I was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When I was 17, my step-mother filed for divorce from my father. His schedule became quite busy, and she eventually moved out. The shared children were temporarily assigned to 50/50 custody between parents, and at times I was the only person at home.
After about a year, my father began to date. Many times he would travel for work, family, and personal reasons. I spent a lot of time skipping church and increasingly attended the Lutheran Church with a serious girlfriend. I began to tell myself I didn’t believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and the Book of Mormon was not true.
The truth was I didn’t know and had never asked my Heavenly Father. I convinced myself, albeit temporarily, that faith in Christ was sufficient for an easier and happy life. Truthfully, I had never prayed even to know whether or not Jesus Christ was the Son of God.
I found myself thinking regularly about James 1:5. I knew but attempted to deny, that I had never asked God for wisdom to know what was true. For a few months, I continued this way. I could feel a pressure building inside me.
As I drove one Saturday night through the grapevine toward Bakersfield, a fire raged alongside the freeway. I stopped to take pictures of the blaze and remained for a time. I don’t know why, but the uncertainty and the dishonesty with which I was living had built to a point at which my soul demanded that my mind react. I began to pray. I had never prayed with such honesty and vulnerability. I determined that I had been wrong in my approach to life.
I was wrong to claim a truth about which I had received no confirmation from the Holy Ghost. I was wrong to ignore the scriptures, and dishonest to neglect to ask God whether or not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was His church. I determined that I must do so. To that end, I spent days reading the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and in prayer to ask for knowledge and understanding.
By the third day, I reached the book of Ether. I began to feel the Holy Spirit. I had spent three days reading, repenting, and begging my Heavenly Father to reveal the truth, whether the Book of Mormon be true or not, whether Joseph Smith was a liar or a Prophet of God. The Spirit witnessed to me that God hears and answers prayers. God gives liberally, to all who seek wisdom with faith in Him. God exists. Jesus Christ is His Son and my Savior. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. The words of the Book of Mormon are true, and they testify of Christ.
I was a confused young adult, who had been lying to himself and others. I learned the most important lessons of my life on a random Wednesday. God loved me. He sent His Son to die, and be resurrected, for me. He sent the Holy Spirit to confirm these truths, and He will do the same for any of His children who will simply ask Him in faith. He loves each and every one of us.
“The Power of a Personal Testimony” -Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2006
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