My studies and an invitation by my friend brought me to the Church, but faith gave me my testimony.
My brother, Andrew, my twin sister, Stephanie, and I were all raised by parents who sacrificed for us, taught us right and wrong, and, most importantly, taught us strong moral values. Nevertheless, I started to doubt my parents’ advice and beliefs around the beginning of my teenage years.
I made many poor choices, but one thing remained firm in my mind: a desire to know the truth in religion. I desired to know of God, so I turned to the intellectual pursuit of that knowledge and thought of myself as an agnostic.
One year I spent hours pondering the meaning of life and the nature of God.
I pored over religious books and websites, learning about different religions and forming my own theories about God and His workings in our lives.
I wasn’t happy during that year, but I was too busy seeking more knowledge to realize it. I continued to make poor choices, which only widened the rift between my family and me. I felt lost.
I came to a point where I felt I had to make a life-ending or a life-starting decision. When I thought about making the life-ending choice, I remembered what a young man had given me almost four years earlier.
In the seventh grade, Sawyer had recognized my curiosity about God and had given me a Book of Mormon. Later, that Book of Mormon was sold in a garage sale. In 10th grade, he asked what I had done with the Book of Mormon. I felt so bad about telling him it had been sold that when he invited me to go to Mutual or seminary with him, I agreed.
I went to seminary after having read all I could find about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with a notepad full of questions intended to disprove it. Once there, as I read them, they were answered with kindness and certainty. I exhausted all my questions and gave up, resigned to the fact that there was something special about the Church.
The next Tuesday, I went to Mutual with Sawyer. He asked if I minded if the missionaries came over to talk to me. I didn’t fully understand the question, but I agreed to meet them.
During the discussion with the missionaries, I recounted the story of Joseph Smith and wanted to know the next step. It was a very Spirit-filled discussion, but I was lacking one thing. I told the missionaries I believed, and I thought I believed, but I didn’t truly understand what it meant. I continued to have discussions with the missionaries and to learn about Jesus Christ’s restored gospel.
There came a point, however, when I was overwhelmed with the storm of life, and I went to the missionaries for help. They showed me 3 Nephi 14:24–25:
“Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.”
Once I heard those verses, my heart rejoiced, and I felt the storm lessen. I asked the missionaries what that meant. They replied that it was the Holy Spirit confirming truth to me. After that moment, I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and since I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, everything else fell into place. I knew that there is a living prophet, that Joseph Smith really was called of God and is the prophet of the Restoration, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is the true Church.
My knowledge was gained through my faith; my faith was not gained by my knowledge.
Ever since I received a testimony of the Book of Mormon, I have strived to live according to the commandments of God. It’s a lifelong journey but one I look forward to.
I can’t give thanks enough to the people who set me on this journey. I can, however, be the best disciple of Jesus Christ I can be and pray that my actions will invite others to join me on this journey back to our Heavenly Father.