I cannot remember when I didn’t know about the wonders of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I recall from my earliest years, talking about Christ and learning about him through my parents. Through watching how my parents treated others and listening to their discussions about the wonders of life (always positive), the Smith children always had the blessed opportunity to have a Christ centered home and understand the divine blessings we enjoyed. Discussions about God and the Savior were common place and unabashed. As we matured, these discussions seasoned and developed our sense of our wonderful lives. Our friends were attracted to these discussions as they did not enjoy the same level of spiritual openness within their homes.
I was taught that you are in or out when it came to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing was “Luke warm” in anything we undertook, specially living good and wholesome lives. I was taught that living Gospel principles “life”, should be undertaken with gusto and energy and I have taken these great ethics into my life and hopefully passed them on to my own children. I was taught to embrace these wholesome and “love of God” lifestyle from an early age – and I am so grateful for that.
Mom and dad were always serving others in the community and the ward. Serving became very personal and I feel their examples taught us all to serve with all our heart, might mind and strength, divine principles taught by the Savior. My life was filled with support for others and it became part of my life like others might have more self-centered passions. Saturdays were filled with service at home and away. Helping others, as the Savior did, became a norm. What a blessing to enjoy these lessons from goodly parents.
As I grew and moved away to college from the comforts of a Christ-centered home, these lasting life lessons strengthened and sustained me. The balance within my life included serving God by following the examples learned at home.
While I always felt the love of God through service and keeping the commandments, there was one life altering night in my life that solidified my testimony of the Savior. While in the Mission Training Center (MTC) I embraced the words of Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone as he discussed the Atonement and how it changes lives. My life changed that night. I knew for a certainty I had much to improve in my life to enjoy the power of the atonement.
My marriage to a faithful and loving wife strengthened me and together we passed our love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. Wherever we moved as a family, service within the congregations and to others was paramount.
I thank my Father in Heaven for the knowledge of His existence and for the divinity of his Son. I know the examples of my parents were the base of this awareness. How can I ever repay them for following the principles of the Savior and passing them on to me and my brothers and sister? I know that the challenges of the world will continue to test my faith but I know that through continued faith, study and service will sustain me.