Congratulations to Elder Bryce Johnson, who has successfully completed his mission in Norway. You've always been my best friend, and you've been a huge example to me as I've served on the other side of the world.
Work out here with Elder Young has been great. He's a fantastic young missionary with a head full of ideas. He's actually only a few days younger than me. He has a complicated history, but it has made him the man that he is, and some of his experiences have been powerful resources in sharing his testimony to struggling less actives and uncommiting investigators. It is truly a blessing to have him out with me, and I've learned so much already about keeping a positive attitude, sticking to the basics, and always bearing testimony of the Savior.
The more I listen to investigators ask me questions, the more I hear members tell me their struggles in trying to help out, and the more I hear a less active tell me their unsureties and their struggles to endure, the resounding answer that always comes back to me is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There are many times where I will entertain a discouraging or disparaging thought for too long, and the only solace that I receive is when I battle those thoughts with thoughts of the Atonement. Sometimes it seems too simple, and sometimes it seems too far-fetched to try and compare ourselves with what the Savior suffered, but I testify to anyone that is struggling with any challenge in life, the Savior can alleviate our pain, lift our burdens, and whisper to our hearts with complete sincerity the phrase that we all need most to hear: "I understand."
We had an investigator this week who has never kept his commitments, and he finally came out and told us some very serious issues that he has in his life. When he told us these things, as sinful as they were, Elder Young and I saw past the sin and saw the poor man, buried in guilt and choked with shame. He sat there and wept before us like a child. He told us that he felt like he tried all the ways to get back to God, but everybody's way is just an opinion and finding real truth is impossible. He said that neither Jesus Christ nor a psychiatrist could help him, only staying cooped up in his house to protect his aging mother. Elder Young proceeded to bear one of the most powerful testimonies of the Savior that I've heard my entire mission. He raised his voice and spoke with power, telling the man that Jesus Christ was the only way that he could overcome his shame and guilt, and that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is not an opinion, but a fact. As Elder Young spoke, tears came from his eyes as he spoke of the Savior in his own life, and his own past, which has also been riddled with misfortune and unhappiness. The man shook as he listened, and we left that room knowing that there was no error in what we had taught, and both of our testimonies of the power of the Atonement had strengthened.
I know that the Savior lives. The only thing that stands as the bridge between opinion and fact in this church is the Book of Mormon. I am a witness to the truthfulness of that book, and its frequent testaments to the reality of a Mediator between us and a just Father in Heaven. It verifies the precious doctrines found in the Holy Bible. Everything I say will always be an utterance of opinion to the layman who does not read and pray about the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart. What I'm am saying is no opinion.
It's a testimony.
Come unto Christ, who is the only way to peace, happiness, and salvation. I know that the Book of Mormon fulfills the prophecy that "The Lord has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God."