I am very happy to be here tonight with my husband, and I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you.
When my husband first told me that he was going to speak on the Restoration of the gospel, and particularly Joseph Smith’s First Vision, we talked about how this topic had impacted my life and how my experience might have a positive influence in strengthening your faith.
I am a convert to the Church, and I would like to share with you my most treasured experience—my conversion story.
I grew up in a very loving home, and I have wonderful parents. We didn’t go to church often, but as members of the Presbyterian Church, we would always attend church at Christmas and Easter, and sometimes my mother would take me to Sunday school. That is where I first gained my testimony of the Savior. I loved hearing stories about Jesus. I knew He was something special.
As a little girl I felt the need to say my own prayers in my bed at night. I knew Heavenly Father listened to me.
In my early 20s I was dating and going through many of the frustrations, disappointments, and discouragements that dating sometimes brings. Maybe some of you have felt those same feelings, but there is a difference. You have the gospel of Jesus Christ in your lives. What a great blessing that is. The gospel gives you purpose and strength. It gives you hope. At that point in my life, I knew something was missing. I was feeling that I didn’t have any real purpose or direction in my life. I started to go to different churches, hoping to find some answers. I was searching for something that would give my life some meaning, but I just didn’t know where to find it.
One day that was particularly hard, I decided that I would say a prayer. So I knelt down by the side of my bed—something which I normally didn’t do—and I poured out my heart to Heavenly Father, asking Him for help and if He would give me some direction in my life. I felt a little better, and then I went on with my normal daily activities.
A few days later my prayer was answered. A returned missionary walked into my life. His name was Richard John Maynes. He asked me out on a date, and he did what good returned missionaries do: He asked me if I knew anything about the Church and if I had ever read the Book of Mormon.
Very soon after that he gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon to read. I started to read it, and one of the things that caught my attention immediately was the title page, which read, “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” I had no idea that the Book of Mormon was about Jesus.
I also began to take the missionary lessons, and a light was turned on in my life. When the missionaries taught me about the boy Joseph being visited by God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who were two separate beings, it rang true to something I had always felt and believed, but in my church that was not what was taught. The First Vision was an important part of my conversion. I felt a connection with Joseph Smith because he had the same question that I had: Where do I find the truth? Heavenly Father answered his sincere prayer, and He answered my prayer. I continued to take all the lessons, and I knew in my heart that what I was being taught was true.
Returned missionary Richard John Maynes baptized me that summer. We continued to date, and a year later we were married in the Manti Utah Temple.
Now, that was really just the beginning of my conversion. As with so many of us, conversion is a process. Our testimonies need to be nourished and strengthened every day by reading the scriptures, saying our prayers, going to church, attending the temple, and following our prophet.
The scriptures should be an important part of our life. As a young girl, not a member of the Church, I was asked to choose a scripture to memorize. I chose Proverbs 3:5–6:
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
I can’t tell you how many times that scripture has come into my mind when I needed some help from above. If we will just put our faith and trust in the Lord, knowing that we don’t understand everything that happens in our life, and remember to thank Him for the many blessings we do have, He will show us the way. Now it might not happen on our timetable, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us.
One of my other favorite scriptures is found in Doctrine and Covenants 123:12: “For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.”
It is so important for us as members of the Church to reach out and share the gospel with others. There are so many people just like me who are searching for the truth but don’t know where to find it.
The two most important decisions I have made in my life were to be baptized and to be married in the temple to my husband. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. We all know that life at times is not easy. We just need to remember the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He said:
“The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you. …
“Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever.”1
I know Heavenly Father is real. He loves us. He hears our prayers. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He died for each one of us and gave us the great gift of repentance, which allows us to make the changes in our lives to be better each day. I know we have a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and I know that the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son and gave us the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
It is my prayer that you will continue to strengthen and nourish your testimonies every day by doing those things we have been taught to do by the Savior and by our prophets. It is my prayer that you will continue to trust in the Lord and know that He knows who you are and that He will direct your path.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
© 2016 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. English approval: 3/16. “Finding My Purpose.” English. PD60001510 000