94982_000_012An angel or some other sign—I thought that was all I needed to have a firm testimony.
I was the type of person who always wanted miracles to prove things to me. I couldn’t really believe in something until it was proven by some earth-shaking event. I had been born and reared in the Church. I went to Mutual and girls’ camp, I knew the Young Women motto by heart, and I served as a Beehive class officer. Still, I never really knew the Church was true.
People always talked about burning feelings, warm feelings, peaceful feelings, and wonderful feelings. Me, I had no feelings. When I said my prayers every night, I did the routine: “Thanks for Mom, Dad, and all my blessings. Help me to have a good day and do right.” You could say that I was leaning on my parents’ testimonies.
I finally decided that I wanted to know for myself. Every night I prayed for about five minutes, begging God to send me a miracle. I used tears and bribery, and I even threatened that I wouldn’t be righteous. I promised God that if he sent me just one little visitation from a holy being, I would be a true believer. Of course, I was going about it all wrong, but I didn’t know that.
Finally, after receiving no visits from Moroni, or anyone else for that matter, a new thought hit me—faith. I had always assumed that I deserved a miraculous vision just like Joseph Smith’s. It never occurred to me that God expected me to have faith. This was a hard concept for me to accept.
I wanted so badly to know with blinding certainty about the Church. Yet I was beginning to realize that God could not bless me with a testimony if I did not exercise faith in him. Now I don’t expect miracles so much, and I’m coming to understand what a true testimony is. I’ve learned that faith is the substance of things that are hoped for and not seen. (See Heb. 11:1.)