As an infant, I was diagnosed with cancer in the retinas of both eyes. I was treated with radiation therapy, which saved my life and some vision. But, 30 years later, radiation induced cancer took the remainder of my sight- leaving me completely blind.
I was absolutely devastated in every way possible. It was only through the love of family and friends, and the support I received from Heavenly Father that I was able to move forward in my life of darkness. I tried to put my trust continually in God and his infinite wisdom, and prayed constantly for strength.
People would often try to give me encouragement by saying, “Kris, you are so brave! You can do this because God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.” Well, this didn’t help or encourage me. In fact, it made me feel even worse. I wasn’t brave, and I couldn’t handle all that had happened to me. So, where did that leave me with God?
Then, I remembered something that I already knew. What they were saying wasn’t quite true. Of course, God would give me things I couldn’t handle! Why else would he send a Savior? If I were left to my own power, there would be very little I could handle.
It is the enabling power of the grace of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for you and I to live, to do difficult things, and survive and even thrive during hardship. It is through Jesus Christ that each of us will be resurrected- reunited with our perfected immortal bodies. It is through Jesus Christ that each of us can be forgiven of our sins, and it is through him that we can be reconciled with and eventually live eternally with our Father in Heaven.
When he lived on this earth, Jesus established his church and gospel in its purity. After his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, his true gospel was taken from the Earth. His twelve disciples were persecuted and killed, and the authority to act in the name of Jesus was lost.
This left the world in darkness for centuries. Each denomination claimed to have the truth and Christ’s authority, but how could each church be true.
In 1820, a young man named Joseph Smith wondered this same thing. Which church was the true church of Christ? He followed the scriptural direction found in James 1:5, and asked God in prayer which church he should join. In answer to his sincere prayer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph. They knew him by name and told him to join none of the churches. For, each church had parts of the truth, but there was not a church on the Earth containing the fullness of Christ’s gospel and authority.
Joseph was tutored by heavenly messengers as he followed the direction of the Father and the Son to reestablish the church that Christ had organized when he lived among men. Part of Joseph’s calling was to translate ancient scripture that recounted Christ’s dealings with the inhabitants of the America’s. This record is known today as The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, named such because it was anciently an abridgement of many records made by a prophet- historian named Mormon. I know this book to be true. As I study it, and the Bible, I grow closer to my Savior and I receive strength and knowledge to move forward in my life.
The church that Joseph Smith was commanded to reorganize, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is Christ’s true church again on this Earth. It contains the fullness of Christ’s gospel and his authority. My membership in this church and my understanding of Christ’s true gospel is my most cherished possession. This church is led today by a living prophet who is called of God to direct and lead with authority from Jesus Christ.
I invite you to read The Book of Mormon. Pray about it and ask God in prayer if it is true. He will answer. God speaks to our spirits through the Holy Ghost, and, for me, this communication comes through feelings of peace, warmth and clarity to my mind and heart. I know that Father in Heaven will answer your sincere prayer to know of his truth.
Just as I needed Christ when I lost my vision, I need him today. Each day brings new difficulties and challenges, and it is because of Christ that I can meet those challenges. You can have this same relationship with your Savior. He waits to teach, comfort, strengthen, and lead you. He loves you infinitely. He desires to give you all that he has received from the Father. Trust him. Seek him. He loves you. I know this is true.