My friend Rachel asked me if I would attend church with her. She was active in her own faith, and I was curious to see how her church was different from mine. I asked my parents for permission to go with her. They said that since her worship service time did not conflict with our meeting times, I could attend.
Many things about her church’s service were unfamiliar to me: the songs and the prayers were different; the way the preacher spoke was unfamiliar. When the offering plate was circulated, I wasn’t sure what to do.
Finally, the preacher asked anyone in the group who hadn’t publicly accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Savior to come forward. Rachel whispered, encouraging me to go. I was hesitant. In our ward the bishop had never asked anyone to come forward and publicly accept Christ. I didn’t know what to do. Perhaps I hadn’t done something that was important for my salvation. I left the meeting confused.
As I thought about this experience later, I came to realize that I had indeed publicly accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I had been baptized by one having priesthood authority from Jesus Christ. My baptism was a covenant with Heavenly Father that I would take upon myself the name of Jesus Christ and be His disciple. I promised that I would keep His commandments and try to be like Him. Present at my baptism were priesthood holders who acted as witnesses, as well as family and ward members.
Since my baptism and confirmation, I have had the opportunity every Sunday to partake of the sacrament and witness once again to my Heavenly Father that I will continue to take upon myself the name of Christ.
Sometimes Christians from other churches may ask the same question my friend’s preacher asked, only phrased differently. They may ask if we have been saved. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has helped us understand and respond to this question: “Christian people sometimes attach different meanings to some key gospel terms like saved or salvation. If we answer according to what our questioner probably means in asking if we have been ‘saved,’ our answer must be ‘yes.’ ” 1
I was still building my testimony of Jesus Christ when I attended my friend’s church. Since then I have found that the more I study the gospel through the scriptures and the words of the living prophets, the more prepared and confident I am to stand as a witness of God at all times (see Mosiah 18:9).
Illustration by Sam Lawlor