Saturday, November 21, 2015

How I Received My Testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints By April Rebecca Conner Smith

I was working at JC Penney’s when I noticed a fairly tall young man oddly hanging around the department I was working in.  He would walk by and then stand around while glancing in my direction frequently.  I finally asked if I could help him with anything and as we found ourselves alone he convinced me that he was hoping to get my phone number so that he could call me and ask me out on a date.  I was 18 years old and he looked a little older than me.  There was something about him that did not frighten me or warn me to stay away so against all that I had been taught I gave him my phone number, besides he was pretty handsome.  He left with a smile on his face and a few minutes later I got my break and went to the lunch counter to smoke a cigarette.  The lunch counter was within eyesight of my department and later he had told me he would not have approached me if he had seen me smoking. 

Our first date was at a Mexican restaurant that had drawings of ancient people on the walls.  He started telling me about these Indians that lived here in America long ago. He called them Lamanites.   Even though he was of age he didn’t drink.  I didn’t know anyone who didn’t drink.  Then I thought he was probably not drinking because he knew I wasn’t old enough.  I later found out that wasn’t true.  He asked me to go to church with him.  My mind was so boggled…here was a cute guy that was smart and didn’t drink and went to church.  I hadn’t ever met anyone like him.  Pretty soon I figured out it was the Mormon Church.  I had gone with a friend once to her church and she was Mormon and it seemed fine.    I never really caught on that it was a way of life and not just something to do on Sundays even though I started going with him to meetings during the week.  One such meeting he called a fireside and it was on Chastity.  I was in awe because no one ever talked to me about that subject.  It was very refreshing. 

Pretty soon he asked if I wanted to go visit his sister and her husband at their house because there were two young men there that they wanted me to meet.  I don’t ever remember being asked if I wanted to take the missionary lessons.  Then we were going over a couple of times a week.  Elder Flores and Elder Vance were really patient with me.  I tried not to smell too much like tobacco or anything else.  Everyone was nice and I learned a lot about their church.  They asked me to pray about the church and I did but I never felt anything.
One night about 3 or 4 months after Dave and I had been dating he called me on the phone and point blank asked if I was going to get baptized.  At that very second I knew in my mind that I had to, despite the anti-Mormon literature my dad had been giving me and that all my friends thought I was crazy.  I knew I had to.  I had been reading the Book of Mormon and I felt something.  I didn’t realize it was the Holy Ghost testifying of it’s truthfulness until later.  My testimony was a mustard seed then but as I have been able to fellowship with good saints and follow the Prophets it has grown into a grapefruit and I pray will continue to grow constantly.

I met Dave in Nov 1977 and I was baptized in March 1978.  I recorded in my journal that I wished I could be baptized again because it was so wonderful.  Little did I know that would happen 31 years later when I had the amazing experience of being baptized for my mother.  I also had my mother sealed to my father and my deceased sister and I sealed to our parents.  I cannot express the joy that brought to my heart.  I pray they  feel the joy that I do.

I was baptized while my husband was serving his mission in Germany.  We were set up on a blind date by his father.  That is a whole other wonderful story that Dave did have a small part in.  We fell in love and were married in the Mesa, Arizona Temple.  We have 4 wonderful children and 5 beautiful grandchildren.  I have been blessed beyond measure because of the gospel in my life. 
I know Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I feel so sorry that because of my sins I caused him pain; yet, I am so thankful for his forgiveness.  I know he has forgiven me for the horribly stupid things I have done.  I feel his forgiveness.  I have felt his arms of mercy around me.  What a wonderful feeling that is.

I love this church he organized to help us to return to our Father in Heaven.  It has helped me raise my children and stay close to the Savior.  More than anything I want my children to know and feel how much the Savior loves them.   I love my Savior.   I know I am a child of God.  I am so thankful for their love I feel in my life every day.   In His holy name,  Amen.

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