News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pittsburgh area, counsel from its leaders, and reflections from its members.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why I Believe, Part 1

Chris Hoke, former Steelers player and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, poses with some missionaries after sharing his believe in Jesus Christ at a Sunday-night fireside.

This is the first post in a series on the topic "Why I Believe." This topic was inspired by a recent "fireside" based on the same topic. At that event, retired Steelers player Chris Hoke talked about the topic of why he believes in Jesus Christ. We've asked others in the Pittsburgh area who attended the same fireside to reflect on why they believe in Jesus Christ as a contribution to this blog.

By Kendra Williamson

Rarely do I feel completely enveloped in the Spirit of the Lord, but when I do, I just feel a pure goodness that is difficult to put into words. I feel happy, and the complications of life all simmer down into manageable bites. Most of all, I remember things--I remember how blessed I am, I remember what the Spirit feels like, and I remember my testimony. This is how I felt on Sunday night at the Pittsburgh Stake's fireside, themed "Why I Believe."

This fireside, organized by President Johnson, the man who oversees the missionaries in the Pittsburgh PA Mission, was a compilation of video clips (see below for links), musical numbers, and testimonies. Several things stood out to me during the evening:

First, I was blown away by the musical talent among the 40 young missionaries serving in our area. They performed two choir pieces, and there were a few solos and a duet. In addition to their admirable talent, I marveled at their spirit and feeling as they sang. They just seemed happy, and I felt like they love their Savior and love serving Him.

Second, I enjoyed hearing the testimonies of a few different individuals and relating those testimonies to my own. President and Sister Johnson both shared their testimonies, as did Bishop Chris Hoke. He was a big draw at the fireside, as he had played for the Steelers for eight years and in two Superbowls. He related a few of his experiences from his football career that brought him to his knees, whether he was seeking divine help or forgiveness. Their testimonies posed the simple question that I have been reflecting on for two weeks since then:

Why do I believe in Jesus Christ? 

Until I really started thinking about it, I didn't know that it was such a difficult question to answer. Here is my answer for now, in two parts:

I believe in Jesus Christ because my parents taught me to. Sometimes I think this is a weak or shameful answer--like I believe just because it's the only thing I know. But actually, I believe because they truly do believe and taught me what and how to believe. I've come to realize that growing up in a home that encourages belief in the Savior is a great privilege. I was instilled with Christian values and spiritual sensitivities that made it easier for me to later become more independent in my beliefs.

I believe in Jesus Christ because living and acting in accordance with this belief has brought me joy, blessings, and direction that I find in no other way. This is pretty simple. I am encouraged in my belief because it results in true goodness and happiness in my life. This happiness is not found in money and possessions, but in knowing about God's plan for me now and after this life, in spending time with my family, and in finding ways to follow Jesus Christ's example of service. Believing in Jesus Christ has brought me a new sense of perspective that helps me see that there's hope beyond the day-to-day struggles of life.

So, that's my answer for now. If I had been asked this question five years ago, it would have been different. In five more years, it will be different still. As I continue to believe in Jesus Christ and as I have more experiences in life, my reasons for believing will change and grow. And that's the way, in my opinion, it should be.

A few more photos from the fireside with Chris Hoke: 

A few of the video clips that were shown at the fireside:


  1. So awesome. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  2. I just saw this. Thanks for sharing your feelings. You bring up a good question to think about.

  3. I just saw this. Thanks for sharing your feelings. You bring up a good question to think about.