My Testimony: Joseph, Moroni, and Me
By Ken K. Gourdin
I bore my testimony in Fast and Testimony meeting in my LDS Ward on January 5, 2014. That’s a rarity for me; I’m ashamed to admit that it’s a challenge for me to put what I do know—or at least, what I want to believe—into perspective because there are so many things I still don’t know. (For example, “God, I want to believe You had something to do with getting me through my very tumultuous post-baccalaureate education, but that’s hard to do, since I can’t seem to get a job period, now, let alone one in that field.” God seems stubbornly silent—dare I say unhelpful?—on the matter. That’s one of the things I implicitly alluded to when admitting what I don’t know.) So I shared, instead, what I do know.
While, other than taking the few minutes before I got up to mentally compose my thoughts, I spoke without a text, this is the text I would have spoken from if I had spoken from a text. (I’m sure that’s clear as mud! ;-D) In other words, I’ve taken advantage of hindsight to improve my remarks by quoting directly the sources I paraphrased while speaking more-or-less extemporaneously. “There are a lot of things I don’t know,” I began.
About those things, I can only say, as did Nephi, “I know that [God] loveth His children. Nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” 1 Nephi 11:17. And I can only say, as God told Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9.
In the midst of trying to preserve the plates while staying alive, Moroni tells us, “I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me. For behold, their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves; and because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ. And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life” Moroni 1:1-3. Joseph Smith tells us, “I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation” Joseph Smith – History 1:25.
I find it hard to believe that Moroni would have gone to such great lengths to bring forth the Book of Mormon, or that Joseph Smith would have gone to such great lengths to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth if these things were nothing but a fraud. What they sacrificed seems to be an awfully high price to pay for something that isn’t true. In light of the conviction and sacrifice of a Moroni and of a Joseph Smith, is there anything we shouldn’t sacrifice, brothers and sisters, to gain a testimony of this work? And is there anything we couldn’t or shouldn’t do for this work once we gain a testimony of it? I submit to you that the answer to both of these questions is, “No.” There is nothing that isn’t worth that sacrifice, because this Gospel is true. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.