“O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God” (Alma 37:35).
I come from Uruguay, where I learned that the Book of Mormon was true. I first knew in my heart and then in my mind. When I read the first few pages of 1 Nephi, I knew there was something special about this book. I had such strong feelings that I could not hide my emotions! Something was telling me it was true. I can testify that the Book of Mormon invites the Spirit of God, which is the Holy Ghost.
If the Book of Mormon is true and teaches about Jesus Christ, then Joseph Smith is a prophet. If Joseph Smith is a prophet, then the Church has to be true. That is the way I came to know that the Church is true.
Before I joined the Church, I had been taught good principles by my parents. Some of them were principles of the gospel, but my parents didn’t know they were teachings of the Church. I knew basic things about Jesus Christ, but I had never had to find out if they were true. When I was searching for an answer about the Church, I decided to pray on my knees for the first time in my life. It was different from how I had prayed before. We need more people on their knees to receive testimonies.
Spiritual experiences need to be remembered. I try to remember my first experience of conversion and keep it alive for myself and my family. I think it is important to remember such spiritual experiences. When you remember them, they help you endure to the end.
We can learn from the Book of Mormon. When Alma taught as a missionary and as a father, he taught that we should remember the gospel (see Alma 37:13). Lehi did too. He said to remember the way the Lord led him and his family to the promised land (see 2 Ne. 1:1–5). I always try to remember the way I was converted and the way I know that the Church is true. Remembering has helped me throughout the 30 years I have been a member of the Church.
Another thing we need to remember is that we have made covenants with the Lord. We are a covenant-making people. The temple is a symbol of those covenants. It is very important not to take these covenants for granted. We need to understand them and ponder them. That will raise our level of commitment.
There are commitments we can make to help prepare us to make covenants, such as the baptismal covenant. These commitments include reading the Book of Mormon every day, praying on your knees every day, and going to church every week. When you are keeping these commitments, you are preparing yourself to obey a covenant—a covenant like the baptismal covenant, which will prepare you to go to the temple. If you keep your commitments, whatever they are, they will help you keep your covenants.
When an investigator decides to learn more about the Church, the missionaries invite him or her to make smaller commitments, such as praying, attending church, and reading the scriptures. When an investigator keeps these commitments, the missionaries know that he or she is preparing to make the covenant of baptism and is receiving a testimony.
The Book of Mormon was the key to my conversion. The reason I love the Book of Mormon is that through it, we can know about Jesus Christ. We can learn that He is the Son of God and our Savior. We can develop our own testimonies of Him. He can become real to us. He is real. As we get closer to Him and keep our commitments and covenants, we can also feel His love, which is real. Always remember Him and how you developed your testimony of Him.