I’ve been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all my life. I received a testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel before I can remember. As I grew and learned more, I recognized more light and truth. I never doubted, until …
Stories began surfacing about the embellishments of events in Church history: things I didn’t know about the faults and foibles of Joseph Smith, historical facts that had been distorted, written accounts that differed from each other and the public narrative. The more I read, the more I questioned.
I wasn’t sure prayer would be helpful. I was afraid I’d receive the same sort of answers I always did because I’d been raised in the Church. I wanted to figure it out on my own. But the more I questioned, on an intellectual level, the worse I felt. Doubts led to internal contention and consternation, without resolution.
Then a friend asked me to lunch one day. I trusted her and was able to speak openly. She responded in love and empathy. After we’d discussed my concerns, she asked, “What do you know?”
“What do I know about what?”
“Tell me what you know. Not what you question, but what you know to be true.”
That’s when the Spirit struck with great force and tenderness. A powerful yet quiet assurance. What I truly knew did not come from intellectual knowledge. Absolute truth and light cannot be found simply by reading accounts by man. Rather, they come through studying and meditating upon the word of God.
I answered my friend. “I know Jesus Christ is my Savior and He atoned for my sins. I know I have Heavenly Parents who love me. I know Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates and that we have a living prophet today.” My response came from deep within, dating back before I came to earth and existing far beyond this life.
Alma, the Book of Mormon prophet, reminds us that true knowledge can only be gained by planting the seed of faith, then nourishing it as it sprouts and grows into a tree that eventually yields perfect knowledge—a tree with fruit that is “most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure” (Alma 32:42