Tag Archives: testimony

Joseph Smith and Remembering Mercy

Teichert First VisionI don’t usually go all preachy at Segullah, but I feel the need to talk about my testimony of Joseph Smith, and if I’m more scripture-laden than usual, please forgive me. I’ve been evaluating and thinking about my testimony of him, and I feel that witnessing right now is important enough that I commit the blogging sin of preachiness for a minute.

A while ago I posted on the idea of remembering mercy. I am still stuck on that idea, as it seems to be jumping out at me every time I read the Book of Mormon. It’s in 1 Nephi 1:20, as Nephi wants us to understand that he’s telling us this story, which Mormon placed at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, that we may see God’s mercy in his life (and, if we liken the scriptures to ourselves, in our own lives): Continue reading

Mercy Water

Today’s guest post comes from Heather Kole, who is a full time American student living in Scotland. She spends her free time writing on her tiny mediocre blog, writing lists & running around in general panic. You can find more of her writing at http://honeybeau.blogspot.co.uk.

It was cold in the chapel. As I stepped into the shallow pool and looked at the Elder waiting for me in the water, I grew nervous. “This is the mercy water,” the tiny voice in my heart said.  An instant calm took over my body and my clenched fists relaxed. I took in a deep breath and stepped into the water, feeling the tingling all the way down to my toes. The warm water washed away any and all sins committed before that day, and will continue to do so until I meet my Heavenly Father after mortal death. The Elder held me under to make sure every part of me was under the water, was washed clean. I mused for a brief second while beneath the surface. “This is the mercy water.” That single phrase stuck in my head and repeated itself over and over again that night as I lay in the spare room on my borrowed school dormitory bed. I was wiped clean of sin by immersing myself in that deliciously warm water and dedicating my life to my savior and my Heavenly Father. The water erased everything and created hope. Continue reading

Mi Testimonio en Espanol

IMG_0304-001  Today’s guest post comes from Emily Johnson, who is currently figuring out life in the Southern Hemisphere as an English teacher in northern Peru. She completed her graduate studies at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah with a Master of Professional Communication degree. Johnson also is a contributing writer for Deseret News and Mormon Times. Johnson also is an award-winning artist, photographer, and scrapbooker. Samples of her work can be found at http://goldstarcreative.weebly.com. Besides Johnson’s “Fumbles in Faith” blog, she maintains a humorous blog about her life in Peru at www.peruvianpony.blogspot.com.  Hailing originally from Arizona, this desert native is not missing the typical Utah winter this year.

If someone would have told me this time last year that I would be bearing my testimony in Spanish in a ward in Peru, I would laughed out loud like Sariah from the Old Testament. Yet, at approximately 9:45 am this morning, I was doing exactly that.

For the last four months, I have lived in Piura, Peru as a college English teacher and I have been attending the Los Angamos ward in the Miraflores stake. While I do not speak or understand Spanish fluently, I do understand the Spirit and am grateful for my church membership as I’ve lived in Peru.

I have always enjoyed testimony meetings as a chance to reflect on my own thoughts and I have enjoyed sharing my testimony when the Spirit directs me to do so. I had the opportunity to share my testimony at an investigator’s meeting here in Piura but never in church.

My first fast Sunday in the ward was in August. I prepared a lengthy testimony and planned to share my testimony then, after only being in Piura for about 2 weeks. However, when it came down to it, I was too nervous and scared. Continue reading

By Their Fruits…

“We believe the bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.” Article of Faith 8

“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Article of Faith 13

As members of the church, I think we sometimes believe this in theory, but, at least when it comes to religion, we avoid the seeking part, unless it’s through “official” LDS channels.

Which is unfortunate. Because the fact is, we do not have the market cornered on truth. Nor is our culture a perfect fit for everyone. Sometimes you can hear the same message from two different people, and one of them will really reach you, while the other barely catches your notice.

It’s also unfortunate because as members, in conjunction with our traditional study methods, we have the Holy Ghost available to help guide us. He will let us know the truth of all things, so we don’t actually need to worry about being led astray if we seek with our hearts attuned to the spirit. When ideas don’t resonate; if they have a hollow sound and do not ring true, we will know they are of little value, and ultimately our learning will be directed toward truth, as described in D&C 93.

It’s with this in mind that I share thoughts about one area today.

A few weeks ago I was in Georgia visiting friends. They are Christians, and I had the opportunity to attend their church services while there.

It was my first time ever going to a “mega church”. And by mega, I mean many thousands of people. Between the seven different locations in the area, they have over 25,000 attendees each week. It’s a seriously fine-tuned operation.

It was a vastly different experience culturally, and I’m grateful for the renewed exposure it gave me into how many of our friends and neighbors experience religion and worship. It increased my appreciation for their goodness and faithfulness.  A reminder of just how many truly good, humble, earnest people there are.

Services started with an (optional) live concert. Professional musicians performed while the whole thing was projected onto three huge screens. The audience was on it’s feet singing along when we arrived.

After the music, an excellent sermon was projected via satellite onto the huge screens. The pastor was quite engaging; his message was based on verses in 1 Corinthians. Every word he said rang true with my beliefs. It was part of a series of talks on the topic, and I thought it would be interesting to hear the others, so when I got home I went looking for them online.  While searching, I found several excellent series that I’ve enjoyed listening to, as have my kids.

It is because I know everyone wrestles at some point with relationship issues that I share the following. For some time now I’ve been studying, fasting and praying for direction and answers. I knew I needed divine guidance about our situation, but it never occurred to me that perhaps the truths I sought would be presented by a Christian pastor on the internet. Yet perhaps this four-part series I stumbled upon, Staying In Love, is the missing link not only for us, but also some of you, fair readers.

Even though he no longer believes in any religion, my husband and I have watched all four parts together (they’re about 40 minutes each). Not only did we both enjoy them, they’ve inspired some very good discussions.  Every word of these talks rang true to me, and I’ve gained insights I haven’t had before about the Savior and relationships.  I don’t know what will happen with us, but either way I am grateful for the insights I gained.

Whether you are single or married, happy as clams or barely hanging on, I can’t imagine any couple not benefitting from these messages. And remember, you don’t have to worry about being misled. Just apply 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Our lives can only be richer as we incorporate truth from any source into them.

Have you ever found truth in unexpected places?  Does the thought of attending another church make you uncomfortable? How could being more open to learning about other faiths or belief traditions build bridges and foster community with others? I know style matters, and these may not be to your liking, but if you’ve watched the talks I’ve linked to, what do you think? Did you feel the spirit while listening?

Oh, Girls Camp

As that time of year approaches again, (or, because it may have happened already, depending on your stake/location) I fondly recall my first Girls Camp as a green YW counselor…

I thought there might be body odor and ticks, greasy hair and flatulence, and unflattering color-coordinating t-shirts designating our ranks and unit numbers. There might be circles around the campfire with lilting choruses of “Sinner Man,” “A Woonie Koonie,” “Cannibal King,” and “Mormon Boy,” (someone told me these were real songs). For four days Twilight Woods eau de toilette would be traded for bug spray, and iPhones turned off, the better to compose with pen and paper the warm fuzzy love notes to friends. This is what I expected from my very first Girls Camp. And I was not disappointed!

We set up camp in Tabiona, UT; a.k.a, somewhere on a mountain in the middle of nowhere. Except for the pavilion covering the picnic tables with their red and white checked table cloths, the kitchen from which steaming Dutch oven delicacies were served, the flushing toilets with cupboards neatly stocked with a year’s supply of toilet paper, and YW leaders who brought their spray on tans and a different pair of ginormous dangly earrings to wear every day, the camping might have been authentic. I obviously missed the “Look-Cute-at-Camp” memo, so I just wore the same shirt every day.

I was amazed at what our 16 girls could do while being deprived of Facebook and text messaging. They wielded glue guns and pieces of scrap fabric to make cute headbands and necklaces and hairpins worthy of being showcased on Pinterest and Etsy. They wrote camp-themed skits and designed and constructed their own props. One group wrote a “musical” with a medley of parodies of popular songs rewritten to suit the theme—one of their songs was a new and improved version of Rebecca Black’s Friday song: “Sunday, Sunday, wanna go to church on Sunday…Laurels in the front seat, Mia Maids in the back seat, Beehives in the trunk…”

Everyone was united in the spirit of dispensing warm fuzzies. One of the girls made me a boondoggle during craft time.

There’s something about leaving mascara and deodorant at home and going for days without showering that draws the girls closer to each other. That, and the testimony meeting held just before sunset that lasts into the late hours of the night while the campfire burns down and the stars slowly blink into focus. During testimony meeting, I was the keeper of the Kleenex box, charged with the duty of passing tissue to those (including myself) whose tear ducts are directly connected to the Spirit that moves people to stand up and explain how they’ve come to know the truth of the gospel and Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation.

During testimony meeting I shared my deeply private anxiety that I’d had since coming to YW without having ever been exposed to Girls Camp before. I was anxious about feeling like I didn’t fit in with the “cool” leaders for several reasons: a) I hardly watched TV; b) I didn’t have a baby the girls could clamor over to coddle during the YW lessons on Sundays; c) I didn’t tell embarrassing stories about my husband that made everyone laugh; d) I wasn’t a masseuse like the most recent addition to the YW leader group, who saw, nay, spoke to Ryan Reynolds at her Park City gym/spa one day when he walked by the front desk to ask her where the nearest exit was…the list went on and on.

The gist of my testimony was that I still hadn’t figured out why I was called to YW. What those three days of camp reminded me of though, was that I’d been placed in a circle of exceptional girls. One of the miracles of camp was that we witnessed no petty girl drama whatsoever. I’ve never seen girls braver and kinder, and more considerate of their fellow human beings (given that they’re teenagers). I know that if I’d had friends like them growing up, my life would have been so different. Which led to my other point: while I didn’t really know why I’d been called to YW, I knew what I’d experienced was a result of our Savior’s love. Calling me to YW was one way to show me how much I’d missed, and how I could be part of something so vitally important as helping to strengthen the testimonies of his choice daughters. Plus, my YW calling was an excuse to find out who the Hemsworth brothers are.

What was your first/last Girls Camp experience like? How has Girls Camp changed over the years? Are you a fan of Girls Camp?