What If?


… the Church wasn’t true? My little brother sang the answer.

What If?

“Please, Mom and Dad, bear me your testimonies,” I sobbed.

It was late Christmas Eve, and my mother and father had just retired after fulfilling their duties as Santa’s helpers. I was home from college for the holidays. I hoped the festivities would make me forget the gloom that filled my soul and that I would be able to feel a bit of peace. But even now, on the edge of my parents’ bed, I felt as if the empty feelings would never go away.

It started in the summer vacation. I made friends with a newly baptized girl stationed at the same military base as my parents. Soon after we met, she began sharing her concerns about anti-Mormon literature she was receiving from people where she worked. As summer dragged on, my testimony seemed to be evaporating. As I wrestled to answer her questions, I became spiritually exhausted.

“What if the Church isn’t true?” The thought plagued me. Nothing seemed to have any purpose if it was not true. Why bother to serve others? Why keep the commandments? What was there to be happy about?

Yet two things kept me hanging on. If the Church was not true, then the Book of Mormon would have to be false. I could not imagine giving up my favorite scriptures, stories, and prophets from its pages.

Second, I had received my patriarchal blessing when I was 13. I had come to appreciate the inspiration and love it represented. If I denied the Church’s truthfulness, I would have to discard my blessing.

As I returned to my room that Christmas Eve, I knelt and pled with my Heavenly Father. “Please, I have struggled now for months. I need to know if the Church is true.”

Quietly, as I knelt there in the darkness, a line from my patriarchal blessing filled my mind. “Have the courage and the determination to prepare yourself through study and through prayer.” Study and prayer! Somehow I had forgotten to continually strengthen my testimony as I had fought to save my friend’s.

The next morning, though it was Christmas, I slept in. Anxious to be on with the festivities, my two-year-old brother came to wake me. Sensing from my swollen eyes that something was wrong, he began to sing: “I am a child of God, and he has sent me here.” Then he stopped. “Lisa, sing ‘Child God’ too.”

I sang what I could through my sobbing. “Yes, I am a child of God! He has heard my prayer!” my heart shouted.

That Christmas, Heavenly Father gave me the gift of how to know again that the Church was true and the remembrance of his love for me. Now each Christmas I thank my Father in Heaven, not only for “peace on earth” as the words to the carol go, but also for peace in my heart.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Roger Motzkus