I’ve spent way too long thinking about what I should write about. So, I’m going to stop thinking for a minute and start writing!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life in general. The last few months have certainly been interesting ones. Full of change, trial, and yet full of truly wonderful miracles. It has made me think back on how much my life has changed up to this point. I am certainly a very different person now than I was before. I realize now more than ever before what’s really important. For the first time in my life I have a clear purpose, I know who I am, where I’m going and what I need to do to get there. As I look back, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where this change in my life occurred. I just know this: I’m a lot more confident and far more truly happy than I used to be. Yes, I’ve had hard times, but they seem small now in comparison to what I’ve gained. Now, I may not fully understand until later the great changes I’ve made but I know their source. It is the product of an experiment I once made long ago, at a time in my life where I just wanted to be free of the challenges I was facing.

I won’t give details–it’s just important to know that I was struggling a lot my junior year of high school. My parents and church leaders had confronted me about my difficulties. I came to realize I had two choices: my own personal wants (which brought me no real satisfaction) or God (who at least brought the promise of some kind of peace in this life). At that moment, and now it’s been so long I don’t remember when that was, I chose God. I mean it couldn’t be any worse than what I was doing at the time. Anything was better than the situation I was in, so I decided to try an “experiment.” This comes from the scripture in Alma that states,

“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.”

I wasn’t aware of this scripture at the time, but this is essentially what I did. I had known there was a God, I’d always had somewhat of a desire to follow Him, but had never really acted on it for myself.

Well I decided to act on my desire: to try it out and see for myself. At first it started as simple prayer and reading a verse in the Book of Mormon every night. This habit would lead to better habits, which would lead to even greater changes. What would begin as a simple experiment from a desire for something better would blossom into a strong conversion to and faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. I would  know for myself through the Holy Spirit the truth of the Book of Mormon. I would, by the same power, discover the reality of God the Father, and His plan for us, his children. After nearly a year of studying, praying, and repenting, I would finally find the healing and the answers I sought.

I became free from my past self, able to look forward with confidence to the future. I became filled with Hope, that through Christ’s Atonement I could better myself despite my past mistakes. It is for this reason I spent two years in Germany as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For this reason, I try to share this message with all I meet. The Lord helped me when I was at my worst. Despite bad choices I found forgiveness and mercy at the hands of a loving God! I wish that on everyone!

I hope all can feel the power of the Savior’s great sacrifice in their lives. I hope all can come to know of the existence of God and feel His love for them. For those who are lost, whether you be members of the church or not, we are all God’s children. He wants us all to be happy, that’s why he sent His Son to die for us. That’s why he also restored his church through a modern day prophet. My message to those reading this today is that God lives and still speaks to us. I testify that there is hope for us on this Earth if we will only embrace it. Regardless of what you’ve done in your life, the Lord can help you! All you need to do is act. Even if it is only a desire to believe, act on it. I promise as you do so you, too, will come to know God. You will find answers you’re looking for and strength to overcome your trials. If you’re not sure what actions to take, then let me give a couple of suggestions. Simply follow the counsel of the prophet Moroni,

“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruth of all things.”

To break this down, simply start with the scriptures–especially the Book of Mormon. Learn of God’s mercy and love for His children. Then act on that knowledge by asking the Lord in  prayer if it is true. I you do this, regardless of what has happened previously in your life, the Lord will help you. I know this because He helped me.

I know the process Moroni describes is true because I tried it for myself. It doesn’t matter who you are or whether or not you consider yourself religious. We are all God’s children and He will not hold back on us. If we really want to know, and sincerely desire His help He will give it. I bear you my humble witness of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Now for those who aren’t really sure what I’m talking about, I intend to explain things better in later posts. Time constraints have not allowed me to say everything I’ve wanted to.  A good place to learn more about what I’ve written is the website, http://www.mormon.org.

Also feel free to ask questions and give suggestions. I appreciate any comments anyone might have.

Jasper

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