Doug Mason, auxiliary support director at BYU-Idaho gave the first devotional for the summer session. He shared some of his personal experiences and trials, and how focusing on the things he “knows for sure” helped him weather the storms of life.
He began by warning students that there are forces working to destroy our souls, as well as our testimonies of The Church of Jesus Christ.
He quoted a scripture in Ephesians 6:12 that says, “…wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, he said, “I have had the Holy Ghost bear witness to me throughout my life, I think most people have, but we need to remember those times.”
He recounted several personal experiences where his testimony was strengthened throughout his life.
The first was how he initially developed his testimony of The Book of Mormon in seminary when he read Abinadi's testimony.
The next experience happened on his mission when he came to know the Restoration of the church was true.
“When I served as a missionary, the first thing we taught investigators was the story of Joseph Smith, we began by sharing the story of The First Vision,” he said. “There was never a time when sharing this story that I didn’t feel the Holy Ghost bear witness to my soul that this story was true. The Spirit was always there and I knew it was true! When tracting, I couldn’t wait to get into someone’s home so that we could share the story of the First Vision. Joseph Smith told the truth and I know that he was and is a Prophet of God.”
In his interview, he talked about remembering the Lord and his influence in all the details of our lives.
A few years ago, he learned he had a tumor in his brain. He shared his testimony about patriarchal blessings. It helped him to know his tumor would not be life-ending.
“I wasn’t worried because I knew from my patriarchal blessing that there were still events and things in my blessing that hadn’t yet come to pass,” he said. “I took this as a sign that I still had years of life ahead of me and that this was just another bump in the road of life.”
He got divorced about four years ago when his wife decided she didn’t want to be married anymore. They had four children and had been married for 23 years. He explained how heartbroken he was. This experience helped him gain a stronger testimony of ministering angels and the impact that others can have in helping people heal.
He shared some advice his mother gave him.
“You just do what you are supposed to do, so that when the right person comes along you will be in a position to do something about it,” she said.
He knew she was referring to church activity and staying faithful by keeping his life in order. It was some of the most important advice he had ever received.
He wanted the overall message of his talk to focus on how important our testimonies can be in staying faithful throughout the ups and downs of everyday life.