Hi I'm Tawny
Well, I'm Tawny. I deeply enjoy the great outdoors--running, cycling, tree climbing, camping, hiking, swimming, sky and scuba diving, traveling, star gazing and longboarding barefoot. I'll eat anything ice cream. I am a free spirit. I love life. It's such a journey and it's SO FUN! We just have to soak it up. I'm a college student studying Marriage and Family Therapy. I'm fascinated to know what it is that makes families thrive, be successful, and contribute to society. I'm also studying English and Spanish; I loooove being able to communicate with people and understand them and their culture. I've learned that, although we're all different, we need the same things, and the gospel of Jesus Christ applies to ALL of us--no matter who we are or where we live. I'm not exactly sure what'll happen in the future, but I know it'll be good. My faith gives me such hope in the future; even though it's unknown, it'll all work out!
Why I am a Mormon
Oh, man. I'm a Mormon! It's the best thing ever! A lot of people say that we follow the traditions of our parents. They say, "Well, you're a Mormon because your parents are Mormon and you were born Mormon." I completely agree with that in the sense that we will be exposed to the lifestyle of our parents and will often follow their patterns and rituals. However, just like using the same brand of laundry detergent as my mom uses or cooking chicken noodle soup the way she always has is a choice that I make. Same with religion. To what church I want to belong is an individual, personal choice. Sure, I was raised Mormon, but I--along with millions of others--came to that point where I had to decide for myself if I wanted to follow the traditions of my parents or not. I grew up going to church, but it didn't mean anything to me. I heard in my young women class (for the young women ages 12-18) that we should read the Book of Mormon every day, and that if we wanted to know if it was true, we needed to read, pray and ask God if it was, indeed, true. I did that. I read a little bit every day, and I prayed about it. As I did so, I got a very simple, very personal, and very sure answer that it in is a true, divine book, from the Lord, translated by Joseph Smith through God's power. Receiving that answer changed my life. I immersed myself in the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and found such rich, sublime happiness and a sense of whole-ness to my life. This means EVERYTHING to me. I am a Mormon because I know without a shadow of a doubt that the church of Jesus Christ was reestablished on the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith, that Thomas S Monson is the prophet today, that the Book of Mormon is a second witness to the Bible and another testimony of Jesus Christ. By reading these sacred books of scripture, it has become so apparent to me that only through our Savior and strict adherence to His gospel can we be happy, clean, and prepared to meet our Redeemer after this life.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
Honestly...once I knew for myself that God really does have a plan for all of His children, and once I knew the specifics about that plan, I felt such peace, joy, relief, and happiness. Knowing where we came from, why we're here, and where we'll go after we die makes all the difference for how I live. It has helped me immmmmmmensely. It was this knowledge that made me want to serve a mission and tell others about this glorious plan of our Father in Heaven. It is so real, so full, complete, so merciful. It's real and true.
Please share your feelings/testimony of Joseph Smith.
One time I was sitting in the back of the chapel at the church by my house, and, as I looked at all the heads, I realized that we were all there because Joseph Smith had the faith to pray to know which church was true. He got an answer and it changed the world and our lives ETERNALLY. I was later able to visit many of the early church historic sites, and I was flooded with the spirit and gained such a personal conviction that Joseph Smith really is a prophet of God and that he really did see God the Father and Jesus Christ. He really did restore the original church of Jesus Christ back to the earth. He was told that his name would be had for good and bad around the world--and it's true. We do not worship Joseph Smith, but we have all the respect and love in the world for him. He was not perfect, but he was an example to us of an imperfect man who strived to follow Jesus Christ and do the will of the Father. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that he was indeed a prophet, that he restored the church of Jesus Christ, and that he translated the Book of Mormon by the priesthood power of God so we could have it today. I benefit EVERYDAY because of what Joseph Smith did for us, and I am grateful for this prophet of God who literally changed my life! Having a testimony that Joseph Smith is a prophet is absolutely essential to knowing that this is the church of Jesus Christ again established on the earth. If Joseph Smith was called of God, then the Book of Mormon is true and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom again established on the earth. You can know this for yourself. God wants you to. I invite you to find out. I promise you'll get your answer because it's true..it's real. And it will change EVERYTHING for you.
Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
I have such a testimony and personal conviction of the Restoration of the Gospel. On my mission I learned that we can talk all day about prayer or share fluffy messages about faith with people on the streets, but ANYONE can do that. The message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what makes us separate. It is this message that captures people... everyone is searching through truth, and because of the Restoration, we HAVE all the answers to the questions of the soul. Our Heavenly Father wants us to have that knowledge! That is why He called Joseph Smith as a prophet in these last days, that is why He's given us TONS of evidence so we can know for ourselves and have a personal conviction, and that is why missionaries leave their families all around the world to share this message. I know that the church the Savior formed during His mortal ministry was lost after His death. I know that for hundreds of years the world was in darkness after having rejected the Savior. I know that, because Heavenly Father loves us, He has again reached out in LOVE. He has restored His gospel. It is the same as it was in the meridian of time. It is pure and perfect. The Restoration of the gospel means everything to me. I have a testimony and a personal knowledge that it's all true. This knowledge shapes me and helps me become more like my Savior. I invite you and beg you to please find out. Please give it a chance, don't judge by things your neighbors say or things you've read on the internet. If God spoke to us today like He spoke to His children in ancient times, would you listen? Well, I promise you that God has spoken. And if you listen you will find exactly what you're looking for. This is all true.
How has attending Church services helped you?
Attending church as a teenager helped me so much to figure out who I was, what God expected of me, and how to be really happy. It's been such a blessing to be able to go to church. I look forward to Sunday EVERY WEEK because I get to be instructed in the gospel, I find answers to personal questions and concerns, and I am reminded that happiness doesn't come from the world but from following the Savior. It is so good to take time out of every week to re-evaluate and take a break from the world. It helps me to have energy and to keep myself unspotted from the world. So basically..it helps me a ton. Ha ha. I love it.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
Lee Donaldson once said, "The Book of Mormon is the only book on the earth with a divine guarantee." The book is from God. It is real. It is true. It is pure. It is untouched by man. It helps us get closer to God than any other book on the face of the earth. Every single time I open the Book of Mormon, I find something that helps me. Sometimes it is a particular verse that touches me or answers my prayers, sometimes it's just a feeling of peace I have from reading it. You may think that we can have similar experiences by reading the Bible. And this is partially true. However, sometimes, when I read the bible, I walk away confused. The bible was translated so many times by different people and was just up to interpretation. The Book of Mormon is a true, pure book that was translated ONE TIME by the priesthood power of God by a prophet of God--Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon testifies of the sacred call of Joseph Smith as a prophet and is evidence that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church of God again established on the earth. It is specific. Of course we also accept the Bible, but the Book of Mormon with the Bible gives us a clear, sure, true, specific answer. A lot of people think the Book of Mormon is just a book for Mormons about Mormons. No no no. It is a book to the WORLD that testifies of the life, ministry, and atonement of Jesus Christ. The Savior of the world is mentioned on EVERY PAGE. It is about Him. As I make an effort daily to read and study the Book of Mormon, I feel God's presence and influence in my life. It's so simple. It's so perfect! It's SO NECESSARY. I can't imagine my life without it! This is something that I invite everyone to do. Read, love, cherish and LIVE what the Book of Mormon says. I promise you'll not only find that it's true, but that by abiding its precepts, you'll be led closer to God than you ever have been before or ever thought was possible. I LOVE the Book of Mormon and am so thankful for it.
How I live my faith
"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass;" (Alma 37:6). By doing the following small and simple things in my life that I'm able to live and strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ: --Reading in the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and words of the living prophets to start every day. This clears my mind and gives me such perspective, peace, guidance, and joy. "Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell all you all things what ye should do" (2 Nephi 32:3). --Praying at the start, close, and every possible second in between of the day. "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good" (Alma 37:37). --Partaking of the sacrament weekly to renew my baptismal covenant of being "willing to take upon me the name of [His] Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given" (Moroni 4:3, 5:2). --Doing monthly visiting teaching: visiting sisters in the area, sharing a spiritual thought and just being there for them. --Going to the temple weekly and performing sacred ordinances in behalf of the deceased. --Sharing the gospel. There is no greater way to live our faith than to share it! --And lastly, I live my faith by trying to practice what we preach and "be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith in purity" (1 Tim 4:12).