My birth certificate states that I was born January 2, 1932, in East Garland, Utah, to Floyd Ardell Adams and Zelda Barbara Atkinson Adams. It does not indicate that I was born in my parents’ two-room farmhouse, which did not have running water. A hand water pump was on the outside porch that Mother had to go to any time she needed water. However, we did have electricity. I was the second child and the first son. Later, five brothers were added to the family.
East Garland was not a town. It was an agricultural area, with the town of Garland on the west, the town of Tremonton on the south, the Bear River on the east, and Fielding, another agricultural area, on the north. The only non-farm building in East Garland was the church house. As was the case at that time, especially in rural Utah, all the people in East Garland were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dad and Mother had attended Bear River High School. Mother graduated valedictorian of her class. She was an avid reader all her life. Dad was only able to complete his sophomore year, as his father needed him to help on the farm. However, even though Dad’s formal education was short, I never met a man who had more wisdom.
While we lived in East Garland, Dad said we would go to church together as a family, and we did. There was no pressure. It was simply something we did on Sunday as long as any of us children were living at home. Sometimes we walked to church, since the church house was only half a mile away. In addition to teachings at church, Dad and Mother taught us concepts from the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Mother also told us about our great great grandparents and great grandparents, who were among the first to join the Church in Europe. Some were disowned by their families, and others were mocked by friends who did not join the Church. Like others, they said goodbye to their homeland and came to a new country by ship and crossed the plains to Utah with other pioneers. Both of these were heart-breaking and fatiguing trips, but they were determined to come. They were from Switzerland, Sweden, and Denmark, but mostly from England. Of this group of ancestors, I only met my Grandfather Delos Adams and Grandfather Joseph Atkinson. The others had passed on before I was born.
In 1936, Mother’s sister and her husband, who lived in California, purchased a bare seventy-five-acre farm in Yuba City, California. By “a bare farm,” I mean that there weren’t any crops growing on it. There was a house, a barn, and a deep well pump for irrigation. They wanted Dad to come and develop their farm. After much thought, Dad and Mother decided to move to Yuba City, which is about fifty miles north of Sacramento. We made this move in 1937, when I was five years old. Dad prepared the ground with his team of horses, and planted alfalfa, peaches, and almonds. The first crop of alfalfa came the second year we were there, and, at age seven, I became the designated alfalfa mowing and raking person with Dad’s team, as well as being an irrigator. Of course, Dad had to harness and unharness the team, since I could not reach the top of their backs. This continued after Dad bought his own farm.
As soon as we arrived in Yuba City, Dad and Mother located the Church. We continued attending church as a family. When I was eight years old, I was baptized in the font at the Gridley Stake chapel. I cannot say that I had a real testimony at that time. I had learned a lot about the gospel in church and from my parents. I was familiar with Joseph Smith’s quest to find the true Church; his visitation from God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ; the instructions he received at that time; his organizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and his translating the Book of Mormon from golden plates given to him by the angel Moroni.
A person might conclude that anyone who had three generations of grandparents plus parents with strong personal testimonies of the gospel would automatically inherit a strong testimony. But it doesn’t work that way. A testimony is personal, and one must discover for himself or herself the truthfulness of these things. During my later teenage years, I began to see more clearly the disparity between my parents’ testimony and what I was thinking. I could not say in all honesty, “I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the earth.” I thought it was the true church. This may be a necessary beginning condition, but it is not a sufficient condition for a real testimony. Like many others, I concluded that the Book of Mormon was the starting point because of a promise that it contains in chapter ten, verse four, of Moroni, which states:
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.
Like many others who wanted verification from Heavenly Father, I began to put this to the test. I studied the Book of Mormon, fasted, and knelt down and prayed many times with a sincere heart to know if it was true. I also prayed to know if Joseph Smith truly saw God, the Father, and Jesus Christ. I also prayed to know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the true church on the earth. These efforts continued after I began attending the University of California at Berkeley. In due time, Heavenly Father did answer my prayers by the gift of the Holy Ghost. Since that time, I have had other personal experiences that could easily be called miracles. These will not be discussed, as they are most sacred to me. I have also witnessed positive changes in the lives of others who have sincerely put this to the test. These experiences have further strengthened my testimony about the truthfulness of the Church.
For many years it has been my testimony that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s true church on the earth. I know that Joseph Smith did see God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, and conversed with them. I know Joseph Smith was chosen by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to be the prophet to restore His Church to the earth with the same organization and doctrine as the church Christ established when He was on the earth. I know the prophet Joseph Smith was given the holy priesthood as part of this restoration, and it continues in the Church today. I know the prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from the golden plates by the gift and power of God, and that it is a second witness of Heavenly Father’s plan for us to return to Him, and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
This same process is available to anyone who sincerely desires to know the truthfulness of these things. I encourage you to put it to the test.
Jed A. Adams received his B.S. degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and then proceeded on to receive a Ph.D. in agricultural economics, also from the University of California at Berkeley. He spent his entire career with the California Department of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento, retiring in 1993. As a young man, he served in the Spanish American Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1954-1956).
Posted December 2011