Sometimes I wonder if the Church is true. Is there someone I can talk to about my doubts?
Your parents, bishop, and Church leaders are all good people to talk to about this. They can help you sort out your concerns and answer many of your questions.
Most important, however, is asking your Heavenly Father if the Church is true. The Savior has promised that if we ask, we shall receive. But you must ask in faith. To receive answers, you need to listen for the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost. You will also want to repent of sins and eliminate any roadblocks that would make it difficult for the Spirit to communicate with you.
Sometimes God has already answered our prayers and we just aren’t listening. Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3 says that the Spirit will “tell you in your mind and in your heart.” If you have thought, “When others bear their testimonies, I feel they know the Church is true” or “When I’m at Church, I feel good,” that is one way the Spirit answers prayers. We must listen carefully to the Spirit; learning to do so is a lifelong pursuit.
Your testimony will come from those feelings of peace and calm assurance that the Spirit brings, more than from facts or the testimonies of others. Your testimony is built on faith, which comes from learning and living the gospel.
Gaining a testimony takes patience, effort, and faith. You will likely experience opposition and doubt. Keeping the commandments and remembering those peaceful feelings that come from the Spirit will prepare you to receive the answers you need. And as you continue in faith, you will receive the testimony you seek. (See D&C 88:62–69.)
Some of my friends call our leaders by their first name. Is that OK?
It’s a matter of respect. Although your leaders are your friends, they are still your leaders. They’ve been called and set apart to fulfill a calling, whether it is a Young Women president, Scoutmaster, or some other position. They deserve your respect, and part of that is calling them “brother” or “sister.” Just like you wouldn’t call your bishop by his first name, you shouldn’t call your other leaders by their first names, either.
Elder Theodore M. Burton of the Seventy (1907–1989) said, “Through baptism we have become adopted members of the royal family of Jesus Christ, and that is the basic reason we now call each other ‘brother’ or ‘sister.’ We have indeed become members of the Church, or family, of Jesus Christ” (“To Be Born Again,” Ensign, Sept. 1985, 70).
It would be best to always refer to your leaders as “brother” or “sister.” The same is true for other adults in the Church. If you treat them with respect when you speak to them, it will be easier to be respectful at all times.
I have a medical condition that keeps me from fasting, but I still want fast Sunday to be special. How can I bring the Spirit closer to me on fast Sundays?
It’s true that some people have different needs when it comes to fasting. But there are things you can do to make fast Sunday special even if you can’t go without food.
An important part of fasting is prayer with a purpose. Even though your medical situation means it would be unwise for you to go without food or drink, you can still focus on someone or something in particular to pray about throughout the day. You can focus on seeking inspiration in dealing with a specific situation, a desire to understand a gospel principle more fully, or expressing gratitude for your blessings. You can also commit to spending more time with the scriptures and in personal prayer and reflection.
Another way to bring the Spirit closer is to serve. Pause to help and lift someone. Consider donating additional money to fast offerings.
“Fasting embodies a principle of sacrifice—that of denying oneself something so that he or she can become a more spiritual individual. Perhaps one could sacrifice something other than food or drink in order to accomplish this goal. One might abstain from television, movies, or sleeping in” (Malcolm S. Jeppsen, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Apr. 1979, 25).
If you invite the Spirit into your heart through your thoughts and actions, fast Sundays can be a special day to draw closer to the Lord through prayer and sacrifice.
Photo illustration by Matt Reier