A few days ago a fellow writer noticed me sharing “Experimenting on His Words” in a Facebook group and asked if I would be open to sharing a guest post. I thought it was a fabulous idea, and we agreed to exchange posts. Watch for my Testimony on his blog soon as well! Enjoy “The Moments I Knew” from Daniel Christensen:
Church members can often point to a singular experience when they “knew” it was true. Maybe it was the knowledge that God existed, or knowing that the Book of Mormon was true, or that Joseph Smith was a prophet.
I never had that experience. I’ve actually had thousands of them.
We as humans are good at a few things and horrible at others. One thing that we reeeeally need to work on is remembering. God understands this better than anyone, and especially knows this of me. In moments of weakness, I forget about the moments that I “know” the truth, yet choose to do the opposite. It’s really frustrating.
I imagine this is true of everyone. That’s why I think we are given so many reminders. I’ll tell you of my most recent reminder. I listened to Tad Callister’s talk about the Book of Mormon and it hit me particularly hard. He asked logical questions about the origins of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s involvement. I normally am a little apprehensive about trying to “prove” certain things within the gospel because I had always felt that it was not a logical matter, but a spiritual one. I realized, however, that some people need that, and at certain times in my life, I’ve needed a logic to back up the spiritual claims made as well.
It’s not like I’m constantly asking myself, “Is the Book of Mormon True?”, but it is nice to have some assurances once in awhile. As I was reading, I came across an oft-quoted passage, 1 Nephi 3:7, which says, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”
I’ve known this scripture since I was a little kid, but this time I focused on the “accomplish” part. I don’t recall the other authors in the Book of Mormon using that phrase-ology. So I went hunting, and sure enough, Nephi uses this exact phrase another 4 times. The other 418 pages of the Book of Mormon show no other such reference. Zero. Would Joseph Smith have been able to keep that phrase just within first and second Nephi and never use anything similar in the rest of the Book? To me, the answer was a resounding ‘No”, and it was just the latest moment that I “knew” the Book of Mormon was true.
These experiences can happen quite frequently if we are able to recognize them. They add just one more time in our lives that we can look back on and remember, that at that moment, we “knew”.
What does it mean to have a Testimony of Jesus Christ?
My own relationship with that word, not necessarily the feeling, began shortly after I knelt to pray and asked how to become closer to Jesus Christ on March 6, 2013.
I was immediately impressed that I needed to be Baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which I had never attended (except once as a guest while a small child).
When I called my granddaughter’s other grandma to ask her how to get the Missionaries to come to your house (so that I could ask them about this impression I received); she responded, “WOW, what a Testimony!!!”
To which I answered, “What’s a Testimony?”
Since that moment, The Holy Spirit has been teaching me what a Testimony is.
I KNOW my Heavenly Father, Christ’s Father, Lives.
I KNOW that His Spirit is The Holy Ghost which He has given me to guide me in using the other gift, my agency.
What is the result, the constant gift of having a Testimony? I believe it increases your Faith. If you KNOW The Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father live, and guide you each and every day, it is harder to worry as much. It is easier to know that whatever may come, it is for a higher reason and there is a blessing to be had.
This last winter was a hard one. Constant illnesses combined with my disabilities served to make me feel like there was no way I would survive the season. So, I prayed. Then I listened.
The Holy Spirit witnessed to me that my physical and emotional trials may have been difficult, but they would not be the end of me. It also witnessed that my experiences weren’t only for me, but there were others who would benefit from my trials. I don’t know why, but when He says that, I always feel better. Why would I go through the depths of hell for others, but not for my own progression? Something for me to think about.
As we progressed through the spring, I got physically stronger and with that, my emotional stability increased as well. Finally, I began to feel like myself again. However, I was left with the memories of the prayers in desperation. “God, am I going to live through this?” Isn’t a conversation easily started with one’s Heavenly Father.
In order to start that conversation, I had to have a Testimony. I had to KNOW that He lives. I also had to TRUST His answers. But, I wouldn’t have His answers if I hadn’t listened.
I have found that if I take an assortment of talks and save them to a playlist on my phone, then I put that playlist on “random” and ask in prayer for the Holy Spirit to help me listen to what I need to learn in that moment, I am richly rewarded.
The answers that I crave in prayer, are delivered in talks given by our Prophet, Apostles & Auxiliary Leaders.
Heavenly Father has guided the wonderful programmers that have built this site and those apps, to make our modern scriptures available to us in many ways. Most of us carry our “smart” phone with us wherever we go. These devices can be used to study and share His Gospel. They can also be used to increase our Testimony.
The Twin Falls Temple in Idaho was the site of my “wrong turn” at the very start of the softening of my heart. Where I stopped and “felt” the building radiate out into the street.
April 20, 2013: I went on my first proxy Baptism trip to the Seattle Temple just shy of a month after my own baptism. It was that day when I started my father’s work and my forgiveness of him.
October 19, 2013: I spent my first birthday after my baptism, performing proxy baptisms for my family in the Salt Lake City Temple. Afterwards, I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with the first and only Priesthood Holder who ever asked me out on a date. They served spaghetti at the Salt Lake Temple cafeteria. That’s something you don’t forget. Fortunately, since I was not yet endowed I was in my street clothes, not a white Temple dress. That was the last date Hyrum and I had, but we remain friends and he has since developed a friendship with my husband.
May 13, 2014: I received my Endowments at the Seattle Temple, with 3 friends from 2 different Wards. Later that year, I went through Mt. Timpanogos Temple with one of my Sister Missionaries for the proxy Endowments of both my grandmothers.
Since May of 2014, I have befriended many Temple workers in many Wards and Branches. I have even roomed with one while I was needing a place to stay in close proximity to my grandchildren for a holiday season. She helped bolster my Testimony on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Marian helped me understand Personal Revelation. A Returned Missionary, she helped me trust God. That is a gift I don’t know how to ever repay.
When I visit a Ward, I find myself looking around. The Temple Workers seem to “glow” with light. I went up to an older, beautiful lady one day in the Lacey, Washington Stake Center that I was visiting. I felt I HAD to know; “Did she work at the Temple?” Yes, in fact, she confirmed that she did. The “Glow” had been apparent across the room.
My Patriarchal Blessing explicitly states that I will bless my family on both sides of the veil with the work I perform in the Temple. In the past two years, I have been blessed to catch rides with Temple Workers on many occasions, giving me the opportunity to perform an entire shift’s worth of Proxy Ordinances while I was there.
I look at the Temple Ordinance workers with gratitude and amazement. Even though sometimes rather elderly, they seem almost spry. Their minds are clear and their memories amazingly retentive.
This spring, just short of my Temple Recommend needing renewed; I felt an overwhelming compulsion. My best friend (and Visiting Teacher), Anne, had been urging me to not only go to the Temple to perform Proxy Ordinances while she and my other friends worked; she wanted me to volunteer to work there too!
Anne works in the Laundry of the Snowflake Temple, she suggested that I volunteer to work there also. I hesitated, because doing my own laundry is difficult enough for me with a broken back and other chronic pain. But that didn’t deter her. She was convinced I should be working in the Temple with her and several of our friends in our Branch.
In early March, as I was speaking to our Branch President about another matter, the compulsion felt overwhelming. I was attempting to open his office door to leave. The Holy Spirit whispered, “Turn around and ask him…” I knew what the Spirit was speaking to me about. The compulsion was incredibly strong; it was if I could not turn the doorknob I was attempting to reach. “Turn around and ask him,” the Spirit continued to whisper, but I hesitated. I didn’t want to appear too eager, feeling there must be some requirement I didn’t meet. There is no way I felt qualified to work at the Temple. But the Spirit would not cease, so I turned around.
After asking my Branch President if there was some way I could help in the Temple, some place I could volunteer, and if my services would be adequate, I felt relieved of the compulsion for a few days. That Friday when I visited the Snowflake Temple during Anne’s shift, it returned in the Celestial Room.
“Go talk to the Matron,” the whispering Holy Spirit urged. “Why would I want to do that?!” In shock I answered in my thoughts.
“Tell her you want to work here, tell her your experience.” The Spirit would not let up.
I entered the dressing room to ready (and steady) myself. It was crowded, more crowded than I had ever seen. I sought refuge in the lavatory, but even that room seemed overwhelmingly crowded. I prayed for courage in the stall.
Sitting in the Matron’s office, I felt silly to have been so nervous. The Assistant Matron was on duty that night and was a genteel lady with a radiant countenance. She glowed. As I explained the Spirit’s (and Anne’s) urgings, and my experience as a retired computer programmer; she shared with me that there was a spot opening up in the Temple Office. A elderly couple that had been with the office since the opening of the Snowflake Temple in 2002 was retiring. Their shifts would not be easy to fill and they would be missed.
I felt a reassurance from my Heavenly Father. There was a service I felt confident I could perform. To be able to share my skills on computers and office work with the Snowflake Temple and help perform the work that needs to be done, felt like an incredible blessing. The Matron seemed happy to be placing my name on the lists to be approved by my Branch and Stake Presidents.
Over the next couple of weeks, during my Fridays at the Temple, I got to know the Temple Presidency through a couple of very informal interviews. By the time my volunteering in the office was approved by the Stake President, my Temple Recommend was up for renewal for the first time. I had to go in for my interviews again
Then it happened, I received a call asking me to come in for an interview at the beginning of my regular Friday visit. That is a day I will NEVER forget. As my friend Anne escorted me into the Temple President’s office, Elder Bradley Foster of the Seventy appeared to be looking for something on the President’s desk. He engaged me in a brief conversation before the Temple President entered. I wish I remembered that he was the one who gave the talk, “It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late,” in the October 2015 General Conference that spoke to my heart, but I was too overwhelmed by the situation. When the Temple President entered, I was surprised when I wasn’t to be interviewed, but quickly set apart as an Office Worker, and sent off to meet the rest of the office staff, Recorder and the Assistant Recorder.
I made quick friends with the other new worker and briefly met the retiring couple. My life in the weeks since has been blessed as, among other things, I’ve been able to learn my tasks at the Temple Office very quickly and life at home seems easier too. I look forward to my Friday Evenings in the Temple every week.