As I’ve pondered over the testimonies the three witnesses gave, I am astonished as to why all three of them eventually left the church. You would think that anyone, having the vision they received, would faithfully serve god till the end of their life. I would like to say that if I, myself, had experienced what they did, I would never leave the church. What keeps coming to my mind, is that conversion is a never-ending process. Its a process that uses faith. In order to have faith, we need to extend faith. And without faith in this gospel, we are more easily temped by the advisary.
There is probably countless stories, like the three witnesses, where people’s eyes, hearts, and minds have witnessed gods truth. Im sure there is also countless individuals who have fallen away from the church even after receiving these truths. They fall away because they did not continue to excersise their faith. Though the three witnesses experienced a super natural, life changing, vision from god, They did not continue to apply faith. Because of this they were led astray. Lehi’s vision is a perfect metaphor to these stories of members who fall away.
Those who have felt the holy ghost whisper truths into their hearts, know that there is a tree ahead with fruit, most sweet above all others. life is about holding on to the iron rod despite all the people in this world who temp and mock us. Holding on to the rod takes great faith and trust in the lord. There are some who partake of the fruit and still choose to join the others in the spacious building. There are also many who cannot hold to the rod any longer. There is a reason that Lehis vision described the faithful ones as “Clinging” to the iron rod.
In life we need to press forward and cling to the rod, exercising all the faith we have. In the case of Oliver, martin, and David they all partook of the lords precious fruit yet they let their pride over come them. Pride is the ultimate quality that leads us away from the lord. It is the natural man within us. It is when we let pride overcome ourselves, that we lose our faith in God. Pride can take over us in many ways. In the three witnesses cases, they all let their pride get the best of them by thinking that they knew better than God.
Oliver, Martin, and David, each had a similar excuse for leaving the church. And all three of them put the blame on Joseph for their actions. They are a perfect example of those who let there pride drive them. I am reminded again and again, from these stories of people such as the 3 witnesses, to remain my standing in the church. It is a constant reminder to always be humble before the lord. Despite the 3 witnesses pride, and lack of faith, It is amazing to me that they never denied the vision experienced. They Went to their death beds testifying that their vision was from god.
They testified that the book of mormon was translated by the gift and power of god. That strengthens my own testimony that even though they all fell away from the church, they never denied the book of mormons truth. Even David Whitmer who never rejoined the church,remained faithful to the words that are published in the book of mormons introduction. In an odd way, Its almost even more proof that these men separated from the church and still never denied the vision. The history of three witnesses increases my testimony in every way. I am grateful for their undeniable testimonies of the book of mormon.
I am also grateful for what I can learn from their lives. Their loss of faith encourages me to build an even stronger foundation in the gospel. It is so easy to lose our testimony of everything in the church unless we are continuously extending faith by praying to our heavenly father and reading from the scriptures. We are easily swayed by the world when we fall out of these simple routines. What Ive learned from the three witnesses is to always be faithful to the lord. Ive learned that even though I may receive life changing revelation from god, That it is still not enough.
That I need to continue building off that revelation by doing those simple things. Though I have never seen the gold plates as the 11 witnesses did, I have felt its power. I can remember the first time I read the scriptures with real intent. I was so far from the lord so it so It was the first time I had felt the spirit that strongly. I remember that moment so well because the scripture I read and the spirit I felt, influenced me to change my life. I felt gods love for me as I read from the scriptures. I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to continue reading from this book.
I knew that god needed me on his side. It was because of that experience that I knew the book was true. I believe that the book of mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ because I have felt its power. The book has only increased my understanding and brought me closer to Christ. It is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. I continued to know the scriptures were true, as I started to read them every night and saw the difference it made in my day. I also noticed it in the days that I forgot to read. The days that I did not read the scriptures were the days I was easily influenced by the world.
I struggled with myself and with my belief in God on the days I didn’t read from the scriptures. The days that I did read My scriptures were the days that I felt closer to god. There is a certain peace and understanding it has brought to my life. Because Ive had similar experiences to the people in the Book of mormon, It has brought me great comfort. I have learned from their example and the counsel they were given. The scriptures may be ancient but I believe they have been preserved for my personal usage today.
I have and continue to find great worth in the scriptures. The only way that I have a testimony of the scriptures today, is because I continue to read them and connect with my Heavenly Father. I didn’t have to ask my heavenly father if the book of mormon was true because I already knew that it was. I can feel the holy ghost inside me each time I read. I know that without the book of mormon my life would be in a totally different direction. I cannot deny the power the book of mormon holds, Because It is the same power that brought me back to my god.