Worlds Apart: The Beginning of my Testimony

I’m not usually into cheesy testimony stories with dramatic things that happen in them.  I just don’t like it.  Unfortunately, the story of how I gained a testimony is kind of one of those stories.  I’ve been wanting to write about it on here for a while, so I guess I’ll do that now.

I am my parents hardest child.  I always have been the one that has given them the most grief.  I have an older brother that is handicapped and they have always had to give him a lot of attention.  My older sister is pretty much perfect.  I really can’t think of a time that she has been in trouble.  My younger sister was the spoiled one, but she has turned out a lot like my older sister – pretty much perfect.  And then there is me….

I was the hardest child for my dad to understand.  I don’t think that is bad though.  We just have very different personalities.  He is very reserved and quiet and I am very outgoing and loud.  My mom is so sweet and sincere, but has a bizare sense of humor like me.  In fact, I am very much like her.  They have raised a very good family and should be proud.  But I have caused a lot of problems for them.

My dad became the bishop when I was 11 years old, and everyone in my ward kept saying things like “don’t become ‘one of those’ bishops sons”.  I hated that.  It became really annoying, so to teach them a lesson, I became ‘one of those’ bishops sons.  I was almost suspended for threatening my teacher.  I began practicing wiccanism.  I was caught by the police after getting high one night while vandalizing a house that I had broken into with some friends.  I read tons of anti-mormon literature just to tear others down, and I believed a lot of what it taught.  I would swear at my teachers and parents; all to show people that I was ‘one of those’ bishops kids.  I had no guidance in my life.  I had very few friends.  I don’t know if I believed in God or not, but I know I didn’t believe that the church was true.  I was at a pretty low place in my life.

My sister wrote me a letter expressing concern for me.  I was pretty good about hiding what was really going on in my life and all she knew was that I was having a hard time in school.  In the letter, she told me how much she loved me and that she knew I could be happier if I were to read the Book of Mormon.  The letter meant a lot to me because it showed me that she really cared about me.

I was spending the night at a friends house one night, and I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how crappy my life had gotten and about that letter.  I laid on the couch until 1 in the morning, just thinking.  I decided to go into the basement office and play around on the computer.  When I went in, there was a copy of the Book of Mormon sitting on the desk.  I remembered my sisters letter, and thought it wouldn’t hurt if I were to give the Book of Mormon a try.  I started reading 1 Nephi, and as I read, I felt happy.  Really happy.  I kept reading, and by the time, I finished 1 Nephi, I believed in God.  When I finished 2 Nephi, I felt that the church was true, and as I finished the Book of Enos, I wanted to serve a mission.  I knew that I was a Child of God.  I had to confront a lot of things that I had brought upon myself: my questions I had because of Anti-Mormon stuff, changing my habits, and getting away from my past mistakes.

I began making changes and I began to really love my life.  I was doing so much better and feeling great about a lot of things I was doing, but I couldn’t get past my feelings of guilt for what I had done.  I had torn peoples beliefs away from them.  I was in my room one night, listening to some CD that I had stolen from my sister because I needed some new music to listen to.  It was by a band named Jars of Clay.  One of the last songs on the CD came on, and I really liked the way it sounded.  I began to listen to it, and realized it was exactly how I felt.  I listened to the words, and I began to realize what the atonement was.  He suffered for me so that I didn’t have to suffer anymore.  I cried as I listened to the song over and over again, realizing that I could be forgiven.  I felt so much pain for what I had done.

As I continued to listen to the song, I realized that there was a change in the music.  The first half of the song (as I understand it) is about the pain that we feel when we sin and realize what we have done, but the second part is about how we need to accept the atonement.  It is so easy for us to say that we have cause the Savior so much pain and we shouldn’t worry about burdening him even more, when in reality, this is what He lived and died for.  He wants to take our burdens and sins upon himself.  He wants to take the pain that we feel.  That is what he wants. I think it is a humble thing to accept that and to trust that the Savior will actually take away our pains.  I have felt it happen to me, and I love him so much for that.

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all adds up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
To give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
More deeply than the oceans,
More abundant than the tear
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you – take my world apart
To need you – I am on my knees
To love you – take my world apart
To need you – broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

Additional lyrics:

I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
And wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
The battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
And wash the feet and cleanse my pride
Take the selfish, take the weak,
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
The sin-soaked heart and make it yours
Take my world all apart
Take it now, take it now
And serve the ones that I despise
Speak the words I can’t deny
Watch the world I used to love
Fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
So wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
So steal my heart and take the pain
Take the selfish, take the weak
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
Take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
Take my world apart

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this part of your life. I had a similar reflection recently and it’s interesting how life can work sometimes. How grateful I am for my knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel and for good friends/examples such as yourself.

  2. Thanks for sharing that. It’s amazing the transformation that can happen when we learn the power and the possiblity given to us through the atonement.

  3. Don’t worry, it wasn’t cheesy, it was just powerful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Thanks for this post. I really appreciate when people share the spiritual aspects of their lives as well as the moments of angst. I needed to hear this today. Thanks man. Love you.

  5. I have always loved this song because it explains how I feel when things start to spiral out of control every now and then. Thanks for sharing such a personal story.

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