Testimonies of Gifts of the Spirit
I turned to notice two boys about five and seven years old running through the store parking lot with tears streaming down their faces. The salesman looked concerned as he called to them.
As I turned back toward my car, the Spirit whispered, “You can be of help here.” The whisper was quiet yet so clear that a moment later I was running through the parking lot toward the boys.
I found the older one standing by a brown minivan. I approached and knelt beside him.
“Hi. My name is Christina. Are you OK?” At my words, he cried harder and hid his face in his arm. The salesman and the other boy joined us. “I think they only speak French,” the salesman told me. “We just found them running through the store, lost.”
I repeated my introduction to the children in French. French was my first language, but I hadn’t spoken it since I was adopted into an English-speaking family as a small child. Normally, my French is poor. At that moment, though, it was neither clumsy nor stilted. The words were clear in my mind and my voice as I comforted the boys.
Between sobs, the older boy explained in a quick torrent of words that he and his brother could not find their parents anywhere in the store and had run outside looking for them.
…As I followed the boy to his father, I found that I could no longer manage even a good-bye in French. I tried in vain to say anything the boys could understand, but I could say nothing more than a few random words. Finally, I resorted to English, saying to the boy, “Bye. It was nice to meet you.”
As I left the boys with their parents, I was full of gratitude. Heavenly Father had worked through me to comfort two of His little ones. I was humbled that the Lord could magnify my limited abilities to fulfill His purposes.
And then, as we are accustomed to do, he bore his testimony, as we called it, or made a declaration of his personal belief in this, and then turned to me and said, “And now my companion would like to say how he feels.” And I remember thinking, “Well, dandy, I can bless the food,” because that’s the only intelligent thing I might have done in German.
But it was interesting — and this is a tender moment for me — because the conviction I’d been searching for came, and it came in this way: I remember sort of composing myself and trying to figure out what I might say in German, which is a very logical language if you know the rules. I remember in that moment about every German word or phrase I had ever read or heard sort of coming together in a way that I was able to express myself.
And I did tell those people that I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that I knew that the Book of Mormon was the word of God and that I knew that the church had been restored through Joseph Smith. And it’s interesting, because in that moment I came to know — and one of our church leaders has since taught — that beautiful principle that the acquiring of a testimony, the acquiring of a conviction, is in the bearing of it, in the stating of it; not that it’s self-conversion in that process, but that if the Spirit, which is what we believe, the Holy Ghost really convinces us — and it’s there because the Bible teaches us to help us come into all truth and to know truth; that’s the role that the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost is to play — then somehow by walking down that tunnel, maybe just from the light into darkness a little bit, brings the light and the conviction.
FAIR Testimonies: Gifts of the Spirit
Let me tell you something in a way of a testimony now. We've wondered how the prophet Joseph Smith was able to translate. Here he was an unschooled boy, and to translate from unknown hieroglyphics or an unknown language into English, language. Scientists scoff at it—how ridiculous can you be to claim such a thing? But we had something happen at the last conference that I want to tell you about to indicate something. That will give you a key to how the Lord can open the mind of a man and give him spiritual understanding beyond what his natural self could. We had eleven translators or interpreters that were down in the basement of the tabernacle, translating in eleven different languages. One of these brethren was translating for the Swedish brethren. And here, for most of the talks they had the script so that they could study it. And they would as the speakers spoke in English, they would repeat it for the benefit of those that were listening. But when this man who was translating from Swedish, from my English into his Swedish, at the priesthood meeting where he had no script. I was talking from an extemporaneous standpoint in my closing address. He said something happened, and I want you to hear, he said:
In this very unusual situation, I looked at you and began to translate the words as they came. But to my amazement, I did not receive just the words in my mind, but with my inner eyes, I saw them emanating from the vicinity of the temple of your head and coming toward me. I did not see them actually as written on something. And yet I saw them and how they were spelled and experienced the power of the spirit as I received them. One of the things that made it even more dramatic was that when a complex sentence was about to be delivered, I received more words so that I could reconstruct the grammar into good Swedish and delivered it at the very moment you pronounced the words. Never have I experienced a great force with which the interpreted message was flowing as I did at that time. The same experience happened during your closing remarks on Sunday afternoon, except that I did not see the words coming to me.
I have talked with the Swedish members in attendance, who have expressed an awesome amazement of what they experienced. They said they heard the interpretation and understood the interpreted message was delivered at the same moment as you delivered the words in English, but the interpretation was all that they heard. That the message came directly from you to them, they have all expressed that their attendance at the conference was a fantastic experience, never to be forgotten.