My testimony consists of two parts: things that I know are true and things that I believe are true.
Know and believe: I use both words when I share my testimony.
These words are important to me—not just because this varied language is an accurate reflection of my faith, but because it reminds me that I do not need a complete knowledge of every doctrine or a perfect answer to every question on Church history in order to profess my belief in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is a place in the Church for all people, regardless of the strength of their testimonies. Yet some of us in the Church have a tendency to compare our testimonies to those of others—particularly if we are wrestling with questions or doubts in areas where others seem to testify with certainty. Sometimes when I hear Church members proclaim from the pulpit what they know to be true, it makes me reflect on my own testimony—and testimonies in general.
“What if I can’t say ‘I know’?”
“What if I have questions—and even doubts—about some aspects of the gospel?”
“Is there a place for me in the Church?”
One story in the New Testament gives me tremendous reassurance that the blessings of the gospel are available to all those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. A man brought his afflicted child to Jesus, asking, “If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.”
Jesus responded, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
The man then gave a curious response, one that indicated that his faith existed alongside a degree of unbelief: “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.”
Jesus then healed the child. (See Mark 9:14–27.)
Jesus did not demand of the man perfect knowledge before He performed a miracle. Nor did He insist on unwavering faith. The man requesting the Savior’s healing touch upon his child expressed faith and, where that was lacking, a desire to believe.
And that was enough for Jesus.
This lesson applies to those of us seeking the healing power of Christ in our lives today. As modern-day prophets and apostles have reminded us, the desire to believe is enough of a starting point.1 Sure, we aspire to strengthen our testimonies; we aim for a strong belief that grows into a perfect knowledge (see Alma 32:21–22, 26–34). But until then, a hope that the promises of the gospel of Jesus Christ are true and a desire to believe that the gospel has been restored to the earth through modern-day prophets are enough for us to keep moving forward in faith.
So what can you do if you don’t feel that you can say “I know”? You can rest assured that there is a place for you in the Church of Jesus Christ. You can confidently express your testimony in terms of what you believe is true—and even in terms of what you hope is true—all the while partaking of the blessings of the gospel. And we can each regularly call out to God in prayer, saying, “Help thou my unbelief,” and watch His love enter our lives and His miracles unfold.