“I Refused to Hear,” Liahona, May 2002, 34–35
I have always had faith in our Father in Heaven and in Jesus Christ. But the Church was another matter for me. I believed it was like any other church; it was one church among many capable of leading me to salvation.
Why then was I a member? I had been searching for a church that fit my religious principles. When I found The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I knew I had found a “good religion,” one espousing doctrine I already believed from my study of the Bible. That knowledge was enough for me, I decided.
But as I attended church and listened to talks and testimonies, a desire began to grow in me to discover for myself if the Church actually was the restored Church of Jesus Christ—the only true Church upon the earth. I decided to read the Book of Mormon—something I had not done before. I realized, of course, from reading the Church magazines that I would not gain a testimony if I did not study with faith and a heart open to receiving a witness from our Heavenly Father. And so I studied, and I received a witness that the Book of Mormon is true.
Yet I still had doubts about the Church. I wanted a clear and definite affirmation from God, something remarkable that would make me feel sure. I knew I should not ask for a sign, but the thought dominated my mind and likely kept me from receiving the testimony I sought. The more I sought a confirmation in this way, the more rebellious I felt. Then I began to lose hope.
One day during an institute class, the teacher presented a video portraying a person much like myself—one who was not sure of his testimony. He sought counsel from his bishop, and the bishop explained that our Father in Heaven looks for moments to answer our prayers, but we must be attentive and receptive to the Holy Ghost. The bishop in the video also said that learning to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit requires time and a humble heart.
These words touched me deeply. I recognized that I had never listened to the voice of the Spirit regarding the Church because I had been unwilling to do so. From the time I began praying for a testimony of the Church, the answers had come to me quietly, little by little, but I had refused to hear.
During that institute lesson I felt a change in my heart that I could not understand, and the heavy burden of doubt I had carried for nine years left me. I now accepted what I had previously doubted.
But even then I was tempted to fight against the Spirit. I told myself that what I was feeling was just a passing impression, an emotional response to the film. This war continued inside me as I left the classroom, so I found a place to be alone. And there the presence of the Holy Spirit came to me more clearly and finally liberated me from my doubts. I was filled with incomparable joy. A weight was lifted from my shoulders.
Now I can say with full conviction that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true Church, restored in these last days by Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith. This testimony is precious to me. With it, I feel spiritually prepared to receive the greater light and knowledge the Lord and His Church have to offer.