Testimonies of Personal Revelation
After a series of awful medical problems I found myself trying re-examine God, Christ and the Holy Ghost. During and after multiple surgeries it was revealed to me new and interesting things about the attributes of God that I didn't understand before.
It hit me that perhaps I didn't know Christ as well as I thought, too.
I had always believed they (God and Christ) were one in purpose but now I wanted to know who they were individually. I decided to begin my search and find the very first words of Christ in the New Testament. The scene is in Matthew where John feels inadequate to baptise Jesus. Christ speaks, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." His very first recorded words in the Bible were to console a person who didn't feel they were enough by telling them that the work didn't need a perfect person, he was acceptable to Christ.
As I continued to study him from his own words I saw him emerge as distinct from God. I was close to God and knew Him as my Father, my provider and my all knowing help, a nearby God of deep love and care. And while Christ was one in purpose with God I saw him as a trail blazer. He shows the way. He is my brother and it's a different relationship than a Father. But even more than a brother, Christ is a new relationship that I can only quantify and label as my Savior who would pay any price to secure me back in God's presence with Him.
I was reminded of a dream I had where I had a wound in my side being led through the temple by the hand of little girl. The wound was beginning to stain my white dress with blood but I didn't want anyone's help or attention. The little girl led me into a room where Christ was. It felt as though my whole soul could do nothing else but run to his arms, he held me as I collapsed into him. No words were spoken but He knew of my wound and there was just so many thoughts we shared in an instant but one was this thought of why did I wait so long to find you?
I'm convinced that if you are willing to step towards him you will know if you are doing so because the closer you get the more you want to run to Him.
My witness is that he speaks to us in every way we can listen. Maybe it's dreams, maybe it's in the beauty of a landscape, listening to others testifying, perhaps its by helping someone, or it's by reading from him. He will reveal himself when we are ready to draw closer to him and actively seek HIM.
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” D&C 88:63.
One evening many years ago, my car broke down. I coasted down an exit ramp and barely had enough momentum to turn into a gas station.
I was a young mother at the time. I had my toddler with me, as well as my sisters, ages four and six, who were visiting from Kansas. My husband was away doing Church service, and it would be several hours before he would be home to receive a phone call. I didn’t know what to do.
Just then, a family in a large van stopped and asked if I needed help. They looked trustworthy, so I asked if they could jump my car’s battery. When that proved unsuccessful, they generously offered to drive an hour out of their way to see us safely home. They said they had more than enough room for the four of us in their van.
Once we were back on the road, they told me they were from Idaho and on vacation visiting family in Utah and Nevada. They explained that they had felt impressed to take their large van on vacation, even though their smaller car would have been more economical. As they traveled, they also felt impressed to stop at the same gas station I had pulled into. They said they were grateful they could help because they had followed their promptings.
A couple of days before the worldwide day of service on December 1, a thought popped into my mind of whom I needed to help. Immediately, I thought, “Anyone but him!” This person had hurt me deeply for many years, but the more his name nagged at me, the more I knew that the thought had come from the Spirit.
I told my husband what I was thinking, and he said that serving this man would be good for me. Still, I felt extremely nervous at the thought of helping him. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own, so I prayed for strength and for someone to go with me. Eventually, I called the sister missionaries, and they agreed to go with me.
December 1 came, and I was so nervous that I felt shaky while I drove. We prayed together when we got to the apartment. I took a few deep breaths and knocked on the door. The man opened the door, but he didn’t seem to recognize me. I asked if he knew who I was. He thought I was just one of the sister missionaries. When I told him who I was, he was surprised but pleased that I had come to see him. An awkward moment arose when I told him that it was a worldwide day of service, and we wanted to help him in any way we could.
I delegated jobs to the missionaries, and we went to work cleaning his apartment. After a couple of hours, we finished and left. It wasn’t until I was driving home that I realized I was laughing and happy. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: Heavenly Father had taken away all of my hurt, pain, bitterness, and grief. It was gone! And I was free from all the anguish I had carried for so many years. Heavenly Father had blessed me with the strength to finally forgive this person. It was marvelous how light my heart felt.
I relied on the Lord to help me care for my family and meet my other commitments while I dealt with soul-distressing questions about my brother and his death.
When I asked the Lord for help, I felt prompted to write my questions to the prophet in a letter. I truly believed that my questions were so big and deep that only a prophet could answer them, but I knew it probably wasn’t necessary to send the prophet a letter. I hesitated but then recalled the success I’ve had acting on past promptings.I went ahead and wrote a tearful letter to President Russell M. Nelson. I wrote about how I felt and how I could move forward if I just knew the answers to the questions swirling in my mind. I concluded my letter, put it in an envelope addressed to President Nelson, and tucked it into my scripture bag.
I forgot about the letter. I noticed it in my scripture bag some time later and opened it. As I read through the letter, I realized that through faith and my own scripture study, prayer, temple attendance, and patience, the Holy Ghost had led me to the answers to every single question I had written down! I felt close to the Savior and His love.I am so glad I did not mail the letter! Instead, I gained important experiences that taught me again that the Lord cherishes me and all His children individually, and that He will guide and direct us.
Eventually, I found out that the Jones family had fallen into inactivity.
One evening as I drove to the stake center for interviews, I followed an uncommon route through town. As I approached the intersection, it was as if someone took the steering wheel and turned it to the right.
“This is interesting!” I thought. “There must be a reason for me to go here.”
I am certain it was no coincidence that the street I was on took me past the Joneses’ home. I felt prompted to visit them, even though it would make me late for my first interview. Regardless, I knew I needed to find their home.
It was dark outside and I didn’t know if I would recognize their house. I continued down the road a few blocks until I spotted a home that looked familiar. I stopped. When Brother and Sister Jones answered the door, we embraced, and we visited for about 30 minutes. I shared my love for them and the surprising events that had led to my visit that night. Before leaving, I invited them to come back into activity. They both had tears in their eyes when I left.
Unbeknownst to me, Brother and Sister Jones had been discussing over the past few days the possibility of returning to activity in the Church. The night I visited them, they were talking about it again.
The next Sunday, they attended sacrament meeting. They remained faithful, and their son has since served a mission. I know that there is a God who loves His children and who is involved in the details of our lives.
I was raised an atheist in Montana. My parents taught me many wonderful things, like loving life and being kind to others. But some lessons they taught me never felt quite right. Even though they told me there was no God and no heaven—or hell, for that matter—I felt drawn to the idea that there was something more.
Because my parents taught me that dying was the end of existence, I feared death. I was still a child when my mom became sick and was confined to a wheelchair. My fears intensified. What would happen to my mother if she died? Would she disappear forever?
Years passed, and my mom seemed to always be on the verge of dying. One day, she told me death would bring her relief from the pain she felt. I left the room in tears, thinking she would no longer exist. Searching for answers, I visited my Mormon friend Isaac, and he assured me that my mother would not cease to exist after death. She would still have the choice to learn about and accept the Lord and His gospel, even if she didn’t believe in God in this life. I didn’t have the same faith, but I did feel peace.
Although I had prayed for nearly a decade, it wasn’t until I went to college that my testimony truly took shape. Isaac suggested that I look into Brigham Young University. After visiting the campus and feeling the same peace I felt the night I talked to Isaac, I applied only to BYU. Thankfully, I was accepted.
The first Sunday at BYU I attended my ward. Thinking I was a member, the bishop asked me to give the opening prayer, which I happily did—even though I still didn’t know if God was really there. A few weeks into the semester, I got a job working as an investigative actor at the missionary training center, where newly called missionaries practiced teaching me lessons multiple times a day. Gradually my testimony turned from a shallow waterway to a deep channel. I started reading the Book of Mormon every free moment—before bed, waiting for class to start, and even standing in lines. Slowly my diary entries transformed from “I wish this were true” to “I think I believe this is true.”
Even as I experienced this excitement about the scriptures, I struggled with recognizing the Spirit. I liked the idea of having a way to know for sure if something was true or not but didn’t know how to obtain such assurances myself.
In Relief Society one Sunday, the teacher began talking about priesthood blessings. As she spoke about experiences she had had with blessings, I felt a strong desire to receive one. Little did I know then that this urge was a spiritual prompting. I called a friend in my ward and asked if a nonmember could receive a blessing. He said yes, and that night he blessed me that I would feel the Spirit from my head to my toes and to my fingertips and that I would know that it was the Spirit without a doubt.
And I did. In that moment, I knew that it was all true. There really is a God, and He loves me. His Son atoned for me, and I can live with Them forever if I obey Their commandments.