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My Journey to Faith
“What did you say?” I replied to my mother as she informed me of her plans to take the family to Nauvoo. I could already feel the Laman-and-Lemuel-like murmurings enter my heart. I even let a few of them slip. I complained about how I had to work and how unbelievably boring that town would be. But my wonderful mother persisted and tried to convince me that it would be “cool.”
A few months passed and it came time for our trip. We were in Nauvoo for only three days, but for those days I was filled with the Spirit. I was blessed to visit many sites of historical significance. I was even able to perform baptisms for the dead in the beautiful Nauvoo temple with my father, grandfather, and a few friends who were also there. Although the trip was going better than expected, it was still to hold more meaning for me.
Only one week before we left for Nauvoo, I received my patriarchal blessing. In it I was told that my testimony of the Restoration and of Joseph Smith would be strengthened. I thought little of it at the time and simply figured it would just happen over time.
On the final day we spent in Nauvoo, we went and visited Carthage Jail, where the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were killed. We walked the grounds and read many quotes from the Prophet, and I felt the Spirit very strongly. During our tour of the jail, I felt the Spirit even stronger. We ended up in the upstairs room where the mob broke in and killed Joseph and Hyrum in cold blood. As I sat there and learned of that great man and listened to the hymn “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” the words of my patriarchal blessing, which I had received only 10 days before, entered my mind. I have never felt like I received such a blessing as my trip to Nauvoo was. It was amazing that barely one week had passed since my blessing, and I could already see it being fulfilled.
On my trip to Nauvoo I learned more about the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the early pioneers than I ever have at one time in my life. I already had a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration before that trip, but afterwards I realized how small that testimony was. I knew before, but now I know with a greater surety that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He did restore the gospel to the earth. I also know that Heavenly Father loves each one of us and answers our prayers if we have faith in Him.
In Royal Courts
Within a year-and-a-half both my grandmothers died. At both funerals the hymn “O My Father” (Hymns, no. 292) was part of the program. The fourth verse reads: “When I leave this frail existence, / When I lay this mortal by, / Father, Mother, may I meet you / In your royal courts on high?”
This comforted me because it told me that my grandmothers are in an exquisite place. I know that if I remain worthy, I will be able to see my grandmothers and my Heavenly Parents again.
A Book for Brandon
One night at Mutual the missionaries gave us copies of the Book of Mormon to share. We had the option of giving it to a person we had in mind or giving it back to the missionaries to distribute. I had it set in my mind that I was going to give it to a friend in my math class. It was going to be great. As I went to school the next day excited about the start of my missionary work, I saw one of my friends, Brandon. He was going to class as well, but we stopped and spoke. Right then I had the strongest feeling that I had to give him the Book of Mormon. I thought about it as I kept going to class and came to the conclusion that the feeling was too strong to ignore and that I needed to place the book with him.
The next day I asked him to meet me after school so that I could give him something really important. He agreed, and we went on. When the time came for me to go downstairs to give it to him, I thought that I couldn’t do it. It kept going through my mind that he would think I was strange. What if he said no? I finally heard a still small voice tell me that if I didn’t do this, then I wouldn’t have the experience I need for the future. So, I went down and I spoke with him. I told him that the book was another testament of Jesus Christ, and that it has many important truths in it. I also told him that when I read it, it fills me with a comfort that I know I will be OK in the end. He took it, and I was relieved. Later that week he came to church with my family and met the missionaries.
I am extremely grateful for the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the true word of God. I also know that I was given the best opportunity to share the gospel because I listened and felt the Spirit.