I was raised attending the Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but I got really bored when I was younger because my brain was oversaturated with video games, movies etc, and the topics at church didn't seem to compete with the entertainment industry at all.
When I was 15, I was asked to give a talk at church in front of the whole congregation. I decided I needed to figure out what it really meant to be to be a member of this church. To help you understand where I'm coming from and this next part of the story, you need to know the following:
"We believe the Bible [we use the King James Version] to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon [another record of holy scripture written by the ancient inhabitants of the American Continent] to be the word of God." -Article of Faith 8
We are often called Mormons because we believe in the Book of Mormon. Mormon was a prophet called by the Lord as Moses was. My issue was that I really didn't know what the book was about. I had read it when I was younger, but didn't understand the 'thee' and 'thou' language. Now that I was 15, I decided to give it another shot. I opened it up and started reading right at the beginning. I read about a righteous prophet named Nephi and how he had courage to do what God asked him, no matter how poorly he was treated by his enemies. Nephi became a hero to me and he wrote his testimony of Christ many times. As I read and re-read the Book of Mormon, the uplifting knowledge of God's ways, the purpose of life, and what happens after death, filled my soul up with something that finally felt substantial and true. Up until then, I was always trying to rely on video games and movies to 'make me happy.' There were plenty of times when I'd finish watching a movie and think, "That was a waste of time, I wish there was something that was always good and felt worthwhile."
Opening the Book of Mormon and the Bible became that lasting joy and satisfaction I was looking for. Even better, I really started praying and the Lord answered in His still and quiet voice. I love the scripture from the Book of Mormon where Nephi is being led through a wilderness with his family, by the Lord. The Lord said to him,
"And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led." -1Nephi 17:13There have been plenty of times in my life where I felt I was in a spiritual wilderness where everything felt so empty. The Lord has been there the whole time for me and I have seen miracles in my life. He has led my through my wildernesses to my promised land. I've got a wonderful family, a beautiful wife, precious little kids, health, a home, a full-time job as a cartoon artist etc. I feel so very blessed. I consider the scripture mentioned above as a promise to all of us as God's children. I've prayed about the Book of Mormon and the Lord has confirmed to me that it is true. I have tried to reach out to others to share this wonderful uplifting message and I find that as I try to serve the way Jesus did, I find true joy and satisfaction in life.
So, here are a few more things I wanted to say: Jesus died and rose again. He lives. I hope you'll watch the Easter video I linked to. The Lord has given us living prophets on the earth again, just like Moses. The Prophet who leads the church by revelation from the Lord today is named President Thomas S. Monson. He gave a General Conference talk about resurrection that I found very comforting. I'd highly recommend watching it if you've had a loved one pass away.
The last thing I absolutely have to share is a link to my favorite General Conference talk EVER!!! It's called 'An High Priest of Good Things to Come' by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the current Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The gospel is such glorious news that I had to share my feelings about it with you. Thanks for taking time to consider what brings light to my life. I do art because the Lord has placed a passion inside of me for it. It's only because of Him giving me breath, life, and talents that I can do any of it. I pray for help to get better and study a lot to improve. I hope some of the art I produce can help someone smile or get inspired. I want to do some good out there in the world, and I love my job as an illustrator for StateFoodSafety.com. We train people all over the USA about how to handle food safely in restaurants. I feel like the art I do there is being used for good, so I'm very happy about that.
I wish you the best and if you'd ever like to draw closer to Jesus Christ, I'd be more than happy to talk about it. There is true joy and happiness the Lord wants to give us all.