One thing that seems to be missing throughout this story is a single, definitive moment when I knew the church was true. I think that is because I knew all along – I just had to find it. I have said before that as I learned about the church, it was like I found a name for what I believed. For instance, the eternal progression of spirits from the pre-existence to earth and then beyond…that is how I always knew it was. There was no way that I could believe that we were solely made up of chemicals moving around in our bodies and this life was it. There was something eternal about our souls that I knew came from another place. Another example would be the teaching that goes on in the spirit world. I always knew there had to be a way that other people of the world were taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God wouldn’t just say, “Oh, well those people were in the wrong spot on earth to hear the Gospel so they have no chance.” That never made sense to me in other churches. I was amazed at how much the LDS church supports other churches. Also, I always wondered why there wasn’t a stronger presence of God within the churches I had attended. If God had such an influence during Biblical times, why wouldn’t he still? Why wouldn’t he communicate to man through revelation in the present time? The LDS church provided an explanation for my beliefs and questions.
I had no specific moment that I felt Heavenly Father’s presence enter my life because I had felt it there before and knew He was there watching me and guiding me throughout my life; my relationship with Heavenly Father has not changed much as I have changed churches. I did, however, feel a lot of positive reinforcement from Him. I felt Him rejoicing that I had found the true church and would be able to grow even closer to Him. When I got out here to Rochester, I went to the Hill Cumorah and really felt Him saying that He was proud of me and so excited for me.
I believe the greatest blessing was to ‘re-connect’ with and learn more of the Savior. I have come to know Him so much more through a greater understanding of the Atonement and of His love for each of His children on an individual level. Now, I do not only believe in Jesus Christ but I have come to know Him.
Through the strengthening of my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I’ve been able to find more of my true self. One of my favorite quotes by Quaker author Parker Palmer is “Before you tell you life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.” Being a member of the church and having the gift of the Holy Ghost has helped me to find that more eternal aspect of my soul and to let that part of me shine through each day.
2008 Edit – It has been about 5 years since I originally wrote this story. (I’ve kept the below testimony as it was originally. It is still that simple and that thriving.) In the past years, I’ve quit school, served a mission (which was financially supported by Drake and his family in an amazing turn of events), moved to Arizona, moved to Utah, started school yet again, and married an amazing young man. I’ve been blessed in so many ways by such amazing people. Lars and I are still dear friends and he served as my witness on my wedding day.
I am so grateful for this church and the blessings it has brought me. I am so grateful for the members and all the support that they offer. I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was the first in a line of latter-day prophets who act as a mouthpiece for God. I know that with the help of the Holy Ghost, each of us can look inside ourselves and find that eternal piece of us that can remind us of the wonderful plan of salvation and bring joy to each day. I know that Jesus Christ lives and He is guiding this church.
I hope and pray that reading this story will help you to strengthen your own testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.