Thanks to everyone who came to listen to me talk. It meant so much to me to feel everyone's support
USU Friends Andrew(scanson), Ben and Sean
Four Cottle Cousin Missionaries
Elder Trevan Cottle, Washington Everett - May 22, 2013
Sister Erin Baker - Orlando Florida - June 5, 2013
Elder Logan Cottle - Tokyo, Japan - June 5, 2013
Elder Braden Cottle serving in Wellington New Zealand - Nov 15 2011
Elder Trevan Cottle with Kaiden Baird - Drumming Buddy
Andrew(Scanson), Elder Cottle, Sean, Ben and Jessie
3 generations - Elder Cottle
Restoration of the Gospel - Elder Trevan Cottle May 19, 2013
Good afternoon everybody. It feels good to be in my home ward today to speak to you. As much fun as it is to be in my student ward up at school it's feels good to be at home and I like it and I'm excited to be able to talk to you guys today.
I would like to start by sharing with everybody something that I've been thinking about lately. It seems to me that knowledge is a lot harder to gain than it is to loose. I was thinking this a few weeks ago during finals week. When I was trying to remember all of the material that I had learned over the whole year and it took a lot of work to remember all of the stuff I had learned. But I honestly don't recall trying to forget any of it, I was trying to remember the whole time. It just gets buried in everything else I'm trying to remember everything else I do during the day and it takes work to make it resurface. In school the way I've learned things is by experimenting or solving problems. The way I remember is by writing it down and trying to review it often. Obviously I didn't review enough because of all of the cramming I had to do at the end of the semester, trying to re-learn all of the material. Well I think spiritual knowledge is roughly the same, but unlike worldly knowledge we gain spiritual knowledge by acting with faith on something that the prophet has taught us. Once we have learned something we can remember it by writing it in a journal and if necessary refer back to it later.
Now think about this. What if we were trying to take a course and not only was there no teacher but there was only one textbook in the whole class and we had to rely on our classmates telling us what was inside this textbook. How would you feel? I know I'd feel pretty lost. I wouldn't know what to do, I'd probably just stop showing up to class. Well, this is what happened after the death of Jesus Christ. The priesthood authority was taken from the earth and man was left to interpret the scriptures on his own without divine inspiration. Without a prophet there to help man review and interpret the scriptures, man quickly and easily forgot the truth and generation after generation inherited a state of apostacy. And they felt lost, but Heavenly Father Loves us and he doesn't want us to feel lost or confused.
If the plan of salvation was like a lacrosse game, then Heavenly Father would be like my dad cheering me on in the stands every time I dodged a defender or progressed on the field towards eternal life. He's not idly sitting down eating his food and drinking his drink (my dad does that too but he cheers me on). Heavenly Father wants us to pray to him and ask him for help, but we need to have enough faith to do so first. Brothers and Sisters, faith is the action that brings revelation to pass and after we have acted in faith and revelation has come to pass we increase in knowledge and testimony.
So when the circumstances were right, Heavenly Father revealed his gospel again on the earth to a 14 year old boy who wanted to know which of all the churches were true. I know we hear it a lot .....but after reading James 1:5... I will read it to you, it says "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." After reading that scripture Joseph Smith was touched, and.... luckily for us he had enough faith to act on the revelation that he read. In preparing for this talk I read Joseph Smith History over and over again. And a few times I was tempted to read it all to you guys because of the way I felt when I was reading it. But I figured that wouldn't be fair.....but I want to share some of it with you. Verses 14 through 17 and it says, "So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally. After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
There are few things that I can say I know, but I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ that day and I know that he was told not to join any of the churches because none of them were true. And I know that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet like Adam and Abraham, Noah and Moses. To be a living prophet and restore, lead and guide the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Christ's restored church upon the earth today. I invite and challenge everyone of you to read Joseph Smith History and to write in your journal as you are reading how you feel while you read it and then read what you wrote when you are done. And pray and ask God if it's not true. I DARE you to do that.
After the appearance of Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry conferring the Aaronic Priesthood on them which gave them the authority to baptize. Then Peter, James and John, three of Christ's original apostles appeared and conferred the Melechezidik Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry. This restored the same authority given to Christ's apostles acciently. With the Authority of the Priesthood, Joseph Smith was instructed to organize the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth and through him Jesus Christ called 12 apostles.
Brothers and Sisters I know that the authority of the Priesthood has been restored to the earth. I know that Jesus Christ gave it to His apostles, who gave it to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry. And through that line I can trace where I got it. And each one of you priesthood holders out there can do the same. Think about that and tell me it's not amazing, because it is.
Heavenly Father in his infinite wisdom knew that doubt, disbelief and mis-information would immediately follow the prophet as he told people about the first vision, He had prepared an ancient record of His followers in America called the Book of Mormon, which was preserved souly for our learning and benefit, to be a companion to the Bible containing the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, this means 531 pages that will change your life forever.
I was thinking the other day about how blessed we are. I was driving up our street in our neighborhood, the homes that we live in and the clothes that we wear, the shoes that we get to wear and the food that we eat, and everything else that we've been blessed with and I think, "Have I been taking this for granted my whole life?" But then I thought, "Have I been taking the Book of Mormon for granted my whole life?" We work hard for all or our earthly possessions, but think about how much work it took so each one of us could own a copy of the Book of Mormon.
My brother Josh gave me this bracelet, right here, a few years ago and , it took him some thought and some money to give it to me, and some time....and I've worn it almost every day since. I think it's cool but it reminds me of him, you know. But, if I can put this on every single day and remember my brother Josh, yes I love him....can I not read the scriptures every day and remember my brother Jesus and what He's done for me. I think about all the time, money, blood an sweat it took for this book. I read the stories inside and see just how much time it took them to write all of this, and I think....I can't even write in my journal every day. I try to but...hopefully I will do better on my mission, I better. Then I think about Joseph Smith and giving his life for the book, for the Christ's gospel, His restored gospel on the earth today. And about all of the early Saints, who walked across America all the way to Utah to have the freedom to live the religion that they believed, and I think I need to be doing better.
I know that we've all heard Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5. It's a pretty good revelation so I'd like to read it to you. It says,"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things". That's an amazing promise, and I challenge all of you, exercise your faith on that revelation. Pray and ask God if it's true. I feel like we owe it to our ancestors. All of that work that they went through to give us this book, to at least try and find out if it's true.
In closing I would like to just bear my testimony about the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that he saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ in that grove and I know that he restored Christ's true church on the earth today, and translated the Book of Mormon so each of us could know the truth. I know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, a companion to the Bible. And I know that no man can draw closer to God by reading any other book, except this book. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us. I know that life didn't begin at birth and that it doesn't end at death. We lived with our Father in Heaven before this life and He gave us an opportunity to come to earth and to have a body and to gain a testimony and to learn and grow and to be tested. And I know that if we follow His commandments on earth that we can all return to live with Him again, with our families, with the people we love. One of my good friends from school, he used to say, 'Don't mess with the plan or the plan will mess with you." I thought it was pretty funny, but luckily if we do mess with the plan, if we do mess it up, which we all do...and I know I have... we have Jesus Christ's Atonement. we can pray and ask for forgiveness and we will receive forgiveness. I am thankful for that. I know that we can live with our families forever. I look across and I see a lot of my family members here and I am excited to spend forever with you. I know that Thomas S, Monson is the living prophet today, on earth. And I know that it's a commandment to serve a mission and that's why I'm doing it but not only that, but because I feel a responsibility to tell other people about what I know. Because I don't know what it would feel like to not know that I could be with my family forever. To think that after this life I just would never see them again, I would just turn into nothing....it doesn't even work in my head . I need to tell other people about this amazing plan that God has for us. I would like to just thank all of my friends that helped me get to this point, because I would have never made it here without them. And I see all of you guys out there and I appreciate that you came to support me. I would like to thank this ward family that I have had, since I was just a little boy I've been here and there's so many of you out there that have taught my Sunday School classes, my Deacon's quorum class, my teacher's quorum class and my Priest's Quorum Class. I'm thankful for all that you have done, above and beyond, and you will never know just how much it affected my life. Thank you for that. I would just like to thank my mom for everything she does for me. I love her so much. I definitely would never be going on my mission without my mom, dad helped to, but thanks mom. I love you.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.