Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Truth that I have come to know

Hey! Well, today is Sunday and I'm having a good day. This weekend was awesome. I got to go to Nauvoo and Carthage for Youth Conference. I have been to both of those places a few times. To tell you the truth, I was a little dissappointed when I found out that that was where we were going. I'm not a big history fan, so Nauvoo wasn't my favorite place to be. I just didn't find it fun to walk around forever in the heat looking at little houses and shops. It sounds insane to people that like that kind of stuff, I know. But it's just not my idea of fun. Youth Conference was way cool, though. I took more away with me from that trip than all of the other times I have been there combined. I think it was for a few reasons. I was talking to my mom before we went and I told her about how I didn't think it was going to be very fun and all, and she said that I should focus on the fact that it was REAL people who lived and suffered there. It was real people that sacrificed. It's not just some tourist trap with a bunch of houses and old shops and tours through those houses and shops. So I tried to think about that. Also, I wasn't just with my family this time. I had peers and friends to share the experience with. I ended up having a really awesome time. I got to go inside the temple and it was absolutely gorgeous. I got to go to Carthage for a second time and see the room where Joseph Smith's martyr took place. I sat on the sill of the window that he fell out of, mortally wounded. I had a fireside and testimony meeting at the end of the Trail of Hope by the river that the early saints had to cross in the middle of the winter to escape persecution. I walked away with a strengthened testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and of Joseph Smith. Needless to say, Youth Conference was awesome.

I decided something while I was there: Either everything is true, or none of it is. Either Joseph Smith saw God and Angel Moroni and translated the Book Of Mormon through the help of the Lord and it's true and He really was a prophet in the latter days and this is the only true church on the earth, or it's all a load of crap. Either everything that I have ever been taught is true, or everyone has been lying to me this whole time. I have one thing to say: It is true. All of it. I know that. I KNOW it!

There was a time when I was younger that I doubted everything. I think we all go through that phase. I think that we all should. I think that that is the only healthy way to go through life. Chastise me for saying this if you must, but I don't think that anyone should go blindly through life just believing EVERYTHING. I think that you should find out for yourself if it is true. Prove it to yourself. Alfred Korzylski said "There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking." Think, my friends, THINK! Don't blindly, sheepishly believe everything. Prove it to yourself. Find out for yourself if it is true. Otherwise, you're cheating yourself. I have found out for myself. As I said before, there was a point in my life when I doubted everything. EVERYTHING I was ever taught. Especially about the church. I believed that a lot of it was true, but I didn't KNOW. So I prayed. I prayed for a long time for a testimony. I wanted to know that the things that I had been taught were true--or IF they were. It took a long time. I learned that God just doesn't appear and give you this miraculous experience and you all-of-the-sudden know the truth about everything. A testimony is a hard thing to build. But I did it. And it's worth it. I love the church and I don't know where I would be without it. So if you haven't yet, find out for yourself. Once you know what is right and true, then you can stand for something. Don't cheat yourself. For as the great composer of words, William Shakespeare said, "This above all -- to thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night follows the day thou can’st not be false to any man." Be true to yourself. Don't believe what you don't know to be true. Don't let yourself slide by. Find out the truth and stand as a witness to others.

There were a few other things I wanted to say, but I'll leave this entry as it stands for today. Keep it real.

*Imported from my first blog on mindsay.com*

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