“Where He Stood,” New Era, Jan. 2011, 45
I visited Palmyra, New York, with my stake for youth conference in the summer of 2004. While we were there, we visited Church history sites around Palmyra, including the Sacred Grove, as well as the Palmyra temple. We ended with a testimony meeting in the Church building at the Peter Whitmer Farm. What a testimony-building experience!
I loved standing where Joseph Smith stood. It struck me during testimony meeting that most of the sites were such small buildings that I must have stood in places that Joseph Smith stood, even if it was only for five seconds. But I also know that I don’t have to stand where he stood to gain a testimony of him. My testimony of him has been strengthened while I have been alone in my own bedroom as well. But I am grateful that I was able to visit where it all began.
I especially loved the peaceful feeling when I stepped inside the Sacred Grove. It is truly a place where God and Jesus Christ have been. The peace there is much like the peace that a temple or Church building brings. It is truly the Spirit.
In the Sacred Grove we split into small groups and went off with our leaders. They taught us about the First Vision, and we each found a quiet spot to pray. I felt a real peace when I prayed. I felt reconfirmation that the Church is true.
By the end of the youth conference, after visiting all the sites, I learned that I want to know Jesus Christ and that the only way to know Him is to constantly learn of Him and to be like Him. I am so grateful for my chance to learn these powerful lessons while visiting the spot where the Restoration began.