I was baptized when I turned eight years old, though it wasn’t until the summer after my junior year of high school that I found out what it meant for me to have a testimony of the Church and gospel.
We had a combined stake youth conference that year, and it was held in a beautiful valley. For two days we were given tasks to perform, helped around campsites, and played lots of games.
On the third day, we were given a packet and told not to open it until instructed. After a prayer, we each found a quiet spot not too far away where we would be alone. Once settled, we could open the large manila envelope.
There was a spot, serene and shaded, with a gorgeous view and a log to sit on. I perched on the log feeling like there was no one else around me. I opened the packet and pulled out all the papers inside.
The top sheet told me this was my very own opportunity to talk with my Heavenly Father. Then there was a white envelope, which held a letter from each of my parents. Tears sprung to my eyes as I read the loving words my parents wrote me.
Next, I looked at my goal sheet. It listed a few suggestions for me to tell and ask my Heavenly Father in prayer. There was also space for me to write my own ideas.
There I knelt, eyes closed and hands clasped, and had a good talk with my Father in Heaven. I can’t remember everything that I said or felt. One thing stands out clearly, though. A wonderful truth slipped into my mind.
“Heavenly Father,” I said, “I know—I KNOW the Church is true. It just is.”
At that moment, something warm crept over, around, and through me. I felt so light I could have been floating. Everything seemed bright, peaceful, and perfect. A feeling of love enveloped me so fully I almost couldn’t breathe.
I remained on my knees, soaking in the Spirit for several minutes. When my eyes opened, the world around me didn’t seem real. It was quite a shock to come back to dirt, bugs, and heat. I was happy, though. I gathered my pages and headed back to my group.
Yes, I was baptized when I was 8, but this experience at age 17 truly strengthened my testimony.