Topic : Joy

"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.

". . . 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.

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)

As people learn this principle, many start out doing service they “have” to do. Then they progress to doing things they ”ought” to do. Finally they reach the point where they do things because they “want” to. When people do good things because they “want” to, then they are serving as the Savior would.
For many years I have dealt with a person who is very miserable and unhappy. I encouraged her to go out and be of service to others so that she could be happier. She has refused because she feels that she cannot be of service to others until she has made herself happy.
I remember a father who, when asked to help someone in the neighborhood move in or move out, would complain to his children because he had to go and help. What was he missing out on because of his attitude towards service? What lesson was he teaching his children because of his attitude?
One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is that if I want to have joy in my heart and peace in my mind, I need to be of service to others. I have found that when I am serving others and doing so with the right attitude, I am the happiest and most content with life. I feel that others are blessed, and as I feel that I am becoming more like my Savior, I too feel blessed.

". . . 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 he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. And when he had done this he wept again; and he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones. And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them." (3 Nephi 17: 21-24)

This passage has served me well as a husband and father. Early in my marriage, as I pondered these verses I came to realize how much Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ loved children. I sensed that in essence, children were entrusted to parents with the heavenly expectation that parents would teach them correct heavenly principles and be good examples. The rearing of children required my very best effort as a father and a husband. This was a partnership shared with my dear wife of fifty plus years, as well as deity. Yes, it has been challenging at times, but so rewarding. And these verses and experiences continue to bless us as we reach out to our thirty-two grandchildren.

"Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." (3 Nephi 18:21)

When asked about my Mormon Faith, my initial response is always the same. I passionately embrace the concept of an Eternal Family. Many of our beliefs are taken on faith. That is, I do not have a perfect knowledge of their validity, but I strongly believe them to be so. While I may not have a “perfect knowledge” of a family that lives on eternally, I do have such a knowledge of the temporal impact in my life.

The Book of Mormon teaches and reminds me to be a more loving, supportive and understanding spouse and parent. Love for my family is not just something in which I “believe,” but rather a tangible emotion I can grasp with certainty and conviction. Love for family drives my hope and bridles my selfishness. Family brings love, faith, joy and fulfillment into every aspect of my daily life.

While I may not have a perfect knowledge of Heaven, I am blessed to have a perfect knowledge of Family here on Earth. For me, it is everything.

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25)

I feel comfort knowing that Heavenly Father has designed this life so we might know joy. In our pre-mortal life He presented this plan where we each would have our own agency. It is a scary thing to most of us, because we knew we would make mistakes, affecting not only our own lives but also the lives of others. We knew that it would cause something called misery, and by knowing the bitter we would also know the sweet. Lucifer fought against this plan and took one third of our brothers and sisters with him. When I have been in the depths of misery, or a loved one is having a hard time, I take courage knowing that we are experiencing this wonderful plan to bring joy into our lives. By experiencing misery from our own hands, the hands of others, or even from natural occurrences, we know the bitter and it makes the joy that Heavenly Father wants us to experience a glorious thing.

"And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ. . . ." (Mosiah 4:3)

I came across this verse when I was looking up something in The Book of Mormon. I like it because it testifies of peace. It tells me that Jesus Christ is real. I can be whole again even after any mistake, no matter how big. All I have to do is truly ask God to forgive me, and if I have repented with all my heart then I will feel joy again. I will feel peace. To know that for myself is really great.

The Book of Mormon makes me feel good. It can make me feel better in a way that other things just can’t. I am grateful to have this in my life.

"…and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift." (4 Nephi 2-3)

As a teenager became increasingly interested in how people treated other people. I started to pay more attention to the behavior of societies and governments and develop my own ideas of how things could be. The Book of Mormon significantly influenced these ideas of equality, fairness and serving. One section of the narrative describes how after Jesus Christ visited, the people lived in full peace and prosperity for 200 years. It was not just the utopian dream of fiction, but a real functioning society that overcame stubborn problems to become an extraordinary place and time to live.
I know that I can work towards creating such a society, even in small ways. The Book of Mormon gave me the vision of how I want to behave in the world.