What am I going to do? I can’t bear my testimony. I don’t have a testimony! I thought.
It was family home evening, and Mom had taught the lesson. “I think it’d be very nice if we all took some time to share our testimonies with each other,” she said excitedly. “I’ll go first.”
At least she started on the other side of the room. It felt like Mom was looking right at me as she began. Who is Jesus, anyway? I wondered. I had heard all the stories, gone to Primary, but I still didn’t know Him. What if it is really just a story? Mom seemed to really feel what she was saying, like she really believed it was true.
Mom ended her testimony, and then it was Tiffany’s turn. She began, “I want to bear my testimony. I know the Church is true, I know there is a true prophet. …”
How does she know that? She’s only 10! I thought as I listened to her go on like it was so simple. It wasn’t simple, though—not for me. I didn’t know if I believed it, any of it. I had so many questions.
Tiffany finished, and it was Danny’s turn. He sped through bearing his testimony, and then everyone was looking at me.
I thought about just saying I had a testimony. But I decided I would just tell the truth. They are going to be so mad.
“Jennie, it’s your turn. Would you bear your testimony, please?”
“No. I don’t want to. I don’t have a testimony. I don’t know if it’s true. I’m sorry.” Dreading what they would say and how they would react, I ran to my room and threw myself onto my bed.
Mom followed quickly and sat down on the bed next to me. She reached forward and gently patted me on the back.
“Mom, I just don’t know if I believe it like you do. I’m sorry, but I just don’t know.”
“Well, it’s about time!” she said.
“What?” Surprised, I sat up.
“You’re 13 years old. It’s about time you started questioning and searching for yourself. You can’t live off of your father’s testimony or mine. You have to figure it out for yourself now.”
“You’re not mad at me?”
“No. It’s OK that you don’t have a testimony now, but you have to decide what you’re going to do about it. You must find out for yourself,” Mom said.
“What should I do?”
“Read the Book of Mormon. Then pray about it. Ask God.”
“How will I know?” I asked.
“You’ll feel it. He’ll tell your heart.” She smiled, got up from the bed, and left my room.
Moved by my mother’s advice, I determined to read the Book of Mormon and find out if what my parents had taught me was true.
A few months later I came to the last chapter in the Book of Mormon. I remember thinking about Moroni’s promise as I knelt down beside my bed. I wondered if it really could be that simple.
As I began to pray, a feeling of peace and assurance came over me—so much so that I felt guilty for having even doubted. In that sweet moment, the Lord planted a seed in my heart that has since become a growing testimony of the truth.
Photo illustration by Welden C. Andersen