I got assigned a talk on gratitude!!! 😀
I love being able to give a talk. It may terrify me, but I love it.
I got assigned a talk on gratitude!!! 😀
I love being able to give a talk. It may terrify me, but I love it.
I want to share some gospel perspectives on three “ships”: friendship, courtship, and physical relationship.
First, friendship is a gospel principle; it is necessary to our emotional and spiritual well-being. Second, friendship is the foundation upon which courtship and marriage should be built and can thrive. And third, a physical relationship before marriage can prevent the building of a strong friendship foundation, but after marriage it can enhance that friendship.
How important is friendship to you? How does it bless your life? Have you ever felt friendless? It’s miserable to feel lonely and without friends. Friendship is necessary to our well-being—not just nice but necessary. We all hunger for it; it’s a universal need.
This was brought home to me by one of my Young Women general board members who took some personal trips this past summer. In her travels, she visited with young women in Idaho, Brazil, Mongolia, and Russia. In each place, she asked them questions about their lives and compiled their answers. Here are the questions she asked, along with the most frequent response she received to each question.
Question: What makes you happy? Answer: Friends.
What are your greatest worries? Friends.
What do you like to do in your free time? Be with friends.
What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Friends.
Why don’t young women come to Mutual? No friends.
Why do young women become less active? Pressure of friends.
Isn’t that amazing! Friends are of paramount importance for young women all over the world. And I believe young men would give similar answers. So too would many adults. We all need friends.
Prophets have taught that friendship is an integral part of keeping the covenants we have made. Consider the example of the people of Alma at the Waters of Mormon. There, they expressed their desire to come into the fold of God. Alma asked them if they were willing to bear one another’s burdens, to mourn with those that mourn, and to comfort those who stand in need of comfort. That is, he asked them if they were willing to covenant to act as friends. They clapped their hands for joy to enter into such a covenant. And their hearts were knit together in unity and love. This is a great scriptural example of friendship. (See Mosiah 18.)
We can look to Jesus Christ for the greatest example of friendship. “Friend” was the highest compliment He could pay His disciples. He said:
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
“Ye are my friends. …
“I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:12–15).
If friendship is so important in the teachings of our prophets and our Savior,shouldn’t we be striving to be great, covenant-keeping friends? To be such a friend is Christlike; to have such friends is heavenly. As Latter-day Saints, we know that exaltation involves the privilege of spending eternity where our true Friend, the Savior, and others who have become like Him are. The scriptures give us this glorious promise: “That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory” (D&C 130:2).
This brings me to my second “ship,” or relationship: courtship. Friendship should play a key role in courtship and marriage. I see friendship as the foundation in the courtship pyramid. A little story will help to illustrate this point.
It is the story of Isaac and Rebecca. This is not the biblical account, however. It is about our daughter Rebecca and her suitor Isaac. Our Rebecca was not persuaded to marry her Isaac nearly as easily as was the Old Testament Rebekah. Nor was she readily willing to give up her lifestyle and immediately leave her family to be part of another’s life.
Our Becky was 21. She had signed up to do a summer internship through Brigham Young University in Mozambique, Africa. She wasn’t sure if she should serve a mission, but she had at least started the paperwork by getting dental and doctor appointments. She was also thinking about applying for a master’s program in her field. In short, she was trying to decide what to do with the next phase of her life. We all wondered which would win out of the three Ms—Mozambique, mission, or master’s.
Meanwhile, Isaac came along in pursuit and soon offered a choice of a fourth M—marriage. He was headed for medical school in a few months, and he did not want to go without Becky. He later told us that he had his own three Ms that he hoped she would choose—marriage, medical school, and eventually motherhood. “If she did not,” he said, “I knew I would be the fourth M—miserable.”
Becky was a woman of the 21st century. The world and its many glamorous opportunities were available to her, and it was hard for her to set aside some of her dreams. What finally won her over were Isaac’s intrinsic goodness and his kindness to her. He did the romantic things too, like sending beautiful bouquets of flowers, taking her on nice dates, and so on.
But those things would not have won her over on their own. What was most winning to her was how he continually put her feelings and her needs above his own. He did little thoughtful things, the kind that one friend would do for another. For example, when he learned that her watch was too big for her wrist, he removed a couple of links from it and made it perfect for her. Another time she found her car spotless and sparkling inside and out because he had washed it, a deed unsolicited by her. Another time she found a little list he had made of ways to improve himself; many of his goals were service oriented. These kindnesses promised an enduring friendship; they expressed qualities of character that would last even when physical beauties eventually faded.
Becky realized that he had the qualities that would endure through good and bad times, the very qualities she would seek out in a good friend. So she did marry Isaac. And now she reflects that she was right about his great strengths being a wonderful asset to their relationship. She feels she is married to her best friend. And this is what marriage should be.
Friendship, then, should form the foundation of romantic love—the love that leads to courtship and marriage. Likewise, both friendship and romantic love can become what God intends them to be only when they are founded on charity, “the pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47). As we learn in Moroni and 1 Corinthians, charity is patient, long-suffering, kind, free from envy, and unselfish. Charity leads couples to rejoice in truth, to believe, to hope, and to endure. Couples whose love is based on charity want the best for each other. Their love is infused with the pure love of Christ. These are the qualities we should seek for in courtship and marriage. (See 1 Cor. 13:4–7; Moro. 7:45.)
One of the ways to develop a strong, loving relationship is with sound communication. Communication is the way a good relationship begins and also endures. My unmarried children ask me constantly how it is that anyone ever gets together. It seems like such a mysterious puzzle. I know that everyone’s falling-in-love story is different. But there seems to be at least one commonality among most stories. This is a spontaneity in conversation. So many couples say things like, “We just talked and talked; I lost track of time when we were talking; it was so comfortable to talk; we share the same sense of humor; we loved talking about our similar interests and values.”
It was like that on my first date with my husband. All evening we were surrounded by people, but I felt like it was just the two of us. John and I talked to each other nonstop.
I’ve heard it said that “love is a long conversation.” I believe it. In fact I often joke with our children that if I ever run out of things to say to Dad, then the marriage will be over. I’m pretty safe saying that, because we love to talk to one another about everything.
This communication that is so fun in a friendship is also essential as you really get to know someone’s deeper self. A relationship may never develop into a courtship because it can’t get beyond inch-deep generalities.
We sometimes look for happiness in exotic places and for romance in mystique, money, or charm. Instead, we need to look for friends who embody Christlike character. As you date, seek friendships that have enduring strength and that can provide a firm foundation for a marriage. After you have established a solid, virtuous base in your relationship, there is a place for physical intimacy—in marriage.
The physical relationship between a man and a woman can be wonderful and good—a beautiful blessing. However, if the physical part of romance comes too early or too fast in a relationship, it can take over. Then it can become the tail that wags the dog. Our physical emotions are powerful and exciting. This is how they are meant to be.But this is precisely why they need to be kept in check until after marriage—when other fundamental parts of the relationship are developed.
We have taught our children some principles that we hope have provided protection for them. We tried to create some catchy phrases so they would remember them easily in times of danger and decision. Let me share just four principles that will protect you if you remember them and abide by them.
You will protect yourself if you choose to be with others who are also trying to make good choices. Someone with whom you will want to share the rest of your life will want only the very best for you. It says in For the Strength of Youth, “Choose friends who share your values so you can strengthen and encourage each other in living high standards. A true friend will encourage you to be your best self” (, 12).
The Lord planned for us to become one in every way. The physical relationship in marriage can help cement our spiritual union. We are made for each other.
Our model is in the very first love story. The Lord said that it was not good that Adam should be alone. So the Lord created Eve to be “an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). The meaning of this scripture is that Eve was created to be a help “meet” for Adam. Meet means fit or suitable. So Eve was a helper who was “suited to, worthy of, or corresponding to him” (Gen. 2:18, footnote b). After that, Adam was taught that they should “cleave unto” one another, “and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). So here are all of the elements—being suited for each other first and then adding the physical relationship after marriage.
I know what it is to have such a friend. My husband, John, was kind and thoughtful and romantic in our courtship. Then even when he was going to school full time, working full time, and we had three children under the age of four, he continued to be kind and thoughtful and romantic with me. He has shown this by helping me in my busy roles. He bathed the children every night. He scrubbed the kitchen floor. He was also my window to the world—keeping me abreast to what was happening out there. He provided for us. He encouraged me as a mother. He supported the children in plays, concerts, athletic events, and papers they had to write. He would give me moments of rest—on walks or weekend getaways, taking me to the temple or occasionally on his travels. When I come home tired at night, he makes cheese toast and other such delicacies, so I don’t have to cook. He is my muse and my editor in my writing and talks. He prays for me and gives me priesthood blessings. He is a help suited for me in every way.
I hope that each of us will find such joy in our lives through our relationships with friends, family, and God. We must remember that deep friendships are built on Christlike virtues. Such friendships form a sound base upon which to build a courtship. And finally, very carefully, the physical relationship will enhance that holy friendship in marriage. I testify that these principles are true. May we find joy in the holy socialities that the Lord has provided for us.
Ok, after reading this 1) Mormonism rocks. Why? Because it completely attacks my hopeless romantic side. This whole thing is so full of cute-win, I love it ^^.
2) Those rules: COREY! YOUR DIMLY LIT ROOM THEORY HAS BEEN PROVEN!
Anyways, for rules1 & 2…Whoooops. It’s not that I use those two for ‘alternative purposes’. I think my issue is I easily trust people. Perhaps too easily, which I’ve discovered, I kind of do. As well, oblivious Cass is, as always, oblivious XD.
Anyways, I’ve spent the past two hours ranting, no more rants for tonight. Just read. I’m going to hunt for my bed in my messy room. Will clean tomorrow.
“We don’t know all the reasons for Lucifer’s terrible success in inciting that rebellion. However, one reason is clear. Those who lost the blessing of coming into mortality lacked sufficient trust in God to avoid eternal misery.”
The little bold bit just made me happy. The fact that I’m here proves that I once completely trusted God with everything. Gotta get back there now.
“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.”
“Be still, and know that I am God”
Talk went really well…But I messed something up, got more nervous and I think I kept speeding up. Supposedly, I’m a good story teller. But it went well, the congregation’s reactions to my jokes was better than I expected. And I even saw one woman crying, which both made me happy and sad. It was very touching that my words actually caused emotions that strong in someone but I wanted to run down to her and give her more Kleenexes.
I’m extraordinarily bummed out about Halloween this year. I can’t even muster the motivation to carve my pumpkin….
Anyways, as promised, my talk:
Good morning my brothers and sisters,
I’ve been asked to speak on my conversion to the Church; how I found out about it and as I began to convert, my experiences with the missionaries and all those who’ve taught me, as well as my thoughts and feelings throughout the journey that was my conversion.
First, just a little history so you have an idea as to where I’m coming from: Before I joined the Church, I was pretty much opposed to the idea of Church. My siblings, who were all baptized LDS but are no longer practicing, had dragged me along to various churches, all of which I found myself to be a loner in and very uncomfortable with everything about them. To be honest: I hated Church and would do anything to keep from going to it.
I first found out about Mormonism, besides the little bits I knew from my family, not long after I met my best friend; Corey Crapo. He mentioned and did things that I found odd but intriguing. He wouldn’t drink coke or pepsi, which baffled me, wouldn’t swear like others, which, once again, baffled me and he would occasionally mention doctrinal things, which got me interested but he would only tell me a bit then tell me to ask the missionaries. But there was no way I would call them up back then so I did what any self respecting teenager would do: I googled it.
Just a little note so you can understand this better: Before I actually met any missionaries, I was pretty much terrified of them. I had absolutely no desire whatsoever to speak to two guys I’d never met before about my interpretation of God, the Bible, etc. And I was especially terrified of them coming over and saying “You don’t believe what we do? You’re horrible!” A very unreasonable fear, but that was how I was.
Anyways, besides researching Mormonism on the internet, I found I had an interest in the religious ideals of all faiths. So I spent much of my spare time looking up all sorts of different religions, from obscure branches of Christianity down to nature-focused Polytheistic religions. Besides being on a quest for knowledge, some part of me was hoping that in all my research, something would hit me and I would know ‘This is it; this is where I’m to belong’. While it never actually hit me like I was expecting, I was consistently coming back to Mormonism. Finally, I determined I liked the ideas of Mormonism, but certain parts didn’t make sense. So I decided, for lack of anything better, to be ‘98% Mormon’, while I still waited for something to hit me and push me towards Mormonism.
Five or so years passed and I began to have a sense of urgency concerning what faith I was going to belong to. I went back to researching, but with the same results. Corey told me about ordering a Book of Mormon online and that gave me an idea. I figured, if I ordered one and read it through, then I would know for sure whether I would join or not. So I went online and started ordering a Book of Mormon. After I filled out my mailing address and clicked to send it in, the most terrifying pop up I’ve ever seen appeared on my screen….”The missionaries will arrive shortly to deliver your Book of Mormon”. Keep in mind, as I said, I had a fear of missionaries. Clicking the ‘back’ button was completely futile, they already had my info and I was scared. I started trying to plan how to get my Book of Mormon without having to actually let the missionaries in. I couldn’t exactly open my door, grab the book from them and slam the door closed in their face. As scared as I was, I did have some manners.
At around the same time, something did hit me in a way; the spur-of-the-moment desire to try going to a Mormon church. Figuring my life was over anyways, I emailed Corey to ask for a ride to Church the following Sunday. Very surprised, he told me when they’d be by to pick me up. That week was probably the most nerve wracking I’ve ever been through. The missionaries, much to my displeasure, came knocking a few days before Sunday. I had no idea they’d actually teach me one of the lessons at that time too, but in they came and I actually, once my nervousness wore off, thoroughly enjoyed myself. That was when I met two of the most awesome guys ever: Elders Drummondo and Lewis. We agreed on another lesson the following week and I finally had my Book of Mormon, which was filled with many circled scriptures for me to find, as well as Elder Lewis’ testimony. If I had to pick a point exactly when I decided to convert, it would have been when I read his testimony. That was the hit, though it may have not exactly been a hit, I had been waiting for, I’m not sure why. I didn’t even know him at the time, but something in it helped me make the connection and I knew where I was headed. But just in case, I didn’t let anyone know my ideas at the time.
However, my struggle wasn’t complete; I still had to endure my first voluntary attendance at Church. But it went much better than I expected, The Crapos were totally awesome, they were even willing to give up their permanent front row seat for the sake of my feeling comfortable if I wanted, and Mrs.Crapo made sure I understood everything. I couldn’t ask for a better first time experience. The only bad part was when my Sunday school teacher, not realizing I was new because I believe he was new too, asked me to say opening prayer. Hoping to look like I knew a bit more than I did, I stood, crossed my arms and bowed my head…And that was as far as I got before I whispered to Corey “How do I pray?” Thankfully, he took over for me before I made myself look even more foolish.
The next week, the missionaries took my mother and me on a fascinating Church tour and Brother and Sister Pierson were there too. At the end, we were sitting behind the pulpit, enjoying the quiet. The Elders were going to leave us there after we had a closing prayer so that we could ponder what we had learned. But before they left the room, they asked me if I would agree to get baptized. Without hesitance, I said yes. In fact, looking back, I think my answer was out before I even fully knew what they asked. I’m pretty sure if my mom hadn’t been wearing glasses, her eyes might have just popped out of her head in her surprise. After they left, my mom, as much as I love her, didn’t seem to grasp the idea that pondering meant quiet. I was bombarded with “Are you sure!? This is huge! You didn’t even think about it!” while Brother and Sister Pierson giggled good naturedly at my mom’s surprise and my ignored hushings. I have to say, my mom, even with all her doubts, was the one who consistently supported my decision full heartedly. Had she not, I’m quite sure all this would have been extraordinarily difficult to go through.
I began going to seminary, reading scriptures regularly, doing personal progress and attempting to catch up on the five years I had missed when I was trying to get over my unreasonable fears. Over the course of April I finished my missionary lessons and met another fantastic person during that time: Brother Hornberger. He explained the one thing I never before really understood: The Holy Ghost and he helped me to understand and listen for it better than I ever could have hoped before.
I don’t think I really told anyone besides my mom, the Piersons and the Elders I was planning to get baptized until a week or two before, which resulted in emails and phone calls from many shocked and…we’ll say disgruntled…people. Looking back, that could have been avoided had I expressed my interest in and knowledge of Mormonism back when I started researching it.
I was baptized on May 1st 2010 and because I figured it would be suiting since he introduced me to Mormonism, I asked Corey to baptize me. It might have been wise to ask someone with a little more experience to do it though, because Corey almost dropped me. Overall, my baptism and the month leading up to it are all pretty much a blur but I remember most pointedly that it was the happiest month of my life, despite my nervousness going into it.
I’d just like to say a bit about the Elders who taught me, since I kind of skipped over them. I’m sure all missionaries are awesome, but of course, these two stick out in my mind because they’re the ones who taught me. I’m quite sure I weirded them out very often with my odd sense of humor, but besides that we had a great time. The things I remember most were two things: Elder Lewis’ motto of “Did you pray about it?” and Elder Drummondo’s explanation of the Atonement, another thing I had a bit of an issue understanding.
Whenever I would tell them about any issues in my life, Elder Lewis would unfailingly ask “Did you pray about it?” While usually quite funny at the time because of the way he would ask it, he drilled it into me over the weeks. I think it is a reminder we could all use on a daily basis when we’re faced with uncertainties. I know, personally, I will often consult many other things before even thinking to pray about things and I’ve come to know, it should be the other way around because the best and most straightforward solution for life’s troubles comes from prayer.
Elder Drummondo explained the Atonement the best way I’ve ever heard it. He said to imagine you wrote a test but it was impossible to score 100%. But the one who could score 100% was Jesus and He helped you get there. In short: Jesus would meet you wherever you were at and bring you the rest of the way. This both explained the Atonement for me and gave me hope. It was one of my favourite lessons.
In my time so far as a member here, I have met some of the most amazing, inspiring, loving, determined, beautiful, creative, joyful, spiritual, knowledgeable and in short fantastically wonderful people here. I have given a short mention to some of you, but there are so many more of you and so much more I would like to say but I’m pretty sure I’m already pushing my time limit. Pretty much, if I have met you, you fall into the categories I’ve listed. If I haven’t met you yet, I’m sure you belong in one of those categories too. Please know I love you, my brothers and sisters, so much and I am so grateful to all of you for helping me realize where I belong.
Because of the missionaries, the friends in the Church I knew and made and all those who have taught me, I’ve learned quite a few important lessons. I know that with prayer and scripture study, usually quite a bit of it, you can find answers to all the big questions concerning life and spirituality. Through these methods, I have come to know that we are guided by a living prophet today and that this is the true Church of God. To know that brings me great joy and I am so grateful to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with a modern day seer and revelator. I am also grateful that we were blessed with Joseph Smith, whom I have also come to know to be a prophet and the translator of the Book of Mormon, without which, we would be lost still. I am exceptionally grateful for the Holy Ghost and the guidance it gives and I know that, no matter where we are in life, Jesus will meet us where we’re at and, through the Atonement; we will be forgiven and lifted up.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ,
Live long & Prosper!!♥
3 hours+ later and I have a church talk that I’m quite happy with. As I did before, after next sunday I’ll post my talk here.
I don’t have enough time to mention everything that I want to though :P.
Now I need a 2-3 minute talk for YW in excellence…But first: Seminary homework!
It hit me when I got up to the pulpit that last time I tried to speak in front of a crowd I ended up freaking out and having to get someone else to do it. Not a good time to remember you don’t like public speaking.
Overall, it went good. Besides the points when my knees were shaking so much that I felt like I was gonna fall and I think I was speaking to fast. And my loverly seesters showed up as a surprise, which was very nice!
As promised, my talk:
Good morning my brothers and sisters,
About 5 weeks back, Brother Hernandez came up to me and asked me if I could do a talk next Sunday. I told him that after church that day, I was leaving for Saskatchewan and wouldn’t be back for 5 or 6 weeks. I asked if I could get my topic so I could start early. Well, he hadn’t even figured out the topics for that far ahead but told me he would let me know when I got back. I thought to myself ‘Aha! I’ve gotten out of it!’ like some people say they’ve been able to do….Yeah…As you can see; I didn’t get out of it.
I’ve been given the topic ‘Blessing the sick and needy’. As I’ve come to understand it, there are a couple ways this can be done. There are blessings that can be given by those who hold the Priesthood, such as the laying on of the hands and using consecrated oil, as well as blessings that come from charity given to those who need it and also through prayer. I was slightly confused as to which specifically I was to cover, but I decided to talk about blessings from charity and prayer because those are blessings we are all able to give.
In Moroni 7:45 it says “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Jesus is the perfect example of charity because along with all the good works he did in his life, like showing compassion for the poor and healing the sick, he blessed us, the needy, with his gift of the Atonement. We should strive to follow his example and help to lighten one another’s burdens through love, kindness and understanding. Not only do we bless others’ lives when we perform acts of charity, but we are blessed too. As you continue to be charitable to your fellow man, the ‘True to the Faith’ book says “You will find that your love increases. You will experience the joy of being in the Lord’s service. The Holy Ghost will be your constant companion…You will be prepared to meet the Lord at the Judgment, when he will reward you according to the dedication to His work.”
A wonderful story of charity and blessing the needy was told by Thomas S. Monson, in the January 2006 issue of the Liahona. President Monson says:
Be an example in charity. From Corinthians comes the beautiful truth, “Charity never faileth.” 17
Satisfying to the soul is the ready response the Church has made to disasters of nature in so many locations. Frequently we have arrived first on the scene following such disasters and with the most help. There are other organizations which likewise respond in a generous fashion.
What is charity? Moroni, in writing a few of the words of his father, Mormon, recorded, “Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.” 18
One who exemplified charity in his life was President George Albert Smith. Immediately following World War II, the Church had a drive to amass warm clothing to ship to suffering Saints in Europe. Elder Harold B. Lee of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Marion G. Romney, an Assistant to the Twelve, took President George Albert Smith to Welfare Square in Salt Lake City to view the results. They were impressed by the generous response of the membership of the Church. They watched President Smith observing the workers as they packaged this great volume of donated clothing and shoes. They saw tears running down his face. After a few moments, President Smith removed his own new overcoat and said, “Please ship this also.”
The Brethren said to him, “No, President, no; don’t send that; it’s cold and you need your coat.”
But President Smith would not take it back; and so his coat, with all the others, was sent to Europe, where the nights were long and dark and food and clothing were scarce. Then the shipments arrived. Joy and thanksgiving were expressed aloud, as well as in secret prayer.
Again, that’s from the January 2006 issue of the Liahona
After witnessing the charity of others towards those suffering in post World War II Germany, President Smith was so moved that he gave the coat off his back to those who needed it. By doing this, he demonstrated how even just witnessing great acts of charity, you can, as the ‘True to the Faith’ book said ‘find that your love increases’.
From Gospel principals, it says “We should not try to decide whether someone really deserves our help or not. If we have taken care of our own family’s needs first, then we should help all who need help. In this way, we will be like our Father in Heaven, who causes rain to fall on the just and unjust alike.”
As we find our love increasing, we will find we are more accepting of others and less ready to judge those who require our assistance, which enables us to help more people without much hesitation.
The second part that I felt I should talk about is prayer. On LDS.org, from the Gospel library, it says “Remember the needs of others as we pray. We should offer prayers “for [our] welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around [us]” (Alma 34:27). We should ask our Heavenly Father to bless and comfort those in need.”
Also from the gospel library: When we make a request through prayer, we must do all we can to assist in its being granted. Heavenly Father expects us to do more than merely ask Him for blessings…Our prayers for our own welfare and for the welfare of others will be in vain if we “turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need” (Alma 34:28).
If we pray for our own wellbeing, we must also remember to pray for the wellbeing of others, otherwise it will be futile. However, when we pray for blessings for those in need, we must also try to act on it, to the best of our ability, and do all we can to help it to happen. Prayer goes hand in hand with charity. Without one, it is unlikely the other will be as effective when we strive to assist others.
I would just like to finish off with a brief excerpt from the Nov 2001 edition of Ensign, where President Monson was quoted: “Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.”
I would like to close with my testimony. I know that through charity, one can find a greater love for humanity and a willingness to help bear others’ burdens with them. I also know that when you give without judgment, good things will come back to you, especially when you’re not expecting it. I am grateful to those who have given to me without judgment, expecting nothing in return, those of you who have generously given your time to me and helped guide me as I joined the Church. I am also grateful to all of you who extended the hand of friendship to me as I was joining; it was wonderful to be welcomed so openly. I am grateful to all those who put up with all my questions, to my family who accepted my decision as best they could and I am very grateful to have received a calling so soon after my conversion.
I have witnessed the power and effectiveness of prayer and know that, when you pray with your heart, you will receive answers and blessings. One of the first answers I received, just before I joined the Church, was to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he translated the Book of Mormon and that it is true. Through prayer, I have also come from having somewhat of a belief in the Atonement to being blessed to know that our Heavenly Father loves us immeasurably, so much so that he has blessed us with the gift of the Atonement. I have also been blessed with many friends who have helped me build my testimony, and with your help, and A LOT of prayer and scripture study, I have come to know this Church to be true.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ,
Well, not quite. My talk needs editing. But I think it sounds pretty good. And I feel I’ve written my testimony sufficiently. After I give it on sunday I’ll post it here!