For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about what I want to share with you all. A lot of ideas have been flying around, but ultimately I felt that I should tell you all why I’m a Mormon. No, it’s not because my parents raised me this way (though that definitely was influencing factor), it’s not because that’s what was expected, and it’s not because it seemed like the right thing to do. The reason why is because I had a personal experience with God, and I learned his will for my life. I want to share this experience with you and I hope that it may help in some way if you too are looking for personal connective experiences with our Heavenly Father.
When I was about 13 years old, I began have my doubts and questions about the church and it’s teachings. Going to church every Sunday was a drag, but the youth activities were fun! I didn’t really know if this was the true church or not, but I kept going as my parents expected me to do so. Honestly, I wasn’t very fond of all the things I had to do at church and many seemed silly to me at the time. Little did I know that I would come to fall in love with those silly things.
Twice a year, the church has a large meeting for all members called General Conference. This happens over the course of two days, Saturday and Sunday. Our family would go to the local church building that was broadcasting the conference and we would watch all the sessions (each was 2 hours). It was long and boring to me as a 13 year old boy, but I knew we would be going to Old Country Buffet between the sessions on Saturday, so that was a plus!
At the close of one of the sessions, all I could think about was everything that I wanted to do as soon as the dumb meeting was over! Then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir started to sing the closing hymn, and I knew it would all be over soon. But something was different this time when I listened to the choir. The sang the song “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” (A song about how the prophet Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ). Although I had heard this song many times, in this moment it felt like they were singing just to me. I felt a warm, peaceful feeling flow over me from my head to my toes. I had never before felt anything like it. It reached me to the deepest part of my soul, and I didn’t want it to stop. It’s hard to find words that describe how I felt and how happy I became. All negative thoughts vanished and a single statement rang with clarity in my mind, “This is true!” I began to cry. I knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was true and that Joseph Smith was truly called as a prophet to restore God’s church to the earth. I knew that what my father and mother had taught me was true. I knew that God want me to fully invest myself into his work and follow the teachings of His Son.
This moment changed me and changed the way I would live the rest of my life. I knew that I had to straighten up, listen to my parents, and make a true effort to follow God’s commandments. I knew this for myself, not because someone convinced me. The Spirit of God had pricked my heart and soul, and I could not deny it. Nothing is this world can change my knowledge of this truth. No argument, no temptation, no persecution, no scientific evidence or societal ideal can bring me to reject or disown what I know to be true. I stand with Joseph Smith when he said, “I knew, and I knew that God knew it, and I can not deny it!” I care more about this precious truth more than anything else I’ve learned throughout my life, and it is so important to me that I would die for it if necessary.
I’ve had the priviledge, and indeed it is a priviledge, to give my life to God, to serve as his missionary in Mexico for 2 years, to fight for his truth, and to defend his teachings. I do not claim to know more than anyone else, but this I do claim: I know that God lives. I know His Son, Jesus Christ, died for me and you to give us the opportunity to repent and be clean from our sins. I know that he has restored His church to the earth through Joseph Smith, and that the Book of Mormon is a testimony of the Living Christ. I can not, and I will not, forsake Him and his teachings, for they are the whole of life. This is my testimony to the world, that I know these things are true!
I pray that you may come to the same knowledge I have. Search, ponder, and pray, and the Lord will make Himself manifest unto you. I promise that if you sincerely look for the truth yourself, that you will find the answers you’re looking for. May my testimony bring hope to you and to those who are still earnestly seeking and to those who are struggling in the faith. Do not give up! He will never give up on you! His love for you is infinite and unconditional! I leave this testimony with you in His sacred name, even Jesus Christ, Amen.