"I was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these
things, by the power of the Holy Ghost."
I Nephi 10:17
I had the wonderful opportunity recently to sit in the large sealing room in the Draper Temple. It is so beautiful. In the center, just above the alter, is a huge chandelier that hangs from the very, very high ceiling. The translucent glass windows towards the head of the alter allow the bright sunlight to filter into and throughout the room. It just feels just like you hope heaven is like.
I was in this beautiful room as Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone performed the marriage for Chad Williams and Brianna Pace from our Stake. I just love Elder Featherstone! We are so fortunate to have him live in our stake. He is such a great example to me. Often, as I serve as Stake President, I find myself thinking; “What would Elder Featherstone say or do in a situation like this?” This is because I admire and respect him so very, very much. I KNOW Elder Featherstone (and Sister Featherstone, too) would do anything for the Lord. He loves the Lord with all his “heart, might, mind, and strength.” He should be an example to all of us.
While we were sitting in this beautiful sealing room Elder Featherstone gave some wonderful and wise counsel to the Bride and Groom. (I often think giving advice at a wedding is like speaking at a funeral … the one you want to hear your comments isn’t listening.) But Elder Featherstone’s advice was great for everyone there. The thing I remember most about what he said is this:
“I know these things are true with every ounce and fiber of my being.”
I want you to know that I know Elder Featherstone knows the gospel is true. And I believe the reason he knows this is because he lives so the spirit can impress upon him every day that this is so. That how you know things are true … your faith and experience tell you so. For example, I know the sun will rise in the morning, not because I know all the science behind it, but because that’s what it’s done every single day of my life. It’s never failed. If it failed once, I wouldn’t be so sure, but my experience tells me it will rise in the morning and my faith each day confirms it.
It’s like knowing the truth. The Holy Ghost testifies of all truth. If you want to know that Jesus is the Christ - that Joseph Smith was a prophet - and that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored, you need to feel the promptings of the spirit … not just once or twice … but daily. This is how your faith grows to knowledge. It’s comes through the continual promptings of the spirit.
I want each of you to know that I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man (will) get closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.” (Book of Mormon introduction) I know it’s the word of God, not because I read it once … or that I read it a long time ago. I know it’s the word of God because I read it today; I read it yesterday; I read it the day before that and before that and before that … And each time I’ve read with a sincere heart I have felt the spirit testify that it is true. I’ve felt that feeling over and over and over and over. I know it’s true because I’ve had the continual promptings from the spirit witness it to me. This is how “belief” turns into “knowledge.”
I’m so glad I have knowledge from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It makes so many other things in my life much easier. It makes it easier to follow the guidance of the prophet; it makes it easier to pay my tithing, to obey the word of wisdom; it makes it easier to stay away from pornography and other sins of the world. It removes many of the “stumbling blocks” of life that so many others face every day.
I’ve had the opportunity to bear strong testimony that it is the word of God. One of those times was in March 2009. I was in Chicago on business. It was a cold, cold day. After my meetings were over I quickly caught a cab from downtown to O’Hare airport.
I got into the warm cab, and the cab driver asked me where I was off too. (This was after he said he wasn’t very anxious to take a passenger all the way out to the airport; but, he said if I were to give him a large tip it would make it worth it.) I nodded and told him I was flying home to “Utah.”
He asked me, “What is Utah famous for?” Being March, I said, “Well, it’s famous for its mountains and the snow.” I told him the 2002 Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake. Then I told him it was also famous because it was the headquarters of the Mormon Church.
Our eyes were now glancing at each other in the rearview mirror, as they would for the remainder of the ride. His next comment was somewhat funny; he said, “I wish I could be a Mormon.” I asked him “why?” He said, “That way I could have more than one wife.” I chuckled and told him we don’t have more than one wife and that if anyone had more than one wife they wouldn’t be a member of our church. I told him I have one wife to whom I’ve been “happily married to for almost 32 years.”
He then said, “Well, you used to could have more than one.” I mentioned that the practice had been discontinued in 1890. But I got the sense that he knew more about the Church than he was originally letting onto.
I asked him about his religion. He had a mid-eastern accent. He told me he was raised in India and that now his beliefs were a combination of Islam and Christianity. I told him that seemed like an odd mix. He replied that he had the foundation of Islam but had converted to Christianity and now believed the Bible.
I told him I read the Bible and he quickly jumped in … “But you have another book.” I said, “Yes, I also read the Book of Mormon.”
His eyes focused on me in the rear view mirror and he suddenly got very serious. He said, “You shouldn’t read that book!”
I was caught a bit off guard but asked him why. He said because “it’s not a good book.”
I then, also got suddenly serious and said, “Oh, no, no. It’s a wonderful book. I love the Book of Mormon. I love it because it teaches me about Christ. I have learned more about Jesus Christ from reading this book than any other book I’ve ever read. It validates everything the Bible teaches and is another witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I read it every day. It makes me a better person.”
He was silent for several moments.
When our conversation continued we talked more about Christ. We talked about service. We talked about his son who was serving needy people in the inner-city as a missionary. I told him about my service as a missionary. It was pleasant. And I gave him a big tip.
I was most pleased though, because he knew how I felt about the Book of Mormon, but more importantly that I wanted to follow the Savior. I couldn’t have done that – with the total conviction of my soul – if I hadn’t known by the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon was the word of God and that it testifies of my Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
I believe, like Nephi, I had a desire to know by the Holy Ghost, the truthfulness of the Gospel. I testify to you that I do have this testimony. I promise it’s a testimony you can have, too. But more importantly, the Lord promise that you can have this knowledge. One of the last things Moroni writes in the Book of Mormon is this promise.
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that he 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. (Moroni 10: 4-5)”
I would ask you to do what I have done. Read the Book of Mormon. Ask the Lord with a sincere heart if it is true and then listen to the feelings of your spirit. The Lord promises you will feel of its truth by the power of the Holy Ghost. And I know that is true. I know it “with every ounce and fiber of my being.”