Why I Believe by Mark

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June 18, 2014 by FHElessons

Today we have an essay by an amazing man named Mark.  I love his story of the blessings of repentance and his testimony that Christ lives.  I so appreciate him sharing his life experiences and his testimony with us!

This post is part of my Why I Believe series.  To find all the essays in this series, please click on the “Why I Believe” tab at the top of the page.

To read Questions and Answers About Gaining a Testimony, go HERE.

To find out how to write your own Why I Believe essay, go HERE.  If you would like to contribute your essay to my series, I would love to publish it for you!  You can send it to me by e-mail at FHElessons {at} aol {dot} com.

 

Why I Believe by Mark

Why I Believe by Mark

 

I am very fortunate in my life that I was born and raised in the church and that both my parents were born and raised into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. With this great blessing I was taught from the beginning of my life about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, Joseph Smith, Scriptures, Prophets, Priesthood… I was taught and lived in a home where we worshiped God and were taught the things that God wanted us to know and had parents that lived the gospel the very best they could.

For that I am eternally grateful.

Because of this, I was able to lean on them and their testimonies of belief.

I could feel that the gospel was true and believed it because they did.

But that is not how God’s plan works.

We must come to know and believe things for ourselves. There comes a time in life that you must choose how you will live and what you believe.

I had a great foundation of teaching. My dad is one of the best teachers that I know and I was lucky to not only have him for my dad, but to also be my Sunday School teacher at church. He was my teacher for about 4 years. In it he taught me and others the doctrine and principles of the gospel.

Many of those lessons and promises I made during those years I still remember. They made a great impact on my life.

As I grew up I came to know many things. One thing that my patriarchal blessing says is that I have the gift of knowing that Jesus is the Christ. And I know that to be true. I have known that ever since I can remember. As my life continued on I had lived the way I was expected to and did the things I was expected to do. But then there came a point in my life when I stopped doing what was right. I had made it through high school and was accepted into college. So I went away to school and during that time did not live in accordance with what I had been taught by my parents or church leaders/teachers/bishop… I would come home semester after semester thinking maybe I would serve a mission, but I could not. I was not prepared to go or worthy to go. So it just continued on. I just thought to myself that once I am done with school I will turn my life around. I would just put off living a righteous life until then.

I did make it through school and graduated and returned home and started working. And I did turn my life around and got back on the right track. I am lucky though. So many people do not. But I look back now and it is the biggest regret of my life that I did not serve a mission. I missed out on so many opportunities and growth. I did not serve the Lord. It was a huge disappointment to my parents, and I set a terrible example to my younger brothers.

I wish so much I could go back and make a different choice. I knew the gospel was true, I was just too weak and scared to make the better choices and not do things that would keep from going on a mission.

I could have just kept on going though. But I did not.

I am lucky that one my oldest and best friends that I have known since we were 8 years old asked me to move over with him to Provo, UT.

So I did. And that put me around good people that were trying to do what is right.

It was during this time I really started reading my scriptures and focusing on the gospel. I had never read the whole Book of Mormon until that time. I remember one night I knelt in prayer and asked God if the book was true and that I was going to read it to know for myself. I started reading that night and could not put the scriptures down. I read all night. I felt amazing and knew it was true. I did not even have to read the whole thing before I got this confirmation, but I still did. It took me about a month, and I read the whole thing.

It was then I decided it was time I went to the temple. So I started to prepare for that. A couple of months later I set a date, and my mom and dad drove over from Denver and we all went to the temple. My best friend Nate was there and his parents. It was amazing. We went to the Mount Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, UT. I remember reading the entire Pearl of Great Price the day before we went. I did not know it, but doing that really made it even more special.

It was at this point in my life that I knew I would be on the Lord’s side and always live the way that Heavenly Father and Jesus want me to live. Even in hard choices I was going to choose the right. I know I missed out on countless experiences because of about a 5 year period of not holding with all my might to the iron rod, but I am gripping it with all my strength now.

I am doing this now because I know that God lives and is my Heavenly Father. He knows me and loves me. He cares about me and directs and guides me in this life. He wants me to be happy. And I am.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. He performed the Atonement for me. It is because of Him that I had the hope and the way back to becoming clean. Jesus Christ is my friend, and my brother. I know that. I know He is there helping me and giving me strength. I have felt Him and His support.

I know that the gift of the Holy Ghost is real and that I have that special gift because I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church. I feel his presence. I feel his promptings. I feel his love. I know that he is a member of the God Head and will always be there for me as I strive to do what God wants me to do.

I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know he was chosen to restore Jesus Christ’s church. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and that the keys of the church were given to him by men holding the authority to do to this work. I know that he Saw God and Jesus Christ. I have knelt down in that very same grove of trees in upstate New York and asked. I felt and was given that confirmation. I know it happened. I know that we have latter day prophets that are guiding and directing this church under the guidance of Jesus Christ.

I know the priesthood is real and the power that God has given man to do his work. I have seen the miracles of the priesthood first hand. I don’t know how people can get through this life without it. I am grateful that I hold this power and live in a way to use it.

I know that Temples are the House of the Lord. I know that it is where families can be sealed together forever.

I know that my life has not really gone the way I thought it would when I was a young boy, but I know that God was there and directing me in it. I know that God wanted me to find my dear wife Emily. It is like a made up story how we met, but we did and it is a tremendous miracle. I am so glad that I am married and sealed to her forever. I am grateful that we were able to have her oldest son go to the temple and be sealed to all of us.  I have always thought of him as my own son and am grateful to know we are linked together.

The sealing power is awesome. I am so grateful that our family is sealed together forever.  I know that those bonds and promises and blessings are all there for me and each one of my boys. I know that Emily and I will be together forever. And that makes me so happy.

I know I made some bad choices in life, but I made lots of good choices too. I knew what I wanted, but I was not always strong enough to make the right choice. But God has a great plan that allows us to make mistakes and be able to get back on the right track. I have done that and am so lucky to have the family that I do.

I am now in the position of teaching my boys and leading my family the way my parents did. They did a great job. Even though I messed up, they taught me the principles and doctrine and what was true. This life is a test, and I may have failed some of the pop quizzes along the way, but I am standing firm on the rock and holding strong to the iron rod. It is about where I am now and what I am doing now. I live this way and know it is true. I do it because I know that is what God wants, and it is what will keep my family safe and strong and most importantly, because it is the way to return to live with our Heavenly Father and Savior once more.

I Love the Sealing Blessings of the Temple

 

For a printable version of Mark’s testimony that will fit perfectly inside the front cover of a Book of Mormon go HERE.  Print as many copies as you like and tuck one into a Book of Mormon to give to someone you love!

One thought on “Why I Believe by Mark

  1. Joanie says:

    Beautiful testimony, Mark. You are truly a good example to all of us. Thank you for sharing.

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Hi! I'm Laura. I started this blog to continue to teach FHE lessons to my children who are grown and living away from home. I also hope to serve my six sisters by preparing FHE lessons that they can use with their younger children, and I hope the lessons will be helpful to you as well! If you would like to contact me, please e-mail me at FHElessons@aol.com.

What is FHE?

FHE stands for Family Home Evening and is a night set aside each week (usually Monday) by families who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHE is a chance for parents to teach lessons to their children about the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as other important topics. The lesson is frequently accompanied by a fun activity together as a family and a yummy treat.
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