In my mind, I understand that Jesus is the Savior. But I would like to really feel it, not just know it. How can I do this?
To understand that Christ is our Savior is important. But you want more than just something you know in your head. You want the knowledge you feel in your heart. And you are right to want that.
Many of the letters we received in answer to this question were from teenagers who said they had grown up in the Church and had been taught all their lives about the Savior. But, they said, there came a time when they needed to feel that what they had been taught was true. They felt they needed to be converted to the Savior’s church just like someone the missionaries might teach would be converted. Many said that they studied and prayed and tried to live like they knew they should. And a great blessing came into their lives. They felt the truthfulness of the gospel and the love the Savior has personally for them. They asked, just like Moroni 10:3–5 suggests, if the things they had been taught were true. They received answers. [Moro. 10:3–5]
When you have a spiritual knowledge that you feel in both your heart and mind, it makes you want to change your life so that you are living the commandments.
For example, when the people of Zarahemla in the Book of Mormon gathered to listen to King Benjamin, they heard a wonderful man tell them about the Savior who would be born. King Benjamin taught his people how they should be living. He told them how they should treat each other. And he told them about their Heavenly Father. Then when he was finished talking, he sent messengers out into the crowd to find out what the people thought about the things he said. This is what the people said. “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2).
In other words, they heard this great man give a wonderful talk. But feeling the Spirit of the Lord made them change so much that they didn’t want to do evil ever again.
Today, we don’t have King Benjamin, but we have our own great leaders in our wards, stakes, and at the head of the Church, who can tell us about the Savior. Then, as individuals, we can study the scriptures, fast, pray, and repent. Sometimes the feeling we seek will come quickly, but more often we learn little by little. Sometimes it will be something a teacher says in a lesson. Other times it will be a warm feeling. Sometimes it will be so powerful that it will bring tears to your eyes.
The problem some people have is that they don’t want to do the things they need to do to get answers. For example, you have to be attending church to hear the testimonies of other church members. You have to be reading the scriptures for them to make a difference in your life. You have to be praying in order to get an answer to prayer. You have to be living the commandments to find out if they can change your life for the better.
Is it worth the effort? Yes, yes, yes.
Knowing with all your heart that Christ is the Savior can give you great joy. It can help you plan how you want to live your life. It can make everything you do worthwhile. And this knowledge can give you peace, the very best kind of peace. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
I was born in the Church, but at times I had the same problem. I had faith in Christ and a deep knowledge of his experiences of sacrifice. But it doesn’t matter how many times you pray for this feeling, you must live the commandments. Faith, time, growth, and experience are what you need to receive these feelings.
Melissa LeBaron, 16 Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
When I studied in France, it would have been easy for me to distance myself from the Church. My family was in Tahiti and wouldn’t know what I was doing. But I had a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I wanted to feel his presence. So I decided to live in harmony with the teachings of my Heavenly Father. One day when I was fasting because of an exam I had to take at school, I felt the Lord’s presence strongly and knew that his love was with me. I will never forget that moment.
Jerry Brothers, 22 Papeete, Tahiti
Everyone has to be converted. Everyone at some point in life has to know for themselves that Jesus is the Savior. At youth conference, the testimony was so strong that I began to feel it too. I prayed the night we got home, and the next day at testimony meeting, for the first time since I was a child, I bore my testimony. I felt for myself that Jesus is the Savior.
Rachel Yorke, 16 Hayward, California
I know I can come closer to my Savior by praying to him always and by abiding by his commandments and learning his words through our Latter-day prophets.
Esala Qoroya, 17 Suva, Fiji
During the sacrament, I take time to listen carefully to the song and the prayer. I can’t tell you how much good that does. My entire being is filled and my tears fall because I remember that Jesus Christ came to earth knowing that he must die for our sins.
Mahalani Tinirauarii, 18 Papeete, Tahiti
Your desire is a great one, but you must work for it. From my experience, you must make Jesus your friend by keeping his commandments. Then you begin loving God and your neighbour through service and sacrifice. You are entitled to know and feel that Jesus is the Saviour.
Elder Arungwa, 22 Nigeria Lagos Mission