“Seeking Knowledge and a Witness of Truth,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 70
As a young man, Brigham Young struggled for two years to know if the gospel was true. His search was finally resolved by the sincere testimony of a missionary—a “man without eloquence … who could only say, ‘I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord.’” President Young said, “The Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality were before me” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 315). When the Holy Ghost assures heart and mind of truth, darkness and doubt flee.
In a small Argentine town, a father invited two young missionaries into his home—but only to let them know how he felt about their church. He was angry, ill-informed, and emotionally abusive. With a face red with rage, he shook his fists at the two young men.
One elder, in a soft voice, asked if he could share a personal experience. The man, calmed somewhat by the question, reluctantly agreed.
The missionary began: “As I boarded the plane for my mission to Argentina, I was filled with deep sadness. The fact that I would not see my family for two years overwhelmed me, and I began to sob. I cried out in my thoughts, Heavenly Father, are You there? Am I doing the right thing? I feel so alone. Suddenly comfort, peace, and love filled my soul. I knew all would be well. I knew that God knew me and that what I was doing was right. I knew He would not leave me alone. The Spirit bore witness to my soul of these truths. I will never be the same again.”
The elder stopped, and the Spirit filled the room. Looking into the eyes of the man, the missionary said, “The Spirit that spoke peace to my soul is the same Spirit that will testify to you that the message we have brought you is true.” He continued, “ Your part in this process is to humble yourself, desire to know the truth, seek understanding, and ask God for confirmation.”
The man tried to speak, but he was overcome by emotion. Confused, he searched for a logical explanation of what had just happened. Failing, he simply ushered the missionaries to the door. This man may never accept the gospel, but at least once in his life he was touched by the Spirit and taught by true servants of the Lord.
As sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ, let us remember that “it is a special privilege and blessing of the holy Gospel to every true believer, to know the truth” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 317). No matter what our individual circumstances may be—whether we are gaining a testimony, strengthening a testimony we already have, seeking help and comfort with a difficult problem or decision, or looking for ways to strengthen our families or serve more fully in our callings—we can receive a witness of the Spirit if we will seek it. The Lord Himself has promised, “I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy” (D&C 11:13).