Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Silent Devotion: My Mother's Testimony

The following is written by my mother.  She has asked me to post the following experience she had nearly thirty years ago:


Hello Beloved Family and Friends,
I ask your patience in reading this.  I may not have an opportunity to talk with you regarding this matter but because of my great love for you I have a desire to share with you.  Please prayerfully consider what I have to say.  I have never before written of this experience and have only spoken of it, limitedly, as mentioned herein.  This came at a time when I fervently wanted to know how I should direct my life and the lives of my children; within weeks of losing my intact family.
At the lowest point of my life,  I sought solace and increased witness to know of a surety the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon since it had been explained to me as a child that this book is what set us apart from the rest of the Christian world.   I read from it, constantly, and prayed and pondered nearly unceasingly.   I was finally giving to my God the broken heart and contrite spirit spoken of in the scriptures, which is what he requires of us to be teachable.  I continued to pray and to knock*, as the scriptures say, asking for further witness to the Book of Mormon.  The Holy Spirit continued to increase within my soul and one day after retiring for the evening, while visiting my brother and his family out-of-town  overnight,  I knelt to pray.  I  communed with my Heavenly Father for some time.  

After asking a couple of questions, I realized I was receiving answers more rapidly than I could articulate the questions.  This is how I know, personally, that He knows our very thoughts, every one of them.   I asked a couple of personal questions and rec'd answers by the burning of the bosom which we know to be the Holy Ghost.   I, then, asked if the Book of Mormon was the word of God.   I, immediately, began to notice what seemed like liquid fire originating from the center of my chest which was building rapidly, covering the entire area of my chest.  Excitedly, I raced on asking if the Church was true, expecting the affirmative.  Immediately, the Holy Spirit, entirely, withdrew from me.   I was baffled but continued.  I asked if the prophets were true prophets.  The Spirit remained withdrawn from me.   Baffled even more, yet undaunted, I continued to ask other personal questions for which, in many instances, I rec'd the burning of the bosom, yet again. 
Having exhausted my personal questions, I  soon reflected upon the answer I had received regarding the Book of Mormon.   It seemed I could recall that the flooding motion "by Fire" may have been continuing to grow within me  when I had rushed on ahead to another question, so, I returned to ask that question, once again.   Was the Book of Mormon the Word of God?   Immediately,  what felt like Liquid Fire began to overflow from the entire area of my chest and flooded my soul down my arms and legs to my fingertips and to my toes.  I had just been taught, most profoundly, Spirit to spirit that the Book of Mormon was indeed, absolutely, the Word of God!

Reflecting upon this, I was, yet, baffled by the answer I had received as to the truthfulness of the Church so I asked that question, once more.   Again, the Holy Spirit withdrew entirely from me, immediately and completely, as before.  I asked once again, also, if the prophets were true prophets.   The Holy Spirit remained withdrawn from my soul.  For weeks and months, even years, I have puzzled over this knowledge but I knew my allegiance must remain with that sacred book. 
So, since then, I have gone about my life silently wondering what, exactly,  I was to do with this "new"  knowledge, even pure intelligence which had been poured into me.  And, incidentally, I thank God, profusely, that I had been given sore trials that I might come to know of these truths about which I now share so as to be able to pass on what I learned at that time. 
Because I had rec'd the increased witness for which I sought, I have freely shared my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God   ...but, I never breathed a word of the times that the Holy Spirit, twice, withdrew and for the following  reasons did I say nothing of it:  1.  I didn't want anyone, especially my own children, to say that there was no reason, then, for them to work out their salvation.   2.  I knew that scripture tells us that to some is given one spiritual gift and to another is given a different spiritual gift that, together, all might be edified.  3.  My Patriarchal Blessing states that I will be able to accept of that which I do not understand with a faith that will be deep and strong within me.  
So, I continued forward with my life as a member of the LDS Church silently wondering what I was to do with this sacred knowledge given me.  Surely, there was a reason for that pure intelligence.  No matter how you may feel about this message, I encourage you to forward and/or share it far and wide by whatever media you choose.  My biggest concern is that if I do not broadcast what I learned that evening I will be judged for not having shared sacred truths.  I hope and pray that you're able to keep your heart and mind open to what I have made known.
My love to you forever,
Karen   ~   Castleton  May  Jensen  Stella 
P.S.  Stella is my alias; my maternal grandfather's surname and the name he chose upon entering the USA.  Grandpa is a good memory.  Mom knew that I planned to use, this, her maiden name and the thought made her very happy.

*Knocking, as I've learned over time, means to exhaust oneself mentally and emotionally; to labor, physically, also.  One's knees become sore from prayer, one gets saddle sore from reading and searching the scriptures, yet, explains to Father in Heaven that they plan to continue until they receive the answer for which they are searching.