I thought I was going to drown. I was bodyboarding on the north shore of Oahu, but one after another, humongous waves kept spiraling me into underwater cartwheels. I was in trouble, and I didn’t know what to do. While I was spitting out mouthfuls of sand, the voice of the Spirit spoke to me quietly—not with words, exactly, but with a message that came to me as clear as a voice.
Let me try to put it into words: “When a wave gets near you, just dive straight into it.”
I got it. I put that advice to the test, and it worked! Brim with confidence, I dove into wall after wall of water, popping up each time on the other side of the turmoil with a big smile on my face. I had just discovered the key I needed to thrive in unpredictable waters.
I had learned this same lesson earlier in life, though I didn’t realize it at the time. When a friend told me about the Church when I was 17, I immediately experienced personal revelation, though I didn’t know what it was at the time. It came in what I’ll call “streams of light” that seemed to shine down from heaven. Though I had been raised in a religious home and had faith in God, I’d never seen or felt anything like this before—the beginnings of a testimony, “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
I was super excited to share these spiritual experiences with my parents, but when I did, let’s just say they were less than thrilled at the idea of me having anything to do with the Mormon church. They were determined to straighten me out, as any good parents would be, and part of their solution was to hand me a pile of reading material that was rather critical of the Church, its history, and its doctrine. Stacked together, the books and typewritten tirades eventually grew to over a foot tall. I had never experienced this level of criticism of anyone or anything before. I knew something big was at stake.