September 29, 2013 by FHElessons
Today I have another powerful Why I Believe story for you! I just love Kim’s testimony – her faith in prayer that began at a young age and how it has carried her throughout her life. I love the experiences she relates where she pled for and received revelation from God. I love her advice for missionaries. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Remember, to see all the stories in this series, click on “Why I Believe” in the top menu. To read Questions and Answers About Gaining a Testimony, click HERE. For instructions on how to write your own Why I Believe story, click HERE.
Why I Believe
When I was 8 years old, I was riding my bike to a friend’s house, and I suddenly realized I was lost. I had recently been baptized, and I remembered being told that, among other things, the Holy Ghost was a guide. At that time, I needed him literally to guide me. So I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to send the Holy Ghost to guide me to my friend’s house. I instantly knew where to go and had a sure feeling of peace and guidance. From that day on I have had a tremendous faith in the power of prayer.
My guiding philosophy in life is the 13th Article of Faith. I always wanted to strive after things that were of good report and praiseworthy, and a mission certainly fit within those goals. I had basically always wanted to go on a mission.
When I was 19, I was in a performing and touring group at BYU called the Young Ambassadors. We had the opportunity to tour New York and had the wonderful experience of visiting the Sacred Grove. There were anti-Mormon protesters at the edge of the property. I was kind of a hot head back then and started arguing with them, and my friends had to pull me away. So, I went into the Grove not feeling especially spiritual. We separated and walked alone through the silent, peaceful forest. I had never really thought to ask for a specific witness of Joseph Smith and his vision, but I thought, “What the heck, I’m here in the place it all started, I might as well ask Heavenly Father to give me a testimony of it…”
And so with an almost casual approach – although as I mentioned, I already had a powerful faith in prayer, and I had a sincere desire – I just asked “Please let me know it was all real…”
Almost as soon as my prayer was uttered, a powerful feeling of warmth and surety coursed through my body, head to toe. I really did not expect that kind of witness. It literally took my breath away with the power of it. I’d never had a feeling quite like that before. And as I gazed into the trees, the Spirit told me that it happened, and that it happened here.
A couple of years later, when I was 21, I was preparing to go on a mission. I realized that maybe I should pray about it, but in my prayer I basically said, “I’m going on a mission, so I hope that’s okay with Thee.” Of course it was, so I came home from BYU and began to prepare.
I read the Book of Mormon every day. I had never read it beginning to end before, and I knew I had to do that before I tried to teach it! I used to do my scripture study in the attic of my parent’s house, because it was the only place I could get any solitude. After a few weeks, when I finished the book, I knelt in the attic, and with all sincerity of heart and the simple faith in prayer I had gained as a child, I asked Heavenly Father to let me know with a surety that the Book of Mormon was indeed true, was indeed the word of God. Instantly, the words, “You already know it’s true,” entered my mind. And then I had rapid images of all of the good fruits that had come from living the principles of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon. I don’t remember ever feeling actual words as an answer to prayer before. Along with the words was again the head-to-toe warmth and surety. I knew I never had to ask again.
On my mission, a lot of people had a problem with our version of feeling the Spirit, and having it guide us and answer our prayers. People told me that we receive answers because we WANT them. That basically, we manufacture these answer-to-prayer-like feelings due to our own desire to get an answer.
I want to testify to you that I have never, never been able to duplicate on my own, through wanting or wishing or any other means, the feelings I have received from the Spirit.
I served my mission in Tennessee and Kentucky. It was part of the “Bible Belt” and lots and lots of people wanted to talk about Jesus, but not a whole lot of people actually wanted to change their habits. We knocked a lot of doors. Had a lot of amazing discussions and were blessed with many baptisms, but many, many disappointments and heart breaks as well. On my mission we taught people with dirt floors, people who couldn’t read, a man who worshiped the devil, lots of anti-Mormons who just wanted to bash, and many preachers. The preachers were the hardest. One man who had a doctorate in theology and a law degree and was a high-ranking pastor said to me, “So you are telling me I have no power to baptize? That young teenage boys in your church have more authority from God than I do?” And me – a young 21 year old girl – looked him right in the eye and said, “Yes, that is what we are saying. The authority of God to do ordinances in His name, such as baptism, exists only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” The truth sets you free to be bold and not ashamed.
I had several companions who came on their missions without testimonies. One such companion confessed, after her very first discussion in the field, that she could not testify to investigators because she actually did not know if the Book of Mormon was true. I told her she was going to go into our room and kneel down and get a testimony, no matter how long it took. I said, “It is true, Sister, so do not be afraid of getting a ‘no’ answer, because that will not happen. But you and I cannot do this work if you do not know that this book is true, so you stay on your knees until God answers your prayer.”
She went into our bedroom, and I immediately got onto my knees and began to supplicate with all the energy of my heart, “Please Heavenly Father! let her know NOW. Let her feel the Spirit now, let her know with a surety – let her know the way I know – that it is true. Give her the knowledge, as you gave me the knowledge, that it is true. Let her know as I know.” I don’t remember how long she and I were praying, but she came out of the bedroom with tears running down her face. She was glowing and she said, “The Spirit told me! It said, ‘You already know it’s true!’” Well, that was such a humbling experience for me to have my prayer answered so literally. Not only were her prayers answered, but the Spirit gave her the answer the same way I got my answer – He let her know as I knew – in exactly the same way. So that was a strengthening of my testimony as well!
Also on my mission, we taught many intelligent, learned people who had good, sound reasons to believe the way they did. We also taught many very Christian people who seemed completely content in their beliefs. We say the gospel makes people happier in this life, but a lot of the people I was teaching seemed completely content, happy and Christ-like in their own beliefs.
So I had to take that to the Lord as well. Why, I asked, do they need the gospel? Why this church? Again, I received a clear answer to prayer. I saw in my mind a quilt, and each square of the quilt had a different picture of things that we believe and do in our church, and in the middle was the temple. I knew that even though, yes, many people are living very Christ-like lives and are not searching for anything different, they do not have the whole picture. They can’t see the whole quilt and how each piece and each stitch makes it whole. And they do not have the temple and the eternal ordinances that we can only get there.
When I was on my mission, I heard someone say that you will never be as good and righteous and as close to the Spirit again in life as you are while on your mission. Well, at first that really bummed me out because I did not feel like a perfect missionary. I didn’t want that to be the best I could ever be because I wasn’t perfect. Well, I don’t know if that statement was true or not, but I can tell you that, unless you get to be a General Authority, you will never again be in the service of God full-time. So, just work. Be obedient. Create a mission where you will have no regrets. If you are obedient and work, work, work, everything else that happens on your mission will be for your good, no matter how hard it is.
I could go on and on with more stories and testimonies of answered prayers, small miracles and the fruit of living the gospel day-to-day. But I think I will end here.
I testify that the gospel is true, Jesus was actually a man who really did live here on earth and actually physically and spiritually atoned for our sins. God is alive in the heavens, and his angels are around us every day, doing more for us than we ever realize. Prayer is a powerful tool, and faith is a weapon of righteousness. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
For a condensed but printable version of Kim’s testimony click HERE. After downloading, you will be able to print out as many copies as you want, just the right size for pasting into the front of a Book of Mormon and giving to your favorite person!