“Choosing Faith in Difficult Times,” Ensign, August 2016, 48–51
We all experience difficult times in our lives. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught: “Life is not easy, nor was it meant to be. It is a time of testing and trial.”1 In the midst of these trials we can choose how to respond. There is one choice that will always bring peace and hope—that choice is faith.
The Savior said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Faith in Jesus Christ will help us endure the tribulations we encounter in this life.
Following are the testimonies of four Latter-day Saints who have chosen faith when faced with challenges.
Several years ago, I came across a certain criticism of the Book of Mormon that I had never heard or read before. I did not have a ready answer for this criticism, and over the next several days I struggled with the issue.
I tried to work out the conflict in my mind, formulating various scenarios that would explain what I had read. None of this worked, and I found myself in a conflict of faith. This was truly a fiery dart of the adversary for me (see 1 Nephi 15:24); it had deeply pierced through a weak spot in my armor of faith. I had served a wonderful mission and had had many opportunities to bear strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. But now insidious doubt crept into my mind and threatened to destroy my faith and my testimony. I could see that if left unchecked, this doubt could eventually cause me to leave the Church.
In my anguish, I took my conflict to the Lord. I poured out my soul to Him in prayer. The answer didn’t come immediately, but I was confident that an answer would come. A couple of days later, I felt impressed to read the Book of Mormon. I opened to the title page and read the last sentence:
“And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”
This was the answer I had been waiting for! It was not the answer I had expected, but it was the perfect answer for me. All my doubt was swept away and was replaced with the knowledge that the Lord works through imperfect people to bring about His purposes. I had been so focused on a supposed flaw in the Book of Mormon that I had ignored the priceless truth and beauty of the book as a whole.
Through this experience I learned that when you’re burdened by doubts, you should take them to the Lord. He hears and answers prayers. He will answer in a way just right for you that can wipe away your doubt. He can make the weak spots in your faith’s armor so strong that no fiery dart will ever find purchase again.
Michael Rapier, California, USA
When I was serving as a missionary in the Temple Square Mission, I was asked all kinds of questions. I did not always have the answers, but I had a testimony that the Lord knew the answers and that the answers would be revealed to me if I sought them.
I remember one particular experience when neither my companion nor I knew the answer to a question a young man had asked us. I felt the Spirit guide me to tell him that I did not know the answer but that I would study and pray about it. I testified that I knew there was an answer and if I sincerely sought the answer from the Lord, He would reveal it to me.
I do not know what that young man thought of my response, but the next time I had personal study, I knelt and asked the Lord for guidance in finding the answer for myself. I searched the scriptures and found a possible answer. I knelt again and prayed about my findings. The Spirit confirmed to me that what I had found was true. My testimony that the Lord answers our prayers was strengthened. I know that we may not have all the answers, but the Lord does, and He is willing to reveal them to us if we are willing to listen, be patient, and trust Him.
Karen Papin, California, USA
Two months after my baptism, I began to have concerns about my decision to become a member of the Church. I didn’t want the adversary snatching away my newfound testimony, but it just seemed to evaporate. I lost confidence and doubted my ability to follow the counsel of priesthood leaders that every member should be a missionary.
Grappling with these concerns, I remembered a phrase I had heard the missionaries use: “Because it’s true.” Those words echoed deeply in my conscience. They became my motto and helped me continue in faith.
As I prayed, pondered, and persevered, I found guidance in the Book of Mormon where Nephi says: “My soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3). I knew I could rely on the Lord for light and understanding, and I also knew that I would learn “precept upon precept” (D&C 98:12). That is the learning pattern the Lord has given us.
Through applying the Lord’s proven standard for learning as I studied the plan of salvation, and by steadily living the gospel, I regained confidence in my testimony. The Lord wants us all to pray earnestly so that He can give us the answers we seek in our daily lives.
Theodore P. Wierzbinski, Utah, USA
After I was married only a few months, my husband told me he didn’t believe in God anymore. This started a period in our marriage when I felt nervous and defensive whenever we talked about God or the Church. I didn’t know how to answer his questions or respond to his doubts and criticisms.
When he asked a question I couldn’t answer, I chose to trust God and not to “trust in the arm of flesh” (2 Nephi 4:34). I asked God if He was there, if the Book of Mormon was true, and if Joseph Smith really was a prophet. God answered my prayers with peaceful affirmation. I held on to this experience. I did not know everything, but I did know those things.
Over time, as I relied on the foundations of my testimony, I grew more confident. I chose to trust in the answers I had received from God and press forward. Now when I am confronted with questions I can’t answer, I say, “I don’t know, but let me do some research and get back to you.” And I always share my testimony of what I do know.
My husband still has his struggles with faith, but I have found that if I am humble in seeking answers, the Lord will give them to me in my daily scripture study, a conference talk, or a lesson at church. The more we trust in God, the more confidence we have. I know that confidence comes from faith (see Ephesians 3:11–12).