Hello, everybody. Welcome to my missionary farewell. This is such a unique time for all of us and I am so excited to see what the Lord has planned for me. As I have emailed my missionary friends still out in the field, it has been so cool to listen to their amazing experiences and recognize that even in times of uncertainty, missionary work continues to go on. Although, I had never pictured giving a farewell talk over Zoom, I am very excited to share with you guys this unique message in a unique way!
Grandpa Moffat asked me to deliver this message about a gospel topic that is special and meaningful to me. He also asked me to share some experiences that influenced not only my testimony, but also my decision to serve. I decided to research and speak to you guys about the First Vision and the Restoration of the church. I chose this gospel topic because I have a special testimony of these things and the prophet Joseph Smith.
I will start with an experience I had this past general conference. This past general conference was a unique conference because it celebrated the bicentennial of the first vision. It was also a unique conference because only the speakers present in the room, and no one could shake hands to prevent the spread of the virus. However, a lot of the talks given were about the first vision and the eventual restoration of the church to the Earth.
One of the things that I absolutely loved in this conference was when President Russell M. Nelson read to us the newly created proclamation titled “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” This proclamation is loaded with tons of simplified, but powerful information about the restoration of the gospel. I have a couple favorite paragraphs that I would like to read to you guys.
The first one reads, “We further witness that Joseph Smith was given the gift and power of God to translate an ancient record: the Book of Mormon—Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Pages of this sacred text include an account of the personal ministry of Jesus Christ among people in
the Western Hemisphere soon after His Resurrection. It teaches of life’s purpose and explains the doctrine of Christ, which is central to that purpose. As a companion scripture to the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies that all human beings are sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven, that He has a divine plan for our lives, and that His Son, Jesus Christ, speaks today as well as in days of old.” I love this paragraph because it connects Joseph Smith and the translating power he received from God, with the sacred message of the Book of Mormon and Christ’s doctrine explained in the book. Reading this fills me with joy because I begin to think of all the challenges and prosecution that Joseph Smith was faced with as he not only translated this ancient record, but also re-established the Church of Jesus Christ according to the directions he received from Heavenly Father.
Another paragraph that I really like reads, “We gladly declare that the promised Restoration goes forward through continuing revelation. The earth will never again be the same, as God will “gather together in one all things in Christ.” I love this paragraph because of the simple and comforting truths it shares of. Knowing that the Restoration of the Church continues to go forward today by revelation through prophets can be such a testimony builder for us today. I
say this because our world has changed a lot since 1820 when the first vision happened. I also know that the church is a lot different today, compared to how it was during the first couple years of construction. Although the doctrine has always stayed the same, church policies and such have continually changed in a way to best accompany the needs of the members in today’s world. Knowing that prophets receive revelation for the members of today, as well as how to best find the members of tomorrow, is a gospel truth that is so comforting to me.
I’d like to share with you guys what I wrote down in my journal about conference for that day. “As President Nelson read that proclamation, I was filled joy and gratitude for the prophet Joseph Smith and all he endured through to re-establish the church here on the Earth today. After the proclamation was read, my family and I participated in the hosanna shout and I was filled with peace and respect for the prophets that guide us today, especially through times of uncertainty.” At this point, I knew that this general conference was personalized for me. This gave me confidence and made me super excited to teach others about this wonderful gospel and help them feel what I felt during this conference. While this was a special experience and testimony builder for me after I received my mission call, I also have a couple experiences I had before receiving my mission call that I would like to share.
One of these experiences took place in a Book of Mormon class that I took at BYU. For this class, we each had to do a project that would push us to complete a goal throughout the semester. As I thought of a focal point Christlike attribute for my project, my patriarchal blessing came to mind. For my project, I decided to make a gratitude journal…
As I look back and read my journal entries, it’s fun to see all the little things I recognized and was grateful for. (Tie it back to bringing me comfort as I completed my mission papers)
One of these experiences occurred during my senior year of high school. Going into senior year, I knew that I wanted to serve a mission but I wasn’t sure when I wanted to go. This was actually a very hard decision to go through with because everyone from Utah goes on missions right out of high school. At first, I was tempted to do this too, but after praying I received the impression and decided that a year of school before would be best for me. This was difficult to tell other people because as I told them some were caught by surprise and immediately started thinking and asking about worthiness issues and such. In a sense, they kind of looked down on me and my decision because it was different. I also had some bad friends that were against the church and when I told them I was planning to serve a mission in the near future they did not support my decision at all. One day, I came back from school after having a rough day with friends and decided to go lay on the couch to relax and think. As I was thinking, I started to have second thoughts about my decision and started to have negative thoughts about the church. I snapped out of this thought process and immediately began to start praying. As I was praying, I asked for reassurance of my decision and that I would be able to be comforted through God’s love. I finished my prayer and literally 2 seconds after I did, I received a text from my Mom. She was well aware of my situation of the opposition I had been receiving from my friends and so as I opened the text, I saw that she had sent me a famous quote from President Hinkley. The quote read, “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out...Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future.” This was truly an answer to my prayer
because I was looking for reassurance and I got it in the answer of “with God it all works out.” This experience was not only testimony strengthening, but also a vital moment in reassuring a mission is what God wants me to do.
Looking back on that experience today, that was one of the most influential moments of my life. It is one of those experiences for me that was exactly what I needed in that moment. However, I find this quote of “putting your trust in God, and moving forward with faith and confidence in the future” very applicable to my situation today. Right now, none of us know what the future holds. For me, there is a cloud of uncertainty regarding where and how I will spend the next two years of my life. I’m choosing to go forward with faith and trust in God that everything will work out. I have a testimony that if I give it my all and put my future in God’s hands, He will take care of me.