One of the things that sets the LDS Church apart from everyone else, is the fact that we believe that God can still speak to men TODAY! Most Churches believe that God once spoke to men, but is now silent. That is something that has always confused me…why would God love those people more than us now? And the most prominent visit He has made in the latter days, was on a spring morning in 1820 to a 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith.
How did you gain your testimony of Joseph Smith?
This is such an important thing to document! For a lot of people, it was the key turning point to gaining their testimonies.
Record your testimony of the First Vision by writing it down, typing it, scrapbooking it, or even doing a video or audio recording of you relating the experience(s).
What Natalie wrote:
During the summer between my 8th and 9th grade years, I was working on my Young Women Personal Progress. One of the goals was to read the Book of Mormon. I had never read the Book of Mormon cover to cover before. As I began reading the Book of Mormon, I read the Introduction, "We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah."
I remember reading all day and into the night. I couldn't put it down! As I read the Book of Mormon, I came to love the stories of King Lamoni, Ammon, Nephi, and Enos. As I was finishing my goal, I read Moroni's promise, found in Moroni 10:
Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
As I prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true, I also prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I received a testimony that day that it was true.
I remember as a missionary, sharing the Joseph Smith experience with each of the people I had the opportunity to teach. Each time as I recounted the First Vision, the spirit bore witness to my heart again and again.
"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
Last summer I had the opportunity to visit the Sacred Grove. I happened to be there the day the Mormon Tabernacle Choir visited. I will never forget the spirit I felt as they sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer."
It has been some 18 years since I first gained my testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. This testimony still burns within me.
What I did:
I made a page in my testimony book (a scrapbook where I’ve been documenting how I gained certain parts of my testimony). Here’s a look for how I gained my testimony of Joseph Smith. (I hope you can read it—click on it to make it bigger if you can’t.)
That was the left page, and this is the right page. I spent a day on Temple Square one day taking pictures of things that I could write my testimony about, and got a picture of this statue of Joseph Smith.
A few years ago, when I was a Relief Society teacher, I was looking online for some inspiration on a lesson I was teaching about Joseph Smith. I came across this video which is absolutely stunning. (Sorry, it won’t let me embed it.) You NEED to watch it just before you record your testimony. I feel the Spirit so strongly burn in my heart each time I see it, that this is true! I am truly grateful for Joseph Smith and I know that he is a prophet of God!
Now I challenge you to record your testimony of Joseph Smith, and how you gained that testimony!