Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lord, I believe. Help my Unbelief

In April 2013 during general conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk titled, "Lord, I Believe."  I wrote about it on my blog here.  In his talk he speaks about how a man brought his son who was possessed by an evil spirit to Jesus and asked him to heal him.  Jesus in turn asked if he believed he could be healed.  The man said that he did, but to help his unbelief.  The Lord then takes the boy in his arms, and heals him.  The Lord helped his unbelief.

During this conference talk I was struggling with my feelings towards the prophet Joseph Smith, as I had ever since I was a young girl.  I held onto the words that Elder Holland said, and how he said to not focus on my doubt, but to hold strong to the truths that I do know.  Well at that time in my life I knew that the Book of Mormon was the true word of God.  And if the Book of Mormon was the true word of God then Joseph Smith had to be a prophet of God.  

I got on my knees that night and asked my Father in Heaven to strengthen my testimony and teach me that the things that Joseph Smith saw, and witnessed were real.  The answer to my prayer did not come right then.  It didn't come the next day either.  It didn't come the week after or even a month after, but I held firm to the truths that I already knew and I continued to have faith that God would answer my prayers.

Throughout my life, two phrases have resounded within me: "Jill, your Father in Heaven KNOWS you, and LOVES you" and "Whatever you may ask, in faith, from your Father in Heaven, he will give unto you."

These 2 phrases have stuck with me my entire life.  Throughout every step of my life, whether I was doing what the Lord asked of me or not, I remembered that He loved me, and that He would answer me.  I believe that it is because of these 2 things that I always knew I could pray to my Father.  I always knew that he was there, and that he would listen to me.  I always knew that even if I was mad at him, if I was blaming him, if I was yelling at him, that he would indeed listen to me, and answer me.  No matter what I was doing in my life these 2 promises have remained true.  I'm grateful for the knowledge, and the faith, that I had in these 2 phrases.

In April of 2013, after that talk by Elder Holland (which can be found here), I got on my knees and again asked the Lord to teach me about the prophet Joseph Smith, knowing that he would answer me.  Well my dear readers, this past week I got my answer.

My husband came to me last week and said, "Jilly, I think we need to start reading the scriptures together nightly."  I was so touched that he would suggest this, that I hugged him and said, "I would love that Babe."  Then he said, "I'm not going to be the initiator because you know if it's left up to me we won't do it, so I need you to be on top of it."  :)  It made me laugh, but of course I agreed and said that, that was something I could be in charge of doing. 

 So the next night while sitting in bed, I turned to 1st Nephi, and he said, "What are you doing?  If we're going to read the Book of Mormon we're going to start from the VERY BEGINNING."  I thought he was crazy and said, "This is the beginning."  He said, "No Jilly, the title page, and testimonies."  I was a little stunned because this had never crossed my mind.  I had only read the Book of Mormon once in my life up until now, and I had never read the title page, or the testimonies of the witnesses, or of Joseph Smith.  So I said "Okay" and Dave started reading.

Dave read through the testimonies of the witnesses.  Then we got to the testimony of Joseph Smith, and it was my turn to read.  Oh, and just so all of you know we started our reading with a little prayer, and asked our Father to allow us to feel of the spirit, and for him to teach us the things that we each needed to learn that night.  Okay, back to my story.  So I started reading the testimony of Joseph Smith, and his story about Moroni, the Golden Plates, and so on.  As I was reading (and I don't remember exactly where it was) my Father in Heaven did indeed send his spirit to me to teach me what I had been praying for, for 6 months.  The spirit revealed to me that Joseph Smith did indeed see the angel Moroni.  That he did indeed see the Golden Plates.  That he truly did translate the Book of Mormon by the power of our one and only Father in Heaven, that he truly is the prophet that restored the one and only Gospel of Jesus Christ to our time, and that he indeed is a true prophet of God.

Each of us are taught by the spirit in our own individual way.  The spirit speaks to each of us similarly, but each of us are individuals, and the Holy Ghost treats us as such.  I don't know how the Holy Ghost speaks and bears witness to your soul, but for me it is as clear as day.  When I feel the spirit I feel calm, at peace, and I have the most beautiful feeling of love in my heart.  I am filled with deep feelings of happiness and contentment, and my mind is clear.  I mean my mind is PERFECTLY CLEAR.  The spirit clears my head, so that my Father in Heaven can speak with me directly.  When the Holy Ghost is speaking to me through my Father in Heaven, it's as clear as 2 people having a conversation in their native tongue.  I can ask my Father questions and immediately my mind will be filled with the answer.  If what I am asking is true and correct, it comes instantly, and there is no confusion or question.  If it is not the spirit speaking to me through my Father, my mind will wander, many thoughts will come at once and clutter my mind, and I won't be able to focus.  Clarity is how my Father in Heaven speaks to me.  Clarity is what I had that night as I read the testifying witness that Joseph Smith had, and shared with each one of us.  

Yet again, the promise I had been given so many times was answered.  The question that I was asking of my Father in Heaven through prayer, and with faith, was answered that night.  For I now KNOW without any doubt that Joseph Smith is prophet of God that he saw my Father in Heaven and his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.  I know that he translated the Book of Mormon that is another story of our Savior and the love that he has for us.  I know that if we read that book with the intent to find out if it is the truth, that Heavenly Father will answer our prayer.  He will fill our heart with love, peace, and calmness, and testify to us that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God who gave us the keystone to our religion.  

If we will read and follow the teachings found in the Book of Mormon, we will not fail.  Satan will not have the power to overcome us, and we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear.  I know that if we ask our Father in Heaven the desires of our hearts, and questions that we so desperately want answered, that he will answer us.  It may not be that moment, that day, or even that year.  But if we remain steadfast to his Gospel, and hold tight to the truths we already know, and don't focus on our doubts; those answers will come.  We will not fail.  We cannot fail.  We will succeed every time with the guidance and love of our Father in Heaven, and in his son, Jesus Christ.

I know that my Savior died for my sins.  I know that he is the only person in this world, and in heaven, that understands every pain, physical, mental, or emotional, that I go through.  I know that when I am in need, I can ask for his strength and he will send it.  He will not leave me comfortless.  He will come to me.  Christ didn't die so that we would never cry, he died so that he could be there to wipe away our tears, and turn our weaknesses into strengths.

I can't imagine the pain, suffering, and anguish that Joseph Smith went through while translating the Book of Mormon, but I know that he did because that is what God asked him to do.  I know he did it for our time.  He did it for me.  He did so that each one of us can return to live with our Father in Heaven again one day.  I'm so thankful for him, and his testimony, and for his willingness to share it with people like me.   People that question, and people that have doubts; imperfect people.  I'm thankful that he shared his testimony so that it can build mine.  

I know that Joseph Smith is a TRUE and RIGHTEOUS prophet of God.  I know that he restored the one and only true church to this earth today.  And I know that it is the Gospel that will save my soul in the next life.  I'm so grateful for this knowledge.  I'm grateful that my Father in Heaven loves me enough to send me this knowledge.  I'm thankful that this week I was taught a little more about my religion and why I do the things I do.  I know that you can have all this knowledge as well, if you will simply ask in Faith KNOWING that he will answer your prayers, because he answered mine.

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautiful testimony - thank you so much for sharing your experience!