I couldn’t believe I had actually made it. I stood at the entrance to the Sacred Grove, about to enter for the first time. I had always been taught that the Sacred Grove is where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared after the young Joseph Smith had offered his heart in prayer to God. But I wondered: Was it really true? Did They really appear to Joseph? I had always believed it was true, but I wanted to know for sure.
I slowly walked into the grove and was struck by its beauty. The melody to “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” (Hymns, no. 26) began playing in my mind. Sitting on a bench, I saw rays of sunshine piercing through the trees. The Holy Ghost brought a calm witness that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ had truly appeared to Joseph Smith.
I got up, looking for a place to be alone. When I found one, I knelt down and offered my gratitude to the Lord for the witness I had just received. I don’t know how long I prayed or if anybody saw me, but I do know that I was heard by the Lord.
I arose from my prayer with new life. My testimony had been strengthened, and I was filled with love for the restored gospel. I hadn’t heard a booming voice or felt a burning in my bosom, but an overwhelming peace and assurance had come over me.
I longed to stay. But I left the safety of that sanctuary with the assurance that God hears and answers prayers and that any place I kneel can become sacred to me.