“My Journey to Faith,” New Era, June 2007, 44–45
“What did you say?” I replied to my mother as she informed me of her plans to take the family to Nauvoo. I could already feel the Laman-and-Lemuel-like murmurings enter my heart. I even let a few of them slip. I complained about how I had to work and how unbelievably boring that town would be. But my wonderful mother persisted and tried to convince me that it would be “cool.”
A few months passed and it came time for our trip. We were in Nauvoo for only three days, but for those days I was filled with the Spirit. I was blessed to visit many sites of historical significance. I was even able to perform baptisms for the dead in the beautiful Nauvoo temple with my father, grandfather, and a few friends who were also there. Although the trip was going better than expected, it was still to hold more meaning for me.
Only one week before we left for Nauvoo, I received my patriarchal blessing. In it I was told that my testimony of the Restoration and of Joseph Smith would be strengthened. I thought little of it at the time and simply figured it would just happen over time.
On the final day we spent in Nauvoo, we went and visited Carthage Jail, where the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were killed. We walked the grounds and read many quotes from the Prophet, and I felt the Spirit very strongly. During our tour of the jail, I felt the Spirit even stronger. We ended up in the upstairs room where the mob broke in and killed Joseph and Hyrum in cold blood. As I sat there and learned of that great man and listened to the hymn “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” the words of my patriarchal blessing, which I had received only 10 days before, entered my mind. I have never felt like I received such a blessing as my trip to Nauvoo was. It was amazing that barely one week had passed since my blessing, and I could already see it being fulfilled.
On my trip to Nauvoo I learned more about the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the early pioneers than I ever have at one time in my life. I already had a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration before that trip, but afterwards I realized how small that testimony was. I knew before, but now I know with a greater surety that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He did restore the gospel to the earth. I also know that Heavenly Father loves each one of us and answers our prayers if we have faith in Him.