Alyssa invited her sweet little school friend to church today. She was so excited and I have to admit, I am quite proud of her. After dinner she told us about the churches some of her other friends go to. She wondered if maybe our church "might not be all the way true." I reminded her about Joseph Smith and that he wondered the same thing. He really wanted to know which church was all the way true.
"Do you remember that he prayed about it?" I asked.
She nodded and I asked, "Who came to him to answer that question?"
I reminded her that he was visited by both Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.
"Do you remember that they told Joseph Smith that none of the churches were true and that is why our church" (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) "was restored back to the earth through him."
"But how can you know that it's all the way true?"
"You can pray for yourself to know that the church is true. You need to know for yourself."
She tries again. "But what if it's not all the way true?"
"Well, Jesus told Joseph Smith what needed to be in His true church. You don't think Jesus made up stuff that's not true for Joseph Smith to teach, do you?" (I know, that was a lame statement, I was getting frustrated trying to say what I knew.) "Jesus chose Joseph Smith because he knew he would teach others what he told him too, what was true. Jesus told Joseph everything that makes up His church; it was restored how Jesus wanted it to be."
I feel like I answered the question ok but that I didn't really connect with her --- that she doesn't fully understand. I want her to get it, to give her my testimony. She is only 7. She has time for her understanding to grow. But, then again, she will be 8 is less than a year. She will then have the opportunity to be baptized. I want it to be solely her choice, yet, it seems such a big choice for a child so small. I know I can influence her decision, but I want to be careful to not push her too fast.
Daddy is downstairs showing her and Payton a clip about the restoration right now. Maybe that will answer her question better. Still, I want her to know that I know, that I have felt the Spirit confirm the story of the restoration in my heart and mind. I want her to have that same burning testimony. But when I was 8 years old I simply believed what I was taught.
I am grateful for the few opportunities I had, when I was very young, to visit my grandma who lived in Ohio (and at one point was a missionary for some of the church historical sites around there). I heard this story over and over until finally one time it became personal and I began to look forward to hearing this story because of the special feeling of reverence and love that comes with it. It wasn't until junior high or maybe high school that I truly developed my own testimony of the restoration of the gospel for myself. It started out small and, over time, it has grown strong.
I remember wondering if it was "all the way true." Today I wonder when and what it was that made me stop wondering. I now know for myself that this church is the true church, complete with the fullness of the gospel. I pray she will know for herself someday too.
Since this is the year to prepare my children for baptism, I wonder what you have done or would do to prepare your child(ren) for their big day.