“Friend to Friend: The Beginning of a Testimony,” Friend, Mar. 2004, 6
I was born in St. George, Utah, where my ancestors settled in 1861. My great-great-great-grandfather was Erastus Snow, an Apostle when Brigham Young was President of the Church. My parents and grandparents spoke often of the pioneers and their sacrifices. They encouraged me to honor the family name, to know who I was, and to choose the right.
My father owned a dry-cleaning business, and I started helping him when I was about five years old. I swept the floor and prepared clothes hangers for hanging pants. Summer temperatures in St. George often rise well above 100° F (38° C). Standing over a steam press in August was my motivation to go to law school. Remembering those days kept me at my studies. My brothers and sister and I also helped our grandparents with their cows, horses, and furniture store. I learned to work hard, and I played sports—especially baseball and football.
The day after my baptism, I was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was during a fast and testimony meeting, and I decided, for the first time ever, to bear my testimony. As I spoke, a wonderful, warm feeling filled my heart. It was a confirmation of the Spirit that joining the Church was the right thing to do. That warm feeling was the beginning of my small testimony, which grew as I grew older. I know that children can gain testimonies of their own and that even small testimonies are enough to help us choose the right.
Now I serve in southeastern Africa. Many Church members in Africa have been recently baptized. They are pioneers. A testimony burns brightly in their hearts. It is common for families to walk to church, up to an hour and a half each way. Families who live farther away save money all week to pay taxi fares.
African children are very reverent in sacrament meeting and Primary. They like to listen to lessons given by their teachers, and they like to sing songs. A favorite hymn is “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (Hymns, no. 19). Saints in Africa love President Gordon B. Hinckley very much. They bear fervent testimony that he is a prophet and that Joseph Smith restored the gospel to the earth.
Most wards and branches meet in buildings you would immediately recognize as Latter-day Saint meetinghouses. But Saints in Rustenburg, South Africa, met in a warehouse while they waited for their new chapel to be completed. When I visited their sacrament meeting, I noticed that the warehouse had spaces between the roof and the walls to let air come in from outside. As we began to sing the opening hymn, birds flew in and perched on the rafters. They sang right along with us. During the sacrament hymn, the birds sang again.
In every country, you children of the Church are blessed to have Primary. Attending Primary each week helps you learn about the gospel so you can gain a testimony of your own. By coming to church, listening to your parents, praying, reading the scriptures, and keeping Heavenly Father’s commandments, you will be worthy to feel the Holy Ghost. He will testify to you, as He testified to me and to the Saints in Africa, that President Hinckley is a prophet of God and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.