They all said it. My mom said it. My dad said it. My teachers at church said it. My friends said it. And they said it over and over again. Joseph Smith is a prophet, they said. This Church is true, they said. The only true church on the face of the earth. But I wasn’t so sure that I could say it with my whole heart.
I wanted to know if they were right. I had always been told that if I wanted a testimony I had to pray and ask God for the truth. I prayed, but I felt nothing. As part of my daily prayers, I asked for a confirmation, a sure knowledge and testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Church was true. I still felt the same. I continued praying daily, asking for a witness of the truth. God chose not to answer my prayers right away. But I continued seeking.
One day I was playing hymns on the piano and singing to myself. I turned to “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” (Hymns, no. 26). I had sung it many times before. This time, I paid closer attention to the words, and they meant more to me than they ever had. “Oh, how lovely was the morning!” I sang. “Radiant beamed the sun above. Bees were humming, sweet birds singing, Music ringing thru the grove, When within the shady woodland Joseph sought the God of love.”
I imagined in my mind, Joseph Smith walking into a grove of trees on a beautiful spring day. “Humbly kneeling, sweet appealing—’Twas the boy’s first uttered prayer.” I pictured Joseph in my mind, praying to his Father with all his heart.
When I reached the third verse, the words affected me powerfully. “Suddenly a light descended, Brighter far than noon-day sun.” Just as that sudden light, brighter than the sun, enlightened the understanding of the boy Joseph, it enlightened mine. Peace filled me as I continued to sing. “And a shining glorious pillar O’er him fell, around him shone, While appeared two heav’nly beings, God the Father and the Son.”
With joy in my heart I sang, “‘Joseph, this is my Beloved; Hear him!’ Oh, how sweet the word! Joseph’s humble prayer was answered, And he listened to the Lord.”
Joseph’s humble prayer was answered, and so was mine that day. I didn’t have a vision as Joseph did, but I could feel that the Church was true. It was something I had never felt before: a peace, a joy, a surety that Joseph Smith was a prophet and had restored the Church of Jesus Christ. I have felt that peaceful assurance many times since then. I know God lives. He hears and answers our prayers. This is His true Church. And Joseph Smith was a true prophet.