Kathleen O’Meal is a Palmyra bookstore owner, lifelong Palmyra resident and stalwart member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since a young age, she has been challenged and persecuted because of her loyalty to and strong faith in the Church, but has never wavered in what she knows to be true.
When asked to share her testimony of Joseph Smith, O’Meal said, “Oh, yes. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. When Heavenly Father came and He said, ‘This is My [Beloved] Son, Hear Him!’, it wasn’t a suggestion”.
O’Meal trusts and acknowledges the Lord’s hand when it comes to Him choosing His prophets here on earth.
Just as the Prophet Joseph Smith, the challenges O’Meal has faced in her life haven’t kept her from thriving as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, but rather have made her stronger and even more devout to the Lord.
“Being the only member of the Church in school … when I was growing up and … the trauma impact of that persecution … has only made me [and] my testimony stronger because I felt the peace of the Lord in the midst of traumatic experiences,” O’Meal said.
O’Meal found peace in the Lord during difficult times and knows of the strength that comes from trusting in His power.
Living in Palmyra
Having lived in Palmyra her whole life and understanding the historical significance of that area, O’Meal has learned to recognize where she finds the most peace during turbulent times. Of the places and resources available to her, O’Meal turns to the Book of Mormon and Sacred Grove for spiritual grounding.
“I cannot tell you the times when the zingers in life happened that I would [go into the Sacred Grove] and cry my eyes out and pour out my heart to my Father in Heaven in there, knowing for sure that even at the worst of times when I had trouble feeling the spirit, that I could come there and just feel the Lord’s spirit and feel the healing power of the Lord’s spirit,” O’Meal said.
Her testimony of the Savior and His healing power shines bright to all who know her and the lasting impact of this power is made clear in her life. She continued to share how she doesn’t have any doubts about the gospel and has never needed to ask for a spiritual manifestation in search of a special witness of the reality and truthfulness of the gospel.
Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon
One of the most impactful testimony builders for O’Meal has been the Book of Mormon. When asked what the Book of Mormon has taught her about the Savior and how that knowledge has strengthened her faith in Him, she shared, “We see His hand throughout the entire Book of Mormon leading and guiding people in the worst of times”.
She explained how she has learned that His love is unconditional and unbiased, especially in terms of worldly concerns of physical, social, and economical status, among other things. “His love runs deeper than all the universes that there are. That is what I’ve learned about Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon,” O’Meal said.
Connecting with prophets
Another impactful testimony builder for O’Meal has been her testimony of and experience with living Prophets.
“This is [the Lord’s] Church and He can choose who He wants to for his prophet. And He was choosing [Joseph Smith] that day … They came and appeared to a young boy,” O’Meal said.
Not only has O’Meal experienced numerous witnesses from the Spirit regarding the Lord’s prophets on the earth today, but she’s had the opportunity to experience being in the presence of some herself.
“When I was a very tiny child … and … Sister and Elder Stephen Boswell lived [in the Frame home] … They prepared a meal for President McKay and Elder Tanner. I was very small, somewhat of a tomboy, and so my mother … [had] me [help Sister Boswell] serv[e] the dinner. … It was a marvelous experience. I knew he was a prophet and I knew Elder Tanner was a general authority. When they came in and sat down, it was my privilege to serve the plates to them and do the dishes. I didn’t get to go and greet them or talk with them. Then as they were getting ready to leave, I ran over and I was looking out the window with them getting in the vehicle. And President McKay turned around and he waved to me and he smiled. And he goes, ‘Thank you’,” O’Meal shared.
Being in the presence of a prophet has changed O’Meal’s life and has been a testimony to her of the Savior’s ability to choose His own prophets and use them in ways He needs them to.
Inviting all to “come and see”
Sister O’Meal also testified of her knowledge of the Church being true and the Savior being the “author and restorer of [it].”
She testified, “I know that the Lord’s prophets have been in this sacred place.”
Having personal experience feeling the peace that comes from a prophet’s words and presence, O’Meal knows of the power the Lord’s prophets hold today.
When asked to share one message of the gospel with the world, she invited all to “Come and see who you really are”.
She said, “There’s nobody else anywhere like you. You have a Father [and] a Mother in Heaven who adore you, who are concerned about you, but who have great faith and trust in you … and They want to see you again.”