Trust in the Lord
By Gene R. Cook
May I tell you about an experience of another young man, whom I will call Bill. At eighteen, he was in his first year at the university. He was on scholarship and was anxious to maintain a good grade point average. So he signed up for a speech class that he supposed would be easy.
One day the teacher said, "Students, in my last twenty-five years of teaching, I've given only five A's." Bill's heart sank. He tried to transfer from the class, but it was too late to do so. Over the months he received B's, B-minuses, and once in a while, a B-plus, but never an A. He was disheartened.
Then came the last talk of the semester which would determine half of the final grade. The assignment was to speak for twenty-five minutes, taking a stand on a controversial subject. The class would be allowed to critique the talk orally, and each class member would give a written critique.
As the day he was to speak approached, Bill could not seem to settle on a topic. He prayed about it. Then an impression came to him: "If you're looking for a controversial subject, choose the Book of Mormon."
Bill was fearful, knowing that he was the only member of the Church in the class. His teacher, an active member of a Protestant church, had quoted from the Bible throughout the semester and made it clear that she considered the Bible the only revelation from God to man.
The day of his presentation, as Bill announced his subject, a hush fell over the class. Hoping not to offend anyone-especially his teacher-he began teaching semi-historically and semiacademically. Then, about halfway through, the Spirit came upon him. "I can't just tell them historically about this book," he thought. "I don't care what they think of me, or what happens to my grade. The Book of Mormon is true, and they all ought to know it."
He began teaching pretty much as he had learned to teach investigators while he was a stake missionary. He bore his testimony frequently and even concluded in the name of Jesus Christ.
He waited for the attack. To his astonishment, not a word came from the students. The teacher encouraged them to attack, but they would not. Not one word was spoken. Finally, in frustration, the teacher said, "Be seated, Bill."
The written student reviews were all positive. Four or five wrote, "You have almost convinced me of the truth of what you said." One student, who had been particularly critical of the other students' presentations, wrote, "I really would like to know more about your church." To Bill's delight, he received an A in that class. But even if he had failed the class, he still would have been blessed for his efforts to follow the Spirit's promptings. The Lord has commanded all of us "to stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places that you may be in." (Mosiah 18:9.) Truly he blesses those who, in faith, are "not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." (Rom. 1:16.)
If you have not already, you will face the world, just as this young man did. How much faith will you have? All your decisions, especially the big ones-marriage, mission, school, careers-will be easier to make if you pray in faith, truly trusting the Lord, and then follow the promptings of the Spirit.
(Gene R. Cook, "Trust in the Lord," Ensign, Mar. 1986, 79)
Testimony on a Bus
By Thomas S. Monson
Some years ago I worked with Sharman Hummel in the printing business in Salt Lake City. I once gave him a ride home from work and asked him how he came to receive his testimony of the gospel. He responded, "It's interesting, Tom, that you asked me that question, for this very week my wife, my children, and I are going to the Manti Temple to be sealed for all eternity."
He continued his account: "We lived in the East. I was journeying by bus to San Francisco to establish myself in a new printing company, and then I was going to send for my wife and children. All the way from New York City to Salt Lake City, the bus trip was uneventful. But in Salt Lake City there entered the bus a little girl who sat next to me. As we journeyed westward, I noticed a road sign that read 'Visit the Mormon Sunday School this week.' I said to the little girl, 'I guess there are a lot of Mormons in Utah, aren't there?'
"She replied, 'Yes, sir.'
"Then I said to her, 'Are you a Mormon?'
"Again, 'Yes, sir.'
"'What do Mormons believe?'"
The girl recited the first Article of Faith, and then she talked about it. Continuing, she gave him the second Article of Faith and talked about it. Then she gave him the third, and the fourth, and the fifth, and the sixth, and all of the Articles of Faith and talked about all of them. She knew them consecutively.
Sharman Hummel said, "By the time she arrived at her destination, I was profoundly impressed. All the way to San Francisco I thought, 'What is it that prompts that young girl to know her doctrine so well?'
"When I arrived in San Francisco, the very first thing I did was to look through the yellow pages for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I called the mission president, J. Leonard Love, and he sent two missionaries to where I was staying. I became a member of the Church, my wife became a member, all of our children became members, in part because a young girl knew her Articles of Faith."
As my friend told me this story, I thought of the words of the Apostle Paul: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation." ("Rom. 1:16Romans 1:16.)
Then Sharman said, "I have but one regret. I never asked for her name. I've never been able to properly thank her."
Several years later I was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, dedicating the Milwaukee Stake Center. On the front row I noticed the Hummel family. As I greeted them, I found that they had moved to Milwaukee, Sharman having found a better position there. I asked concerning his current status in the Church. He replied, "I am a president in the seventies quorum and a stake missionary."
I then said, "How many people have you brought to a knowledge of the truth?"
"Twenty-four," he replied.
I thought to myself, "All because a young girl knew her Articles of Faith and had the ability and the courage to proclaim the truth to one who was seeking the light of the gospel." (Thomas S. Monson, Inspiring Experiences That Build Faith: From the Life and Ministry of Thomas S. Monson [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 131-133.)
How I Know: I'm Not Ashamed
by Kevin Mumford
My turn in the line came, and the official-looking woman asked for my name. She looked at her list and said, "So you're the young man from Utah."
"You mean I'm the only one?" I asked.
"Yes, you're our only student here from Utah." She then handed me my nametag with a bold "Utah" printed below my name. As I clipped it on, I felt like I was being branded.
I walked to the hotel elevators with my luggage. Five other high school students with nametags like mine crowded into the elevator. "Hey, you're from Utah. Are you a Mormon?" said a tall guy.
I felt out of place with all of these student leaders from all over the country. "Yes," I hesitantly admitted.
"Yeah, my minister told me all about you. You're the guys who believe in John Smith and his golden glasses, right?"
"I think you mean Joseph Smith," I responded.
"Yeah, that's right. He's the one who said he saw all those angels and stuff. You don't actually believe any of that, do you?"
I didn't even know what to say. The other students in the elevator were all staring right at me. I had just arrived, and already everyone thought I was different. I became a little defensive and spoke up.
"I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God."
Where had that come from? I wondered. I didn't know I had it in me. But the words felt true as they left my mouth.
"Yeah, my minister told me that you were all just a bunch of religious nuts," he said.
With that, there was an uncomfortable pause as the elevator door opened to our floor. As we gathered our luggage, the tall student walked down the hall laughing to himself. I felt a little humiliated.
Right then, a voice from behind me asked, "Hey, don't Mormons have some sort of another Bible?"
Oh no. Here we go again, I thought. I turned to see one of the students who had been in the elevator with me, a very tan guy named Christopher from California.
"It's called the Book of Mormon," I said, half wanting to drop the subject. I picked up my bags and started walking down the hall.
"Is that the book that Joseph Smith translated?" Christopher asked.
"Yeah, it is," I answered. I kept on walking, not wanting to embarrass myself any more.
"Well, do you know how I could get one?"
A phrase from a scripture that had been taught to me by my ninth-grade seminary teacher suddenly came to my mind. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:16). As this thought entered my mind, I felt ashamed that I had been so embarrassed.
For the rest of my week with all of the student leaders, that same scripture wouldn't leave my mind. I was asked all sorts of questions about the Church, and I made many friends. As I answered the questions that I could, I discovered I was proud of my religion. I think I learned as much about myself as they did.
I gave Christopher a Book of Mormon, and he later wrote to me, telling me he had invited the missionaries to his home.
I learned that I don't have to be embarrassed by my beliefs. I know this is the true gospel of Christ, and I am not ashamed of it.
(Kevin Mumford, "I'm Not Ashamed," New Era, Jan. 1999, 26-27)
I am a Latter-day Saint
By Yesenia Luisana Paola
I had prepared long and hard for the entrance exams for a special school in my city of Chiclayo, Peru. I hoped to enter the elementary education program and learn to use my musical and dancing abilities to teach children. In fact, I was so determined, I spent my three-month vacation after high school graduation preparing for the exams.
Like all the best schools in Chiclayo, the school I was interested in was affiliated with the Catholic church. Because this school, which offers courses from kindergarten through university age, had earlier accepted my five-year-old brother, my mother and I assumed that I wouldn't have a problem being accepted, even though I was a Latter-day Saint.
Finally, the day of the entrance exams arrived, and I took the talent portion of the exam-in which we sang, played, and danced with children.
Later, when the time came for my personal interview with a panel of judges, I prayed before going into the room. The three judges began asking about my talents and background. I told them that I belonged to the Municipal Ballet of Chiclayo, that I had finished twelve cycles on the piano, and that I had placed first in the Marinera and Huayno-folkloric dances.
Then they asked me what church I belonged to. I answered, "I am a Latter-day Saint." The judges looked very surprised, but I felt peaceful inside. They asked me if I knew that no one outside of the Catholic religion could be admitted. I replied that I knew God and Jesus Christ lived-therefore, I was a Christian. I concluded by saying that I believed in free agency and knew that I had chosen the truth.
Looking me in the eyes, they told me that I could definitely not be admitted because of my religion, and they asked me if I wasn't embarrassed for what I had said. Words of the Apostle Paul came into my mind: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:16). Then they told me I could leave the room.
All my dreams seemed to have shattered in front of me. I thought of how long I had waited for this opportunity and of all that my mother had sacrificed to help me achieve it. But still, my testimony of the Church was strong. I knew that it was worth far more than my entrance into a school.
When I arrived home and told my mother what had happened, she left for the school. She asked the assistant director why I was disqualified when my little brother had been allowed to enroll. The woman replied that five-year-old Luis Enrique wasn't responsible for what he believed, but that I, a sixteen-year-old, was.
My mother then spoke to the judges. She told them about the Church and about our beliefs in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ. She told them some of our experiences since becoming members in 1983-and about the changes that had occurred in our home as a result. The judges told her, "Don't worry. We will follow up on this."
Mother told me that we should trust in the Lord and that everything would be fine. She also suggested that we both begin a fast.
Later that afternoon, we discovered that I had passed the talent portion of the exams! Now I needed to pass the knowledge test the next day.
I stayed up all night studying. Before starting the test early the next morning, I prayed. The exam seemed easy. I was one of the first students to finish it, and I quickly went home to be with my mother and aunt. We waited all afternoon for the hours to pass-and for the results to be posted.
That evening, I left for school to see the results, praying all the way there. When I got to the office, I read through the acceptance list. My name was on it! The Lord had answered our fasting and prayers.
Busy at my new school, I carried my scriptures with me all the time. One of my favorite verses was Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
I know more than ever that I must never hide my testimony. I must always be proud to say, "I am a Latter-day Saint."
(Yesenia Luisana Paola, "I Am a Latter-day Saint," Ensign, Feb. 1995, 67-68)
I Am Not Ashamed
By Ricky McWhorter
"Thank you, President, I'll be there tomorrow."
What a great man, I thought to myself as I hung up the telephone. President Jerry E. Callister of the Mississippi Jackson Mission had just extended a two-week mission call to me to serve the Lord in the Bossier City, Louisiana, area. What a way to find out what true missionary work is like, I said to myself over and over.
I spent the next 24 hours packing, praying, and preparing myself for everything I could possibly come in contact with during the next two weeks. I prayed that I would be helpful to the missionaries, Elders Abbott and Watkins, with whom I would serve...After meeting Elder Watkins, I had nearly convinced myself that I couldn't be of help to either of them.
I said good-bye to my family, and before I knew it the elders and I were out on the streets knocking on doors. I was amazed at how eloquently the elders approached the people. After an hour of tracting, Elder Abbott turned to me and said, "This house is yours." I almost panicked. Out of nowhere I had this bone-chilling, nerve-deadening feeling.
"I can't," I said embarrassed.
"Yes you can," he said. "You've got to think positively. There may be a potential convert in there."
"Okay, okay," I answered.
As the door opened I could feel my heart sink down to my socks. The room was filled with drunken teenagers-I was only a teenager myself. As I began the door approach they began mocking and tempting us. Why me, Lord? I silently asked.
I didn't knock on another door the rest of the evening. Later that night I began thinking about my day as a "full-time" missionary. Why did I have such feelings? Why was I scared to talk to people about the gospel? How would I be able to serve a two-year mission if I couldn't even stand up to people and share the truths of the gospel for two weeks? I decided that there was only one way to get help with my concerns.
As I knelt down in humble prayer and poured out the desires of my heart to Heavenly Father, a peaceful feeling came over me. A still, small voice told me to search the scriptures. I began flipping through the pages of my Bible when I saw a verse outlined in red. It was a seminary scripture from the previous year. As I glanced down at it I knew my prayer had been answered. A warm feeling of insight and understanding came over me as I read the verse: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16).
Never before had this scripture come across to me with such astounding force. "The power of God unto salvation," I said aloud. That was the key. I need not be ashamed of the gospel because it is the very key to salvation. Without it, not one soul will ever progress after this life.
The next morning I awoke with an inexpressible desire to spread the gospel.
Now five of the people I helped teach in those two weeks are members of the Church. What a strength we can receive through listening to the promptings of the Spirit!
I vividly remember the feeling I had as the Holy Ghost bore witness to me of that important scriptural message found in Romans. And to this day when I am confronted with an opportunity to share the gospel, that same still, small voice whispers in my ear, "the power of ... salvation, the power of ... salvation."
(Ricky McWhorter, "I Am Not Ashamed," New Era, June 1988, 34-35)