With every person we teach, I feel I am finding more and more that what and how I teach is not always the most important thing. I love the verse in the Doctrine and Covenants 42: 14 “And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.” It is the Spirit that is the real teacher. We need to have it as missionaries, and the investigators need to take time to find it themselves. In order to understand the fruit of the gospel, it is important to get beyond the peel, but really get into the fruit so we can taste it for ourselves. So we can see the fruit and the blessings of it in our lives. Melanie is one person who we were recently able to meet and work with a little. I feel she was able to see the truth as she took the time to delve into the gospel and taste the fruit for herself. She was recently baptized just before Christmas, and she was kind enough to let me publish her testimony below. This is one she wrote just before she was baptized.
When I first heard about the church, I was very skeptical. I based my opinions about it on probability and facts, which is obviously a horrible way to approach a problem of faith. After Noah decided to go on his mission, I became more supportive and we stopped having arguments about religion. I attended church with his family once or twice to show my support and I enjoyed it, but I still did not believe any of the doctrine. I loved the main values, such as importance of family, charity, and love but could not get past some of the more controversial points like Joseph Smith and the Word of Wisdom even though deep down I knew they made sense. For instance, I had been going to college parties and drinking, and while I knew that bad things often happened when I drank for some reason I did not put two and two together for a long time.
It was not until after Noah left that I realized I was curious to learn more. After one week at the MTC, he sent me a letter urging me to take the missionary lessons and get baptized. I was overwhelmed by the intensity of his plea and tried to forget it, but I couldn’t. All I could think about was learning more about the church. I began doing my own research and chatting with missionaries online. One thing led to another and soon I was taking a lesson every week.
That was at the end of the summer. When I came back to school, I began coming to church and taking lessons with the missionaries here. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I felt like I was seeing the world for the first time. I prayed, even though I felt like I was just talking to myself (and still kind of feel that way). I read my scriptures and I realized that I always felt happier on days when I found time to read the Book of Mormon. Every Sunday that I can’t attend church, I feel empty and lost until I read some scriptures and feel whole again. Since I have started exploring this church, I have become a happier person. I am more comfortable with my place in the world and at peace with others around me. Small things no longer bother me and I forgive others more easily for their mistakes.
Last year I did not even believe in God, and now I am getting baptized in a month. This church has already changed my life for the better in the four short months I have known about it, and I know that as I continue to make and keep my covenants and foster my relationship with Heavenly Father, my life will be enriched in ways I never imagined and I will be able to have the gift of eternal life with my family and loved ones. Knowing what I now know, I would not give this up for anything. Even though my family is not being that supportive, I know I am doing the right thing and that by becoming part of this church I will bless not only myself but also those around me. I can’t wait to go to church and get baptized because finally I feel like I have a place where I belong. I feel like I am coming home.
I know this church is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that as I continue to grow and explore the gospel, I will continue along the plan that was laid out for me and become closer to our Father and Jesus Christ. I have faith that if I keep my covenants and continue to progress, my life will be blessed with joy and peace. I can’t wait to have the companionship of the Holy Spirit with me to guide and comfort me through life’s tribulations. And I say all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.