Topic : Faith

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:4-5)

“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.” (3 Nephi 1:13)

I was born in Salt Lake City and raised in the Mormon Church. I never doubted that the Gospel and the Book of Mormon were true. I always believed that Jesus Christ was my Savior and my friend.
However, as a married adult I lived in various parts of California and Illinois, and listened to newly baptized members of my church bearing testimony of The Book of Mormon with great emotion. I began to hunger to feel the same. I believed what they believed. What was different?
So at the age of twenty-seven, without telling anyone, I decided to accept Moroni’s challenge. I didn’t think I needed to ask if The Book of Mormon was true; I already thought it was. But after putting my two small children to bed, I began praying and humbly asking Heavenly Father that I might have my own personal witness of the truthfulness of the book.
Night after night I prayed diligently before reading The Book of Mormon. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. I felt increasingly spiritual and I began experiencing new understanding and knowledge through praying and reading with real intent. When I read the account of Helaman, my heart was troubled and sorrowful for the Nephites and the contention and evil that existed among them. I felt compassion and great respect for Helaman, Nephi, and Lehi, and the steadfastness of their constant pleas for the people to repent. I was overwhelmed with the courage of Alma during his missionary experiences, and the courage of Samuel the Lamanite prophesying and calling the people to repentance. I began feeling I was there!
When a day was set for Samuel’s believers to be put to death, my heart was pounding and I felt their fear, but also rejoiced in their faith. Tears dropped on my cheeks.
When I read Jesus’ words to them, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world,” my whole body was burning, and I received my own personal manifestation of many truths through the power of the Holy Ghost. I now knew, did not just believe, that Jesus is my Savior and King. I knew that The Book of Mormon is true.
I can still testify of that with great emotion, the emotion for which I had hungered. While reading the Book of Mormon, I have time and again been blessed with personal revelation, light, and understanding from my Father in Heaven.

"And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy..." (1 Nephi 8:10-14)

Even though I had a belief in the Old & New Testament prophets before I visited the “Holy Land” with BYU Studies Abroad, and walked many of the paths which Jesus had walked, I longed for a similar faith building experience with the prophets in Book of Mormon scriptures.

As a family, we had listened to the dramatized recorded Book of Mormon stories on audio tape by a Latter Day Saint company in Utah. Our children know the stories by heart. My wife Judy & I traveled again with BYU Studies Abroad Professors, visiting the lands of the Book of Mormon in South America. We visited many locations associated with the stories we had listened to on tapes as a family. On one occasion, we hiked into the jungle and waked into a religious court yard. Brother Chessman, one of our group leaders, showed us a “stele” which had a carving in the rock’s weathered surface that looked like a tree with many branches. He compared the story told on this stele, with the story told in 1 Nephi 8,verse 10-14. This experience strengthened my belief in the validity on the Book of Mormon.

"Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold I am Jesus Christ. . . . Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? . . . Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh." (Ether 3:14-16)

I was raised in a Mormon family and went to church regularly with them. I loved the stories of Jesus – particularly how He loved and blessed the little children. I accepted His “reality” in the simple faith of one raised in this kind of home.
Then, one day during my teens, I was reading The Book of Mormon and found the most astounding passage in Ether chapter 3. It records an actual visit by the Savior to a man known as the “brother of Jared” whose people were preparing to leave the area near the Tower of Babel, after its destruction by God as told in the Old Testament. The brother of Jared was praying for guidance. It would be thousands of years before the Savior would be born to Mary and Joseph.
As the brother of Jared prayed, Jesus actually appeared to him! Jesus looked like a man with a body and that greatly surprised the brother of Jared. The verses I have quoted here deeply touched me and have been a strong base of my abiding faith in the Savior and His atoning sacrifice ever since. He died that we might live again!

"Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6)

As a teenager, I liked to speculate about religion with my parents. My general attitude about religion was skeptical; I felt it the responsibility of others to build my faith.
One day when I was nearly seventeen, I was leaning over the counter in the kitchen reading The LDS Church News which ran a cartoon strip that day depicting events from the Book of Ether in The Book of Mormon. I read the passage, “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” That admonition struck a particularly responsive chord and I realized that I had things backward. Instead of demanding proof first, this scripture was telling me I should try to exercise faith first; the assurance would then come after my faith had been tried. One effect of reading this scripture was to make me generally more optimistic. It was the start of a conscious shift of direction, a willingness to try first and expect proof later.
The Book of Mormon itself stands for me as a persuasive artifact, because of the many witnesses who speak to the physical presence of the gold plates; the short time in which it was translated; and particularly the chiastic form in which much of The Book of Mormon is cast. This and the power with which it speaks to my soul all lead me to believe the book is everything Joseph Smith said it was.

". . . I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness." (Mosiah 2:41)

I love this verse from The Book of Mormon. Fulfillment of the first promise I have experienced, and the second part I believe will be my lot as I remain faithful.
I have always been a member of our church. My husband and I were married in the Latter Day Saint Salt Lake temple just over a year out of high school. We have always attended meetings and served in our church. As we have traveled throughout the world we have sought out local congregations where we were able to attend, which we did in many countries. We have always paid tithing, held family prayer, and attended our temple (before I became somewhat disabled). We have helped to financially support eight grandchildren as missionaries, with many more family members to follow. We speak of the scriptures often and we regularly attend Sunday School together. We still pray together every night, and I give thanks always for being so greatly blessed in time of need.
I have experienced the healing power of priesthood blessings for myself and for our children. I was blessed to be well again after a year’s fight as a child with nephritis when I almost died. Later I was promised that I would recover from brain surgery for tumor removal, and that blessing has been answered even though I have some disability.
I have an abiding faith that Jesus is the Son of God and my Savior through his atoning sacrifice. I love our Father in Heaven and our Savior, and I thank them for a long life of great blessings.

“For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah . . . .” (First Nephi 1:4; see also Second Chronicles 36:11-16)

“. . . Jared came forth with his brother and their families . . . at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered.” (Ether 1:33; see also Genesis 11:7-9)

I grew up in South Texas attending another Christian church. At the time, I knew nothing about the contents of The Book of Mormon. However, I was familiar with The Bible. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that The Book of Mormon account commences at the time that Zedekiah was king over Israel. Zedekiah is mentioned in the Bible record in the same time period that according to The Book of Mormon, Lehi left Jerusalem. Since both records spoke of Zedekiah, that was proof to me that Lehi was a real person. In 2 Chronicles Chapter 36, 2 Kings Chapters 15 and 24, and Jeremiah Chapter 7, Zedekiah is mentioned as the king over Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came and destroyed the city when Zedekiah rebelled against him. According to The Book of Mormon, Lehi and his family left just in time.

The Book of Mormon’s Book of Ether tells of a group living near the Tower of Babel who were led by Jared and his brother who petitioned the Lord to not confound their language and to lead them to another land, which He did. In see also Genesis Chapter 11, we find an account of the scattering of people who were building the tower, and the confounding of their language.

To me, these two connections – Lehi at the time of Zedekiah, and the Jaredites at the time of the Tower of Babel, were a practical proof that The Book of Mormon was a true historical account.

I like practical and also spiritual proofs. For me, the spiritual proof of the validity of The Book of Mormon is evident in the effect of every page upon me, and upon what I have done with my life — my values, my occupation, my wife and family, my eternal goals.

My logic is that if The Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith is a prophet. If Joseph is a prophet, then the church that he established must be the Lord’s Church. That is why I was baptized into His church.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Moroni 10:4)

I first read The Book of Mormon as a teenager. I made a commitment to myself to read the entire book by the end of the year I turned seventeen. On the last day of the year, before going to any of the New Year’s parties, I was still reading the book. I finished late in the evening but still had time to go to the parties. Over the years, I read The Book of Mormon over and over. During my service as a missionary in Argentina, I read The Book of Mormon in Spanish. I had a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Church, but had never received the witnesses Moroni promised. A few years later, I found myself serving in the U.S. Army in Panama. Because of the nature of my job, I had a lot of time to read. One day I decided to re-read The Book of Mormon. This time I prayed that I would know, through the Spirit, that it was true. As I began reading the book, I prayed about the truthfulness of each page and as I went through the book, I received a direct answer to my prayers that every single page of The Book of Mormon was and is true. From time to time, I reflect on that dramatic testimony that came to me, page by page, as I read the entire Book of Mormon. I not only know that The Book of Mormon is true, I know every page of the book is true.

As the years have passed since that experience, I have had many opportunities to see how that testimony of The Book of Mormon has changed the way that I looked at life. Every time I had an opportunity to serve someone, I remember that I know that The Book of Mormon is true, and that influences me to make good choices and persevere to the end of my life.

". . . thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." (2 Nephi 2:25)

I am comforted to know that I can gain experience and wisdom from afflictions.

“. . .I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things. . . .” (Mosiah 2:41)

I learn that I can have peace and happiness in this life by keeping His commandments.

“. . .ye should impart of your substance to the poor . . . such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief . . . .” (Mosiah 4:26)

I have come to understand how vital it is to give generously to care for the poor.

“. . .whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 36:3)

While this life contains trials and afflictions, we can be strengthened by trusting God and can eventually return to his presence.

“. . . I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4)

My career has been in university education (professor, director, dean) and in consulting. I am married, have four daughters, and now enjoy grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My father was a laborer and my mother also worked full-time in a department store. My parents sent me to our nearby church and I always went willingly. My conviction of the truthfulness of the teachings of the Mormon Church grew slowly but steadily through my high school and college years. My certainty increased greatly through my reading of the scriptures, answers to my prayers, seeing the impact of the church on the lives of new members, and hearing testimonies of others.

I believe that The Book of Mormon, like The Holy Bible, contains the fullness of the gospel. The book is replete with scriptures that have influenced my life, like those I have listed above. Through my studying and pondering of The Book of Mormon, and the promised inspiration of the Holy Ghost, I am convinced that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that he overcame physical death, and that without his sacrifice I would be hopelessly lost for the eternities.

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

Three months after my twins were born, my church leader called me in and asked me to be a Blazer Scout leader. With twelve children, I was totally overwhelmed. I didn’t say “no” immediately because my son Wid was asked to be my assistant scout leader. When my husband Dean asked me what was wanted, I sarcastically said, “I wonder what I’ve done wrong. Can you believe it? He asked me to be a scout leader for twelve eleven-year-old boys.” Dean surprised me by saying, “Well, that sounds like fun. You’ve never had that calling in the church before.” I was mad, and it took me a whole week to humble myself and ask the Lord if this was truly inspired. On Friday, with a Sunday deadline to give my answer, I knelt in prayer and the answer came loud and clear, “1 Nephi 3:7: I will go and do . . . .” I chuckled as I thought, “Well, Heavenly Father isn’t asking you to go get someone’s brass plates, but just to take twelve little boys and prepare them to receive the priesthood and scouting skills and values.” It was one of the most exciting and rewarding opportunities I’ve had in my church. Serving five years in that position, I worked with all four of my sons and each of them earned their Eagle Awards. We made diamonds in Dr. Tracy Hall’s laboratory, toured the Provo Utah LDS Temple before it was finished, and re-enacted Ute Chief Sowiette’s defense of the Provo Fort. I am indebted to the leader of the other twelve boys in our ward. She became a wonderful mentor and friend. I testify that whom the Lord calls, he qualifies.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:4-5)

Sixty years ago, as a young man twenty years old, I was fulfilling a Church assignment that I found to be very challenging, and I was somewhat discouraged. One evening as I read The Book of Mormon, I came upon this verse in Moroni 10. Having received this exhortation, I decided to test it, and prayed somewhat as follows: “Lord, this work I have been called to do is very hard and I feel discouraged. Nevertheless, if I can be assured of its truth and value, I will persist.” At that moment, I felt filled with a Heavenly light that affirmed to me the truth of The Book of Mormon. From that moment, through all these sixty some years since, that experience has sustained and blessed me and given me the courage to persist.