My religious “conversion” started when I was young. I was blessed to have dedicated LDS parents who were faithful to the gospel and faithful to their family. Their sacrifices for God and family were real and heartfelt. I am their oldest child and have 10 siblings, 9 living.
I hate hypocrisy. Always have. Growing up I noted hypocrisy in school, politics, social leaders, everywhere. In Church, not so much. I could easily see no one was getting rich or famous off of Church service. In fact quite the opposite. Sacrifice for love or for principle indicates to me a true sincerity — the opposite of hypocrisy. So that’s where I wanted to be and still do.
My belief in the doctrines of the Church called “The Gospel” began by observing, contrasting, and comparing. Pretty simple. I was happy to be baptized. I had answers to the basic questions of life and I found that satisfying. My family and my gospel knowledge made me feel special, not different.
It continued that way until I reached the age of 15. I had just finished reading a book my mother provided called “Book of Mormon Stories FOR YOUNG LATTER-DAY SAINTS”. Just stories really but I knew it was based on the history from the real Book of Mormon.
So one day I saw a Book of Mormon sitting on the table and I thought “Why not just read the real thing?”. Yes, I know it’s a cliché (because it happens to a lot of people) but, because I was prepared, the Book of Mormon really did change my life. Forever.
That was 47 years ago. Since then, well, I have had my faith confirmed by “miracles”, direct answers to prayers, and new knowledge granted from the heavens. I think a testimony of God is based on two complimentary experiences: 1) Receiving personal revelation, via prayer and study of sacred subjects; and 2) Miracles. I have had miracles in my life, as has everyone who has sought the truth of God. My failures and disappointments have already worked out in my favor or are in process of doing so. I am a great believer in being patient, and playing “the long game”.
Before my experience with the Book of Mormon, my belief was observational and based on actions and results. Afterwards, it was based on an active relationship and trust in God. I was introduced to Him on a more personal level because of the Book of Mormon. Only those who have let God mold their heart know what I am talking about. There are no words to describe the experience — the feeling, the understanding, the epiphany of sacred moments. I remember reading the part in the Book of Mormon when Jesus appeared to the Nephites. I was on the edge of my seat.
So, I love the Book of Mormon, or I should say, I love what is in the Book of Mormon.
When feeling successful in my relationship with God, it gives me confidence in other aspects of my life — like I am going in the right direction. And how many people can really say that? I have many goals and aspirations fulfilled and also unfulfilled but I try to be patient. It will all happen according to the Word of God. I trust Him.
I have found that the following instruction from the Book of Mormon is the key to having a relationship with God.
And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches–yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.2 Nephi 9:42
I recently encountered this quote and am fond of it:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated fools. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”Calvin Coolidge
My determination is to be persistent in following God. He can go His way and I’ll go mine — and it will be the same way.
The doctrines of the “restored Gospel” are glorious to comprehend and I love God and His precepts with all my heart. They are to be found complete and intact only within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.