I was a new missionary about to leave the missionary training center, and I didn’t know if the Book of Mormon was true.
I believed it was true. I had read it many times and prayed about it repeatedly, just as Moroni directs (see Moroni 10:3–5). But I had never received an answer! Without that knowledge, how would I be able to teach and testify to the people of Romania? I needed to know for myself, and I needed to know now.
During one evening of quiet study time in our MTC classroom, I gripped my scriptures and bowed my head.
“Heavenly Father,” I prayed silently, “I have read this book many times. If I am going to continue as a missionary, I need to know: Is it true?”
With my eyes still closed, I flipped open the book.
My finger landed on Mosiah 1:6: “O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true. And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true; and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes.”
Those words struck me as no passage of scripture ever had before or since. Every instance of the word true leaped off the page. As Joseph Smith said about his own experience, the words “seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart” (Joseph Smith—History 1:12). I felt suddenly full of peace and purpose instead of fear or worry.
In an instant, I knew that the Book of Mormon was the word of God and that Heavenly Father was sending me that message. It was like He was telling me, You already know. Now get to work.
And I did.
I had studied and prayed about the truthfulness Book of Mormon for years before I finally received an answer. So I wondered, Why did I have to wait so long for the revelation that it was true? Was I not sincere enough? Did I not have enough faith? Maybe! But I don’t think so. I think that the Lord waited for the perfect opportunity to teach me an important lesson: revelation is not a matter of convenience.
Revelation does not come simply because we want it. Revelation comes when we need it. And it comes in Heavenly Father’s time, not ours. He knows our needs, and we can trust His plan to be the best—even if that requires some patience.
Elder David P. Homer of the Seventy taught that “answers are sometimes slow to come . . . because it is not the right time, because an answer is not needed, or because God trusts us to make the decision ourselves” (“Hearing His Voice,” Liahona, May 2019, 43).
Sometimes I think God has more trust in me than I have in myself! It’s scary to make important decisions without direction from Him. But when I get too worried about it, I remember this promise from Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “When you are living righteously and are acting with trust, God will not let you proceed too far without a warning impression if you have made the wrong decision” (“Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Liahona, May 2007, 10).
When we are doing what we can to find answers and make good decisions, we can be sure that Heavenly Father will guide us, even if we don’t always recognize His ways. We don’t need to be afraid. Heavenly Father is watching over us with love. Revelation will come—maybe not when we want it, but when we truly need it.