You Already Know


I believed the Church was true, but when did I receive that witness?

You Already Know

One day at school, a classmate and I somehow entered into the topic of religion. My classmate became a little antagonistic and started to criticize what I believed.

She looked me in the face and said, “You believe in your Church only because your parents raised you in it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t believe.”

I don’t remember what I said to her, but I kept thinking about her comment and wondering why she would say that. I had been raised in the Church, and, really, I had never questioned the Church’s teachings or doctrines. Ever since I was little, I felt the Church was true. Before I was even baptized, our family read the Book of Mormon together, and I knew it was true. I didn’t just believe; I knew it and had no doubts. But I couldn’t define a particular moment when I had received that witness. For some time that bothered me. I wanted to have a particular experience when I would pray and immediately the answer would come rushing to me. It never happened.

But what I could define was a moment when my testimony was confirmed. After my first year of high school, I went with some other youth on a tour to Church history sites. When we arrived at the Sacred Grove, our tour guide invited us to seek a personal confirmation that what had happened there was true: that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and initiated the Restoration. I found a quiet place in the grove and read the account of the First Vision. Then I knelt down and prayed. I already knew the First Vision had happened and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. But I asked anyway. I finished my prayer, and nothing happened. No grand feeling, no vision, no angels. Nothing.

I found a rock and sat down and opened my patriarchal blessing and started to read. My blessing mentioned the Restoration of the gospel, and in my head the words repeated: “You already know. You already know.”

If I could go back to that moment when my friend challenged what I believed, I don’t know how I would describe how I know the Church is true. But I wish I had told her that while my parents had taught me what they knew to be true, I had to find that answer for myself. And I did.

I didn’t need to go to the Sacred Grove to know the Church was true. I didn’t need any great experience to know the Church was true. I just needed to be reminded, “You already know.”

For more on this topic, see Elder Neil L. Andersen’s October 2008 general conference talk, “You Know Enough,” at conference.lds.org.

Photograph by Tim Taggart, © IRI