“Taking a Stand,” New Era, May 1997, 48
There I was, sitting in my house with my aunt crying and urging me to read the book she had brought with her. She said she was scared for me because of my desire to be a member of the Mormon church. Although I didn’t have a good feeling about reading the book, my aunt begged me to promise I would. Torn between my loyalty to the Church and my desire to please my aunt, I finally consented.
That episode with my aunt was the beginning of a difficult summer during which I was presented with a test of faith—a test that nearly destroyed my testimony and my happiness.
My interest in the Church had been sparked the winter before, and with the help of a friend, I began receiving the missionary discussions at her home.
After my fifth discussion with the missionaries, I went to church. That Sunday was fast Sunday, and during the testimony meeting I had an overwhelming feeling of peace and warmth. I had never felt so much love in one room. That day, my testimony of the Church started to grow.
A few weeks later, I went to my first Mutual activity. The people there were so welcoming, and their actions set them apart from the other kids I knew at school. It was a fun activity that added to my fledgling testimony.
I had started to feel like I was on my way to building a strong gospel foundation, but my aunt’s visit really shook me up. Since I had promised to read her book, I did. I decided that reading the book couldn’t do much harm. Boy, was I wrong.
After reading the book I was confused and sad and didn’t know where to turn. To make matters worse, a friend of mine encouraged me to read more material that was critical of the Church. I found that much of the literature had little or nothing to do with the Church, and little of it made any sense. Now I had more questions than ever.
In search of some answers, my friend and I went to the temple visitor’s center. Two missionaries showed us videos and bore their testimonies. I asked them all the questions I had about the books I had read. The missionaries answered every single one.
Shortly after my experience on the temple grounds, I received my first priesthood blessing. The special feeling I had experienced in my first testimony meeting returned. I was awestruck by the power of the Spirit.
Finally, it seemed everything was getting back on track, except for one thing. My mom was trying hard to talk me out of going to seminary. Although it was difficult, I stood my ground. Seminary is important to me.
I can now relate to the pioneers who traveled across the country to Utah so they could practice their religion. I used to think, “Why would anyone give up that much just for a religion?” Now I know.
I know the Church is true, and I have been able to build my testimony ten times stronger through prayer and studying the scriptures.
Because of this trial of my faith, I have learned not to take the valuable messages of the gospel for granted. I can’t be baptized until I’m 18, and even though three years seems a long time to wait, I am happy to have the time to prepare. I cannot deny the feelings that the Church and the scriptures give me, and I cannot deny what I almost lost forever—my testimony of the gospel.