How My Life Was Changed by the Scriptures

By Elizabeth Stoecker

Arlington, New Jersey

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    Each of us knows something about the power of personal testimony. We often find ourselves deeply moved when personal feelings, experiences, and testimonies are shared.

    For the December 1972 issue of the Ensign, the editors sought from members around the world examples of these treasured experiences as they relate to standard works.

    Since the publication of that issue, letters have poured into our offices asking for additional accounts. Thus, this month we print additional accounts of the Saints with the scriptures. These accounts beautifully demonstrate that when questions, personal problems, and important concerns confront us, we can find in the scriptures, in whole or in part, answers that we seek.
    —The Editors

    Sister, Have You Paid Your Tithing?

    Elizabeth Stoecker

    While living in Germany, I found myself confused about my feelings concerning the gospel. I had been raised in a part-member family and had married out of the Church. Finally, during World War II, I decided to find out if I had a testimony. I started reading the scriptures, and in answer to my prayers and fasting, I received a burning desire to be with the Church.

    But I was always very confused about tithing. I did not earn a living after my marriage and was satisfied with just giving a fast offering. While my husband was serving under Hitler’s regime, I received money from the government—and once more the question of tithing came up. For over three weeks I was confused. I turned to no one for guidance. Instead, I turned to the scriptures:

    “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal. 3:10.)

    I prayed about the matter, wanting to know how to apply the Lord’s promise. My answer came in a wonderful way.

    One morning I awoke at dawn, only to drop off into sleep again. I dreamed that the branch president had called all the Mormons in town and said the Saints were going to the promised land. He told us to gather at the meetinghouse. I assumed myself worthy and packed all the necessary items to go to the meeting, including my two children.

    In my dream, in addition to many active members, many inactive members were holding their baptismal certificates, giving proof of their membership. The branch president soon arrived, carrying a large book on which was lettered “The Book of Life.” In this book were listed those worthy to go to Zion. The names were few, and those who were called gathered into another room. When he closed the book, the rest of us murmured in dissatisfaction. We wondered what we had done to deserve such a fate. I was perplexed and sad. I then looked back on all the commandments I had broken.

    I decided to take my two children and ask the president if I had not always been a faithful member. He replied that I had been and that I had always done more than my part to help others. “Perhaps I just overlooked your name.” Three times he went through the list of names. Mine was not listed. He then looked into my eyes and asked, “Sister Stoecker, have you paid your tithing?”

    At that moment I awoke. Numbed by the experience, I felt a burning in my breast. I knelt and thanked the Lord for answering my prayers. From that time forth I decided that I would take my “tithes into the storehouse” of the Lord.

    I soon began to see the promise fulfilled that the Lord had pronounced: “and prove me now herewith … if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” At that time I had been getting most of my food supplies from my mother-in-law, who charged a large sum of money for them. It was wartime and food was expensive. After paying my tithing to the branch president, I visited my mother-in-law, my face shining with happiness. To my surprise, she packed a basket twice as full as usual and told me that I would never have to pay her for food again.

    The whole experience was a turning point in my life.