1989
His Testimony Spoke to My Heart
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“His Testimony Spoke to My Heart,” Ensign, Mar. 1989, 64–65

His Testimony Spoke to My Heart

For thirteen years I was a zealous, “born again” Christian and an equally zealous anti-Mormon. As part of an organized evangelical program, I talked to people in launderettes, in parks, and in their homes, seeking to share the “good news of the gospel.”

Many of the people I encountered in my evangelical work were Latter-day Saints. I took every opportunity to tell them that their church was not of God but was a cult inspired by Satan. I was well-read in anti-Mormon literature, and my heart ached for those “misguided Mormons.” They went about trying to “work” their way to heaven, believing in the words of a self-appointed prophet named Joseph Smith.

Those works counted for nothing, I told them time and time again. Only those people who ask Jesus into their hearts will go to heaven. All others, good and evil, share a fate of agony and eternal separation from God.

“What about those who have never heard of Jesus?” I was asked time and time again. With no answer, I quietly swept the question aside.

After a difficult divorce, I stopped going to church, and although my faith in God and love for Him remained, I neglected the spiritual part of my life for a time. I married an inactive Latter-day Saint who nonetheless possessed an unshakable testimony. We rarely discussed religion, but whenever the subject arose, I made fruitless attempts to show him the folly of his beliefs. He quietly listened, but his testimony remained intact. Then, through a family crisis, the door of my heart began to open just a crack.

My father-in-law became very ill with cancer, and as death approached, he felt the need to express the importance of the Church to his children. Something about his simple testimony spoke to my heart, and I decided to find out for myself the truth regarding this church. I began by cross-referencing the scriptures. To my surprise, I found that there were no inconsistencies between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. To me, the Bible was the precious word of God. I believed it without question. Could Mormon doctrine possibly be proven within the Bible? I set out to find the answer.

In going through my husband’s Church books, I came across A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards. As I read it, I felt as if it had been written for me. I discovered New Testament scriptures regarding baptism for the dead and Christ’s mission during the time prior to his resurrection. I discovered Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb: “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” (John 20:71.) Had he not returned to his Father immediately after his death? But I had used his words to the thief on the cross, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43) to prove deathbed repentance! I had read these same scriptures countless times before but had never really understood them. Now I realized I had been deceived about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As I studied and prayed, I began to find answers to the questions I had quietly swept aside. Finally, I knew that this church was the Savior’s church, and its doctrine was his doctrine.

In 1984 I was baptized. I am grateful the Lord waited so patiently for the moment when my heart would open so that his Spirit would lead me to the truth. My husband is now active in the Church, too, and it is a joy to work in the Lord’s true church with him and to feel the Savior’s love permeating our marriage and our lives.

  • Paula Miner is a counselor in the presidency of the Relief Society in the Duarte Second Ward, Arcadia California Stake.