“I Don’t Know All the Answers, but I Know Enough,” Ensign, September 2018
I was born in Guam, which understandably didn’t allow me to be surrounded by a lot of other members of the Church during the first years of my life. So when my family and I moved to the United States and I was able to attend the Nauvoo Illinois Temple dedication in person, looking around and seeing the vast number of faithful members standing with me and my family was surreal. I was only eight, but I still remember the sense of reverence and the feeling that the Spirit brought to us.
That day was so special to me not only because of my love for the temple but also because I felt a true connection with those early Saints as I stood where they once did. Because, in a way, my family and I were pioneers ourselves, having left Guam in order to be sealed in the temple and to fully make the gospel the center of our lives. This connection to the pioneers is what awakened an interest in Church history within me.
I live near Nauvoo, a city that is rich with Church history. I’ve been able to learn so much from the early Saints, and I’ve been touched by the unshakable faith they embodied against everything they faced. Their stories strengthen my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the history surrounding it.
Learning more about the history of the Church in general has strengthened my testimony—and it can strengthen all of our testimonies. But some people have found their testimonies shaken when they come across something in Church history that they don’t fully understand.
I have a close friend who was a very strong member of the Church, but when they discovered something about the history of the Church that troubled them, they allowed this one piece of history and their concerns about it to completely trump everything else they knew to be true.
Yes, there are things in the history of the Church that might not make sense to us. I don’t understand everything, and I don’t pretend to. But I focus on the things I do know rather than what I don’t know, and I’m able to bear my testimony that the Church is true and that everything will make sense one day.
It’s definitely OK to have questions, but we shouldn’t let those questions damage our faith. Instead, we should trust in the Lord. Nephi said, “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17). Even a prophet didn’t know the answers to everything! But he knew that God loved him.
I’m guessing that even some of the early Saints questioned why they were persecuted or why they worked so hard to build a temple only for them to be driven out of Nauvoo and for the temple to be destroyed. I also experienced a huge test in my faith when my dad passed away a few years ago. But, like the early Saints, I moved forward in faith. And that’s what the Lord wants all of us to do. Remember, Moroni taught us that “faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).
I’ve been able to rely on the early Saints’ examples of faith throughout my life, because most of my family are not members of the Church. I’ve definitely been tossed a fair share of hurtful comments about my faith from my family members, but at the same time, I’ve had many opportunities to share my testimony with them. In some ways, facing this opposition has helped me empathize with the early Saints. I can imagine how alone and misunderstood they must have felt when they were persecuted for their beliefs. But their continuous faith in Heavenly Father despite everything they went through has helped me realize that Heavenly Father is always with me too, guiding me as He guided them.
The past is full of knowledge that can help us realize what our purpose is and how we can fulfill that purpose. Truly, there is so much we can learn from the history of the Church. And that knowledge can give us courage, gratitude, and strength throughout our lives.