On the day of my baptism, I was a 22-year-old college student. I was part of a small group that assembled at a swimming pool in Brussels, Belgium. We didn’t have a chapel at that time. There was no baptismal font, no bishop, just two missionaries and a few branch members to support us. I had no family members with me. I had a sure testimony of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer; of Joseph Smith, a prophet; of the Book of Mormon; and of the Church, the only true one.
Three months passed before I was interviewed and ordained a deacon. That Sunday morning I stood in front of the sacrament table to distribute the emblems of the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. I still remember the surroundings: the dining room of a home had been transformed into a meeting hall for sacrament meetings that were attended by a few members. It was my first opportunity to magnify my priesthood calling. Nine months later, I was ordained a teacher and learned how to teach and to watch over the few members of the branch.
Another four months passed, and I was ordained a priest. Now I stood on the other side of the sacrament table. The decor was the same, but I felt different. It impressed me that now I was blessing the emblems of the Atonement and memorizing “that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, … and always remember him and keep his commandments … ; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them” (D&C 20:77).
Two years passed after my baptism, and the day arrived for me to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and to be ordained an elder. The mission president once again laid his hands upon my head. The higher authority and power to act in the name of the Lord were given.
The Church is a divine institution led by the authority of the priesthood. I testify that Jesus lives, that this is the only true church, that the priesthood of the Son of God is vested herein, and that the prophets, seers, and revelators who preside over this church are appointed to preserve the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ and the authority of his priesthood for the salvation of his people.