With All My Heart


I knew I should go on a mission. But could I really bear testimony of Joseph Smith?

With All My Heart

I grew up in the Church like any other child with school, sports, and everything else. At 18, I looked forward to serving a mission. My older brother had served in Brazil, and my sister was then serving in England. A mission had always seemed like the right thing to do. But I hadn’t expected that I would have to testify to people of the truthfulness of every single thing.

As I approached the end of my senior year in high school, I was getting a little worried. One of my very best friends wrote in my yearbook, “Why are you going on a mission when you know you don’t want to? Just because your dad said to and you’re scared to do anything else?” I read this over and over again until I came to the conclusion that I had better find out why I was going on a mission.

The first person I turned to was my dad, the man I respect and admire the most. We’ve always had a good relationship, and I knew I could count on him. By this time I had already sent my mission papers in and had committed myself. My dad helped me so much to prepare. Every Sunday we would go together into my room and for one or two hours talk about a certain topic or just read in the scriptures. He also encouraged me to read A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. I finished it before I entered the Missionary Training Center. I just had a good feeling that what I was doing was right. The prophet said every worthy young man should serve the Lord. I was worthy. I just didn’t have the testimony I should have had.

Through the first couple of weeks in the MTC, I got a little discouraged. My testimony wasn’t as strong as I thought. I decided it was time I really found out. Throughout my life I had been told to pray for answers to my questions. Why I never did until then, I don’t know.

I knew I had to gain a testimony of Joseph Smith. I knew God was there because of things that had happened in my family, but I guess I was questioning Joseph Smith.

I started to pray with all my heart. No answer. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, and so I read the scriptures, talked to people, everything possible. Still nothing.

About a week later, I had an evening class with my favorite teacher. His lesson was about helping others feel and recognize the Spirit. Our teacher then told us to role-play teaching the fourth principle of the first discussion, which happens to be about Joseph Smith. My companion, Elder Brockbank, started. I received an answer to my prayers as my companion gave me the discussion. As he finished I started to cry. I will never forget that night. I will be eternally thankful for Elder Brockbank and the way he delivered the message of Joseph Smith. His testimony helped me receive mine.

My testimony has never been stronger in my life, and to bear my testimony every day to the German people is wonderful. I know that what is written in Doctrine and Covenants 135:3 is true with all my heart because the Holy Ghost has manifest it to me. [D&C 135:3]

[photo] Photography by John Luke