When it came to the testimony meeting campfire, however, I found myself on familiar ground. I knew what being in the mountains without a cell phone, exhausted from a challenging activity and surrounded by people who believed the same things could do for a youth. I listened to young women describe the things they’d learned, the love they’d felt from their Father in Heaven, and their desire to do better. I was surprised when several young women said our daily scripture study as a group was their favorite part of camp. I heard teenagers bear witness to the truths of the gospel and the restoration. I thanked Heavenly Father for that week on the mountain and everything it had inspired.
Elaine S. Dalton, former Young Women general president, said this of mountaintop experiences:
“When we think of mountaintop experiences, we think of Nephi who said, “I … did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things” (1 Nephi 18:3).
We also think of Enos, the Brother of Jared, Joseph Smith, and many others including Moses who went to the top of a mountain or into a forest and there came to know their identity and purpose.
The scriptures teach us that when Moses came down from the mount, he was changed because of the spiritual experience he had there. His face shone. He knew he was a son of God. He knew God knew him by name. He had a basis on which to judge the counterfeit voices of the world. When confronted by Satan, Moses replied, “I will not cease to call upon God … for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee” (Moses 1:18).
Eliza R. Snow once said, “You may talk to the [Saints] about the follies of the world … til dooms day, and it will make no impression. But … place them in a position where they will get the Holy Ghost, and that will be a sure protection from outside influences” (Woman’s Exponent, 15 Sept. 1873, p. 63).
Scout and Young Women Camps
Youth camps give us the chance to provide these kinds of mountaintop experiences for the next generation of Church leaders. As young men and women challenge themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually, they will be placed in a position where they are humble and receptive to the Holy Ghost. They will learn spiritual truths that will sustain them through future trials, set the groundwork of a powerful testimony, prepare them for missionary service, and teach them to live in service of God.
Don’t underestimate the power of camp as a testimony-building opportunity. Find ways to invite the spirit, always hold reflections, and give your youth a chance to grow closer to God as they get more familiar with the world He created.
Author: Maria Milligan | Grant Writer, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.