Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Testimony

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most people outside of us think of us as Mormons, because we use the Book of Mormon alongside our King James Bibles. If you want to know more about us, go to www.mormon.org and read up! You may like our religion. I love it! I have many trials in my life, mostly with my health, as a disabled person. My faith is my anchor in the stormy seas of life.


 

Before I go much further, let me tell you that the opinions on this page are my interpretation of the Gospel. If you want the official Church position on anything, kindly visit www.lds.org and write in your question, if you don't find an answer on the official pages. That said, most people want to hear about our Church from a Mormon; I am an ordinary Mormon, but I have been Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran, as well as belonging to the Unity Church for six years. I searched for a church for a long time, but when I had miscarriages, I wasn't very satisfied with what my preachers told me. They said, We aren't told what happens to a baby's soul if they die. I felt there was more of an answer.

My Testimony

I mainly wanted to know what happened to Jimmy's soul. You see, I lost him at 16 weeks along in the pregnancy. I felt him move, from 11 weeks on. We tried for a year to get pregnant, and he was my 3rd miscarriage. My living daughter, Amanda, was my 3rd pregnancy. Jimmy, my 5th. I really didn't grieve my other babies until Jimmy, because society gives you about 2 weeks to 'get over it'. You don't get over it. You learn to live around the hole in your life left by your departed. Luckily, with Jimmy, when I found the need to join a grief group, I found a good one, and learned how to deal with my grief. But, my religion wasn't helping me, and I knew I needed a different church, but how to find something I couldn't put into words?

Heavenly Father heard my prayers and knew of my needs. He inspired friends of mine. One of them, my best friend, began taking missionary discussions because of another friend who was Mormon. I always thought of missionaries as people who went to drag savages from the briars and the bushes and pressured them into reading the Bible. I didn't want any part of that! So, every time she invited me to a Wednesday night discussion, I found an excuse.

But, the 3rd Wednesday she had the discussions, I goofed. I showed up at her house at 9 pm, thinking that the missionaries would be gone. I knew they had a curfew. But, they were still there.

I grew up in the South. If you have couth, you will stay and listen to someone despite your opinions, so I canned my grumbles and put a smile on my face. To be polite, I would listen.

I should've trusted my dear friend, Lin, more! As I listened, my heart beat faster, and I felt warmth from the Spirit. These two young fellas, ten years younger than me, spoke what I'd been looking for all these years!

The Third Discussion, at that time, covered the Prophet Joseph Smith who founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830. At 17, Joseph Smith had a visit from the Angel Moroni, who lived on the North American continent in ancient times.

At this point, a lot of you are probably as skeptical as I was. A prophet! They used to have prophets, but nowadays? This is something you have to get on your knees and pray about. I expected the missionaries to jump on my head or something until I raised my hand and said, hallelujah! They didn't pressure or raise their voices. They were clean-cut and wore business suits. Both young men were polite and asked me frequently what I believed, what I thought.

Before that night, I prayed often, but I didn't read my Bible much. Mama taught me to pray, and I listened to her. But, I got confused when I read in the Bible. Most Baptist churches kind of teach you that you, poor thing, are too stupid to understand the Bible. Let someone interpret for you, who's smarter, or who's moved by the Spirit to become a lay-preacher, or who's gone to college to study the Bible.

These two fellas told me, you can read and the Spirit will tell you what the Scripture means, that you just read. But, more than that. There's a special thing called the Gift of the Holy Ghost. After you are baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and the eyes of your understanding are opened, as long as you strive to follow the Ten Commandments and be good. That's the key. You have to keep yourself worthy.

I wasn't sure about all this, but my heart told me, This Is True. Listen. So, I did. That night, they gave me a Book of Mormon, and I read the passages they asked me to read, and then I did something else they asked me to do. I went by myself, got on my knees, and asked Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true, if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true. I did that. And, I felt warm from my head to my toes, a very spiritual feeling as if I stood in a cathedral. I felt that all of it was true.

But, let me share with you what it was that convinced me. These young men asked me to pray about it. They said, don't take my word for it. Heavenly Father will tell you as He told me through His Holy Spirit.

At the end of the lesson, I asked my Burning Question: What happened to my little boy's soul? I could barely wait, from about five minutes into the lesson until when they finished, to ask this! My heart beat so fast, it took my breath. I'd waited a year for an answer I could believe.

Here's what they told me: Children who die before the age of 8 go to live with Heavenly Father in the highest degree of Heaven, the Celestial. I could picture my son in God's arms, and for the first time in a long year, I felt peace.

So, you might say that my lost son led me to the Church, where I became Found.

Does this mean that Mormons think they are better than people in other churches? NO!! We believe that our Church is the True Church, but people of all faiths have pieces of the Truth, and they are good. We love our brothers and sisters of all faiths. We are all at different parts of a spiritual journey. Some are just beginning. Some are nearly holy. But, most of us, including me, are someplace in-between. We're trying to follow the Commandments, and we are trying to be 'good' in that religious sense. So, most Mormons won't pressure you into joining our church. There are a few in every church who feel it's their God-given Duty to drag you in. But, it's Church policy in our faith that we only invite those who are looking for another Church to hear the missionaries. Usually, if I, as a member of our Church, tell someone about it and they are interested, I come with the missionaries, so they don't feel like I'm sending them to be pressured. Instead, we are forbidden from persecuting people who don't want to convert to our faith. We are taught respect for all faiths.

What does a Mormon believe? Well, Joseph Smith, our first Prophet and President of our Church, wrote down 13 beliefs that make up our doctrine, for a newspaper asking the same question. They are called the Articles of Faith.

http://scriptures.lds.org/a_of_f/1/1-13#1

I am linking to them because the Church does not give permission for me to copy them here. I didn't ask them, because I wanted to post today. Also, if you go to the site, there are all the wonderful references to the Bible and Book of Mormon for you.

What makes our Church different from all the others? Temples. We believe that once you are married in the Temple, you have a marriage for all eternity. You can write other vows, but all marriages for Christians typically say, Til Death do you Part. No one with a beloved husband or wife wants to believe that marriage ends at death! In our Church, you have to wait for a year before entering the Temple. There is no feeling, in my opinion, that compares to the peace and happiness I felt when married in the Temple. My husband didn't feel anything, but he was involved in a major sin at the time. We eventually divorced, but in the eyes of the Church, we are still married. If we are both worthy, our marriage will stand forever. If one of us is not worthy, Heavenly Father will give the worthy one a new spouse, one that we knew from before birth. But, the key is living worthy. We are mortal, and all of us sin. But, with faith, and perseverance, we can return as families to live with Heavenly Father in the Celestial. For me, I hope to rejoin my four children, my parents, and many other loved ones who have passed to the Spirit World. We also believe that pets' sprits are waiting for us there.

I will leave you with my testimony: I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the Earth today. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, just like Elijah, Moses, and many others. Our Prophet today is President Thomas S. Monson. I believe that the Book of Mormon is true, and it is the story of two lost tribes of Israel that came to the North American Continent in ancient times. I love Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. I love my family. The Gospel has made me a better person. Now that I have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I understand what I read in the Scriptures. The Bible's meaning changes to our situation and feelings at the time we read-the only book on Earth that does this miracle. The Book of Mormon is subtitled, Another Testament Of Jesus Christ. It explains many difficult concepts in the Old Testament, and tells how, after He was resurrected, Jesus appeared to the Saints on the North American continent, blessed their children individually, and taught them for 40 days. Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be good. Jesus gave us the Example that He hopes we will follow. He gave us the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us. I love them, and I am trying to follow them. I make mistakes, because I am mortal, and I do sin, but I am trying to follow Them and be good. I hope that my testimony inspires all of you to at least read some on www.mormon.org and find out more about the Gospel there, or, at least, read in your Bible more. Those of you who are not Christians, I hope you will live according to the light and knowledge you have been given, and try to be good people. If you're reading this, you probably already are!

I don't claim to be a better Christian than you, or a better person than you. If you're happy with your religion, then I'm happy for you. But, if you want something more, please listen to me. I'm not any more special than you, because our loving Heavenly Father loves us all, and He wants us to love Him. I have great respect for all religions, and for all my brothers and sisters out there trying to be better people. By sharing my faith with you, this is my way of sharing my love for all mankind. I want to be good, and I want to help people.

Have a peaceful Sunday.

Your Sister In Christ,

Dannis

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