Well, the last two years have come to a close. My service as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come to an end. That, however, doesn't mean that my testimony of the Church or its truthfulness has diminished. Here is my testimony for all of you!
Over the course of my mission I was able to read the Book of Mormon at least 3 times. Each time I opened its pages and truly began to search, instead of read, to discover, instead of scan, to internalize, instead of simply learning the words, I found that the Spirit, The Holy Ghost, would testify to me in its quiet way that the book was true. I know that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and that it teaches and testifies of Him, His love for us, and His plan to bring us all home again one day. The Spirit is one who will lead you into truth, we are taught that by the power of the Holy Ghost we may know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:4-5). Through my study I came to know the consequences of choosing wrong and the blessings that come from choosing right. I learned the feelings that accompany righteousness are true and lasting happiness, peace of mind and heart, love for others, a desire to share the good we have, and a life full of purpose and direction because we know where we came from and where we have the potential to go after this life.
I learned that the consequences of sin consist of remorse of conscience, an empty heart, fear, pride, anger, lies, and every other negative thing that pulls us away from our Savior. I came to recognize the times in my life when my actions were filling me with these negative feelings and realized that it was the time to repent and to change from the fear to the peace, the anger to the kindness, the empty heart to one that can love. I know for a fact that The Atonement of Jesus Christ works. I know that it can change, not only your actions or feelings, but your very nature and disposition. It can change you so that the evils you once desired no longer have a hold on you and that the pride that ruled your life can be changed to humility as you follow the counsel of the Savior to follow Him.
I know that Christ lives because I have felt and continue to feel His influence in my life. I know that the peace I have found is only because of Him and what He has done for me. The changes in my desires, my thoughts, and my actions have been dramatic to say the least and to say that I did all of that by myself would be as false as trying to convince you that the sky isn't blue. Men can change behavior but only the Savior can truly allow us to change our nature. The Atonement removes the consequences of our past mistakes as we take them to the Savior in repentance, and it is through that repentance, that turning to God, that we are able to rebuild, restart, and become reacquainted with the things of righteousness in this life.
I know that the man I am now is a product of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that I still have a long way to go, but I am grateful for how far that He has allowed me to come thus far. I know that God loves us, that His son Jesus Christ died for us, was resurrected, and now lives to guide and direct His church on the earth today. I hope you know that He loves you. He can change you if you'll let Him. I leave that with you in His name, Jesus Christ. Amen.