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Albright_lastchance

Dear Meridian Magazine,

I was born in 1935 in Nanao, the harbor city of Ishikawa Prefecture. I am the only son in my family. I have three older sisters.   After graduating from the public high school in Nanao, I entered the law department of the Chuo University in Tokyo.

In 1960 when I was 24 years old, I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was baptized in the upper stream of the Sai River which flows through Kanazawa City. At the time of my baptism I experienced a mysterious thing. I remember that I could see everything shining. I also felt like I had been in a different world when I came up out of the water after my immersion.

At the time of my baptism, I was single and working in a bank. During my youthful days, I was seeking for the truth and how to live my life. I read many books, including the views of life by Tolstoi and Goethe, the philosophy of Kant, the Japanese authors Kitaro Nichida and the Buddish scriptures of Shinran.  I was always disappointed because I found contradictions in those books. 

I became acquainted with the Book of Mormon one day through the English conversation class which was sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For one month, except when I was eating or sleeping, I devoted myself to reading the book. I could not find any contradictions in it. It was perfect. I believed the book could not have been created by the power of men and was given to mankind by God through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I was deeply moved when I read from 2 Nephi 2:11 “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.” and then I read in Alma 11:42-43 “Now there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.”

My parents were earnest Buddhists. They were strongly opposed to my conversion. They told me, “You are betraying our ancestors and you are not being a dutiful son to us.”   For several months I worried about what I should do.  I knew it was important to honor my parents. I also knew I had become converted to the true Church of Jesus Christ.  At last I decided to follow the Lord, because I had found a scripture in Ephesians 6:1 which reads “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”    Also, I was taught that all of us, including my parents, are the children of our Heavenly Father. I believed this teaching.

One year after my baptism, I was married to Aiko Satou, the good woman who is my wife. This was an arranged marriage.  My parents secretly gave orders to my wife.  She was told that she must make me leave the LDS Church!  So every Sunday my wife would tempt me to go to the cinema and to drive somewhere instead of attending church.  Gradually I became an inactive member.  I returned to my old wicked life and eventually became a completely inactive member for 12 years.  One day when I came home to get drunk, I quarreled with my wife and I hit her.  She cried and said, “Please go back to the Church.”

Soon two American missionaries visited my house.  My wife said to them, “My husband is a member of your church.”  They were very surprised. They wanted to see me, but I refused to see them, hiding myself in the back room. The next week they visited my house again, but I refused to see them, staying in the back room.  Amazingly, they returned again the next week for the third time to visit me.   My wife again sent them away at my request.   A few moments after they left, I heard a voice say to me, “If you now refuse to see them, you will not receive everlasting salvation.”  The impression was clear that this was this was my last chance.  I quickly jumped up and ran outside to the street and invited the missionaries into my house.

Then I started to study the gospel over again from the beginning. This time I was learning it with my wife and our sons. When I came back to the Church, all my family members were baptized and became members of the Church.  I am convinced that the whispering voice came from the Holy Spirit to guide me to salvation.  I appreciate so much the two missionaries. They were like angels who never forsook me.

Tearfully I repented. I have been working hard in the Church to compensate for my sins. I have worked as a home teacher, Institute of Religion teacher, Branch President and District President. Aiko was a Seminary teacher for 4 years and worked for several years as a volunteer serving severely handicapped adults. I am very thankful for the one and a half years we could be couple missionaries, serving the Lord in the Tokyo Temple. We were later honored to serve as President and Matron of the Fukuoka Temple.  There is no place in the world that is more holy than the temple.  The place where I worked and continue to work most diligently is trying to be a good husband to my wife and a good father to my children.

My wife and I were sealed forever in the Tokyo Temple on April 4, 1981. At the same time our five sons were sealed to us forever. We love and appreciate our sons, our wonderful daughters-in-law and our grandchildren very much. Three of our sons are returned missionaries. My four oldest sons have been married in the Tokyo Temple.  We have fourteen grandchildren.   Our sons have served in many important leadership positions, including in a stake presidency and bishopric.   

In conclusion, I would like to express my thoughts by quoting from 2 Nephi 1: 15 “But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”    In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sincerely,

Kiyoshi Tokuzawa