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I don’t remember the exact moment I became converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I feel as though I have always known that He is my Savior.  I have always felt a part of me knows Him, and the rest of me is just trying to remember.  I know that I know Him.  I know that I will see Him again.  I look forward to that day more than anything.

However, I do remember the precise moment that I knew the Book of Mormon was true.  I was raised in the Church.  I was baptized when I was eight, and ordained a deacon when I was 12.  But shortly after my ordination, I stopped attending church.  I just didn’t want to go to the meetings. The older I got and the further into my teenage years I went, the less I wanted to attend.

I knew then, even at that time, that I was making the wrong choice.  Indeed, I was making many wrong choices that took me to a rather dark place.  I also suffered from insomnia and depression.  I could feel hope slipping further and further away.  My life grew darker and darker.  I kept to myself. I rarely spoke to my family.  I didn’t continue my education after high school and made other poor choices.

Fortunately through the examples and love of my family and friends, as well as the gentle and patient whisperings of the Spirit, I decided at the age of 21 to return to Church. I made that decision on January 23, 2010.  I read the scriptures and prayed for the first time that night.  The next day, on January 24, I went to church.  I have not missed a week since.

I don’t have space here to write all of what shaped my testimony but I remember clearly, the night my world changed.  It wasn’t the first night that I prayed and decided to return to church.  It was the evening when I had scheduled an appointment to see my Bishop. Somehow, I got the dates mixed up and nobody was at the church when I arrived.  So I sat down on the steps of my church for nearly an hour, waiting for my bishop to arrive.

As I sat there, I thought about the many changes I desired to make in my life.  I thought about what I was going to say to my bishop.  In an instant, I remember feeling relief wash over me.  The sky itself seemed to change colors.  It was as if I was seeing it for the very first time.  I started taking pictures of the sky that night and I haven’t stopped for years.  The world was brighter and better. My sadness was lifted.  Sleep came easier.  I had felt the tender mercy of the Lord.  I had felt the Atonement.  My vision literally was changed forever.

During the course of that year, I had many more experiences that encouraged me to continue and grow in the Gospel.  I received my Patriarchal Blessing.  Before I received my blessing, I had been thinking about serving a mission, but not very seriously.  A few dear friends opened my heart even more and encouraged me to go.  After hearing what my Father in Heaven had to say to me about missionary work and about my future life in my blessing, I knew I had to go.

I filled out my application and sent it in to church headquarters.  Before sending them in, I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time.  I then knelt in the center of my room.  As I knelt in prayer preparing to ask my Father if it was true, knowing that I was about to make a huge two-year commitment, I was overcome by the Spirit of the Lord.  The wonderful feelings I experienced took my breath away.

It was in that moment that I received my own personal witness that the Book of Mormon is true. So strong was the answer that I received, I cannot and will not deny it.  It know it is true.  I know that God answers our prayers.  My conversion continues even now, after a wonderful mission and marriage to my sweetheart, line upon line, precept upon precept.  I am certain of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and the reality of a loving and listening Father, of a Savior who gave His life for me, and of the Holy Spirit of God, who testifies of truth.  I know it.  I know it! I I know it!

Alan Hanson