By Richard Johnson
We belonged to the Community Church, which denomination I’m not sure of, probably Methodist. We were active as a family, one brother and one sister. My dad at the time was in the process of switching jobs and his new boss was LDS.
He wanted to know more about Mormons so he invited the Missionaries into our home, which was as I look back now the most powerful life changing experience a 12 yr old naive boy could ever expect.
The missionaries in those day taught on a fold up easel with a flannel board and pictures which explained the Restored Gospel and the story of Joseph Smith. This was exactly right for me since I am very visual in my learning.
We always started with prayer and the spirit was invited to be a witness to the truth of the lessons. My conversion was unique and very unexpected for someone of my young age. As the lesson was being taught, I could feel the presence of someone next to me, I could not see anyone but there was this quiet whisper in my ear that what I was being taught was true.
Each of the seven lessons was exactly the same experience, “What they are teaching is absolutely true.” Long story short version is that we did as a family join the Church and experienced a huge change over the doctrine and method of our weekly service attendance.
Now as new members we attended regularly, but I did not grasp the importance of my experience and so became lazy in my studies at seminary and finally after leaving my family to get married became totally inactive.
Several years and two little girls were my immediate concern and I worked hard to support them and my wife. My lifestyle was everything but worthy of my membership in the church and I failed to attend any of my meetings or other activities.
It was at this time that questions about my responsibilities as a father seemed to press upon my mind constantly. I questioned my example as a father to my children and was disappointed in my lifestyle.
I started to wonder more about the Church and why I thought it might be true. So this began a search of the Book of Mormon and for the first time in my life I read it from cover to cover.
I had the type of job where I traveled in my truck which had a camper shell on the back and everyday at noon I would eat my lunch and read the Book of Mormon in the camper where I had privacy and could read and pray.
Now what happened was again totally unexpected but I can never deny. That same unseen person sat next to me and whispered in my ears that what you just read is true. Tears would pour down my cheeks as I experienced that sweet spirit again and recognized the gift I had receive many years ago of the Holy Ghost.
My story is my testimony of the sweetness and truthfulness of the restored Gospel. What might seem strange to some is that I did not kneel in prayer after I had competed the reading and ask if it was true, for I knew that the Holy Ghost had confirmed the truth of every page I read.
As I got older and have read the scriptures time and time again, I always come away with the knowledge that they are true. I testify that our Missionaries come prepared and bring the companionship of the spirit, the Holy Ghost, each time they enter into our homes.
Those who listen as a child would, can have that same confirmation that what they are teaching is the Restored Gospel, and Joseph Smith did see God and His Son in vision and was told to join none of the other religions for he was to serve God and restore the true church once again in this day.
My testimony has served me well over the years and kept me focused on striving and be willing to serve with all my heart.