Sunday, July 30, 2017

Testimonies of Gardiners and Browns

Talk given by James Brown:

The best thing we can give our children is to love each other, act like it, and be happy in the Church. This is of more value than any thing-else we could provide for them.
I realize that you will not be able to go through life with out annoying one another, but I hope you will quickly forgive.

When I was a boy in Arizona, I did a particularly dumb thing, I set fire to a palm tree next to our house, and it set our house on fire. All at once we had more company than I ever wanted to see. The fire was finally put out after considerable damage to our home. After the fire was out, and all our neighbors left I saw my Dad and the rest of my family under a mulberry tree, and they appeared comfortable with him. I looked over there and knew that I didn't belong over there, and just as I was considering running away, my Dad saw me and held out his arms, and I ran over and joined my family. My Father lived 55 years after that, and never once mentioned it. Now if an earthly father can be that forgiving of such a dumb thing, how much more can our Heavenly Father do? You remember that the Savior told us "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect".  So shouldn't we forgive even dumb things? 

President McKay has said, "It is a greater compliment to be trusted, than to be loved."  During World War brothers were in the same battle, and one fell wounded in the middle of a minefield. The other brother went to get him against the advice of all his buddies, who pointed out that he could be killed, and it would be to late anyway. He said, I have to go, and when he 2‘ brought his brothers body back, 'his friends said see, you took an useless chance, but he had to got there before he died, and he looked up at me and said, “I knew -you would come". To be able to trust our spouse is the greatest compliment we could have. Your parents are trusting you with their precious son or daughter to treat them like you would like your own son or daughter treated. And you Father in Heaven is trusting you to help one another to come back into His Presence.

We need to understand free agency, some of us use our free agency to lose it. If we use our free agency to take certain substances into our body we lose our free agency to be healthy, think clearly, or even to stop using it. If we use our free agency to come to the Temple and keep the sacred covenants we make, we will gain the greatest freedom it is possible to attain in mortality, that is the freedom to come back to the presence o the Lord as husband and wife.

Years ago I had a call about 2 AM from an old man who said my wife is dying," and I want to be sure that she doesn't suffer. When I arrived, 1 found that they had been married for over 60 years, and she had a stroke 3 years previously and was helpless, that old man had cared for his wife, did the house work, cooking cleaning, entertained her, wrote her love poems, and took such good care of her, that she didn't even have a bed sore. She died about 15 minutes after I got there, and he reached over and closed her eyes, and said "goodbye sweetheart, I'll see you in a little while”.
The ring is not part of the Temple ceremony, but it is a nice symbolic feature, and there are many symbolic features about the Temple. The ring is symbolic of something that does not end, and 1 think it is symbolic of the fact that you are proud to be married. Never, never, never, never, NEVER/NEVER, even pretend to flirt with some one else, you don't have to prove your charm to any one else but each other. That is part of being faithful never giving any one any cause to misunderstand you)-"complete fidelity to your covenants. 

I suggest that the husband say the first prayer that evening and then the next morning, he can call on any one he wants. If the wife helps her husband honor his priesthood and makes it easy for him, she will have every blessing of the Priesthood, just as if the husband is not over bearing and honors his wife he will have every blessing of parenthood. Each are equally important in the sight of the Lord. I have given nearly 1200 Patriarchal blessings, and in each case I've felt with absolute assurance that the Lord loved that person, so I have not felt any difference between his love for a son or daughter.

Take the best traditions from each family, combine them, add your own, and if you turn out better than your parents, they will not be offended. The end will be sweeter than the beginning and in your later years, as you kneel down together, arms entwined and thank the Lord for each other that will be sweetest of all
I don't use all these every time and there are some other things I say, depending on the Spirit and circumstances.

Suzanne Brown Gardiner

A.  Reading the scriptures daily with our children is the single greatest decision that we've made as parents. I have a testimony that those families who do this will draw closer to Christ, receive great blessings, have the ability to resolve their problems and be better parents and family members. I think that the greatest thing that parents and ward members can do is to encourage consistent ongoing study of the Book of Mormon. There is no greater legacy that you can leave with your children than a testimony of its truth and the knowledge that God lives and guides his children who strive to keep his commandments.

B.  The following is a testimony of the Book of Mormon that we typed up and put below our picture and sent to the church's family-to-family Book of Mormon placement program:

"This book is a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World, and that He works with all mankind to bring them salvation. We have read the Book of Mormon and know that it is true. It helps you understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and the meaning and purpose of life better. The Lord's Spirit has come into our hearts and home, and filled us with a desire to come unto Christ and follow His commandments.

C.  During my temple recommend interview with President Mckeon when he asked me if I believed in Heavenly Father and in His Son Jesus Christ, the tears welled up in my eyes as I said "yes!" I felt an overwhelming burning testimony within me as to their divinity and actuality. Pres. McKeon felt the spirit too.

D.  I bore my testimony also. I said that I knew that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that this church--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--was the Lord's true church upon the earth today. I said that I was grateful for the restored gospel, the power of the priesthood, the eternal family unit, and the plan of salvation. I was grateful for my six beautiful children, my extended family, and the ward members who were part of my extended family. I was particularly grateful for my parents and my fine husband, who was the best of all possible husbands. 

The following was written by Suzanne Gardiner on the first page of a Book of Mormon she gave to her cousin Delbert Jones in the 1990s.

Benjamin Brown

1.  However, I procured a Book of Mormon, and took it home to read, determined to investigate until I was fully satisfied. But I had scarcely begun to read, before I felt greatly to dislike the book. Ere I had perused ten pages, I rejected it altogether. Acting in this bigoted manner, I had resigned myself to the evil influence that was gaining power over me, so that, directly after, I felt a similar dislike seize me towards the Bible. Its statements of miracles, etc., appeared to me to be compounds of the grossest absurdity possible. I could see no light or good in it at all! and actually resolved never to read it again! But, oh! the darkness that seized me as soon as I had made this resolution! The light that was in me became darkness, and how great it was, no language can describe. All knowledge of religious truth seemed to forsake me, and if I attempted to quote scripture, my recollection failed, after the first word or so! So remarkable was this, that it excited reflection, and caused me to marvel, and finally I determined to repent of my resolve respecting the Bible, and I commenced to read again.

The book was hardly in my hand, when, as in a moment, my light and recollection returned as usual. This made me rejoice, and immediately the idea flashed across my mind, "What have you done with the Book of Mormon? Behave as fairly to that." I soon reprocured it. But, even this time, I felt prejudiced against the book. I resolved, however, to read it through, and I persevered in its perusal, till I came to that part where Jesus, on visiting the continent of America, after his resurrection, grants the request of three of the twelve whom he had chosen, to permit them to live until his second coming on the earth (like unto John spoken of in the Bible). Here my mind half yielded to the belief which arose within me, that perhaps it might be true, whereupon I took the book and laid it before the Lord, and pleaded with him in prayer for a testimony whether it was true or false, and, as I found it stated that the three Nephites had power to show themselves to any persons they might wish, Jews or Gentiles, I asked the Lord to allow me to see them for a witness and testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon, and I covenanted with him, if he complied with my request, that I would preach it even at the expense of my life, should it be necessary.

The Lord heard my prayer, and, about five days after, two of the three visited me in my bedroom. I did not see them come, but I found them there. One spoke to me for some time, and reproved me sharply on account of my behavior at the time when I first attended the meeting of the Saints, and treated so lightly the gift of tongues. He told me never, as long as I lived, to do so again, for I had grieved the Spirit of the Lord, by whose power that gift had been given. This personage spoke in the Nephite language, but I understood, by the Spirit which accompanied him, every word as plainly as if he had spoken in English. I recognized the language to be the same as that in which I had heard Father Fisher speak at the meeting. Such a rebuke, with such power, I never had in my life before or since, and never wish to have again. I was dumb before my rebuker, for I knew that what he said was right, and I felt deserving of it.

How these men went, I do not know, but directly they were gone, the Spirit of the Lord said to me, "Now, you know for yourself! You have seen and heard! If you now fall away, there is no forgiveness for you." Did I not know then, that the Book of Mormon was true, and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the Lord? Surely I did, and I do now, as surely as I know that I live. The world wonders at the zeal and faith of "Mormon" missionaries in diffusing their principles over the world; but the surprise of the world would soon cease did they know by what evidences the truth of the faith of the Latter-day Saints had been evidenced unto them, for by such proofs as the above, and by the revelations of the Holy Ghost, in tongues, prophesyings, visions, etc., has the work of the last days been attested unto thousands upon thousands, and in ways so peculiar, and attended with such circumstances, that no power of sophistry or reason can possibly show these proofs to be the effects of a fanatical mind or a diseased imagination.

2.  Dedication of Kirkland Temple: “I was present when Father Smith blest a man who lived in Niagara County who was in a straight whether to go home on business or stay at the solemn assembly.  The old patriarch said, ‘you want to go home, But the Lord will give you a sign between this morning, and the man asked the Lord for a sign about 2 hours after as he came out of the house to go to meeting there appeared a light over the House of the Lord and extended from west to east, but that part of the heavens over his house or home was dark & he said it enough.
Some have seen the heavens opened and seen the Savior, others have seen angels on the four corners of the House of the Lord with drawn swords & also stood thick on the ridge.  Elisha with his chariot of fire, peter, John & James & highway cast up, the Ten Tribes returning in chariots as far as the eye could extend – some saw the Redemption of Zion and…Old Father Adam was seen, beautiful man, his hair stood thick & curled most beautiful, even down on his shoulders.

Sunday evening after Joseph spoke opened & told them the day of Pentecost was continued the Brethren began to prophesy many prophesies in the name of the Lord, then began speaking in tongues and it filled as it were the whole house, perhaps there were forty speaking at once, Cloven tongues of fire was seen to sit on many of them a hand was seen laid upon one when he spoke in tongues to the Lamanites.  Many visions seen, one saw a pillow or cloud rest down upon the house, bright as when the sun shines on a cloud like as gold.  Two others saw three personages hovering in the room with bright keys in their hands, and also bright chain in their hands.”  Letter from Benjamin Brown to his wife Sarah, Mar 27, 1836.

Anna Hegetschweiler

In January 1921 Anna became ill with bronchial pneumonia, Emma took care of her. Her daughter Annie and husband William Inglis also came from Oregon to be with her. She enjoyed having the missionaries come and sing for her. She loved music and could sing well. One day she said to Emma "Do you know the greatest regret I have?" Emma said, "No." She then said, "It is because I haven't done the Temple work for my dead ancestors." Emma said, "If you will help me when you go to the other world, I will try to do it." She was never unconscious during the three weeks she was ill. On the morning of February 1st, 1921, after speaking to her daughter Emma, she passed away peacefully.

Emma Scholl

The books I kept of my stake Mission are in a box in the large trunk with my lesson and testimony books. I spent much time compiling the latter books and I hope my children and grand - children will benefit from the, also from the Church books and Health books I have purchased and kept for them.

Audrey: This was August 1965. Kent went on a mission to England in October, which of course pleased mother.

Frederick Gardiner

One night in Malta, Idaho while on vacation to my grandparents home, most of the kids had been put to bed and I was left up with the adults. The heater was radiating plenty of heat. There were lots of aunts and uncles in the room. Grandpa was talking. He told us that many years ago he was praying about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. He decided to go to Conference in Salt Lake City. He was with one of his brothers, Charles or Clarence. Antony W. Ivans was speaking on the Book of Mormon. Grandpa was sitting in the bottom section toward the back. As the talk proceeded Grandpa looked up and saw two personages standing in the air above the podium on either side of the speaker. They were dressed in what Grandpa said was Nephite clothing. Of course he was shocked and turned to his brother and said, “Do you see that?” When he looked back it was gone.

After telling this story, the adults asked a few questions and he directed his attention to me. He said, “Kent, This really happened to me and I want you to always remember what I have told you.” That was it. My grandfather had had a vision and he made sure I remembered his words.

Frank Gardiner

About 18 months into my mission , was living  in Greenville, Mississippi, in a cheap upstairs apartment. By that time had knocked on a few thousand  doors (mostly in Texas)  with little positive result. Some of the responses were downright nasty.

One day, was feeling depressed and discouraged. Falling to my knees, said something to the effect, Lord, isn't this whole thing a waste  of  your time and mine.

Later that day (or perhaps it was the next) I flipped open my bible and read the following scripture. I shall send them forth, two by two, and they shall fight manfully for me. And I will gather my own, one from a family and two from a city And they shall be my people and I will be their God."

I said Wow, never read that before that is us the Mormon missionary. I then re-read that scripture several times.

The matter then passed from my mind for some time, but upon attempting to quote that verse again, ws unable to do so.

I  then read the entire Old Testament, only to discover that the first Sentence (referenced) does not  appear in the King James version.  The second sentence appears roughly in Jeremiah (but is backwards---two from a family). The  third sentence appears multiple times.

Don't know if you will believe my account (doubt I would). 

Second testimony:
As a preface to my "confirmation of God's  existence" experience As a youngster, I had sought the aid of GOd in a  automotive dilemma and received aid. The non believer might dismiss  that  occurrence  as a one in a million fluke but I would never  do so/ the circumstances  and actions were  too unique to have been accidental.

As you know, my father avowed an experience in the tabernacle, where he saw (was it one or two)  manlike forms standing elevated above and behind the speaker. He turned to his brother , gasping what do you think of that, only to discover his brother saw nothing  out of the norm. Always believed him, but--as a boy--ask myself, If this really happened why is he so imperfect. Now I know--from personal experience-- that a spiritual experience does not make the recipient thereof  perfect: one continues to be assaulted by the lusts of the flesh, the opinions, attitudes, assaults, of one's teachers, professors,  associates.

In that regard I became somewhat troubled  regarding the fact that "intellectuals' (or those  claiming such title) were (are) near universally  opposed to religion , and make little secret of the fact they hold believers  to be fools. I  saw some concepts connected with religion--including my own_-- which I felt were either untrue, imperfectly expressed or misunderstood.

In this somewhat unsure state of mind, I stopped for the night at a hotel  in Reno Nevada, where previous to the repose of sleep I prayed fervently to know if the God of scripture heard my prayers - really existed.

The following morning, I resumed my drive to San Francisco---not really thinking about the matter---not anticipating a Divine answer. Suddenly I was  overwhelmed by an indescribable power  which my body could scarcely endure. How does one describe such an experience?  My mind was enlightened and realized that God really exists -  that He  is over all-- that His purposes will ultimately come to  pass---that man's bragancia will come to naught.

I thank God in my prayers, morning and night, for that experience,--have done so  for 40 years

William Halls

Then this thought came to my mind: These Latter-day Saints have the doctrines, organization, officers, and ordinances, and all the outward evidences of the church of Christ, but have they divine authority? This was the only question in my mind. So I went and bowed in secret, and I prayed to the Lord to make known to me if the Latter-day Saints had divine authority to preach the Gospel and baptize for the remission of sins. And a personage appeared me and answered me in these words: "The Latter-day Saints are the true church, and the only true church on the earth." I saw the person and heard the voice, and though that is sixty-eight years since, the words are as fresh on my mind as if they were spoken yesterday. And from that time not the shadow of a doubt has crossed my mind in regard to the divine mission of Joseph Smith and the truth of this work. I only heard a few sermons, and then I never saw nor heard of a Latter-day Saint for a year and a half. I told no one of my experiences, and I felt condemned because I had not been baptized when I had the chance, and my fear of death was greater than before. As soon as I heard of them again, I lost no time. On the twenty-sixth of January 1851, I was baptized. And when I came up out of the water the first thing that came to my mind was the fear of death was gone, which was a great comfort to me. That soul hunger was satisfied; that longing for spiritual life was supplied.

Soon after I was baptized, I was ordained a teacher and was sent to visit the members in their homes. Through my testimony my mother, sister, and three brothers joined the Church.

Ira Oviatt

Sometime in 1842 they moved to living across the street from the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Ruth Bennett Oviatt told her grandchildren many times of sitting on her doorstep or in her rocking chair and listening to the Prophet preach to the people in his front yard. When the wooded country was cleared to build houses, a large stump was left in the Prophets front yard and when people came to him to talk with him or for advice he would mount this stump as a group would always gather when he began to talk and sometimes he would speak for hours at a time. His voice was clear and distinct and he could be heard across the street with ease. No matter what their task, they would be ready to stop and listen and would feel his influence as soon as they heard his voice. When Joseph and Hyrum were tarred and feathered by the mob they came to the Oviatt home and obtained clothing to put on before going home. The staunch testimony Ruth and Ira had of the Prophet Joseph Smith from living near him greatly influenced their grandchildren to remain steadfast in their testimony of the Gospel.

By Adelia B. Sidwell & Euphrasia Cox Day

Sylvester Hulet was born 2 March 1800 in Lee, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, then immigrated to Ohio about 1820, and settled in Nelson, Portage County, one county south of Kirtland. He went on business in the vicinity of Kirtland and heard Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson preach the principles of Mormonism. In 1830 he bought a copy of the Book of Mormon, absorbed its contents, was baptized and returned home to Nelson, Ohio. He presented the book to his relatives, who soon became converts… but he did not tell them of his baptism.

Hope Hulet Gardiner

I cannot remember, even as a child, that I did not feel certain that the lessons I was taught concerning the gospel principles by my parents (Syilvanus Hulet Jr and Mary Ida Dalley) and teachers were not true. My parents were faithful and active members of the Church. They set a good example for their family. They had held responsible positions in the different auxiliary organizations since they were teenagers. They had been brought up by sincere and stalwart parents. Great-grandfather, Charles Hulet, and great-grandmother, Margaret Noah Hulet, were early converts to the Church. Great-grandfather, Charles Hulet, and all the members of his family who were old enough to be baptized, were baptized in October 1830. That was not long after the Church was organized. We have been told that the Hulet family was at the meeting the Sunday after Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered. They heard the sermon he preached that day. Their home was at Nelson, Portage County, Ohio. They had to endure the mobbings and persecutions along with the other converts to the Church in Ohio and Missouri, and the terrific trials at Far West and Nauvoo. They helped build homes in Nauvoo, and helped build the Nauvoo Temple. My great-grandparents (Charles Hulet and Margaret Ann Noah)  received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. 

Kent Gardiner

In February of 1995, on a Sunday I prayed as to whether or not I should marry Deborah. No answer came that day.  But a week later while I was garage "sale-ing" I walked up a driveway and in an instant I received a special confirmation of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for all mankind. The experience was sacred. I knew Jesus died for me, for Deborah, for Suzanne and for every soul on this earth. His sacrifice can make us clean. For me the atonement of Jesus Christ became an absolute truth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is his church. I hope to die in the faith and know I will face God on the other side of the veil. I’ll also face Suzanne, my parents and James Brown and my ancestors.

I am positive a 23 year old farm boy with a third grade education, who couldn’t write a well worded letter, did not write the BoM.  That is impossible. I haven’t seen any evidence that convinces me otherwise. The View of the Hebrews doesn’t sound anything like the BoM. The Solomon Spaulding manuscript - same.  Other than the Bible I haven’t read anything that even comes close to the Book of Mormon in structure, tone or content. Mark Twain was wrong.  It is a very complex book with hundreds of people, places and three ways of keeping track of time. And it flows perfectly. The Book of Mormon contains over 4,000 phrases not found anywhere else in literature. A 23 year old farm boy with a 3rd grade education couldn't begin to invent that much language. I just read the discourse of Samuel the Lamanite - wow. King Benjamin, amazing.  I like the words of Nephi when he glories in the Lord. King Benjamin is amazing. Alma, well I could go on. I love the book and read from it daily.

I have had a blessed life.  I feel I have had every advantage. I was born of goodly parents who loved the church and were faithful. I attended BYU, went on a mission  and married in the temple and had a job I liked. When my dear Suzanne died the Lord had already prepared another woman for me to love. Deborah has done everything in her power to be a good mother, wife, grandmother and Latter day Saint. The greatest blessings in my life has been to have two women who love the Lord and love me.

In 1956 when I was 10 I attended the LA Temple Dedication with my parents. I remember President McKay standing in front of the Assembly Hall looking and sounding very prophetic. I thought to myself, "This is something I need to remember."
In 1993 when one of my sons was 10, Suzanne and I took him to the San Diego Temple Dedication. Unfortunately we got in the wrong line and ended up in the cafeteria. Fortunately Bro Hinkley came through the cafeteria and greeted my son and asked him if he was planning on a mission. He nodded yes. After the Dedication Bro Hinkley shook my son's hand on his way out and asked, "Still planning on a mission?"
Today we attended Saratoga Springs Temple Dedication and sat next to a young man of 10 and his mother. Deborah fasted before the dedication. After President Eyring gave the dedicatory prayer we sang "The Spirit of God". We were on the front row in Sealing Room #2. As the song began I had the distinct feeling Suzanne was standing three or four feet in front of us. No vision, just a deeply felt feeling.

I told Ashley about what happened and she said she had a similar experience when Brett was sealed a few years ago. Brett and I both confirmed we felt the same thing. The spirit is something you can't control. Sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn't.

My patriarchal blessing talks about going on a mission, marrying in the temple and doing family history and temple work. I don't know why my blessing is so specific but I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves me and my family. I have had a blessed life.  

Lucy Mack Smith
From this time forth, Joseph continued to receive instructions 
from the Lord, and we continued to get the children together every 
evening, for the purpose of listening while he gave us a relation 
of the same. I presume our family presented' an aspect as 
singular as any that ever lived upon the face of the earth — all 
seated in a circle, father, mother, sons and daughters, and giving 
the most profound attention to a boy, eighteen years of age, who 
had never read the Bible through in his life: he seemed much less 
inclined to the perusal of books than any of the rest of our children, 
but far more given to meditation and deep study.

Emma Smith: 
My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity—I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.

Joseph Smith
And the Prophet Joseph, speaking in this dispensation, declared:
“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father” (D&C 76:22–23).
Deborah Gardiner’s Testimony

When I first learned about the church it was through Judy Norton.  She was my babysitter in La Canada, California.  She invited me to take the missionary discussions in her home.  The first time I heard the Joseph Smith story about seeing two personages that spoke to him, I believed it immediately.   I knew that a young boy would not make something like that up.  It wasn’t until after I joined the church that I gained a sure witness of the Book of Mormon.  My grandmother, Ida Palmblad ,took me to the Lutheran Church when I was young.  It was at this early age I accepted Jesus Christ and knew he was real.  I didn’t return to a church until after my divorce in 1992, while church shopping.  I tried the Nazarene, and Methodists faiths. I already knew quite a bit about the Luthern's and wasn’t interested in the Catholics. 

After taking the discussions in Judy’s home I was driving home one night and tears began to flow as I felt Jesus Christ’s atonement in my life. I started attending the Mormon church in Pasadena on my own.  I loved the sermons, the people and the spirit I felt there.  In July 1993 I made the decision to get baptized. In September 1994, the same month Suzanne died, I went to the Los Angeles Temple and took out my endowments.  I later met and married Kent Gardiner, sealed in the temple April 22, 1995.  I have had a temple recommend ever since.   I love the temple and have had many precious things revealed to me inside the house of the Lord.
August 2017