One of the reasons I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the holistic approach to salvation, the belief that the spiritual nature of God’s commandments affects both the spiritual and temporal aspects of our lives. As an example, my ward (cogregation) is holding a series of workshops to teach members gospel principles and day-to-day applications of industry, thrift and self-reliance. Such topics are particularly helpful in today’s times of economic uncertainty and the threat of recession.

One of the lessons from last Wednesday’s workshop involved two presentations: one on the importance of work and tips for increasing your marketability in the workforce, and the other focused on budgeting and differentiating between needs and wants. You can see the slides from the second presentation here.

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Last week our ward (local congregation) held a Halloween party in our meetinghouse. It’s an annual tradition hosted by the young women of the ward and their leaders. The kids had a ball, and enjoyed the games played in a safe, family friendly environment. My wife lead the cub scouts in a skit for everyone to enjoy. Afterwards, the kids were given the opportunity to go trick-or-treating at a number of the classrooms around the building where families like mine had volunteered to decorate a doorway and hand out candy.

After my oldest son (he’s six years old) finished making his rounds to get candy in his bucket, he came back to my door and asked if he could help hand out candy. It was a great, simple experience working with my son, handing out candy to 2-11 year olds. I can’t help but wonder about the impact it has on our children to see so many people serving and working together to carry out the Halloween party. And, from my son’s behavior, it looks like the example of serving others is rubbing off on him.

This is just one more reason why I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I recognize there are opportunities for service in a variety of organizations. But I’m grateful to be part of a church family in which values of work and service are instilled by lay leaders and dedicated members working together on an ongoing basis for and with our children.

I have many reasons for my testimony that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Firstly, there is a promise contained in the book that I have applied multiple times: Moroni, the last prophet-historian to write his testimony of Jesus Christ in the book extends the following invitation to all who will receive this book:

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts.

 

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

 

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruth of all things.

(Moroni 10:3-5)

I have read the book multiple times. Each time, I’m increasingly aware of the glorious message of the infinite love and saving power of Christ that is contained in the book. And each time I have prayed to ask God if the book is true, I have felt the promptings of the Holy Ghost confirming its truthfulness to my heart and mind.

The witness of the Holy Ghost, which comes to me as feelings of peace, love, joy and as strokes of inspiration to my mind–a still small voice, also testifies of the truthfulness of the Book when I am reading it and trying to draw nearer to God through it.

Whenever I have encountered doubts, or questions have been proposed to me about my faith that I do not have answers to, I go back to reading the Book of Mormon, and I feel that same Spirit again and again and again, inviting me and enticing me to do good, and encouraging me to feast from the teachings of those ancient American prophets as well as the Biblical prophets and our modern-day prophets to come unto Christ and be perfected in him. I cannot deny or rationalize away what I feel and the power I get from reading the Book of Mormon. When I read the Book of Mormon, I feel stronger in overcoming my weaknesses and greater faith that in the strength of the Lord, I can do all things.

Another pillar of my testimony comes from the application of the words of Christ encountered in this book. These holy words give me greater appreciation and love for my Savior Jesus Christ and help me desire to serve him more fully. When I teach these things to my children and apply these teachings to our daily lives, I see the fruits of these teachings. I begin to understand the “blessed and happy of those that keep the commandments of God” (Mosiah 2:41). Applying the teachings found in this and other books of scripture blesses my life every day.

I am thankful for the blessing of the Book of Mormon in my life. I am grateful that I can read from its pages each day. Most importantly, I am thankful for the divine mission of my Savior whose life and teachings are clearly taught in this most precious book.