Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I joined the Church about six months ago because I know it is true. What I can’t understand is people who have been members all their lives who say they don’t know if the Church is true or not. How can they have been around the truth all that time and not know?

New Era

If you stood in front of your ward and asked, by the raise of hands, how many are converts, you might be surprised to see a lot of hands raised by people who were born and raised in the Church. They may consider themselves converts because they have gone through the process most nonmembers do when they investigate the Church. They study and pray about it until the answer comes, often in personal experiences that help them know that the things they were taught all their lives really are true.

But there are members who have not yet gone through this process. Those are the ones you hear expressing doubts, perhaps wondering aloud what they really believe.

Ultimately, every one of us has to become fully converted to the Lord and his gospel if we are to gain eternal life. It doesn’t matter if we are born into the Church and attend meetings and participate in activities all our lives. There comes a time when each of us must personally discover the truths of the gospel.

Candice Corrigan, 16, from East London, South Africa, had an excellent suggestion. “Read the account of Alma the Younger in Mosiah 27, paying special attention to verses 24–30 [Mosiah 27:24–30]. It is my understanding that Alma had been taught the gospel by his father, yet we see that he never knew it was true until he was ‘born of the Spirit’ [Mosiah 27:24] and beheld ‘the marvelous light of God’ [Mosiah 27:29]. Only then was he converted.

“I was born a member and, even though I did not go against the Church or see an angel as Alma did, in order for me to ‘see the light’ I had to search and pray to know if what I had been taught was true. Member and nonmember alike are only converted through the light of Christ.”

Just as Candice said, you don’t need to see an angel to “see the light.” But the feeling that comes when you realize the truthfulness of the gospel is a great moment. It can be as simple as knowing that someone is testifying of the truth in a testimony meeting. Or it can be a feeling of warmth and comfort that comes while praying or reading the scriptures. Each member of the Church needs to go through this conversion process. And the longer you are in the Church, the more you will see and hear about this process from both new converts and lifelong members.

Sometimes when you are around something all the time, even the sacred truths of the gospel, you take them for granted because they are always there; they are something you have known all your life. So how does someone go about finding out if the gospel is true?

The answers seem too simple, but great things happen when correct principles are followed. Pray. Fast. Repent. Study. And be open to the things being taught. Continue to attend all church meetings and activities. But instead of paying only partial attention, listen carefully to speakers and teachers. Look up the scriptures they mention. Look up subjects that interest you in the Topical Guide in your scriptures. Ask questions.

Take time to think about the gospel. There is a wonderful scripture that says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). We need to take the time to be alone and find a quiet place in which to pray and think about the gospel in order to receive answers. Then, after you have done all that you can do, turn your concerns over to the Lord. It is through Christ that we are truly converted, whether we are taught by the missionaries or are born in the Church.

Readers

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they must find out if the Church is really true. Because a convert is new to the Church, he has to know before he is baptized. Members may be relying upon others’ testimonies and do not develop their own until they have a desire to know for themselves.

Becky Mickelson, 16 Mesa, Arizona

Some people take the Church for granted. They also get distracted by worldly things and don’t stop to think if it’s true. After I became a member, for a while I wasn’t sure if the Church was true. But through experiences and reading the scriptures, I now know.

Christian Allen, 16 Ogden, Utah

I grew up in a home where the gospel wasn’t stressed, and because of this, I realized how important the gospel was for me. Throughout the years, I have heard many of my LDS friends complain because they have to go to church; they have to go to seminary; they have to get up early to have family prayer and scripture study. I tell them how blessed they are to have that in their homes. I pray that the youth who are growing up with the gospel in their lives and aren’t sure whether it is true or not will make the decision to pray and find out for themselves.

Noëlle Ballard, 18 Globe, Arizona

I have been raised with the gospel and loved it since I was little. I wanted a testimony that was all mine, not based on what others said. Once I had an experience that confirmed the gospel’s truth to me, I realized I’d known all along.

Sarah Jane Allred, 17 Kent, Washington

I’ve been praying about it for almost a month. I have a strong feeling about the Church that’s hard to describe. Sometimes I think about this feeling daily. I think that this feeling is telling me that the Church is true. If you just pray about it, when you get your special feeling, then really think about it. Maybe your feeling is telling you the Church is true.

Mary Ann Farnsworth, 12 Denver, Colorado

[photo] Photography by Steve Bunderson; posed by models

[illustration] The three witnesses and the eight witnesses signed statements testifying of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Although some of these men fell away from the Church, none of them ever denied their testimonies. Hundreds of thousands of members have added their testimonies to those of the Apostles and prophets, that Jesus Christ lives and his gospel has been restored to the earth. (Painting An Angel Showing the Gold Plates to Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer by William L. Maughan.)