Testimony of Christ and the Restored Gospel

Elder Bruce Hafen of the Seventy described the early foundations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia as a missionary church. My testimony of the Saviour, the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the restored Gospel had its genesis in a North Queensland town far from the centre of the Church in America. Goodly parents were converted to this new religion, which appeared in the town in the form of two missionaries and was the key for my developing testimony of eternal truths. As a young person in a missionary church, I learnt at an early age about the visitation of the Father and Son to the boy prophet Joseph, about the translation of the Book of Mormon, and that there was a living prophet on the earth today from my newly-converted parents and missionary teachings.

In my youth I wanted to know personally if this church and its doctrines were true. I diligently applied the test contained in the Book of Mormon, Moroni chapter 10, verses 4-5, which I had also studied in courses at seminary and Institute. As I prayed about the truths contained in the Book of Mormon, I knew within my mind and by the feelings of my heart and the experiences I had enjoyed as a member of the church that the Book of Mormon was true, that Christ lived, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. The Holy Ghost had answered my prayer and made manifest the truth of these things.

As result of this testimony, I served a mission in the southern States of Australia, where my testimony and knowledge of divine truths associated with the Church of Jesus Christ expanded and became part of my character and personal values. The presentations we gave to people wanting to know the truthfulness of the Church had been fully accepted by me as divine truths revealed by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost.

Presidents John Covey and Bruce Mitchell, my mission presidents, were mentors in my studies and growing testimonies concerning the infinite atoning sacrifice of Christ, the power of conversion by the Holy Ghost, the miraculous appearance of the Father and Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the keystone of our religion—the Book of Mormon. This great missionary work that we were performing under President Spencer W. Kimball’s administration, who had asked us to “Lengthen our Stride,” was an important time of growth in my life. I had developed a strong testimony of the doctrine of Christ and how the doctrine applied to missionary work, which remains with me to this day.

My future academic studies and professional policing career were influenced by church leaders and my father. I should point out that, in Australia, academic studies and the career I had chosen were not considered compatible, both within the university and policing environment. The Dean of the Arts faculty questioned the enrolment details, and in particular my reasons for studying an Arts degree, my career option, and my involvement as a missionary in the church. When I applied to be a police officer, the selection panel questioned my religious beliefs and interests in education, and then recommended that I would not make a suitable applicant for policing. The decision of the panel was overturned by the Police Commissioner, who had known my father (who was then serving as a police officer).

Later in life, my profession experienced a major corruption scandal, and the inquiry outcomes recommended a major shift in educational and ethical standards for police officers. Both the academic studies and professional ethics I had undertaken in my early career were supported by my religious standards and beliefs. But, even after the reforms, I was often asked to explain or justify my religious beliefs and education interests. At the time, I had completed a masters thesis on police corruption and was studying for a doctorate on police commissioner and minister relationships. I was the only police officer in the organisation with major post-graduate qualifications.

As part of my justification, I often had to explain why I believed in Christ, the moral code I lived, and the health standard I adhered to. My responses have strengthened my testimony in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On another occasion, whilst recommending a policy initiative for improving education and training of police after the corruption inquiry, I was introduced to the Police Minister as a person who did not drink liquor, tea, or coffee, did not lie and was a religious man. I have had to literally live the Apostle Paul’s admonition, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto Salvation” – Romans chapter 1, verse 16.

In addition to my educational development and professional role, I have been asked to serve in many roles of responsibility in the Church involving the counselling of individuals and families in personal affairs. My testimony has helped others understand and develop their own testimonies of the Saviour’s Atonement and the restoration of the Gospel and the influence of temple covenants in their lives. I have developed an extensive understanding and testimony of the doctrines of salvation explained by the leading brethren of the church, the scriptures, and recognised church academies. My testimony has been elevated to new heights as I have been able to appreciate and more fully understand the atonement of Christ, the creation of the earth, the role of Adam and Eve, the power of the resurrection, the second coming of the Saviour, modern day church history, and the divine purposes of temples.

My role in my professional and church responsibilities has constantly brought me into the sphere and influence of many prominent politicians, academics, media, and interfaith representatives at a local and national level. My values and religiosity are the result of the doctrines of this Church. I have explained to all that I believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, and as my personal Saviour. I try to model my life on his teachings and I commemorate Christ’s great atoning sacrifice by attending Sunday and temple worship services.

I believe in the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon—an additional witness to the ministry of Christ—and in modern-day revelation. The Book of Mormon answers questions about the purpose of life. I regularly join with people of many faiths to address local community service and needs. This church that I belong to has a unique place in the Christian world as a restored Christianity and a latter-day church like the ancient church in Christ’s day, which was led by apostles, served by a lay ministry, and emphasized service and good works.

As a result of my beliefs, I support personal trustworthiness and integrity, the need for strong marriages and families, self-reliance and strong work ethic, education and self-improvement, healthy living and civic participation. I have been able to contribute to my country, church, community, and family with good ideas and practice, strong religious principles and moral values, principle-centred policy development and academic papers, to build a better community in Australia.

Posted January 2010 on FairMormon.org

Grant Pitman is the executive manager of the Information and Communication Technology Command-Major Projects for the Queensland Police Service in Australia, and holds the rank of Acting Chief Superintendent. He also holds a Master of Administration degree and a Ph.D. in public policy from Griffith University.

His extensive professional service at national, state, and regional levels includes participation in numerous groups and committees, among them the Ipswich Economic Forum, the Brisbane Airport Emergency Planning Committee, the National Emergency Communications Working Group, the National Police Drug and Alcohol Task Force, and the Police Education Advisory Council (for which he was the executive officer). He has chaired several of these groups, including the South West Regional Traffic Committee (1994-1996), the Australasian Police Traffic Forum (2000-2002), the National Neighbourhood Watch Committee (2002-2003), and the District Disaster Management Group for Brisbane, Redland, and Pine Rivers Council (2004-2008), and he co-chaired the National Police Communications Group (2004-2008).

Dr. Pitman has been involved with many aspects of policing, such as disaster management, communications, traffic enforcement, auditing and finance, government policy development, education and human resources, and organizational reform. He has managed 300-1000 staff in the corporate services, operational support, and operational areas of the Queensland Police Service, involving budgets ranging from two to sixty million dollars, and has been the program manager for projects totaling over $200 million in funding. His experience includes managing major incidents such bomb threats, fires, industrial accidents, major crimes (e.g., shootings), and rallies, and he has conducted more than 120 internal disciplinary investigations. He won the Premier’s Award for Innovation in 2003 for his work on a mental health intervention program, and has received two police medals for long service (thirty-four years) and integrity.

An adjunct associate professor at the Queensland University of Technology and an adjunct senior lecturer at Griffith University, he has also lectured at two other universities and has published more than thirty articles on police education, public policy, and management, including items in the Australian Police Journal, the Australian Journal of Emergency Management, the International Journal of Police Science and Management, and Criminology Australia, as well as “Australian Police Education, Training and Professional Development,” in R. Broadhurst and S. Davies, Policing in Context: An Introduction to Police Work in Australia (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2009).

He and his wife are the parents of six children. He has held many responsible positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as bishop and stake president, and he currently serves as the Multi Stake Director of Public Affairs for Queensland.