“A Trial of My Faith,” Liahona, June 2002, 42–44
During a spiritually low moment in my life as a member of the Church, a particular incident renewed my faith.
I was on a boat in the Philippines, traveling to visit my mother. The boat was filled with passengers, some enjoying the beauty of the blue horizon, others laughing and chatting with friends and acquaintances. I felt alone and lost amid the crowd of people. The anticipation of seeing my mother after a few years of separation was coupled with hesitancy.
I belong to a very religious family. When their daily religious rituals began to seem endless and without meaning, I investigated other churches until I eventually joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of the Church’s strong programs, sound doctrines, relevant gospel teachings, and friendly atmosphere, I felt a lot happier than I was before I embraced the gospel. My family, however, was not pleased with my choice.
But then after my baptism, in what I later recognized as a test of faith, I began to doubt, and I gradually lost my firm grasp on the iron rod. I didn’t commit any major sins, but I wasn’t as diligent as I should have been. Then I remembered my mother, a pious, gentle, and understanding woman who, despite the many trials in her life, remained steadfast to her faith. When I had told her of my decision to join another church, she said with a look of sadness, “The religion we belong to is a legacy from our ancestors, but if you think you will be better off with that new church, then go ahead. But make sure you will be true to it and will defend the truth you uphold.”
These thoughts sent a surge of embarrassment through me. How can I face my mother with my now flickering flame of faith? What if she asks me how I am faring with my newfound religion? Will I be able to meet her gaze without blushing?
As I struggled with these questions, I heard the words church and religion. A man, probably in his mid-40s, seemed to be forcing some tenets of his church onto an uninterested lady sitting next to me. Sensing her discomfort, I tried to help.
Looking straight into his eyes, I asked, “What church do you belong to?” For a split second, his eyes glowed with excitement and pleasure, as if to say, “Here’s a soul willing to open her ears to my preaching.” He sprang to his feet and moved close to me. He introduced himself as a minister. I recognized the name of his church; it is well known for religious debates.
An alarmed feeling crept into my heart, but I tried not to show it. I thought, Not now when I’m losing my spiritual equilibrium. How am I supposed to defend my faith when mists of doubt lurk in my mind? A quick glance at the lady I had rescued made me secretly wish I had not intruded. But she met my gaze with a reassuring look, encouraging me to defend my beliefs. I gathered courage and prayed silently and earnestly for assistance in this unexpected confrontation.
A feeling of confidence enveloped my whole being. I told him, “I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Without giving me a chance to say more, he interrupted, “I know all about your church and your founder.” He went on to make offensive remarks about the Prophet Joseph Smith, the gold plates, and the Book of Mormon. He said they were all fallacies.
What I felt next surprised me. I felt a strong desire to defend my religion. But hadn’t I been drifting slowly from the Church?
What surprised me most were the firm declarations that came from my mouth, attesting to the truthfulness and reality of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the First Vision, and the Book of Mormon. I added that people’s negative opinions of Joseph Smith would not change my testimony that he was chosen by God to restore His Church in this last dispensation.
I could hardly believe how confidently those truths flowed from my lips. At that moment I knew with a surety that the Spirit was there to testify in my trial of faith.
With renewed faith, I remembered the statement in Ether 12:6: “Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” I offered a silent prayer of gratitude to my Heavenly Father as that verse sank into my heart. Peace filled me, and I realized I was ready to face my mother and to share with her the blessings of joy and peace that the gospel brings into my life.