22945_000_003I was studying and praying to know for myself that Joseph was a real prophet. Why wasn’t I getting an answer?
I dragged myself into the dark bedroom, tempted to collapse onto the bed and immediately drift to sleep. My eyes seemed to weigh me down, and my feet felt like lead. I wanted to crawl under my covers, but my desire for an answer to my prayer was greater. I knew I must once again approach the Lord.
I knelt at my bedside and silently pondered the things I was about to ask my Heavenly Father. Would He really answer me this time? Did I deserve to be answered? As I felt my faith wavering, I chose to focus my attention on the countless lessons I had learned in my life, instead of on my doubts. One scripture in particular stood out to me.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
I wanted to know that Joseph Smith was a real prophet. I wanted to know for myself that he truly saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove. As a Latter-day Saint, I felt a strong testimony of Joseph Smith was a vital part of my foundation in the Church. I mustered all the faith I could find within my soul by focusing on the times the Lord had shown His hand in my life. I began asking Heavenly Father to help me really know what I had only believed all my life.
I knew the only way for me to receive this knowledge was by the Holy Ghost telling me it was true. I wasn’t sure I had received that type of communication. How would I know the Holy Ghost was talking to me? Would I hear a voice? Would I feel a burning in my bosom like the scriptures say? I didn’t know, but I continued to pray. I sat silently and tried to listen for the whisperings of the Spirit. I didn’t hear a voice, and I didn’t feel anything unusual. Discouraged, I crawled into bed and fell asleep, telling myself I would get my answer tomorrow night.
The obnoxious beep of my alarm clock rang in my ear at 5:30 the next morning. I reluctantly got up and started getting ready for seminary. Before I knew it, I was pulling into the church parking lot.
As I walked into my classroom, my teacher was pulling a television into the center of the room. I quickly took a seat on a cold, folding chair near the back. I had obviously missed the introduction to the video we were about to watch. However, once the movie started to play, I recognized it quickly. It was “The First Vision,” produced by the Church. I had seen it a number of times and thought I understood all there was to learn from it. But as I watched Joseph’s experience in the grove, something incredible happened to me. A powerful, peaceful feeling rested on me and I knew it was the Holy Ghost. The Spirit began to testify that what I was seeing really happened. I knew that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus.
I was surprised. I was not expecting my answer to come that morning. I thought it would come while I was praying. The Spirit spoke to me, and I knew this was the answer I had been asking for. I’m very grateful for the way Heavenly Father answered my prayer. I now have a strong testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know if I exercise faith by reading the scriptures and praying, I can receive personal revelation through the Holy Ghost.