“A Remarkable Feeling,” New Era, June 2002, 38
When I reflect on my life there has never been a moment when I doubted that the Church was true. In my youth, raised in a Mormon community, testimony was never a question among my peers because virtually all of our activities centered on the Church. Belief was automatic. Without seminary there was almost no dialogue about our knowledge or our understanding of the gospel. The Church was just there and we were a part of it. Then I was called to serve a full-time mission in the Spanish-American Mission, working with the Mexican people.
My companion and I entered the mission field at the same time and for some reason, unknown to us, we were assigned to begin our missionary labors together. Neither one of us knew the Spanish language, and both of us were virtually illiterate in the gospel. (This was before there were any Missionary Training Centers.) We were timid, untrained, and a little frightened, but eager to start to work.
In those days there were very few member referrals. We knocked on doors from morning to night and did our best to communicate with the Mexican people, using a few words of Spanish and a lot of English. For the first time in my life I was required to bear my testimony to nonmembers who had little knowledge or respect for the Church. It was a challenging and humbling experience.
One day, to our surprise, we met a couple who brought out a Book of Mormon, saying that in their church they also used this sacred book as scripture. We were overjoyed until they began to criticize us and mock the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We discovered that they were missionaries from another religion who had been serving for 11 years. They were very knowledgeable and skilled in using the scriptures. My companion and I were no match for them. We were just boys fresh off the farm. They totally intimidated us, demeaned us, and tried to destroy our faith. In my heart I prayed for divine help.
Then, as I looked at that couple, a remarkable feeling came over me. For the first time in my life I felt the power of the Spirit rest upon me. Although I was somewhat ignorant, unlearned in the things of the gospel and the world, there was an absolute assurance that I held the holy priesthood of God and that they did not! That I was His minister of truth and they were not! With all the power of my soul I told them that I knew we were just boys and that we were not experts in the doctrine of our religion, but I knew that what we were doing was correct, that the Church was true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. They were silenced. They could not refute my testimony.
The testimony I bore that day was different than any other I had ever given. It was not a passive thing, nor simply an accepted thing. It was real. I knew it. And my testimony which began at that moment has grown stronger and stronger every day of my life. There is no doubt, you see, for it is true!