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I was born in Albuquerque New Mexico, in the beautiful land of the southwest United States. I was raised by my Parents, and my Grandfather who taught me from an early age to read and study the scriptures, to pray often, and seek guidance from my Father in Heaven, and to learn for myself if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true. When I was still very young, I remember going into an interview with my Bishop, to find out if I was ready to be baptized. I remember the feelings I had that day, I was nervous, but despite my anxiety, I felt deep peace when I thought of being baptized, but more importantly, I felt ready to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Finally, the day I had waited for came, I was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, I remember how warm the water was, and how peaceful I felt, I remember the feeling of intense peace, and fire burning deep within my heart. I knew that I had made the right choice. though I am much older now, and have had many great experiences, I still often look back at that young boy whose heart was filled with the fire of faith, and whose hands were so willingly placed in the hands of the Lord. My faith and trust in God today began with those first steps. I was born into a Family that had the Church in their life, but I worked for a knowledge of the truth, I studied the scriptures, and I asked for the truth, and I received it.
Although I was born into a Mormon family, I still had to learn for myself the things that my parents and others had learned. My love for the Gospel came at a very young age, and I remember feeling the Lord's hand in my life, even before I was baptized at the age of 8. As I grew older, new challenges arose, and trials came, but the one constant in my life became my faith. I have often said, "the only thing I know for sure, without any doubt, is that this is God's church, and that Jesus is the Christ." However, the most defining moment in my life, came after a very difficult time. there is a scripture that describes how I felt, "Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation." that was true in my case, at times, it was even difficult to pray, to ask for help, because it didn't seem that any would come. but when the trial had passed, and the tribulation was over, I knew that Jesus Christ was my Savior, and that he did love me, so much that he died for me! I didn't know how much I loved him, until that time had passed, and I realized that I wasn't abandoned, I needed to learn for myself, who my Savior was.
When I was a young boy, probably eight or nine years old, I remember walking to school, and as I was walking a deep sharp pain came into my leg... it was enough I had to stop, and sit down on the grass. I was able to get onto my knees and say a prayer. I don't remember what was said, but I do know that as I asked for help, saying something like "please make my leg feel better" the Lord comforted me, He sent, the Holy Ghost. I stood up, and walked all the way to school that day, and to this day, have never felt that pain again. it's amazing how a small moment like that can make all the difference. there were many times throughout my life when I knew it was the Holy Ghost, trying to help me, or warn me. I knew it was the Holy Ghost because I had felt his love before. and will, hopefully, many times more.
I was baptized when I was 8 years old. this day was something very special to me. When I went to have my big interview, to see if I was ready to be baptized, I had already felt the Lord's approval, and knew that I needed to do this. When the Bishop told me that I was worthy, and ready to be baptized, I was so excited! I was baptized on my birthday, and my Dad was able to baptize me, this is the first memory I have where I looked to my Dad for an example. I wanted to always be good, so that one day, I could baptize my own children. I remember stepping into the warm water, and looking at my Dad, I remember going under the water, and coming back up, I had never felt so clean in my life. That day became an incredible memory, and a defining moment in my life, one that I would never forget. That Sunday at Church, my Dad looked at me, and asked me to share my testimony of the Gospel. I stood up in front of the congregation, and told them what I knew to be true, that this was God's Church, and that Jesus was my Savior. I promised my Dad, and my Heavenly Father that day, that I would always share my faith with others, whenever I got the opportunity.
As I think about how I have lived my faith, I can't help but think of my hero's. I have a few of them, first is my Dad. My Dad would always take opportunity to tell me his love for the Gospel, and his faith in the Church, he is an inspiration to me, and has been a huge support in my life, I have tried to model my life as much after my Dad, as I could. Another hero of mine, was Hyrum Smith, the older brother of the Prophet Joseph. His dedication to the gospel and to his family is something I have admired for all of my life. and I have also tried to live as he did. I live the gospel the way I feel the Lord meant for it to be lived. with trust in him, and trust in ourselves, to do the right thing. I also live my faith, because it is the greatest treasure I have.