This past Sunday I attended church in my sister's ward. The building she meets in happens to be the location where I was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As I sat in sacrament meeting I realized that this fall marks the 20th anniversary of my baptism. Truthfully, I don't remember much about that day. I was fortunate to have been baptized by my very own father, who has been a wonderful example of obedience and faithfulness to me my entire life. I remember that the water in the baptismal font was warm, and after the ordinance I felt really warm inside. My parents gave me my own set of engraved, leather-bound scriptures in a scripture case, and my maternal grandma gave me a book of poetry. I was baptized on a Saturday evening, and confirmed the next day in church.
That was just over twenty years ago. Many things have happened since then. I've made a lot of mistakes, done a lot of repenting, grown in my knowledge of the gospel. Since I was baptized at the tender age of eight I only understood the bare basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but that was enough. I had a testimony. I didn't have complete ownership of my testimony, but it wasn't very many years until I did. I was later blessed to be sealed to my best friend in the Logan temple, and entered the temple to receive my own necessary ordinances just days before. I am now raising my own children and teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ, and hope that they will choose to be baptized and enter the temple just as I did.
The older I get the more I appreciate what I count to be my greatest blessing - my membership in this church. In this church can be found the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Priesthood power, and all the ordinances necessary for any and all of God's children to return to live with Him. Through the power of the Holy Ghost the Lord has taught me that He loves me, no matter what. I also know that He is personally interested in my progression, that He not only has a great overall plan for His mortal children, but also for me specifically. He sent His son, Jesus Christ to set an example for us to follow and to atone for our sins and suffer all things that we suffer so that He could comfort us in our times of sorrow. Because of His atonement, my greatest desires can be realized - those of having my family for eternity and to live with Him and our Heavenly Father, as well as have the opportunity to continue progressing to become like Him.
I would not know these things if the church that Jesus established during His earthly ministry had not been restored to the earth through the prophet, Joseph Smith. And if I didn't know these things, life would be so much harder for me. I'm married to a wonderful, supportive and faithful man; but every marriage has its downs and without the knowledge that families can be and are meant to be eternal my commitment to marriage would likely be weak, as would my husband's. What a terrible amount of uncertainty that would bring to my life! I have been blessed to give birth to three beautiful and sweet children; but raising children is a lot harder than I thought it would be and without the knowledge that it is my god-given role to be a mother I would probably delegate most of my role to other people while I sought self-fulfillment in some other way. And I would cheat myself of so much growth and joy!
I am the recipient of many, many blessings from my Heavenly Father but I've got to say that my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tops the list.