i taught the lesson in relief society this past sunday and loved it so much that i wanted to share... please take the time to click here and read about faith and testimony, in the words of howard w. hunter. i especially wanted to share about how the gospel entered my own family... all starting with this beautiful, worn, very old copy of the book of mormon
“the supreme achievement of life is to find god and to know that he lives.”
i read this sentence a few times over when i began to prepare this lesson and i feel as though it describes faith and testimony in itself. to find god – requires faith, to know that he lives - is our testimony
this book of mormon (an 1888 edition) belonged to my great-grandfather (my mothers grandfather) stanley henry leopold marshall, who met the missionaries, purchased this copy of the book of mormon for 1 pound and was baptised in london in the 1920s. he and his wife violet may marshall then made the choice to take a ship to new york, took the train to utah and joined the saints. my grandfather was born in salt lake city in 1924 and grew up in the gospel. stanley worked as a clerk for some time, but developed cataracts, as his sight worsened he worked as a gardener at the salt lake city temple. sadly he eventually lost his sight altogether and it was then that they decided to return to england to live. back in england the church became less of a priority and over time the family fell away, leaving my grandfather without the gospel in his life. due to being american born, jobs in england around this time were difficult to find and eventually he joined the american army and served in the peace keeping corps in germany after world war two. whilst on leave in england he met my grandmother who was a friend of his sister. they were married in 1948 and moved to australia in 1952. fast forward to 1964 when my mother was a child and the missionaries knocked on their door in mount pleasant, western australia. my grandmother felt something and asked the missionaries to come back... my grandfather said "you do whatever you want to do, but i'm already a member and clearly i haven't been going for all these years..." she persisted, joined the church and he eventually became active again.
five years earlier just a mere 10 minutes away, my fathers mother had the missionaries knock on her door and asked them come in, much to my grandfathers annoyance. he supported her in her decision to learn more, whilst showing zero interest, but as the missionaries taught her, he moved from the kitchen, to the dining room, to the lounge room doorway, eventually to the lounge and after a few months more he joined them in the gospel. both of my grandmothers had lost a child and grasped onto the promise of an eternal family as they learnt more about the gospel. how grateful i am every single day for these two stubborn women who stood up and made their choice, regardless of what their husbands thought, to enable me to have what i have.
both of my grandmothers died when i was very young (mums when I was 3 and dads when I was 6) so the very few memories i had of them have almost gone... i look forward to the day that I can actually get to know them too. i just know that they set a fine example for our family with their dedication to attending church, serving within the gospel and their unwavering faith and testimonies.
as the result of all of this, i was lucky enough to have been raised in the gospel. how grateful i am for that.