I grew up as a member of the Church. I was taught the principles of the gospel by my parents in my home, was baptized and confirmed, and received the priesthood from my worthy father. I felt the influence of the Spirit in my life, but I did not receive a witness of the reality of the Atonement until a sunrise testimony meeting in my teen years.
A group of several hundred seminary students gathered before dawn for the meeting. I suppose that I shared my testimony that morning, but I can’t be sure. What I know is that during that meeting, as the sun rose on a new Easter, the Spirit came into my heart and testified of the reality of Jesus Christ—His life, His teachings, His Atonement, and His Resurrection.
I have felt the reconfirmation of that testimony many times during more than 30 years as I have testified of Jesus Christ as a missionary, a father, a friend, and a Church leader. The Savior said to Peter the Apostle, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
Today I still find that the anchor for me through all the years has been the witness I received from the Spirit as a teenager on that Easter morning.
Photograph by Jerry Garns