Elder L. Whitney Clayton said, “We will not accidentally come to believe in the Savior.” during the 2015 April General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints.
I do love prophets, both the living and the dead. The first good I can remember is when my sister read to me from the Holy Bible which contains the stories of prophets and how people lived. Both the good and the bad. It is good to know that my mother believed in God. I remember a picture of an angel watching two little children cross an old rickety bridge over a raging water below hanging over the bed in our bedroom. Then, in 1949 when mother died, that picture was taken down and I never saw it again. The bible had been locked away by my father, in a box attached to the back of a trailer, along with an Autoharp and other precious treasures of mothers. I only saw my father a few times after that night. The bible wasn’t found until a year or so later. However, I talked to God each night, as I lay in the open yard looking up into the sky. I did not know if He heard me or not, but now, I know He must have.
In early years, people tended to laugh at me or after I learned how to talk, they thought I was a liar. Doctor’s tend to label children that are different. When I went to the hospital the first time, after the police rescued us, they called me the “animal child.” I was only a wee child back then, and since I’d never had a birthday I have no clue how old I was.
Jumping ahead to 1973: two young men came to my door while I was living in Yuma, Arizona. At that time I was babysitting several children, and had been finger painting with them in the dinning room. I grabbed a towel and went to the door. I asked if I could help them, and one asked, “Did you know you can do work for your worthy dead?” I must share with you, this is not the normal way for a missionary to introduce themselves. I know that the Holy Spirit told him exactly what to say to me. At that time, I believed my loved ones were all dead. I let them know I was busy just then, however, if they could come back later I would love to hear more. They agreed and did return later.
After telling me that I am a child of God and we are all brothers and sisters, they gave me a book. While they had only ask me to read one or two verses, I sat up and read all night long. Just before dawn I locked myself in the bathroom and got on my knees to ask God if this was really from Him. The air began to get very thick and I began to vomit blood, yet I kept praying. I really wanted to know if I was being tricked or if I had really felt that same spirit as from the Holy Bible. I know whenever the air gets thick something bad was about to happen, but I kept praying until I got my answer. I did not see a vision, nor did I hear a voice, but I felt such peace in my heart, I knew it was the same Spirit.
The Elders returned and asked me to do certain things; such as stop drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol. They asked if I would be willing to pay 10% of my income to God. They asked if I would be willing to go to Church with them on Sunday. I told them I’d need to pray about it, but I’d get back to them. After they left, I went from room to room, gathering everything I knew was displeasing to God, went into the kitchen, opened the back door and tossed them outside. You see, I had read the Old Testament so I knew what Moses had told the Israelite people and I knew that they were blessed many times because they did what God told Moses. So it was easy to give up my sins so I could become what God wanted me to be. For me, it was just that simple.
I had wanted to be a daughter of God since I was just a little girl. And here I was being told I am a daughter of God and beloved by His son, Jesus Christ. I wish I could say I remained faithful since that day, however, back then I did not understand that when you join the Church you don’t become perfect overnight. When women saw those missionaries at my home every night for dinner and staying until after dark, they began to gossip. When I was told the missionaries had to be transferred because of me, I became very angry. I had never known what “the appearance of evil” was. I knew that God knew we had done nothing wrong. I had not had loving parents to teach them how to control myself.
I believe that God’s Church is where ever there are people who follow Him and are baptized by those who have the authority to do that, rather like John the Baptist. Not just anyone can do that. Only those who have been called of God to do this, as John was. I’m looking forward to shaking John’s hand sometime in the future. Anyway, it was many years later before Father sent more missionaries to find me. This time He sent young women, and the rest is history.