Good morning everyone. I am grateful that many of my family members could be here and that I have the opportunity to speak to all of you before I leave for my mission. Also, we cannot forget that it is Mother’s Day! So, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there and especially to the women who have impacted my life greatly, my mom, my stepmom, my grandmothers, my aunts, and all of my “adopted” mothers, grandmothers, and sisters in this ward! Thank you all for being here today. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you hear what you need to hear as I speak.
If you haven’t heard, I have been called to serve in the Idaho Boise mission and I report on May 23rd. My purpose as a missionary will be to “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” This morning I would like to focus on what I know to be true about the Godhead, Christ’s atonement, and the Restoration of Christ’s church to the earth. I would also like to address how I know these things are true and how they have blessed my life.
The 13 Articles of Faith state very simply what Mormons believe. The first Article of Faith states, “We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. Robert D. Hales, a Modern-day apostle wrote, “Without God, life would end at the grave and our mortal experiences would have no purpose. Growth and progress would be temporary, accomplishment without value, challenges without meaning. There would be no ultimate right and wrong and no moral responsibility to care for one another as fellow children of God. Indeed, without God, there would be no mortal or eternal life." Believing in God gives great purpose to my life. I know that Jesus Christ is His son and that he suffered so that we could be forgiven for our sins. The third member of the Godhead, along with God and Jesus Christ, is the Holy Ghost or “the Comforter.” I really like a definition of the Holy Ghost that I found on lds.org. It says that the Holy Ghost “witnesses of the Father and the Son” (2 Nephi 31:18) and reveals and teaches “the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5). His communication to our spirit carries far more certainty than any communication we can receive through our natural senses.” The spirit often speaks peace to my heart and I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who has given me the Holy Ghost to guide me through this sometimes difficult and confusing life. I know that God loves all of his children even when we make mistakes and it is a love that we cannot even comprehend. I know this because I have felt God’s love through His spirit and through His willingness to answer my prayers. He has answered my prayers by sending his spirit to comfort me. God’s love is also shown to me through the family and friends He has given me and other “angels” who have been put in my life, like all of you.
The greatest evidence I have of God’s love for me is that he sent His Son to the earth. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “Mormons believe first and foremost that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of God.” Knowing that the Savior Jesus Christ lived on the earth and experienced the same things that I have experienced and that he overcame all things gives me strength. Christ walked alone so we don’t have to if we would repent (D&C 19:16). He knows what I am going through and if I do all that I can and all that He asks, He will fill in the rest. There are some things I just can’t do completely on my own and Christ will send the Spirit and His grace to help me. I know that having faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement is the only way to return to our Father in Heaven and gain all the blessings He wants to bless us with. The Prophet Thomas S. Monson said, "Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to do better because of that greatest of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than the words of the Lord: 'My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them’ (Ether 12:27).” I know that I have a lot of weaknesses and I am not perfect, and I know that God does not expect me to be perfect right now, but the Atonement of Christ gives me the power to be more than I could ever be without it and to progress towards my divine potential as a daughter of God. When I really applied the atonement in my life, I felt so much joy. Jesus Christ can heal any hurt, whether it is sin, sadness, anger, or any burdens we have, He can lift them. God and Heavenly Father love us so much that they will always give us a second chance. If we repent and forgive those who have wronged us, God will forgive us. The atonement gives me hope.
I would not know about the Godhead, God’s love for me, or Christ’s atonement if Christ’s church was not restored to the earth. And I would not believe and know that this is Christ’s church if it were not for the Holy Ghost. In the year 1820, a 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith went to a grove of trees and prayed to know which church he should join. Joseph had previously read James 1:5 which states, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” He knew that the only way he could know the truth about which church was right was to ask God. In answer to Joseph’s humble prayer, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. This is how he described the experience: “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me…When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!” He was told that he should not join any of the churches and he was called by God to be a prophet and to restore the same church that was on the earth when Christ was here. He translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and that it goes hand-in-hand with the Bible. I came to know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God by doing just what Joseph Smith did; I asked God. He told me it was true through the Holy Ghost, which brought peace to my heart. I also felt happy and peaceful when I read the book and it makes sense to me that God would continue to speak to His children through prophets and scripture and that He would speak to all his children in all places because he loves all of us. I know there is a prophet on the earth who has been called by God to help us know what God wants us to do and that prophet is currently Thomas S. Monson. Church leaders, the Holy Ghost, and scripture are all ways that God has given me guidance in a world that always seems to be pulling me in so many different directions.
I think it a great blessing to be a member of this church. I know getting baptized was one of the best decisions I have ever made and one of the best days of my life. I started coming to church when I was 10 years old and I remember everything people told me about the church just making sense to me. I could also feel how much the members in this ward loved me even though they hardly knew me. I learned that we are all brothers and sisters because we are all God’s children. To me, that meant that we are all here to help each other, love each other no matter what, and to try to make each other feel and become the kind of people our divine heritage says we are. Knowing that God and Jesus Christ love me is something that brought a great amount of peace and happiness to my life. Even if it felt like no one else cared, I knew They did. I could pray to my Heavenly Father when I was going through something difficult, and He would help me feel better. Just the act of telling my Heavenly Father about my problem made me feel like everything would be okay. Living principles of the gospel helped me be okay through my trials. I still felt sad or upset at times but going to church, reading my scriptures, and prayer all helped me have an added measure of the spirit in my life, which helped me to have hope that I could get through it and that everything would work out. I knew that God and Jesus Christ loved me and that sustained me and still does sustain me through the struggles of life. Living Christ’s teachings has made me a better, stronger, happier, and more confident person.
I know that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10). President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an Apostle of the Lord said, “Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time! He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name.” It is my sincere desire for everyone to know how much God loves them and that Christ would have suffered and died even if only one person would have accepted His sacrifice for them. No one should have to feel like they aren’t important or like no loves them because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do and they understand what we’re going through. I hope I can help others be healed through the power of the atonement as I have been and feel the joy that I have felt. I’ve been given a gift that I want to give to others. I can relate to Lehi from the Book of Mormon who said concerning the fruit of the tree of life, “I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also (1 Nephi 8:12).” On my mission, I will tell people that they don’t have to take my word for it. Anyone can find the answers to the questions of their hearts by just asking God through prayer. And I know He will always answer you, because he loves you.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.