Testimonies of the Book of Mormon – Joshua

My series continues today with another testimony of a family member. As I had said in the previous blog, some of my family members had written down their testimonies of the Book of Mormon while I was a missionary in France. These testimonies were given to me, I then translated them into French and hand-wrote them in the front of a copy of the Book of Mormon (Le Livre de Mormon), which I then would give out to someone I contacted.

Continuing with these testimonies, today I share the testimony of my cousin Josh Bills.

I love to share my testimony. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that there is a living prophet on earth today. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that God lives and Jesus Christ His son is resurrected and lives today. I am 12 years old.

Joshua Bills (my cousin)

In French

J’aime partager mon témoignage. Je sais que l’Église de Jésus-Christ des Saints des Derniers Jours est vraie. Je sais que Joseph Smith était un prophète de Dieu. Je sais qu’il y a un prophète vivant sur la terre aujourd’hui. Je sais que le Livre de Mormon est vrai. Je sais que Dieu vit et que Jésus-Christ, son fils, est ressuscité et vit aujourd’hui. J’ai 12 ans.

Joshua Bills (mon cousin)

(I have noted on the paper that I gave this copy of the Book of Mormon to a little family with a young girl and boy.)

Sometimes the simplest testimonies are the most powerful. I remember we were tracting (going door-to-door) in Angers. I was with a fairly new missionary whom I was training, Elder Herfel.  We became very good friends. A trainer is sometimes called “le père” (the father) and the greeny (le bleu) called “le fils” (the son). So I was out with “mon fils” and we were having a lot of success teaching in a neighborhood close to a large church. There was a little elderly woman who did not like us knocking on doors in the neighborhood, and grabbed my arm and walked us over to the church and said, “If you want to talk to someone, talk to the priest!” The priest of this church didn’t like us in his territory so to speak, and so we agreed to set up a meeting for the next night. We arrived on time and sat down with this priest who then started to “bible bash” with us. Bible bashing is a term missionaries use to describe someone who wants to “prove” their point or their belief by referencing verses in the Bible. On of the problems with this, is that you can interpret a single verse of scripture in a lot of ways, and it really never ends up convincing either party. He was getting very animated and didn’t care for how young we were, how inexperienced we were, and as we continued to listen to him, we answered questions that he would throw our way.

I could tell that this was not going to be a productive meeting, so I bore my testimony of the things I knew were true about the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith. I agreed in the truthfulness of the Bible, and said that the Book of Mormon just complimented the Bible and suggested that he should read The Book of Mormon for himself.  This got him really exasperated and he became visibly distressed. I don’t remember all that he said, but I remember his anger.  Then Elder Herfel, a new missionary with limited French skills at that time, bore an amazingly strong testimony.  The Spirit was so strong in the room. It left the priest speechless. He was completely silent. We just let the Spirit sink ink. Then he told us to leave.

herfel-and-JB-angers
Elder Bringhurst and Elder Herfel in Angers, France – Circa 1992

As a missionary you learn that when people are converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, it is through the impressions they feel from the Spirit. It is not from fancy language and persuasiveness of the missionaries.  In fact, the most humble missionaries tend to do the best. The ones who carry the Spirit with them and testify boldly. When it is the Spirit testifying, and it is felt in your heart, it cannot be denied. That is where conversion comes from. It’s powerful, yet quiet. It’s the communication of a loving Heavenly Father reaching out to His children testifying of His everlasting gospel.  That’s what the Book of Mormon is all about.

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