

I don’t claim to understand any great mystery of heaven and I am certainly not a scripture scholar who can roll off passages and references at random. The things I have learned I attribute to many great teachers throughout my life; my parents, my friends, Sunday school, seminary, institute, bishops, ancient and modern prophets etc.…. But the things that I know have been from personal experience, very real and personal experiences. The things that I know are things I have learned from the Spirit, from application.
Most importantly, I have a testimony that Jesus is the Christ; He is my Savior, my Redeemer, and my TRUEST FRIEND. I know with all my heart that He lived, that He suffered and died to save me and that He lives again! Everything testifies of Him. I see witnesses of Him everywhere!! The power of His atoning sacrifice, of His mercy and grace give me the ability to forgive myself, the ability to forgive others and to keep going. I am humbled by how freely and readily His hand is stretched out before me, through thick and thin. He offers to help me every step of the way… if I just take it. I can’t do it on my own and it’s not meant for me to. I am so far from perfect... I need Him, oh I need Him. I am so thankful for His forgiveness. For years I have had this quote on my wall that reads, “I believe in Christ as I believe in the sun at noonday… not because I can see it, but BY it I can see everything else.” –C.S. Lewis. When I choose the Savior (and it’s a daily choice- I might add), when I follow Him, when I let Him guide me, I feel like shouting, “I can see, I can see! I was blind but now, now I can see!”

I know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ because I have seen and felt the power of it’s teachings in my daily life, through choices I make and guidance I seek. It is a perfect companion to the Bible, clarifying and complimenting the sacred writings from the old world. If I could, I would tell you of the hundreds perhaps thousands of occasions that the words in The Book of Mormon have come as direct answers to my prayers. Whenever I study it’s pages and hearken to it’s counsels, I feel strengthened, motivated, hopeful, more understanding of others, more patient, more kind, more caring, and in short- closer to Christ. The Book of Mormon is more that just good words; it’s the word of God written by the ancient Americans. I know it is true just as I know the Bible is true.

I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God…. I have prayed with my whole soul to know if he was. I know he was called to restore the Gospel in it’s fullness as it was anciently during the time of Christ. I have read Joseph’s testimony, studied his revelations and The Book of Mormon over and over again. As a result, I have undeniably received witness after witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet just like Moses, Abraham, and Peter before him. There is no shortage of opinions about Joseph. It was prophesied that his name would be known for good and evil everywhere….I think it’s that way for any prophet. One thing is certain, you can’t fabricate the spirit. The spirit testifies of truth wherever it is found. I have felt it witness to me over and over again that Joseph Smith was called of God and that this is the one true church on the earth today. He truly had a divine mission; he was called of God and was faithful to the very end. I thank my Father in Heaven for this AMAZING man. His teachings and example bring me closer to Christ. He was a true prophet.
I know that we have a living Prophet on the earth today! I have no doubt that President Thomas S. Monson is called by God. The First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles are true messengers from our Heavenly Father, set apart and ordained through the priesthood, the power of God on the earth. They are my life-line to personal peace, to happiness in my home and family. Their teachings bring true perspective of myself, of others and of the world around me. I listen to conference talks several times a week (I don’t say this to boast) I just listen so much because it keeps me going, I need their words, their guidance keep me from getting overwhelmed with the world around me, they give me hope, they give me peace… they bring me closer to Christ.

Another refuge from the world for me is the Temple. Oh, how I love that beautiful place! I remember the first time I went though it… there was so much for me to think about and it seemed so new to me. Over the years I have returned again and again on a regular basis… I realized that I wasn’t being taught anything new at all, In fact, I had known these teachings most of my life. The performances and ordinances therein just helped me to remember who I am and who God is. One word that I think would best describe the temple for me is, “REMEMBERANCE.” The work performed in the temple helps me retain in my mind and heart all the promises and blessings that come from consecrating my life to Christ and to our Father in Heaven. The promises are true, the blessings are absolutely beautiful… they strengthen me! The temple is the closest place I have to heaven on earth. I love it! I love it!

I speak from my heart. These are things I know!

I don’t understand all the detailed workings of how a fruit tree grows… I just know that when I bite into an apple, or an orange or a banana… I KNOW the tree it comes from.

To me the FRUIT is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ; it is full fellowship, activity, service and teachings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know the tree it comes from because I have tasted it and there is no mistaking that this fruit comes from the Tree of Life itself, Jesus Christ, my Savior. I say this in His sacred and holy name, Amen.

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