I can’t remember ever not having faith in Jesus Christ. I always knew that the Savior lived and that He loved me. Those feelings of faith came from my parents, who taught me what was right and wrong, and from attending Primary and other Church meetings.
Although I recall giving talks in Primary and taking part in other ways, some of my favorite Primary memories are of singing. I love the Primary songs. I still enjoy singing them. They teach of the Savior and the goodness of the gospel.
In fact, I think one of the most important callings in the Church is the Primary music director. It is certainly the calling that has had the biggest impact on our family. My wife, Mary, served in that calling, so we often sang Primary songs while our children were growing up. Whenever we were riding in the car, and usually for family home evening, we sang Primary songs. Mary taught the songs with such enthusiasm and excitement that even the younger children were interested.
After we sang, we often talked about the lyrics, or words, to the song. Some of our best gospel discussions have come after singing Primary songs. What a glorious and fun way to learn gospel principles.
As an area president, I tour the missions in my area and I usually invite Mary to lead the missionaries in singing a Primary song. You ought to see them sing! There’s a spark in their smile, a light in their eyes. They all know and love those songs.
Another early Primary memory I treasure is a gift from a much-beloved Primary presidency. When I was ten years old, I received a book, Poems That Touch the Heart, for having 100 percent Primary attendance. I still read that book, and when I do, I remember the enormous amount of love I felt when I was at Primary. I knew that my Primary teachers genuinely cared about me and what I did. This book symbolizes that love and interest.
Because of the warm feelings I had about Jesus Christ and the gospel, I did the things that prepared me to gain a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I read the scriptures, prayed, and attended my Church meetings.
When I was fifteen years old, I had a talk with my older brother, Joe, who was trying to decide whether or not to serve a mission. Joe was an incredibly good example to me. He had planned on going to medical school, but when the opportunity came to serve a mission, he took the decision very seriously. We talked long into the night one evening about the gospel and testimonies and missions.
We reasoned that if the Church was just a good institution, he could help more people by attending medical school and becoming a doctor. On the other hand, if Joseph Smith was actually a prophet and the Book of Mormon was really true, going on a mission would be much more important.
That evening was one of the most important times in my life. After Joe and I finished talking, I went into another room and prayed about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I got a very strong feeling that the things Joe and I had been talking about were true.
Joe chose to serve a mission, and a few years later, I followed in his footsteps, serving in the British Mission. My mission experiences greatly strengthened the testimony that had begun in Primary.
What an incredible blessing it is to be raised with the understanding of the gospel and to know what is good and honest and true! People who don’t understand what is right and what is wrong often get lost in life. They have to decide over and over again how they will live.
The teachings of the Savior are the way to happiness. What an enormous advantage to have that blessing in your life!