by Eric Kotter, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon”), student at BYU-Idaho studying communications, and freelance writer.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, The Mormon Church), I have sought to gain a personal testimony of Jesus Christ. As a little child I was taught about Jesus Christ, I remember going to church and learning about Him. There is one particular time at church when I was being a little fussy and impatient. I remember my Mom telling me to do my best to think about Jesus Christ during sacrament meeting (similar and yet different from Catholic Communion). I remember asking my mother, “How do I think of Him?”; my mother said that I need to remember the things He did for us. This memory stands out to me because it reminds me of a point in my life when I started developing a more serious and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Not too many years after that experience, I was sitting in my home watching a video about Jesus Christ with my family. The video showed the sufferings of Christ–His sufferings in Gethsemane for our sins and His subsequent sufferings on the cross. As I watched the video, I remember my feelings of awe and wonder that someone would go through so much pain. I wondered, “Why would anyone go through so much pain?” After watching the solemn scene of the video for awhile, I went into the kitchen where my mother was making a meal, and I asked her, “Why would Christ do that for us? Why would He go through so much pain?’ Her reply was simple but it affected me in a deep and powerful way. She said, “Because He loves us.” When she said those words, I felt a wonderful feeling of love that is difficult to describe. I felt the Spirit of the Lord testify to me that this was true–that Jesus Christ was real and that He loves us more than we can imagine. I felt a deep burning love so much that it made me cry. I know that this experience came from God. It was a testimony to me of the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ.
Throughout my life I’ve come to learn more and more about Jesus Christ and what His purpose was. I’ve learned that Jesus Christ came to this earth on a mission–a mission to pay a debt. This debt was to pay for all of our sins, as well as our sufferings and hardships. He did this to make it possible for all of us to return to God and have eternal life if we follow His gospel. He also made it possible to receive enabling grace to help strengthen us through life’s hardships, even small ones. Many people might wonder why they should have hope or how they can have peace. I testify that it is only through Jesus Christ that we can have a sure hope, and true peace. I have found that it is only by putting my trust in Jesus Christ and following His gospel that I find true peace. An ancient prophet named Moroni, talked about where we should put our hope. He said,
And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. (The Book of Mormon Moroni 7:41)
Jesus Christ is the reason we can have hope and rejoice! Because He gave His life for us, we can find peace through the storms and challenges we all face. On the third day after His death, Jesus Christ arose from the grave as a resurrected being. He overcame death and made it possible for all of us to overcome death. This gives me great hope that I will be able to see my loved ones again that have passed away. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have learned that Jesus Christ’s gospel, as it was when He was on the earth, was restored to the earth through a living prophet. Today there are prophets and apostles who speak to us, and help us know what the Lord would have us do. I know that as we do our best to follow Jesus Christ and live the life that He lived, then we find peace. My mother has said to me many times, “Do your best, and the Lord will take care of the rest.” His grace is there for us. As we seek Him, we can be filled with His love and have our burdens lightened, hope strengthened, and peace restored. In the New Testament in the Bible Jesus Christ said,
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
I know Jesus Christ lives and that He loves us. Jesus Christ shows us what is truly important in this life. I know that when I follow Him and seek to serve others, there is a happiness that enters my life that can be found in no other way.