As I have pondered the reasons why some members become inactive, I have come to the conclusion that one reason is that people “forget.”
I don’t mean forget simply in the sense that something slips our mind, but in the sense that, somehow, we lose the intensity of our contact with the Spirit. If we could only regain that intensity, we would rush back into full activity.
I will tell you a story about a boy, not yet a man, at age fourteen. This boy was desirous to join a church, but he was not sure whether the church he was intending to join was really the church of God. He received conflicting opinions and arguments, and he became confused. Then one day while reading the Bible he came upon the verse: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5.)
That short verse came with such force to him that he was determined to do just what it recommended—ask of God. His testimony, that the Father and the Son appeared to him in a pillar of light and answered his prayer, is recorded in his own words in the Pearl of Great Price. (See JS—H 1:14–19.)
Of course, the boy was Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the restored church.
Do you think that, having had that kind of experience, young Joseph could ever forget what happened to him in the Sacred Grove?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a church of converts. All members of the Church who have a testimony have received that testimony through the Holy Ghost. For example, many converts before they are baptized have some spiritual experience to give them a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. It may not have been a dramatic manifestation, like young Joseph’s. It probably was not as dramatic as the burning bush beheld by Moses or as powerful as the appearance of the Angel Moroni to the Three Witnesses testifying to the divine origin of the Book of Mormon. But somehow, one way or another, all converts have experienced that feeling of goodness, that feeling of love when the Holy Ghost came upon Us and we gained our testimony.
I have been a member of this church for more than six years and have been involved in leadership positions during most of that time. There are times when I have been tired. There are times when I have been depressed. There are times when I have felt frustrated and inadequate.
But during these times, I remember that night more than seven years ago when I went down on my knees before God and learned for myself that this church is truly his church on earth today, that the Book of Mormon is truly from him, that Joseph Smith is truly his prophet. I remember that I asked and my questions were answered.
And when I remember that, I remember my covenants. I remember how great is God and how great is his love for me. I remember how much he suffered for me. And I remember that he cares for me and supplies me with all that I need from day to day.
And when I truly remember these things by receiving that witness once more, I am renewed. I gain new strength and new insight, and my testimony increases. I fully realize once more that I am working with the Lord in building his kingdom here on earth.
When we become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we enter the waters of baptism and make certain covenants with the Lord. Some of them are: to take upon Us the name of the Lord, to always remember him, and to keep his commandments. And if we do these things, the Lord promises that we may always have his Spirit with us.
We all have work to do, we all have our own destinies to fulfill. We have promises to keep. Let us remember our covenants. Let us recall our spiritual experiences. And let us remember and share with others as often as necessary the testimony we have received through the Holy Ghost.