I was challenged by our Primary President to join the Primary Presidency, Activity Day Leaders, and Activity Day Girls in completing the Faith in God for Girls goals before the end of the year when the new Youth and Children program begins. I accepted the challenge, and one of the achievements that you need to do is write down your testimony, so I thought my blog would be a good place for this.
As you look through my blog, you’ll see my testimony written down in many places and in many forms. Most recently, A Letter to My Children on Father’s Day is a pretty good example of my testimony. But I thought that this goal might deserve its own entry.
My blog has been a little lonely lately. It’s representative of how busy things are. My wife is teaching early morning seminary. This means that in the morning I am the one getting kids ready for school. Gavin and Camille are really good and usually do everything for themselves, as long as Camille will wake up. Gavin who is 14 now, is very obedient and is generally always up on time. Camille sometimes has a harder time getting up, but does pretty well most days even though she is only 10.
So you are thinking, piece of cake! You really only have Xavier to get ready. This little man is a challenge in the morning. He needs a lot of sleep. He also really loves his mother and is very attached to her. All of a sudden having dad waking him up really early to go to school most mornings is not easy. A.) He doesn’t want to get up. B.) He doesn’t want dad to wake him up. So I do my best to try and get him up. We have to prepare breakfast, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, and make a lunch, so Camille and Xavier can be ready to leave at 7:30AM. My mornings are all of a sudden a lot harder. In the evening, I’m pushing to get dinner done, family scripture reading finished, family prayer offered, and get Xavier in bed before 8PM. The older kids are always like, “What’s the hurry?” Sadly, this was probably what I was saying last year when Jen was getting Xavier ready in the morning. Not so this year. I jokingly said to my wife Jen, “You don’t know what it’s like to get Xavier up in the morning and ready for school!” She of course rolled her eyes. I think that she is really liking her calling as an early-morning seminary teacher a lot for many reasons.
So that is in part why you haven’t heard from me. But back to my goal to write down my testimony. (sorry for getting a little side tracked.) By the way, I like the side of the track. Much more so than being on the track itself. Unless it was a race track with cars. Then I think I’d like it. But not the running kind of track… See what I mean? I’m easily side-tracked.
I see in the reports of my blog that the reach is world-wide. It is read in nations around the world where I have never been. I think of that when I consider writing a blog post. I want them to be worthy of your time. I hope that you feel that they are worth the time to read them.
My testimony started very young. You might say that I have believing blood. I come from many generations of faithful Latter-day Saints, many of whom were pioneers. I was taught from a young age by my Grandmother, by primary teachers, and later in life by my mother who wasn’t active in the Church when I was young. There were also good friends, young men leaders, bishops, stake presidents, home teaching companions, home teachers, mission presidents, etc. But I can’t tell you when my core testimony began. To the best of my recollection, I’ve always known the gospel message to be true, or at least I’ve never doubted it.
I know that I am a child of God. How do you know that you ask? Well, the scriptures talk about how God knew us and foreordained us before the earth was created. Before being human beings, we were spirit beings. My spirit has received spiritual impressions that confirm this deep in my soul to be true. I feel God’s love and concern for me and for my children.
My current perspective is that of a father. It’s different than my perspective 30 years ago when I was looking at going on a mission. I’ve learned a lot, intellectually and spiritually. I’ve learned, although not perfectly, to recognize when the Holy Ghost, whose mission is to testify of Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ, is testifying to me of truth. So yes, when I say that I know that I am a child of God, it is something I know from spiritual impressions. It is not by our regular senses of touch, smell, and vision. Interestingly it is very memorable, these spiritual impressions. Kind of like when I smell the dresser of my grandmother. I smell the wood and it takes me back to a place in my childhood. I don’t think I will forget that smell. Like this, I don’t easily forget the strong spiritual impressions I’ve had throughout my life.
Our Father in Heaven loves us. He knows the trials and struggles we face. He sent His Son Jesus Christ, who condescended down to our level as a human on earth, to pay the price for our sins, and to overcome death, as the first person to be resurrected, allowing this gift to be given to all of us, God’s children. This is a very key and core doctrine and part of my testimony which directs my life. This is the grand purpose of life. To repent of my sins, to be resurrected after death along with my family, and to return to Heavenly Father and live with him for the eternities with my family.
Meanwhile, here on earth, I want to try and live a life that my Heavenly Father would want me to live. I want to try and follow the example that our Savior Jesus Christ set. I fall short of this every day. But I know that just as my love for my children doesn’t change when they fail, my Father in Heaven still loves me and wants me to keep trying. And over the years, line upon line, I think that I am improving. It’s not a goal we will check off at some point during mortality. But a look back at our mortality will show the sum of all our choices, all our goodness, and what kind of person we strive to become. I’m not the same person I was 30 years ago. I don’t expect God to judge me based on that person, but on the path that I’m on now, who I’ve become, and who I might become one day as I keep trying to be better each day.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God and that he was called to restore the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the last dispensation of time. He brought forth the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God. This book is God’s teachings to us through the ancient writings of prophets. There is a power in their words which touches me deeply. That spiritual witness that I spoke of earlier testifies to me of the absolute truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Its teachings are true. It testifies of Jesus Christ. I love it and hold it up as one of the most important things in my life. My memory is poor and I am constantly falling short of who I should be, but this book, as I read it daily, fortifies me, teaches me, and spiritually feeds me, helping me come closer to Jesus Christ. I know that these prophets of old are holy servants of God. Their words are true. They beheld miracles, saw Angels, and after Jesus’s resurrection, He visited them, blessed them, and taught them. They were obedient and were blessed. As the people turned away from God, contention and wars would arise, and God would no longer be their focus, and they would no longer prosper in the land.
Joseph Smith who was called to be a prophet of God. In 1820 he was searching for answers and had a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ. I believe Joseph’s words. He was persecuted, ridiculed, and eventually killed June 27, 1844. From the time he had that vision as a 14 year old boy until 1844, he accomplished many incredible things, especially given the world he lived in where the printing press seemed like new technology. There have been 17 Latter-day Saint prophets including Joseph Smith. I sustain today’s living prophet, Russell M. Nelson, as a prophet, seer, and revelator. I also sustain his counselors and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. They are all servants of Jesus Christ and have dedicated their lives to building the kingdom of God, gathering Israel, and preparing God’s children for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. They wear their lives out doing so. While most others their age are on a golf course or in an easy chair, they are up early each day, ministering, preaching and teaching to the nations of the world.
This is not an all encompassing testimony of all that I believe. I could talk about specifics of other things within the Church and within the gospel for which I also have a testimony, but I think this will suffice.
I strive to live my life so that my children will see the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray that the example of me and my wife (more so my wife, but I try hard) will testify of our devotion to God. I hope they see how our efforts to follow the commandments have blessed our family. I pray that they will come to know and love Jesus Christ through our teachings, so that they will see the blessings of obedience to the commandments in their life. I pray that they will want to follow the example of their Savior Jesus Christ, to love God with all their heart, to love their neighbor, and to follow the teachings of God’s servants, both the prophets of old and modern-day prophets.