“Have we not all one father?” (Malachi 2:10).
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I was born of goodly parents. My father and mother held to the values of honesty and integrity that the Church teaches, but they were not active in the Church. Still, my friends went to Primary, so I did too. I felt happy there and never wanted to miss it.
The Primary became my Church family. I went to sacrament meeting each week and sat with my Primary friends. I did not fully understand the meaning of the sacrament, but I knew that I felt something special when I partook of it. I understood the feeling of a covenant before I ever learned that word.
When I turned 12, my Aaronic Priesthood quorum became my second Church family. I felt a great love and reverence for the priesthood. As a deacons quorum president, I conducted quorum meetings, and when a new deacon was ordained, I welcomed him with a little speech. I remember saying, “This is the priesthood of God. You need to honor it.”
After high school I joined the army reserve. My commanding officer gave me the opportunity of becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. He was very gracious but also very large and imposing. People didn’t turn him down. I asked if I could go home and think it over.
I prayed that night, and into my mind came the baptism prayer found in Doctrine and Covenants 20:73: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
I went back the next morning and told my commanding officer that I had decided to accept a commission—but that I would be commissioned by Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I explained that I was going to serve a mission for my church.
The feeling of having that prayer answered was wonderful, and I have felt it again and again as I have prayed about important decisions. I seem to have always known that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know me and love me. My conversion must have begun when I first attended Primary and felt the Spirit there. It continued in my Aaronic Priesthood quorums and in the mission field. It still continues today.
We are all sons and daughters of Heavenly Father. He never forgets this, but we sometimes do. So He has given us the principle of faith to help us remember. To help us develop faith in Him, Heavenly Father gives us the gift of experience. As I look back over my life, I’m grateful for the experiences that have helped increase my faith.
Enjoy the experiences that Heavenly Father will give you. Learn from them the things that He wants you to learn. Heavenly Father gives each of us experiences that will help increase our faith in Him and in His Son.
If some of your experiences are sad, please remember that you are a son or daughter of your Father in Heaven and that He loves you. This is a sure anchor that will never be removed. Ever! It is eternal and rooted in the plan of salvation. You must hold fast to it no matter what.
Illustration by Robert A. McKay; photograph courtesy of the Sybrowsky family