Dear Brother Albright,
I remember growing up and watching LDS commercials on TV. The picture was soft and glowing and the contents often portrayed a happy family spending time together or a selfless service being performed. Then at the end, it would usually say, “From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” I never understood why, but those short Mormon commercial spots always left me with a warm, happy feeling inside. Then I would look around my own home and wonder why my life was not more like an LDS commercial. [Many of these “Home Front” ads are still available for viewing .]
Now I know why I felt so warm inside while watching those inspired TV messages. It was the Holy Ghost preparing me for the moment when the missionaries would present their message to me about the restored gospel. I have now been taught the plan of salvation. I want my children to grow up knowing the truth and their children. My decision to join the church was a gift to my wife and children and to the generations of families that will follow after us.
My testimony first started to blossom when the missionaries asked our family to read 1 Nephi 8, where Lehi sees a vision of the Tree of Life. To make it more interesting for our two sons, we read this story in the childrens illustrated Book of Mormon. The picture showed Lehi and his family members following the iron rod to the tree. It shows them being joyful. It also depicts people wandering in the darkness, not knowing what or who to follow, but the rod is still there for them to hold on to for guidance. The illustration also shows a large and spacious building. Inside are people mocking Lehi and pointing their fingers at those who came and partook of the fruit.
Before my baptism, I was like the people in the picture pointing their fingers and laughing in scorn because of my lack of knowledge and misunderstandings about the gospel. But after our second son was born, I stated investigating different churches. Then we invited the LDS missionaries to come and teach us the gospel. After reading this story about Lehi in the Book of Mormon, I knew that the book was true and another testament of Jesus Christ. I now know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. I know that President Monson is a living prophet and that he receives revelation about how to lead the church and its members in our day. I believe that the priesthood has been restored again to the earth. I am grateful to hold the priesthood. When my father-in-law blessed me with priesthood authority, I felt it was just as valid and strong as if it were done by the Savior himself.
I have been inside the temple and performed sacred ordinances and baptisms for people that have died not knowing the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I had a feeling in the temple of thanks and gratitude well up in my heart that I cannot explain. I have witnessed the power of prayer through a family in our ward whose 3-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia. I grew close to the family from administering the sacrament to them in their home. After many prayers his mother learned that she was an exact donor match for his bone marrow transplant, at odds of 1 in 1 million.
I look forward to the time when my wife Carmen and I can enter the temple to be sealed to each other and to our sons, for time and all eternity.