The only way I could find out was by acting on what I believed.
Who’s Telling the Truth?24942_000_015
“Oh no, not again,” I thought, as I saw the familiar face walking toward me in the hallway of my college dorm. “What this time?”
Angela [names have been changed] had accosted me in the hallway before, and each time I talked to her she left my stomach tied up in knots. I had been investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a month, and Angela had taken it upon herself to prove that I was making a big mistake.
Angela invited me to her dorm room for a talk, and I accepted warily, knowing from past experience that she would not leave me alone until I’d heard what she had to say.
“How are you feeling about the Mormons at this point?” she asked me, as I sat on her bed, folding my arms defensively.
“Fine. Actually I think what they believe is quite beautiful. I haven’t decided if I believe it yet …”
“Beautiful?” Angela choked on the word, her face turning red. “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you go on. Not after what I’ve found out about the Mormon religion.”
She handed me a pamphlet filled with lies and twisted truths about the Church. “Read this,” she confided, “and you’ll never want to talk to those missionaries again.”
I read it and the other things well-meaning people gave me to try to show me “the truth” about the Church. I always ended up feeling confused and sick to my stomach. How could I ever know what was right? The missionaries seemed so peaceful about what they believed. Yet Angela was convinced they were wrong. How could I find my own testimony of what was true? And why did there seem to be silence from the heavens when I prayed about my questions?
Ten years later, I sat in an LDS chapel looking at a young woman in my ward. She sat next to me, her hands folded in her lap and tears streaming down her face, asking me the same questions I had asked 10 years before. How could she know for sure if the things she had been taught were true? Why hadn’t she received any spiritual confirmations or found answers to her many questions about the Church?
This young woman had a boyfriend who had been trying to convince her the Church wasn’t true. He had been telling her the same things about the Church that had confused me so long ago.
I decided to write her a letter, telling her about a prophet who faced a similar situation. During the time of Alma the Younger, Korihor, an anti-Christ, came among the Nephites telling them Christ would not come and that their beliefs were false. Eventually, Korihor was brought before Alma, and he told Alma he would believe in God only if Alma showed him a sign. In answer to his request, Korihor was struck dumb, and he finally admitted that he had been deceived and had always known there was a God. (See Alma 30.)
Both Alma and Korihor knew the words of the prophets, but Alma acted on those words and obeyed the commandments. Alma knew that blessings come from following the ways of the Lord. (See Alma 32:21–43.)
Korihor refused to act on the word of the Lord and wanted to see a sign before he would believe and act. Alma believed first, acted upon that belief, and then received a confirmation of the truth.
We can have an unshakable testimony like Alma’s by following his example. Then we can stand before people and testify of the truths of God, and no clever words or temptations will convince us to deny what we know is true.
I believed the missionaries instead of the clever words of those who opposed the Church. Then I acted upon that belief. I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I rose up out of the waters of baptism, a warm feeling of peace enveloped me. I knew the Holy Ghost was telling me that what I was doing was good. I had found the truth. Even though I faced much opposition from my parents and friends, I was able to stand strong because of the testimony I had received from obeying the commandments of God.
When we ask in faith, we will receive answers from the Lord as we experiment upon His words. Testimonies do not come from seeing signs, as Korihor believed. They come from doing and obeying.
Gaining and Keeping a Testimony
Pray regularly and sincerely about your questions.
It may help to write your questions in a journal. When you receive answers, write them down so you can remember and read them often. You will begin to see the hand of God in all things, just as Alma did (see Alma 30:44).
Live the gospel and keep the commandments. Attend your meetings, activities, seminary classes, and service projects. Stay away from things that take away the Spirit.
Regularly study the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets, because you can’t have a testimony of something you don’t know anything about.