The longer I live, the more my soul is filled with a testimony of God’s eternal plan for all His children. My heart and my mind both know of the reality of God, of Jesus Christ, and of their individual love for each person that comes to this earth. At this later stage of life, I can look back at the happenings of my own existence and see that God’s hand was constantly there in all the important watershed moments, as I made critical decisions about my own life, and as I participated with my husband in the rearing of our family. At various stages along my journey, I could not tell how the finished painting called life would appear. But I now see how God influenced events to come together in unexpected ways in order for the masterpiece that is mortal life to come to full fruition. I truly marvel at the miraculous manner in which God was able to smooth over and even erase those sometimes messy and unpleasant episodes of my life into a harmonious whole that continues to be full of beauty and promise through the merciful Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have been so grateful to have had a righteous, kind, and selfless husband by my side to help in negotiating through these life trials. I have a firm testimony regarding the reality of his priesthood power as he took opportunity to bless me and our children throughout our lives. Those blessings have been moments when I felt God’s presence, aid, and comfort very near. I also bear testimony to the reality of God’s participation in the great gift of a patriarchal blessing. My own blessing, which I know came directly from a loving Father in Heaven, has given me direction, comfort, and joy throughout my life. It has also revealed to me how great and personal God’s plan is for each one of us, as I have seen these promises come to pass in my own life and in the lives of my children in ways that no mere mortal could have presupposed or arranged. The bestowals of my own patriarchal blessing and those of my children have truly been some of the most spiritual moments of my life when I sincerely felt God’s presence, love, and concern for me and each of my family members.
In my education and practice as an art historian, I always liked to believe that I was moving toward the discovery of truth in my research. I now realize, however, that when I discover and theorize about some new archival detail, this is not the same thing as experiencing eternal truth. I am grateful, therefore, to have partial access to those vast eternal truths via revelation through past and present prophets. As those truths work upon my mind, both through the testimonies of others and through my own personal revelation, I am amazed at the overwhelming sense of peace and enlightenment I receive. Moreover it is an enlightenment that is lasting and that far surpasses the joy experienced via academic insight. I am so grateful for the broader perspective of eternal truths, and I am grateful for the opportunity of receiving knowledge beyond my own ability to study, learn, and understand in this life. I have a testimony that prophets truly are called of God to give us direction toward achieving eternal life and lasting happiness. And I am grateful for the personal revelation that comes while reading prophetic pronouncements to help me comprehend and employ the instruction given.
In conclusion, my testimony of the gospel, the Atonement of Christ, the priesthood, prophets, scriptures, and personal revelation all conjoin around my sure conviction that I am a child of a loving Father in Heaven who has a plan to help me return to Him by becoming the righteous individual I desire to be.
Martha Moffitt Peacock (Ph.D., Ohio State University) is a professor of art history at Brigham Young University. Her research centers on the relationship of art to the lives of women in the Dutch Republic. Her articles “Proverbial Reframing—Rebuking and Revering Women in Trousers,” “Domesticity in the Public Sphere,” and “The Imaging and Economics of Women Consumers and Merchants in the Netherlandish Marketplace” deal with themes of female empowerment through art. She has also published and presented on women artists such as Geertruydt Roghman and Anna Maria van Schurman. Additionally, she has published on Bosch and Rembrandt. She contributed to and edited two exhibition catalogs on the prints of Rembrandt and his circle at BYU. She is currently working on a book entitled Heroines, Harpies, and Housewives: Imaging Women of Consequence in the Dutch Golden Age.
Posted March 2011