Like most, my testimony started as a tiny seed.
By the time I was 9 years old, both of my parents had died and my sister and I lived with our maternal grandparents. Both of my grandparents were members of the LDS Church, but neither was active. My grandmother simply fell out of activity, while my grandfather nursed deep-seeded bitterness toward the Church.
One day, I was riding in the car with Grandma and we passed a white brick building with a tall steeple. I asked her about the building and she replied that she was a member of the Church. I asked if we could attend. Almost as soon as we stepped into the building that next Sunday, we were assigned a home teacher.
I started attending Primary, was soon baptized, and spent the next 10 years attending church at that building.
I recently returned to that same building and attended sacrament meeting. It was an incredible experience as I stepped into the building where it all began for me. I walked through the patio where I spent my Primary years, including the room where I attended junior Sunday school and the priests blessed and passed the sacrament to the children.
I saw the baptismal font where I stepped into the waters of baptism and began my new life as a member of the LDS Church.
reminisced as I looked at the room where we held seminary. Admittedly, I spent some of my seminary time passing notes to my friends, but I also learned about the gospel every morning before school.
I walked across the highly-polished wood floor listening to my footsteps echo. I could almost see all of us as teenagers as we practiced for a road show about family pictures and for a dance festival we performed one summer in the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. I could envision all the ward dinners I’d attended with Grandma, and her dish holder bag in which we brought our own dishes to dinners.
I sat in the chapel and remembered so many talks and watching the young men bless and pass the sacrament. I remembered singing and feeling the Spirit. I remembered my friends and the good influence they had on me as a youth.
This was where it all started, where I first gained my testimony, and where I continued to feed it. This is where I first felt the love of my Savior. At times, I could almost feel His arms wrap around me while I struggled during my teenage years.
Many years have passed since then. I’ve worked hard to strengthen my testimony. I don’t know everything about the scriptures, Church history, or the gospel. I’m still learning every day to be a better person and to more fully live the gospel. Line upon line, I’m learning to be more like my Savior, Jesus Christ.
But, this I know. My Savior lives and He loves even me, a simple, unimportant woman. I know that He willingly laid down His life for me. I know that He is real and someday, He will return in glory to this earth. I cannot deny what has been witnessed to my soul, that He lives. I will spend my life trying to become like Him so that when my time is over in mortality, I can run to His outstretched arms and He will hold me close and whisper in my ear, “Welcome home.”
Return to the neighborhood.
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