Elder Richard J. Maynes, of the Presidency of the Seventy, and his wife, Nancy Maynes, addressed young adults about Joseph Smith and the Restoration, in a worldwide broadcast on Sunday.
Nancy Maynes began the devotional by sharing her LDS conversion story.
She said she grew up in a loving family of the Presbyterian faith. Although she did not often attend church, she believed in God and in Jesus Christ. As a young adult in college, Nancy Maynes described herself as being discouraged, confused and lost.
“I was searching for something that would give my life some meaning, but I just didn’t know where to find it,” she said.
Nancy Maynes explained that during this time of confusion, she poured out her heart to God, praying for help and guidance.
A few days later, she met and dated Richard John Maynes who began to tell her about the Book of Mormon. After receiving the missionary lessons, Nancy Maynes knew it was true. She felt a special connection to Joseph Smith because he had the same question that she had.
“A light was turned on in my life,” she said. “It rang true to something I had always felt and believed, but in my Church, it was not taught.”
Nancy Maynes was soon baptized as a member of the LDS church and she married Richard Maynes one year later in the Manti, Utah temple.
Elder Richard J. Maynes spoke of the Restoration being something that many prophets throughout history foresaw.
“There are dozens and dozens of prophetic statements throughout the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon that clearly predict and point toward the Restoration of the Gospel,” said Elder Maynes.
He went on to explain that certain historical events such as the American Revolution and the creation of the American Constitution led to the great religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.
“It was through these competing notions of salvation that Joseph Smith’s family navigated their commitment,” he said.
Elder Maynes described that Joseph Smith was searching for truth, direction and purpose in his life. After reading the influential scripture in James 1:5, Joseph decided to ask God. His sincere prayer in the Sacred Grove lead to the First Vision.
Elder Maynes said that Joseph wrote four accounts of the First Vision. His contemporaries wrote five additional records of what they heard Joseph say about the vision.
“It is a blessing to have these records. They make Joseph’s First Vision the best documented event in history,” Elder Maynes said.
He went on to describe the four accounts of the First Vision:
- 1832 account emphasizes the Savior’s Atonement
- 1835 account is a testimony that first God and then Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph
- 1838 account focuses on the vision as the beginning of the rise of the Church
- 1842 account is for an audience unfamiliar with Mormon doctrine
“They together tell Joseph’s consistent, harmonious story,” Elder Maynes said.
He encouraged all to visit history.lds.org to learn more about the different accounts.
After tearfully reading the 1838 account of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, Elder Maynes expounded upon some of the sacred truths that were revealed through Joseph’s sacred experience.
Elder Maynes encouraged online discussion by asking the young adults across the world to consider and answer the following questions with the with hashtag #LDSdevo, “What truths have you learned from Joseph Smith’s First Vision?” and “How has the Lord answered you as you have sought for truth and answers to questions you have had?”
Elder Maynes concluded how grateful he was for being able to share the truthfulness of the Restoration with his wife, Nancy.
“We should share this sacred event and the things we have learned from it with all those we love and care about,” Elder Maynes said “Many of those searching for direction and purpose in life are represented by the age group participating in this devotional. They are your friends and your associates.”
Elder Richard J. Maynes has been a member of the General Authority Seventy since 1997. He was named a member of the Presidency of the Seventy in 2012.