Testimonies Borne by Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Continues from Section 2


Fm: Thom Duncan 73474,651

Why Remain LDS? This is an interesting question. I have asked myself this same thing on numerous occasions. The answer I have consistently come back to is, I have seen nothing better. I am a convert of thirty years this November 14 from an Evangelical faith. Since joining Mormonism, I have studied about every religion I have come in contact with in more than just a passing manner. I have learned many great and truthful things from other religions, but none as ever had a message as mind-consuming, as intellectually rich, as representative of what I believe true Christianity to be as Mormonism has.

Nevertheless, there are some things about Mormonism I do not like, or with which I disagree. But just as there as things about my country with which I do not agree, and yet I remain an American, I have chosen to remain within the fold of Mormonism, despite the various bones of contention that I repeatedly gnaw on. Oddly, my bones of contention run the gamut of conservative and liberal issues.

There are also various practical reasons why I remain LDS, six to be exact. Their names are Margie, Jennifer, Heather, Geoff, Chera, and Allison. My wife's and children's lives are inextricably bound to the Church and to mine. I would not want to be deprived of sharing in their joy as they participate in baptisms, talks, missions, and (eventually) marriage. When I am at my most despondent over a talk, or something I've read, or an off-hand comment heard at Sunday School, hearing my twelve year-old tell me that she "really felt the Spirit" during a weekend youth MTC cheers me up considerably. The fact that I can share the most outrageous of religious theories with my wife, knowing she will listen intently, always nonjudgmental, and occasionally in agreement, provides a welcome and much needed stopgap for that kind of dissatisfaction and excessive fault-finding that can lead to apostasy.

I remain LDS because I have seen positive change in the Church and hope to live long enough to see more change for the good.

I choose to remain LDS because, on two different occasions in my life, I have literally felt the burning of the bosom as described in Section 9. In both cases, it started as a small warm feeling in the area of my heart, and then, in a rapid swirling motion, it soon filled my entire body, and left me tingling from every extremity. One occurred in answer to a heartfelt prayer on whether I should marry my wife. The other occurred at the end of a prolonged and intense study of the life of Joseph Smith. On yet another occasion, I saw in my mind's eye the faces of several persons for whom I was officiating in the Temple. I have laid my hands on the heads of my loved ones and, though streaming tears, have pronounced words of blessing that seemed to flow from some source outside of myself, and, in one case, a prophecy that was later fulfilled.

This is why I remain LDS.

Thom


Fm: Craig S. Matteson 74157,75

The doctrines and teachings of the church are reality. They are not a model, not a guess, not a window on reality. They ARE reality. They inform every thought I have and frame every perspective I have.

Christ is not a wish - a hope - a figure of myth - he is a reality and a force for good in every moment of my imperfect life.

The fact that God speaks to us and through his prophets is not a guess, hope, wish or debating point. It is reality.

The Priesthood is not just a code of conduct, it is the real power of God and is the power through which my family will be sealed for all eternity. That unity is real.

-craig m


Fm: Thom Duncan 73474,651

All,

You all know I am pretty critical of a lot the Church does, and some of the leaders in it. I want to go on record as saying that I regret hearing of the passing of President Benson. Having been a member of the Church since 1964, it was difficult for me to initially accept Ezra Taft Benson as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I sustained him more out of faith than out of a knowledge that he was meant to be the next president of the Church. I had been bothered previously by his apparent right-wing political leanings. A talk he gave on Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet on February 26, 1980 seemed too religiously conservative for my views. After he was prophet, he gave a talk on the role of Women in the Church that seemed to me to denigrate working women.

One of his last public speeches was on Pride. I will always consider that as the defining moment of President Benson's prophetship. In that single talk, wherein he labeled the many faces of pride, he defined the one sin that runs through us all to a greater or lesser degree.

That talk succeeded in nudging me ever so slightly from my comfortable liberal position and caused me to rethink my certainty. I started wondering how much of *my* position on certain issues is a result of pride on my part? I found myself, almost against my will, engaging in increased introspection, doubting my own motives, becoming less sure of my liberal leanings.

When the talk was published in the Ensign, we copied it and sent it to all our loved ones--everyone needed to know about this great message, we felt. From that moment on, while I continued to have differences of opinion with certain positions the Church took, I never doubted that President Benson, by virtue of his office as prophet to the entire church, had been able to rise above his own human prejudices and mortal failings to speak the word of God and warn us of the hold of pride on our hearts. I could do no less.

I want you all to know that, though I take a pretty firm stance on things in this forum, most of it is rhetoric. There is always a part of me that wonders if I have a right to act as sure as I appear to be on certain subjects. That doubt of my convictions I believe to be a godly doubt, a doubt that so far has kept me in full fellowship regardless of my misgivings. I hold President Benson and his talk on pride entirely responsible for humbling me with the power of his inspired words regarding pride.

Thom


Fm: RJ ROONEY 100250,2154

I bear my testimony to you now, that I know the gospel is true, and not just the parts that are convenient or suit my habits and lifestyle. There are no mistakes in the gospel. The prophet speaks only truth. He receives this truth from God. We may acquire wisdom over time as to why these things may be true -- though it may take all eternity to do so -- but in the meantime we must have faith.

I quote from the Articles of Faith: "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are, first, faith in The Lord Jesus Christ... "

I leave you this testimony to you now in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. ...Helen...


Fm: Vicki Judd 74521,654

I was baptized over a year ago. I'm fifteen and was fourteen at the time. My parents are divorced and I live with my mother who is an inactive member of the Church. The only active people in my family are my grandparents who I love so much. I don't know what I'd do without their support. Obviously I don't get any from my mother.

I guess I'd just like to share my situation. If anyone out there is in the same situation, I'd just like to send you my blessing. The Church is so true and even though you might have to fight with your parents to take you to Church, it's worth it. Well, it is to me. Just being with my friends on Sunday and feeling the spirit is worth any arguments I might have with my mom. I only have three years until I graduate and than I'm out on my own. I know I can do it. I'm striving for a temple marriage and have my goals for myself.

I'd like to bear my testimony. I know this Church is true-I know it with all my heart. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for the Church-I'd even die for it. I know that Jesus is the Savior-I know that we are all Heavenly Father's children. If we just stay strong and keep our standards high and have faith we'll be able to live with him someday.

Just remember to always remember who you are.

Amy


Fm: Shane D. Yoakum 73044,1237

My dear Brothers and Sisters, I have a firm testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I truly believe that there is no other church on the face of this Earth that has the authority to hold the priesthood of Jesus Christ or act in his name.

I was raised in the fragments of the gospel and during my more foolish and self-righteous years I attacked the LDS doctrines believing what the writers of cultist books proclaimed and laughed at my LDS peers. At the age of 18 rebelled against my parents and my past, join the military and was baptized as a member of the Church. How ignorant I was, for I joined the Church for all the wrong reasons and never received the spirit. Without a testimony or priesthood I fell inactive almost as soon as I came out of the water. It was a year and a half before I heard the spirit of Lord. I was about to leave for the Persian Gulf and I was in a drunken pity-party, when a dear friend asked "What the hell are you doing with your life?" I can remember the crushing of my heart when I realized how sinful my life had become. Those words began a quest for the truth.

The first block in my testimony's foundation was: John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The next was Rev 3:15&16 - "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." These verses told me that I to believe in something and stand by that belief.

That was followed by James 1:5&6 - "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." This passage pressed me forward by teaching me to continually pray and read the scriptures.

Having a good foundation which I could use to test the many doctrines and theologies is what lead me back to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And this time I was truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All the other churches proclaiming they were Christianity fail to show me continual Christ-like lives, could not explain John 17 vs. the trinity, and most importantly to me, they didn't teach the same Gospel throughout the world even when they claimed that they were a global religion.

Being in the military has given me a few opportunities to see other countries and I can say without a doubt that anywhere you go the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same Church as lead by Jesus Christ.

Now looking back at the time before my true conversion to the Church, I know I was wrong and I am all the more thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. I am now married to a wonderful lady and expecting a child in October. We were married in the Portland, Oregon Temple and have a powerful testimony about the work that goes on in the Temples.

My Brothers and Sisters I know the Church and I know that the Prophets from Joseph Smith on are men of God, called by God to lead his Church. It is my prayer that all will hear the spirit and have a softening of their hearts so that they may know the fullness of the Gospel and become a part of the true Church of Jesus Christ. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Fm: Ann Hinman 72632,2674

I come from a background of all kinds of psychological, moral, and physical abuse and so appreciate that there is one religion on this earth where I can find a haven.

Although my spiritual experiences are hard to describe, I would like to mention one that has strengthened my testimony and that is the many interventions by the Holy Ghost that has led to my neighbour's baptism.

The spiritual messages came not as a wee, small voice but was loud enough within me that my heart raced and I shook. At a time when I had asked to be left alone, I was quoted this scripture: "wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" and was admonished for not listening to our prophet about warning our neighbour.

It was only through the Power of the Priesthood that I learned to discern when the messages were truly those of the Holy Ghost. I know now as I have received the testimony through the Holy Ghost that our leaders are truly Prophets and mouthpieces of the Lord. I can never deny it again. (this is not complete but the experiences were so personal they were hard to describe some were as sacred to me as the temple ordinances). I again emphasize that I was not special in receiving these personal prophecies, but the Lord had a job for me to do and that was to bring the gospel to our neighbour "NOW".

The other day while talking to his wife who is still coping with her husband's change I felt inspired to ask her to Church since he has had to take an extended trip away from home. She said "no, I am stubborn Ann, but was concerned that he was missing the meetings he had learned to love so much."

I felt strongly that I should have a special talk with her which might lead to her accepting the challenge to be baptized and surprise him. I presented my idea to the Lord in prayer and received a firm answer not to proceed without the blessing of the priesthood. I arranged a meeting with the missionaries and my husband (the High Priest Group Leader in our ward) and told them of my idea. As they explained to me the problems I could encounter and offered a better alternative, I knew that they were right and my prayer was answered not with the yes that I wanted but with a no.

Always seek the Lord in prayer with your concerns and uncertainties and eventually you will strengthen your testimony. It may never be quite the "Letter of the Law" one you may have blindly followed when younger but a stronger "Spirit of the Law" testimony that will be like the Rock of the wise man and not the Sand of the foolish one.

Ann Hinman


Fm: Brian Prothero 76711,663

My testimony is not based on people; it is based on personal revelation. Occasionally, if something does concern me, I study about it and look again to my existing testimony and if necessary even pray about it and it ends up making my testimony in the Church even stronger. I have a very strong testimony of the gospel and I know that this is Christ's church, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon and other scriptures are the word of God.

--Brian


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