The First Time…

As I was listening to this talk one question that He posed stood out to me: Do you remember the first time you knew there was a God and could feel His love? After pondering that question I thought…no I don’t remember. There has just always been a God. There has always been someone up there with control over everything and knowledge of everything. Some of you are aware that I did not grow up in the church. I joined two and a half years ago. Just prior to that I was of the opinion that yeah maybe something was up there but I didn’t know who or what or why and I didn’t care. I had never felt His love or a necessity to have him in my life. I was pretty sure if there was a “big guy upstairs” he had forgotten that I was down here. So when did I first truly feel His love? In 2012 I had finally decided that I needed to go to church. I felt like something was missing and I needed to find it. I asked people around me what church they went to. I knew I wasn’t catholic. I knew I wasn’t Lutheran. I had been to a Protestant church once, and a baptist church a few times. But I wasn’t really feeling the jumping and hollering thing anymore and didn’t want to stand and sing for that long. I had no idea what I was, or if I was anything. I was staying with my best friend and her roommate was talking about church. I asked her if I could go with her. The entire time I was sitting in sacrament meeting all I kept think was that I was forgotten and that God, if He was there….didn’t want me in His church. By the time I got to third hour I was feeling so alone and forgotten I was ready to give up my whole search for a church, and that’s when it happened. These are the words that hit me in relief society that day by president uchtdorf:

You are not forgotten.
…wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.

It was that moment that helped me to know that my Heavenly Father loves me. That was the first time I knew.

The rest is history. I met with missionaries, I read the Book of Mormon, I prayed, and three weeks later… I was baptized. I took the first steps to knowing my Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. I took the first steps to eternal life. What were my next steps?

In the end of 2012 I started getting this crazy idea that I should go on a mission. At the beginning of 2013 that¬† crazy idea turned into me putting in my papers, withdrawing from school, and leaving for Montana. Why did I think this was so crazy? I came to montana to share with people the truths that I know and I how they can have an eternal family of their own, and I didn’t even have an eternal family. Not a single person in my family joined with me. To this day that’s still true. It wasn’t until about four months into my mission that I got it. I was working with a family in Absarokee Montana and the parents were coming back to church and the boys were getting baptized and I felt as if this was my family. The last night I was there I told the boys, “I may never get to be sealed to my family forever, but you can.” And I read them this scripture from doctrine and covenants:
“And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.”
By Sharing the gospel with this family I was making them my eternal family. Maybe that’s not really what it’s saying, but I truly felt that they were my family, and that I would see them again. Them having eternal life together helped me to know my Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ.

What is eternal life? It is to know our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. I will pose to you another couple of questions posed in last general conference by elder Jorge klebingat and I invite you to ponder the answers to these questions:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your spiritual confidence before God?

Do you have a personal witness that your current offering as a Latter-day Saint is sufficient to inherit eternal life?

Can you say within yourself that Heavenly Father is pleased with you?

What thoughts come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now?

Brothers and sisters, You have a great gift. You know what it takes to return to live with your Heavenly Father. Share that gift with others, that they might know their Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, that they might have eternal life.

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not

This talk was the first talk I heard on my first visit to an LDS church. It was the last weekend in March 2012. I hadn’t been to church regularly in years. The entire first hour of church I sat there thinking, “What am I doing here? God has forgotten me. He does not want me here.” I was convinced that I was not worthy to be there, that I was not wanted there, that I was forgotten.

When the person recounted this talk to us she got to the one line I needed to hear the most.

“You are not forgotten.”

It was as if God had heard my thoughts and was reaching out to speak to me. I knew in that moment that He was speaking to me telling me that this was the church I needed. He was telling me that He loved me and that He wanted me to be happy and that I could be through this church.

I want to testify to you that you are not forgotten. Heavenly Father knows you. He knows your name and your heart. He wants to reach out to you if you will let Him. Seek Him out in honest prayer and He will always answer you. It may not be in the way or moment that you expect, but it will come.