“You’ve Always Known,” New Era, June 2006, 45
When I turned 14, I was excited to finally be old enough to attend stake youth conference, which was held on a ranch owned by our stake. I was from Seattle, so the remote location was quite a change from the traffic, concrete, and buildings I was used to. The ranch had a rustic beauty with lots of trees, grass, and clean air that made me feel peaceful and close to God. It made me think about Joseph Smith. I wondered if the Sacred Grove was similar to our surroundings.
I had a wonderful time and wished the conference could have lasted longer, but soon it was the final day and almost time for the testimony meeting. I lingered behind for a few minutes and found myself alone in my bunkhouse. I felt that this youth conference was the time to figure out for sure if the Church was true. I had borne my testimony before and said I believed it was true, but I wanted to be able to stand as others had done and say that I knew it was true.
I believed that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ had spoken to Joseph Smith when he was 14, so I thought that since I was now 14, Heavenly Father could tell me, too. I didn’t expect a vision, but I believed God would somehow let me know if this was His Church. I decided that as soon as the testimony meeting ended, I would go a little ways from the lodge among the trees to kneel and pray as Joseph had.
During the meeting, I listened intently to the testimonies, and I recognized that the Spirit was very strong. My sister’s friend stood to bear his testimony. As he said the words, “I know the Church is true and that God lives,” I heard a still, small voice whisper within me: “You know it’s true, too. You’ve always known.” Tears filled my eyes because I knew God had heard my prayer before I had even spoken it.
How grateful I was then, and still am, for the knowledge that the Church is true, that God knows me, and that He hears and answers even my unspoken prayers.