Today is a special day here in the great state of Utah. Today we honor our pioneer ancestors who made the journey of more than 1,000 miles across the United States to escape the awful persecution that had descended upon them. They did not know where they were going. They did not know what hardships were ahead of them, but they pressed forward anyway.
I have a deep love and great respect for these faithful children of God. Many of them were my own ancestors and as I have read stories about them and journal entries that they wrote with their own hands, I have felt a great surge of love and feel privileged to have their brave blood flowing through my veins.
With each story that I hear, my testimony of this gospel of Jesus Christ deepens.
How could this gospel be anything but true?
These faithful men and women had testimonies that burned bright and they knew that all would be well in the end. I, too, have had my testimony forged in the flames of great despair as I have faced many of my own Rocky Ridges. Through all of those experiences, I have chosen to stick with my Savior because in Him, I find peace.
Yes, the unknown is scary. Yes, it is hard to not know the answers to questions that try my faith. But, like the pioneers, I choose to press forward with Christ. I choose to rely on faith instead of fear. Humility instead of pride. I choose to turn to God when I have questions and not to the world. I choose Faith because it is the only way that will bring me everlasting peace.
I found a great video that describes the journey our pioneer ancestors took. It's a bit lengthy, but well worth the time on this Sabbath Day. As you watch it, I hope that you are able to reflect on your own ancestors, whether they were LDS pioneers or not. We are all pioneers in something and we all have the opportunity to choose to press forward or to stay in our comfort zone.
I honor these brave men, women, and children this day and every day. Their strength, courage, and determination to follow Christ has helped my own faith, strength, courage, and determination increase. I know that they knew. They knew that by having faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ, would be what would save them. They knew that even if they did not make it to the Salt Lake Valley, that all would be well in the end.
"What else but a divine restoration would prompt such an endeavor
I know that there has been a divine restoration of Christ's full gospel. I know that the prophet, Joseph Smith, did in fact see God and Christ and that they did speak to him. I know that God still speaks to a living prophet today to give us direction and guidance to help us navigate the stormy seas of life. I know that following Jesus Christ requires sacrifice, hard work, and obedience to things that we sometimes don't fully understand.
I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I choose to follow Him and I choose to work hard and exert massive amounts of effort so that I don't mock His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. I choose to have faith in every footstep, even when it takes every ounce of faith that I have and then some. I do this because I want to hear "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." I want to humbly bow at my Savior's feet knowing that I have given it my all.
I am loving my second chance at life.
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