Saturday, August 20, 2005

My Testimony to the World

My Solemn Witness

I call upon Almighty God to grant me His Grace, to arm me with His eternal love, and limitless knowledge. I humbly cry for His presence, that He will be near as I scribe His merciful gift of truth, which has turned my heart in epic grandeur to my heavenly home. I am daunted at the task to share the things that dwell far into my very being. I hope and pray that God might breathe His holy wind into the embers of your heart that the spark that is there might ignite and flame toward heaven.

I begin with the words of Ammon, a prophet of the Americas, Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord: yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full: yea we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel. (Alma 26.16) like him of old, I find it difficult to funnel things I feel into words. Ive learned some things cannot be put into words. Ive also learned that though words hold great power, it is actions that truly matter. If anything I know itll be the things that reach our past my beliefs that will be a true showing of my testimony. Nevertheless, I offer what I have come to know in my heart, and hope they contain as much power for you as they do for me. If you feel a warmth in your heart as you are reading this, know that God loves you, and He is trying to speak to you, trying to tell you that these things are true, that this is the most important knowledge you can possess. As so with that, I humbly offer my testimony:

I am a child of God.

That simple knowledge is a driving force in my life because I realize who the exquisite being it is I am related to. He is my Father. He is your Father, and he loves all of us with a love that transcends time. Within that knowledge, I find there is a whisper within me that yearns and aspires to break free of all my weaknesses and rise to greatness, to become like Him. I know He is perfect, all wise, and powerful, yet at the same time, merciful, kind, and just. It is hard to understand one who is at that level of perfection, a complete and glorified being, one at perfect balance of power and virtue.

Yet with that limited understanding, coupled with that fact that I am basing all my knowledge of Him on faith, I still find when my head lifts to the skies, to the stars in the night sky, I have felt His ever-extended arms calling me to Him. He is teaching me how to come through the darkness of this life back to Him. And I know when I reach those arms, I will be far different from who I am now. I will be someone who has braved the storms of life; I will be weathered, and refined. I will be strong in mind, body, and soul. I will have matured and blossomed as a rose would, becoming what I always had to potential to be. I will be someone who has given it his all to ascend to my Fathers ways. In that day, I will feel as He feels, know as He knows, love, as He loves. I will be like Him. What a glorious process! That process is the meaning of life. And though I know the road is fraught with danger and difficulties, pain and anguish, it is also laden with peace and happiness, triumph and understanding. I know from the heart of my soul, that it will be worth all the sweat and tears. I have faith that I can make it there, and believe that every child of God can too. It involves daring to be your best, which I feel is the key. It all flows down to the word, try. I believe it is possible to progressively go from each day, and expand my potential. Yet I often ask myself what I am capable of, how far can I go? I believe the answer is found in knowing who my Father in Heaven is. Why else would Jesus say when praying to our Father, And this is life eternal, that they (US!) may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. (John 17.3) The only way to know our Father is to do the things He has commanded us.

This reveals the core meaning of our lives. There is life after death. And all of it is in vain if we do not take heed and understand the reason we are here now. We lived before we were born, (Proverbs 8: 22-31) and chose to come and be here where an amazing amount of growth could take place. We came to work towards becoming like Father. We had to forget everything, to live a life based on faith, to truly be tested. This is why we are here. Therefore, life takes on its beautiful, piercing meaning.

I know that Jesus is the Christ.

That statement is the way to my fondest dream. I am always empowered to tell others of His story. The more humanity knows and follows Him the greater the world will be. I know the Gospel as taught by the Teacher of Teachers is the sole hope of the world. And what is the world? It is us. Jesus is the only One who came into the world, pure. He was the only One who could have conquered the sins of the world, and pacified the sword of justice that hung over us. He saved us! He won! Even in His darkest hour, He valiantly trudged forward. Nothing deterred Him from accomplishing what He was destined to do. The fate of the universe hung in His hands. For it was His hands that created it, for the purpose of exalting His Fathers children. It was the only way to exalt us. Our Father in Heaven let it all fall into the hands of His first-born to ignite the bowels of mercy within us. Oh how much trust He had in Him! What a glorious bond they had! It leads me to believe that that same kinship can be ours too. When Jesus invited us all to come follow Him, He extends his limitless faith in our own fledgling abilities. He holds me in awe in that regard.

His task was of the most exquisite difficulty, and he won because He was motivated by the purest love we have ever seen in this world. And by that, I know love can be and is the greatest force I have at my disposal, for there is nothing it cannot accomplish. And now, because of His perfect love, I shall dedicate the rest of my life here to try to repay the debt He has suffered in my behalf. This is all He has asked us to do. His sacrifice is so very personal. He did it for me. He did it for you. I know He was thinking of us distinctly as He shed great drops of blood upon the ground of Gethsemane. I know one of those drops was for me. And in the worst of it, I feel His knowledge of us enabled Him, to do what even He, the only perfect man to walk this earth, faltered in thinking He could do. And now in His hands we are engraven, He has earned our love, even though billions upon billions of Heavenly Fathers children do not realize it. The tokens appear in His palms that were driven through with nails of torture. And in agony, He hung, fueled by His unfailing desire to save us. He did not have one spec of selfishness within Him. His mission culminated to the final and epic test of His abilities. Father left Him. How hard that must have been. And in that, when Satan could have won us all, the Light of the World, the Chosen One, arose with fire in His eyes, and became the Savior of the World.

I testify that I know that after they laid Him in the tomb and rolled the great rock to block the way, He came forth and broke the chains of death. And now, every man woman and child who has ever lived upon this world will live again, and reunite with their bodies in a glorified and immortal form, never to be separated again. He lives today, just as he lived then. And when we find ourselves feeling lonely, we are forgetting He is right there. He is the Master of Life and Death. He is our greatest friend. He is the light in the deepest shadow, and the wings of our spirits in flight. He is like the spring in the dry burning desert. He is a song in the longest night. He is the continual beauty in all things. I love Him because He has shown me the way to eternal life in never ending joy. He only asks us to have faith in Him, bringing us to a desire repent of all our sins, to change for the better, which yields to the desire to be baptized in His name, promising to follow Him for the rest of our lives. He promises us eternal life, eternal joy and progression with Father in Heaven. Nothing is greater or more precious than that.


I have personally made that covenant with God to follow His son and because of this, I have received the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide me along my way. I only have left to endure. May God grant us all the courage come to know Jesus, and to follow Him with all our heart, might, mind and strength.

I know the church to which I belong is the literal Kingdom of God on the earth.

It has been revealed since the beginning of man on this earth, that one day there would be a great falling away. Though through out time there have been many, this last one is distinct because it will usher in the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior. God has wisely and with great purpose, called Prophets to guide His children. They are the ones that have given us the truths we have now. The scriptures are the script of the great drama of the ages, the words of life. They are the directions Heavenly Father intends us to know and follow. I love the scriptures! They contain the way to know Christ, and through Christ, God. Following the words contained in holy writ are essential for our growth in the validity of the divinity of the scriptures. (John: 7, 17) If the world rejects the prophets they reject their Father in Heaven.

In the time that Christ lived and died, and had set up His kingdom, and sent His authorized servants into the world, armed with His Priesthood, there was great opposition. The same desperate spirit that raged in their hearts to kill their Savior continued in ridding themselves of what could have saved them inwardly, not outwardly like they were looking for. Satan moved quickly and soon all the twelve Apostles of the Lamb were taken from this mortal life. And when the dust had cleared, what were left were their inspired writings.

Thus began the long night of the final Apostasy.

It was not God who caused it; it was the wickedness of those who were too hard-hearted to recognize what was before them. That is the same with many of the world's wrongs. Without Prophets, we are left to interpret the things of God with limited understanding. Many prophets knew and saw our day, and described it in great detail. (Amos 8.11, 2nd Thessalonians 2. 1-3, Timothy 3. 1-7) Yet still Christianity endured, due to many of the strong and faithful who truly believed in the Messiah.. And because of the lack of Prophets, there are hundreds upon hundreds of different churches professing the name of Christ today. It reveals our limited understanding when left to our own devices, but also illuminates our inherent desire to know Him. The Church of Jesus Christ is meant to have a prophet, wherein Jesus can lead at the head. That is the way it is meant to work. It makes sense. There was and is a great lack of unity, and that is not the way of Christ. The religious climate remained in this confused state for hundreds of years. Yet God was merely biding his time. The Dark Ages past, and then came the Renaissance era, which brought a much-needed spark of light to the world. A man, Christopher Columbus was inspired to go where none had thought possible. He sailed the waters and found the new world. Soon the Revolutionary War was fought. A nation was born under the direction of inspired men. Freedom of religion was declared. And shortly thereafter, in the year 1820, a small boy went into a grove of trees to pray about which church to join. He believed God would answer his prayer because of a simple verse he'd found in the Bible. (James 1: 5) There in that grove of trees in upper New York, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and ushered in the dispensation of the fullness of times. That boy was Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration, an event prophesied thousands of years before by many of God's chosen. (Acts 3, 19-21, Ephesians 1, 9-10) The Church of Christ would be restored back to its former glory as when it was led by divine inspiration as in times of old.

For centuries, a record of vast significance laid waiting for the world to slowly discover. This record would unlock the vague truths of the bible. It would solidify the validity of Christs life and His teachings. It would call to the world, both Jew and Gentile, and be a blazing second witness to the truths of the Gospel. It would be the fruit of the validity of the Prophet Joseph. (Matthew 7: 15-16)This record is called the Book of Mormon, and I solemnly affirm that along with the Prophet who translated the grand volume, that anyone can come closer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book. I know the book is true because I have come closer to my Father in Heaven by living by truths contained within its pages.

The Priesthood, which had been lost for so long was to be given to men once again. And now I so testify that in the name of Christ, this is His church. It is even now, led by him, by a living prophet! What devoted believer would not want to be part of a church that is being led by God like he led His followers in the scriptures? I know because of the Spirit of God, which has chiseled this grand knowledge into my heart. All who are honest seekers of truth need only to pray to know for themselves. And God does answer. He always answers. He is still a God of miracles, (Hebrews 3: 8) and His power is being made manifest in His Church throughout the world.

My testimony involves these three truths. Upon these, rest everything I am and are and will be. There are so many more facets of my testimony that build as a diamond. A Pearl of Truth. For this is why we are here. It reminds me of a parable taught by the Master. The question remains, what is the price to know the truth? The answer is the following; the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found a pearl of great price, went and sold all he had, and bought it. (Mat 13: 45-46) To truly live the Gospel I know I must rise above mediocrity and never look back. I must sacrifice all I have to obtain the pearl I seek. I will spend the rest of my mortal days and forever beyond in battle with the evil serpent who is relentlessly seeking to bring me down to endless woe. But I know that it is keeping the Pearl of knowledge in Him that will see me through to the end of this mortal test. If I remain righteous, there is nothing Satan can do. This is the power I have, the power of agency. And it is with this agency that I vow to overcome the world, and become a Saint, through the merits of Christ who is my master and friend. (Mosiah 3:19)

I will be valiant in my Testimony of Christ, and covenant with God to do so, urging all to do the same.

This is my testimony to the world, spoken in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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