Today, I want to keep it simple. I have nothing in particular to talk about. No significant and completely life-altering experiences to share, no amazingly exciting events to report. And that’s perfectly fine. Sometimes you just need short and sweet. I hope that I can accurately share my testimony and bring the Spirit to you, even if it’s only for a few minutes today.
On my mission, a lot of people accused me of being brain-washed or not really knowing what I was talking about since this is all I’ve ever known. Well, it’s true. I grew up in the Church – my mom always brought us kids with her every week. When she and my dad went on vacation, we had family friends bring us. We only ever missed a Sunday if we were sick or out of town (though, I do remember going to church on vacation a few times). I was baptized when I turned 8 years old. I always faithfully went to activity. I never missed a Girl’s Camp or Youth Conference. I went to just about every church activity you could think of. I was in the Beehive, Mia Maid and Laurel presidencies (each of the Young Women classes). I was on the LDS Prom Committee and I helped plan Youth Conferences. Most of my friends were (and are) members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
But that’s not why I still go today.
I go because I have a testimony of Jesus Christ – a testimony that He is very real and that He is my Savior and Redeemer. I go because I know that through Him, all will be okay. My trials and hardships? Experiences I need to get better. My mistakes and weaknesses? Things I do because I’m human, but I know that because of Christ, I can be made stronger and my wrongs can be made right as I change and repent and work hard to do better.
I go to church today because I know my Heavenly Father loves me and because of that love, He’s given us His Son, who has given us His Gospel. The teachings of Jesus Christ change lives – they’ve changed mine. I have felt that love not only for myself, but for the hundreds of people I’ve come in contact with throughout my life, especially the more I learn about God’s love. It’s perfect, all-encompassing and unconditional. I know our Father in Heaven loves each one of us perfectly, no matter what we say or do. And I know that He will give us every chance He can to come closer to Him and His Son.
I go to church today because I know the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, are true. I know those words came from prophets and apostles and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are words we can still learn from today as we study them daily and ponder their meaning in our own personal lives. The scriptures have changed my life every time I’ve read from them. I’ve received guidance from Heavenly Father as I’ve prayerfully studied His words and applied them to myself.
I go to church today because I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. We need prophets today to guide us in the ever changing standards of the world. Prophets clarify and reestablish the laws of God – laws that are unchanging and perfect, despite what any man on Earth might think or want. I know that the modern prophets and apostles teach truth about families, the Gospel, love, and most importantly Jesus Christ. The leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not perfect, but they are special witnesses of Him and everything they do exemplifies Him.
I go to church because I know my Savior lives. I know He loves me and is always by my side. He carries me when I’m not strong enough, but puts me down when I need to learn to be strong. Jesus Christ comforts me when I think I’m not good enough or when I forget my potential and shows me who I can become. He teaches me daily as I pray sincerely and study the scriptures diligently. He blesses me and my family as we strive to come closer to Him in all we do and say.
Because of these things that I know, I will faithfully go to church for the rest of my life, every week for three hours and live every day for 24 hours what I believe. Because it’s not just a Sunday thing. And it’s not because I was “born into” the church. I know these things are true and I know that truth never changes – it will ALWAYS be true, whether I like it or not, whether the world accepts it or not. Everyone has a choice. I made my choice when I was 8 to be baptized, but it wasn’t until I was 16 years old that my testimony truly became solidified in my heart and mind. And every day, as my testimony grows and I learn new things, I have to make the choice again to follow Jesus Christ, no matter where He leads me.
I testify that these things are true in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.