How I Knew

By Matthew Mangum

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But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things (John 14:26).

My name is Matthew. I guess I was a typical boy growing up. I liked to play games and be outside when I didn’t have to be in school. When I was eight years old my brother Raymond and I started taking piano lessons. I didn’t like sitting in front of that old piano and practicing every day before I could go outside and play with my brother and my cousins Chance and Brian, who lived down the street. It wasn’t nearly as much fun as riding bikes and climbing trees, especially during summer break. But I did it because Mom insisted.

One day I was just begging to go outside and play. “Please, Mom, Chance doesn’t have to practice the piano. Why do I have to?”

“Because it’s good for you. Now I want you to practice some of the Primary songs that I gave you yesterday. And hurry, Raymond needs to practice too, before you boys can go play.”

“All right, but only for 20 minutes today, OK?”


So there I was dragging my feet over to that old piano. At least it was only the Primary songs today. I liked the Primary songs. They always cheered me up when I was sad or scared, but I still would rather have been outside playing with my cousins.

I opened the book and started plunking out the notes to the song “Search, Ponder, and Pray.” I slowly got the hang of it, and it began to sound a little bit like the song I learned in Primary. Softly, I started to sing along. “‘I love to read the holy scriptures, and ev’ry time I do, I feel the Spirit start to grow within my heart—a testimony that they’re true. Search, ponder, and pray are the things that I must do. The Spirit will guide, and, deep inside, I’ll know the scriptures are true.’” Then I felt a feeling that I’d never felt before. As I started singing the second verse, tears began running down my cheeks. “‘So, prayerfully I’ll read the scriptures each day my whole life through. I’ll come to understand. I’ll heed the Lord’s command and live as he would have me do. Search, ponder, and pray are the things that I must do. The Spirit will guide, and, deep inside, I’ll know the scriptures are true.’”*

Later I realized just what it was I was feeling that day. The Holy Spirit had testified to me that the scriptures are true. Heavenly Father had blessed me with the gift of the Holy Ghost, and through that gift came my testimony of the truthfulness of the scriptures. I’ll always be grateful that my mom made me practice the piano that day instead of letting me go out to play.

[A Testimony]

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“A testimony is a witness or confirmation of eternal truth impressed upon individual hearts and souls through the Holy Ghost.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Pure Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 40.

Illustrated by Don Burr

Show References

  • Children’s Songbook, 109.