I first learned about the Church in June 1995, when I was 13 years old. I had always had the desire to know where I came from and where I would go when I died, but I had never sought the answers in any religion. I thought I would learn these things in time.
One night some friends and my older brother and I gathered to talk. While we talked, two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints passed by us. The topic of our conversation changed to religion. My cousin said she was hearing the discussions from the missionaries and finding it very interesting. She told us about the Book of Mormon and someone named Joseph Smith. When she said, “Book of Mormon,” I was interested and asked to see the book. She said, “If any of you want to see the book, the missionaries will be at my house tomorrow. You can get a copy from them.” That was exactly what my brother and I did.
At the appointed time we were there to hear the discussion. We asked many questions. I felt so good hearing that message, and I was certain that what those missionaries said was true. The Spirit testified to me of the truthfulness of their words. On that same night my brother and I received a copy of the Book of Mormon.
After that, the missionaries came to our home and gave us the first discussion. Then came the invitation: “Will you pray to Heavenly Father to know if the Book of Mormon is true?” We both agreed to do it.
On the first night I prayed before sleeping, but I was so tired that I fell asleep without waiting for a response. On the second night I prayed again, but I didn’t receive an answer. The next night I prayed once again. I wanted to feel what the missionaries had taught me: “Your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right” (D&C 9:8). I prayed and waited, but I didn’t receive a response. Still, I went to bed certain that one day I would receive it.
The next day was the first Sunday of the month, and we went to church. It was then that it happened. During class I began to feel something I had never felt before—something that made me feel so happy. When sacrament meeting began I had a desire to bear my testimony, but I didn’t have the courage. However, I was certain that the Book of Mormon was true.
My brother and I accepted the gospel without reluctance. We had testimonies of the Book of Mormon, and we knew that everything else the missionaries taught us would be true too.
We needed these testimonies to remain strong in the Church, for we faced many trials. My mother would not allow us to be baptized, but she did not stop us from going to church. We faithfully attended church and seminary. I also suffered persecution at school from people I thought were my friends. It was difficult, but these experiences strengthened my testimony.
After seven months a missionary challenged us to fast with him for the purpose of being baptized. When we ended the fast, the missionaries came to my house and spoke with my mother. To our great joy, she gave her permission for my brother and me to be baptized.
Trials make us strong.
My brother and I are still strong in the Church. We have both served full-time missions. When I read the Book of Mormon, when I go to church, when I attend institute, when I pray to Heavenly Father, when I fast, when I keep the commandments, my testimony remains solid.
Now I understand why missionaries want investigators to pray for a testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was because of the Book of Mormon that I was able to find the true Church and the answers to my questions.