Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's not about the places

On Sunday our lesson in Relief Society was about the first vision and Joseph Smith.  The teacher asked about our testimonies of the first vision and how we got them.  Anyone who shared talked about the places of church history like; the sacred grove, Nauvoo, Carthage jail,  Kirtand and such.  While the first speaker mentioned her visit to the grove and how she felt nothing.  Another woman said if you sing you can feel it.  When I was there at the sacred grove it was a beautiful group of trees, but to feel the spirit I sang: Oh, How lovely was the morning.

A sister said the same thing that it might not happen there at the exact place.  That was the place for Joseph, not necessarily for us.  The stories continued of places.  I wanted to share about reading The Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith That book never fails to increase my testimony of  the man who delivered  to us the good news of the pure gospel.

I've been to Israel, Book of Mormon lands in Mexico and Belize, and I've been to almost all of the church history sights and they were all great travel experiences.  I have pictures in my mind, I have pictures that I took, but that is not where I got my  testimony.  A Testimony comes through the Holy Ghost alone.  You don't have to go to the places to get a testimony.

On my mission I loved to testify of The Book of Mormon, but sharing the first vision could be difficult.  It is such a fantastic story, but it had to have happen, because of what we have through Joseph Smith; the books, the doctrines, the truths.  That is the real miracle, the miracle of what proceeded the first vision.  If you know of, understand, and love the doctrines he taught, then of course one can with confidence say Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.  As I write this, I realize to have the strength to endure what he did, he had to have a manifestation like that, a manifestation that could not be denied, that is the foundation for all other visions, dreams, and angels to come.  It's one thing to say and angle came and brought you gold plates (which you didn't melt down to save your family from poverty), but translated it to a book that now covers the earth, but quite another to say "I saw them!"    I suppose any man could say, an angel came with a book and I translated it, but gosh, I don't have the gold anymore.  Who  would come up with such a fantastic story?  I wrote a book- sure,  I found gold- sure,  I saw angels- OK, but the god head as 2 people, an idea that was just not entered into at the time.   It had to have happened.  I had to!  I know it did because of the fruits of what followed afterwords.

"What is the greatest testimony any man or woman can have as to this being the work of God? I will tell you what is the greatest testimony I have ever had, the most sure testimony, that is the testimony of the Holy Ghost, the testimony of the Father and the Son."
  'The brethren who came to preach the Gospel to me, I could easily out-talk them . . .; but their testimony was like fire in my bones; I understood the spirit of their preaching; I received that spirit; it was light, intelligence, power, and truth, and it bore witness to my spirit, and that was enough for me' (Remarks by Brigham Young, 28 July 1861; JD 9:141)."

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