My life has been different than most youth in the Church. In fact, I’m not even a member. I’m 17 years old and have been waiting to be baptized for a year and a half. My parents told me that I had to be able to make that commitment without their permission.
It all started when my best friend, Heather, invited me to go to girls’ camp with her. Even though I was a stranger, I felt as if I belonged. The last night, during the bearing of testimonies, I got up in front of over a hundred girls and told them I wanted to learn more about the Church.
When school started, Heather invited me to go to early-morning seminary. The thought of getting up at 5:00 A.M. didn’t appeal to me. I declined the invitation. But Heather asked me again. I thought about it and decided that if I didn’t like it after a while, I could quit. I soon discovered that I loved it, and I kept going faithfully.
A couple weeks after I started going to seminary, Heather asked me if I was interested in having the missionaries teach me the discussions. What are missionaries, I thought? I imagined two old bald men who carried briefcases everywhere they went and had no personality. But when I met the Elders, I knew I was wrong. They made learning fun. Not only did I grow to love them and the family that invited me into their home every Sunday night, I also grew to love the Lord and his church.
But that love didn’t come right away. In the Book of Mormon, Alma compares the word of the Lord to a seed. The seed was planted at girls’ camp. I thought the seed was good so I nourished it. I went to seminary. I took the missionary discussions. The seed swelled, sprouted, and began to grow. When things were going so well, I decided to carry out the challenge that the missionaries gave me and talk to my parents about baptism.
It hurt me so much when my parents said no. I had no choice but to abide by their counsel. I was 15 then. Eighteen seemed so far away.
After a few months, I got used to the idea of being an “eternal investigator.” The members treated me as a member, and I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting after four months of going to church. I completed my first year of seminary. But then when school started again, things started to go downhill.
I was moody most of the time. Discouragement caused most of my depression. I wanted to be baptized so badly it hurt. I’d attend baptisms and I’d leave crying.
I began to wonder about my testimony. I tried talking to people, and they’d say that I was just going through a hard time and to “hang in there.” What bothered me the most was that I wasn’t sure if I had my own testimony or if I was living off “borrowed light.” After those few months of confusion, I finally realized that I had talked to everyone but the one I should have gone to first, my Heavenly Father.
I asked him to help me through this trial. I needed to get back on my feet again, and I couldn’t do it alone. I continued to try to live as I had before all of the confusion started.
A short time later, I received a witness that my prayer was answered. I didn’t have that burning sensation, but I did have a calm, peaceful feeling. The confusion was no longer there. I knew then, as I know today, that the Church is true. I have a testimony; I’m sure of it. I know it’s true with all my heart, and I’ll make sure with all my power that I never lose sight of it again.
Editor’s Note: Kim was baptized December 31, 1991, on her 18th birthday.