04286_000_004I had never doubted that the gospel was true. But now I wondered if that was enough.
Like Nephi, I was born to parents who taught me the gospel. My family had scripture study and family prayer daily. I listened as my parents testified of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and each principle of the gospel. Because of these experiences, I never doubted that the Church was true.
But at a certain point, despite being taught the gospel and learning from the good examples of my parents, I realized that while I did not doubt the Church was true, I also did not have a burning testimony of its truthfulness. And although I had dreamed of going on a mission my whole life, I knew I would need to know for sure that the gospel was true.
Shortly before turning 18, I started to attend a ward missionary preparation class. I also started to keep a journal.
One day in the missionary preparation class, we had a lesson I will never forget. The subject was “The Book of Mormon—the Heart of Missionary Work.” The teacher showed us a video with young people throughout the world bearing their testimonies of the Book of Mormon and the experience of one young man who was undecided about going on a mission until he asked of God.
The teacher then asked us to bear our testimonies. The Spirit could not be restrained. I realized that the Book of Mormon had blessed my life. However, I also realized I had never prayed and asked God about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon or about Joseph Smith’s First Vision.
Several days later I was reading the Book of Mormon and decided to put Moroni’s promise to the test (see Moroni 10:3–5). I knelt down and poured out my soul to God. I didn’t know how the answer would come or when I would receive it, but I trusted that He would make these things known unto me in His own time.
When I stood up, I felt a desire to write in my journal. I opened my journal and read the last entry, which was from the previous Sunday after my missionary preparation class. When I read my own words, which described how I had felt, a peaceful feeling came over me that took possession of my whole body. With great certainty I felt in my heart the words, “You already know; you already know.”
I knelt down again and thanked Heavenly Father for answering my prayer. I had received an answer that confirmed what I had believed my whole life.
Now I can boldly testify that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son and that the Book of Mormon is true. Knowing that I knew, I was able to serve full-time in the Peru Piura Mission. On my mission, I saw how the Lord answers the prayers of all those who humbly seek the truth. And for this I will always be grateful.
Illustration by Dan Burr