When I was asked to speak today, very quickly the words of Marjorie Pay Hinckley came to my mind which I would like to use today. “"How did a nice girl like me get into a mess like this?" — Marjorie Pay Hinckley I love that lady and someday I hope to meet her. I want you to know that I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to speak with an apostle and special witness of our Savior Jesus Christ. How blessed we are to have him here with us.
I was asked to speak today on how we can draw nearer to our Savior Jesus Christ. In Doctrine and Covenants verse 88:63 it gives us a prescription on how we can do that. It says, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Brothers and sisters, this passage clearly shows us the way to feel close to our savior. It takes action on our part–there comes a time in our lives when we cannot rely on the testimony of others. WE must act in Faith. WE must be the doers. We must be the seekers. We must be the askers. We must build ourselves upon the rock of our redeemer! “and now my sons, Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” Helaman 5:12
If I could write a prescription for all to draw nearer to Christ it would say, “Take a dose of death, illness, financial distress, wayward children, or injury. Add to these, sins of the world and be sure to include depression and loneliness.” In Helaman, the people of Nephi were given trials because “the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them.” For those who have faith in a loving Savior–we experience trials to increase our stature in faith and our love for the Savior whom we lean on during these times. Christ tells us that “they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” (Matthew 9:12) None of us want a prescription for those things and none would ask for trials, but I testify to you that it is through the trials we experience in this life that our testimony of the Savior will increase. He will comfort us and be a sure foundation that you will be able to lean on. In those moments of despair, you will understand his promise, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.” John 14:18.
I would like to share my own and my family’s personal storm that beat upon us and brought not physical pain, but a very real and deep emotional pain. We had wanted more children and decided to become foster parents. I have two sisters in Utah who were able to adopt children through the Utah foster program and I, having faith and knowing this was a righteous desire, thought that we would be granted the same if it was what the Lord wanted in His goodness and mercy. I also went into being a foster mom knowing that this would require a miracle in Wyoming as the laws here are less geared towards children advocacy but I figured at least we could have small children in our home again.
Soon after becoming foster parents, we got sisters–a 3 year old sassy little brown eyed girl and an 8 month old blue eyed little baby girl. The love we felt for these babies was immediate. The babies loved us as we did. Our family grew closer over this time than perhaps we had ever been. They brought joy to our lives. The time we were to have them was not long–only a few months we were told. Because of situations in the case, a few months turned into 6 which turned into a year which turned into 15 months. I began to think that if I had enough Faith that these little girls could be our miracles that I had hoped for. I began to plead with the Lord that we could keep them. I felt like it was a righteous desire knowing we could provide for the girls’ temporal and spiritual welfare. Knowing they would be raised in the gospel and would be able to be sealed to us. We fasted, we prayed and we served faithfully in our callings. Keeping them was not meant to be–the healthy bonds that we had created over that time were to be broken. When they went home to their mom and dad, it was a complete loss for our family.
As a mother, I missed them immensely, but more than anything I agonized over their welfare. We were able to visit them a couple of times after they went home and forever etched in my heart is the last memory we have of them. Gavin was holding the baby, now 2, and when she knew she couldn’t go with us, she wrapped her little arms around his neck and began crying. Not a sobbing cry like small children do, but a soft tears streaming down her cheeks cry as she plead with us, “I want to go home.” Gavin began crying too as did the rest of us.
This was our last memory of our little baby girls. This was our storm that beat us relentlessly for months trying to have Faith that our Father in Heaven knew what was right for them and us. It was my personal shaft in the whirlwind that I had to totally rely on my Savior Jesus Christ to be there for me when I was going through something that most others could not understand and even I could not understand. But, because our family was built upon the rock, we came through that experience all of us more sure of who we are and who the Savior Is. I would not ever want to experience that pain and suffering that I felt, but I would not change a bit of that experience for the closeness that I and my family felt to our Savior.
Again, as doers of the word, feeling my Savior’s love for me took action on my part to overcome the trial that I faced. It was on my knees that I felt the tender comfort and strength that I needed. It was reading my scriptures that I felt the peace and found the answers that I needed. Brothers and sisters, the scriptures are the best mental health manual you can buy…and the missionaries can give you a copy for free!! It was serving in the church and attending my meetings that helped me to forget about me. Charitable friends and family having the love of Christ reached out to us and offered us words of encouragement and sympathy.
As I think of that little baby girl clinging to my husband’s neck, I think of us before we came to this Earth life wanting to come back home. Our Father in Heaven loves each one of us and wants us to come back home. He loved those baby girls before I loved them, and He needed them to be with their mom. He provided for us a Savior, Christ the Lord and “he shall go forth suffering pains and afflictions of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people.” (Alma 7:11-12). He is sent to redeem us…each of us. There is no respecter of persons with this promise.
Mortal life will bring us the raging tempests and storms–in a literal sense we have seen the storms plaguing our country since last general conference. Brothers and sisters, we must be followers of Christ. We must build our foundations so that we will not fall. I know my Savior lives and loves me personally. I know He understands my pains and shortcomings because he suffered for them. I know the scriptures are true and will give us direction and answers we need. I know that we are led by a living Prophet. I know that Elder Richard G. Scott has been called of God to be here today to testify to us of things that each of us needs to hear. I know that God lives and He loves us. I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.