by Alice Isom Gubler Stratton
My Testimony

I have always known we had a Father in Heaven who heard and answered prayers. There was no reason to question this. I knew the stories about Jesus Christ were true and that Joseph Smith did see the Father and the Son. My parents and my Sunday School and Primary teachers taught me this. It was not a burning testimony, but a taken-for-granted conviction. I had never heard otherwise. Our world was small and 100% LDS. I was a teenager when I saw my first non-Mormon, Ethel Button. She was as interesting to me as a museum piece. I studied her thoroughly. She had only one head and two eyes. In fact she seemed normal. In my second year high, a Catholic girl named Elinor enrolled at Hurricane. We became good friends. Questions arose in my mind. I realized that if my parents had been Catholic I would have believed everything they taught me as I did now. This was no earth shaking realization, but also a taken-for-granted fact. I enjoyed seminary, loving the old testament but it had nothing to do with whether the Church of Jesus Christ was true or not and it did not matter.

My church-going habits were formed. During my childhood I vowed that when I became my own boss I would never go to sacrament meeting again. It was too long, and in the summertime we sat sticky hot, brushing flies. The speakers droned on and on. The main thought they inspired in me was "when are they going to quit." But I became resigned to this, as the one time I ran away from church and went to the river I was miserable. The river was no fun that day. I discovered I was happier in church on Sunday afternoon than anywhere else.

My testimony of a Supreme Being has always been strong, but so far as knowing the church was true I have coasted along until I had children of my own. My prayers have been answered many times and I have been grateful. But when I read the Book of Mormon, which was not until I taught a Book of Mormon class, I knew for a certainty it was true. If it was true, then the story of the gold plates was true, and it followed that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. From that time on I have never doubted. After Ermal and I went on a mission to the Western States, I realized for the first time what a glorious thing it is to have a living prophet at the head of the church today. I learned to appreciate the good in other churches and to love the people outside of Mormonism, for they are dear and precious. I learned especially to appreciate bible studying people. I know how close they can draw to the Lord and how their prayers are answered. But I also realize how shallow and empty their doctrines are without a prophet of the Lord to guide them. Many of them express no hope of life after death and ask only for a good life here.

I know that the priesthood is the authority to act for God and that it is the greatest power on earth. My deepest prayer is that each of my children and each of my children's children will understand and love and honor the priesthood. I am thankful for my ancestors who recognized the truth and came to America for the gospel's sake. I am glad to be born in this promised land, and to be born under the covenant, to the choice people who are my parents. I know that my children are choice spirit children of our Heavenly Father. My love for them is boundless. I pray to be forgiven for my blunders, for they have been unintentional. I have been so blindly mortal. I pray that our entire household will serve the Lord and keep all of his commandments. I pray that we shall all be worthy to stand before our maker at that final day of judgment and receive the word "well done. Enter into my presence." As I write this I feel bowed in humility for my shortcomings constantly crop up to humble me. Nevertheless, I know that my Redeemer lives! Therein lies my strength. I bear testimony to the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and say to my posterity, "Search the Scriptures" and give heed to the words of our living prophet. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.