Two Special Witnesses of Christ Testify from Historical Sites about Sacred Experiences

First Vision

The March 30-April 12, 2020 Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families suggests watching the video series Special Witnesses of Christ discussing “what they teach us about what the Savior has done for us.” As you view the videos by Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder D. Todd Christofferson, notice the historic locations and imagery included in the videos and ponder how they affected your thoughts and memories. Listen for inspiring words and phrases about the gospel of Jesus Christ and consider ways to relate their words to yourself and your family. Ask questions, listen to the Spirit, and record your impressions in a personal journal. Discuss your insights with family, friends, and neighbors. You may want to try some of the “activities to consider” related to the testimonies of both Apostles.

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Elder Cook: Shares History of Missionary Work

Elder Cook’s testimony is primarily filmed in the Preston, England and the Ribble River Valley area. This is where the first convert baptism outside North America took place in fulfillment of the Lord’s revelation given in Kirtland, Ohio on July 23, 1837: “Go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:28).


This region is also where Elder Cook served as a young missionary in 1961. Thanks to the efforts of over a million missionaries in the past 183 years, more than half the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now live outside North America.

Take time to think about a few of the key statements Elder Cook shares in his testimony about the importance of past and present missionary work:

  • “I felt renewed appreciation for the Prophet Joseph Smith, for Elder Kimball, and those early missionaries as they fulfilled this first mission to Great Britain.”

Heber C. Kimball
  • “Brother Heber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me, ‘Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my gospel and open the door of salvation to that nation.’”

  • “A significant portion of the membership of the Church today can identify ancestors who accepted the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as a result of early missions to the British Isles.”

  • “Sacred experiences throughout my life allow me to express the overwhelming feelings of love I have for the Savior and to testify that He lives.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder Christofferson: Gaining a Personal Witness of Jesus Christ

Elder Christofferson’s testimony is primarily filmed from the Sacred Grove, just outside of Palmyra, New York. This is where God the Father and Jesus Christ spoke to mankind again. The gospel of Jesus Christ, His priesthood, and His Church were restored upon the earth to bless both the living and the dead. It is also where Elder Christofferson made an early attempt to gain his own personal witness of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

Sacred Grove

Elder Christofferson did not, however, receive an answer in the Sacred Grove. Weeks later, while reading the Book of Mormon at home in his own bedroom, he experienced powerful spiritual answers to his questions through the Holy Ghost.

Review and ponder some of the key statements Elder Christofferson makes about Joseph’s First Vision and gaining our own testimonies of restored gospel of Jesus Christ:

  • “In this magnificent vision, the Father and the Son commissioned Joseph Smith as the instrument by whom they would re-establish the ancient Church and gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth.”

  • “By this spiritual communication, not limited to words, indeed more powerful than words, I was given to know that the Father and the Son had, in fact, appeared to Joseph Smith here and that his witness and the witness of all the holy scriptures concerning Jesus Christ are true.”

  • “Your Heavenly Father knows you, and the hopes and desires of your heart, wherever you are. As with me, He will speak to you in His own time and way. And if you are sincere and willing to act on His answers, He will reveal to you what you desire to know.”

  • “His appearance in this Sacred Grove and what followed thereafter constitute the beginning preparations for that glorious and much anticipated Second Advent.”

Activities to Consider:

  • Design your own questions and plans to act on President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation for the year 2020: “You may wish to begin your preparation by reading afresh Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price. Or ponder important questions such as … ‘How have the events that followed the First Vision made a difference for me and my loved ones?’ … As you seek Jesus Christ in these efforts, God will prepare you to receive further light” (“My 2020 Invitation to You: Share the Message of the Restoration of the Savior’s Gospel,” Blog, Jan. 1, 2020).

first vision
  • You may want to access the new six-episode podcast series from the editors of The Joseph Smith Papers analyzing Joseph Smith’s First Vision available on Latter-day Saints ChanneliTunesGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher and RSS feed. For an explanation of this research and transcripts see “New Podcast Series Looks in Depth at Joseph Smith’s First Vision of Deity,” Newsroom, Jan. 6, 2020.

  • Read more about Elder Heber C. Kimball’s mission to England in the book Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ: The Standard of Truth, Volume 1: 1815-1846 [2018], 275-277, 284, 286-288, 302-303, 306-308, 409.

  • As an individual or family, identify the ancestors who accepted the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and check out FamilySearch History Activities: In-Home Activities, Compare-a-Face, All About Me, Picture My Heritage, My Pioneer Ancestors, Missionaries, Historical Records, WWII Service Records, Joseph Smith Papers, Women of Faith, WWI Service Records, WWI Draft Card, and Nauvoo.

  • Take time and opportunities to make a written, audio, or video record of when, where, and how you or a family member first gained a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.