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October 1998 General Conference
"Ye Also Shall Bear Witness"
Ronald T. Halverson
There are many on the earth who desire a witness of truth and earnestly seek the peace and joy promised by the Savior.
Several years ago I interviewed a young woman for a temple recommend to receive her own endowment and to be married and sealed for time and all eternity. As I completed the interview and signed the recommend, tears were streaming down her cheeks. I said, "Please share with me your feelings." Then she told me the following story.
Since her youth she had sought to find truth and direction in her life. She had yearned to find peace and happiness, but no matter where she looked, she could not find it. It had come to a point where she was very distraught, assuming there was really nothing in life that had true meaning or was fulfilling. In this frame of mind, one evening while visiting a dear friend and recounting her concerns and despair she said: "I looked behind the sofa where I was sitting to the bookshelf. My eyes fell upon a particular volume, and a compelling feeling came over me. I knew I needed to find out what was written on its pages."
She took the book from the shelf and read the title, the Book of Mormon. She asked her friend where she had received it. Her friend indicated that two young missionaries stopped her on the street and gave her the book but only after a commitment to read it. Due to a lack of time, she had just put it on the shelf.
"I started to read," she said. "I could not put it down." A feeling came over her that she had never felt before. Her friend told her that she could take the book with her. She went home and continued to read through the night. The next morning she went into the streets looking for the two young missionaries. It didn't take long to find them. They agreed to teach her the gospel, and in a few weeks she was baptized a member of the Church.
Through her tears, she explained that since that day she had found a joy and inner peace that she never dreamed possible.
Living in a small town with few members and even fewer opportunities to marry in the Church, she didn't dare hope that she might one day marry in the temple. But she felt it was through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that she met a young man while vacationing in another country. He was a member of the Church and honored his priesthood. They had fallen in love, and he had asked her to marry him in the temple. The realization that she could now go to the house of the Lord and be sealed for time and all eternity brought joy to her soul and feelings of thankfulness and gratitude that were overwhelming and impossible to describe.
"I continue to ask myself," she said, "why me? Why me? I am so blessed."
Her humble, sweet spirit and testimony touched me deeply. As she left, we both shed tears of joy and appreciation.
I have often thought of that experience, and each time I do, it brings a deep feeling of gratitude for our Savior and what He has done for us, for the price that He paid to make it possible for each one of us to find inner peace in a troubled world.
President David O. McKay wrote: "From the forty days' fast on the mount of temptation to the moment on the cross when he cried in triumph: 'It is finished!' Christ's life was a divine example of subduing and overcoming. Full of significance are his words spoken in his farewell address to his disciples: 'These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33)."1
The peace that He spoke of is defined by one writer: "True joy is an intense inner peace and happiness."2
It is the peace that Paul spoke of, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding."3 The gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace of mind, heals the soul, and calms the troubled heart. It gives definition and meaning to the purpose of life, the spiritual reassurance that God lives and Jesus is the Christ.
Joy and peace of mind that truth seekers throughout the world desire to find can only be found by knowing and living the principles of the gospel. The Savior said: "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."4
Elder Franklin D. Richards extended an invitation to all who seek true joy, in these words: "Those who are seeking a plan of life that will bring them peace, relief from inner tensions, happiness, and growth and development will find it in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ." He followed by saying, "We invite your sincere and prayerful consideration."5
There may be those who feel like they are lost and too far gone to receive the great blessings that the gospel can give, but Elder Spencer W. Kimball wrote: "The essence of the miracle of forgiveness is that it brings peace to the previously anxious, restless, frustrated, perhaps tormented soul. In a world of turmoil and contention this is indeed a priceless gift."6
After the Savior taught His disciples of the peace He would leave with them and the Comforter He would send from the Father, He charged them by saying, "And ye also shall bear witness."7 He taught that "herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."8
Brothers and sisters, there are many on the earth who desire a witness of truth and earnestly seek the peace and joy promised by the Savior, but "who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men . . . and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it."9
We live in a world where many hear of Christ but do not know Him. It is incumbent upon us as members of the Church to share our testimony with others. In humility, we bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. If they will but open their hearts to Him, they will find the reassurance, the peace and joy that His gospel brings. They will find strength to meet the challenges of life in a difficult world, and by accepting His teachings and keeping His commandments they will be heirs to His promised blessings.
To this I bear my humble witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
1. Obert C. Tanner, Christ's Ideals for Living (1955), 379.
2. Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia (1988), 287.
3. Philip. 4:7.
4. John 15:1011.
5. "Justice, Mercy, and Humility," Improvement Era, June 1970, 37.
6. The Miracle of Forgiveness (1969), 363.
7. John 15:27.
8. John 15:8.
9. D&C 123:12.
(See Testimony Bearing; Conferences home page; October 1998 General Conference home page)
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