For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Brenden Galloway. I have been called to serve in the Washington Seattle mission preaching in American Sign Language. I head off to the MTC in ten days. So I have been given a topic to talk on today, but I figured I’m leaving for two years. I can talk about what I want to first. But don’t worry, it all relates in the end.
So as I have been preparing for my mission, though all the interviews and every time I told someone I was serving a mission it caught my attention that there was a question that was asked quite a bit. People always seemed to ask me “why”. You know. Why I wanted to serve? Why would I give up two years of my life? Why would I leave my family and pretty much not talk to them for two years? Trust me that last one was pretty easy to answer. But as people asked this I’d stop and think to myself. “Why am I doing this? Am I doing it because it’s what’s expected of me? Because my parents want me to? Because it’s what people told I needed to do as I was growing up? Because, as my friend said before he left on his mission, that girls always seemed to think missionaries are cute? Or am I doing it because I actually want to?”
As I thought about this I found a scripture that has since become my favorite scripture. Alma 29:1-10. The chapter starts off with Alma making a wish. In verses one and two: “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.” Which seems like a pretty good wish right? He wants to go and tell everyone about the Gospel. But then later in verses three and four it says: “But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me. I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.” Which I thought was a little odd, he wanted to tell the whole world about the gospel how can that be a bad thing? He answers this with a question in verses six and seven: Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called? Why should I desire that I were an angel, that I could speak unto all the ends of the earth?” He answers his own question in the last three verses: “For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true. I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.” And when I read this then to me it says while it’s a good thing to want to tell everyone in the world about the gospel, to help everyone repent and come unto God. It’s impossible. I can’t talk to everyone, I can’t preach to the world. But that’s alright because God knows what he is doing, because while I can’t reach everyone there are those I can reach. There are those in my path that I can help. This hasn’t answered the why yet but the reason I want to serve a mission is because I know that what I have, the things I feel, the blessings I get, and the gospel itself makes me happy. And I want to share that with everyone, I want them to be as happy as the Gospel makes me. And while I can’t reach the whole world, there are those I can reach. And I want to give them the opportunity to learn about it. Because I know it will make them happier.
So the actual topic I was given to speak on is the restoration and Joseph Smith as a modern day prophet and my testimony of that. Which goes hand in hand with missionary work as it tends to be the first thing a missionary teaches someone. Because without Joseph Smith we would have no restoration, no church, no Book of Mormon, no Doctrine and Covenants, nothing. The restoration all started with him, when he was reading the bible and decided to pray about which church is true. We all know the story of the first vision. Joseph went into the sacred grove and tried to pray and at first when he started praying then Lucifer came and tried and tried to get him to stop but Joseph was able to say a prayer and then God and Jesus appeared to him. And in his own words he describes it this way: “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” and they talked and Jesus told him to join none of the churches for “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” And so after this happens Joseph is left a 14 year-old boy who has seen God and only a handful of people will believe him. Mostly his family. But by the rest of the world he is ridiculed and shunned. So he puts it away for a while then the angel Moroni appears to him and he starts learning about the Book Of Mormon, he gets to see it every once in a while but he doesn’t get it for four years. And then he starts translating and setting up the church and the entire time he’s doing this then he is still being ridiculed and shunned by the world, more people are believing him but not a whole lot. Throughout his life he is beaten, tarred and feathered, people try to kill him, he loses almost all of his kids, and he endures this all the way until they finally martyr him in Carthage. So why would he go through all of that, it would have been so much easier to just renounce his vision, to be like “Just kidding guys!” So why?
One of the other things missionaries teach a lot is Moroni’s promise. Which is found in Moroni 10 and in verses four and five it says: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
I testify that I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true. I think Joseph went through everything he did, because as it says in Joseph Smith History verse 25: “who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For 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.” That’s another reason I want to serve a mission. As it says in James 2:17-18 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” I have a testimony of the restoration, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. I have a firm faith in Jesus Christ and God. And seeing the world in the condition it’s in right now. I cannot sit back and watch it fall apart. I know that it’s my relationship with God and Christ, the atonement that is the cause of my happiness. And that’s why I want to share the gospel because it’s what gave those to me.
I want to share a few things that we wouldn’t have without Joseph Smith and the restoration. These are a couple of my favorite things about the church. The first thing is my favorite hymn number 221 the second verse:
Dear to the heart of the Shepherd, Dear are the lambs of his fold;
I like that hymn because it talks about how each and every one of us is important to God and that he cares about us as individuals. I want to share a few scriptures that have helped me in life. Doctrine and
I want to end with my testimony that I know God is our Heavenly Father and loves each and every one of us, that he is aware of what we are going through and will helps us through it. I testify that the Gospel is true and that it had blessed my family and countless others. I know that Christ came down and lived and died for us that we can return to live with God again. I know that we can all use the Atonement when we need to, and we will need to. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that God restored his church on the Earth through him in these latter days. I know that through Joseph we got the Book of Mormon and that it is true. I know that if we have any questions or doubts we can pray and learn the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know that we can’t reach everyone on the earth but there are those we can reach and we should be afraid to try.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.