“I Wanted Proof,” New Era, Feb. 1998, 9
For many years I had a less than enthusiastic view of school. Not until my junior year of high school did I begin to realize the power which knowledge could have on my life. Learning now became exciting to me. It started to influence my whole life. School became enjoyable, and I studied to learn. I started reading for fun. I read mostly about scientific topics. I began to see the world and religion in a new light.
The core of this internal change was revealed in my advanced-placement chemistry class, along with a few other influences in my life at that time.
During one discussion about the molecular orbital theory and the particle wave theory of electrons, I asked my chemistry teacher how scientists knew what they claimed. I wanted proof. Mr. Steed, my teacher, finally admitted that he didn’t know, and neither did anyone else. He explained that scientists only knew that the theory fit their current understanding.
I began to realize that much of what I had been taught in science could not be proven. I had relied on science to be pure and free from opinions, but I came to realize that it was not. Science involved studies and theories based on a limited knowledge.
At the same time I lost my faith in science, I began to lose my faith in mankind. I took a class in which beliefs, truths, ethics, and morals were discussed. Many students in the class believed that there was no such thing as absolute truth, a God, or morality. They did not believe in personal responsibility and accountability for their actions. These people symbolized the world to me, so I began to lose my faith in mankind when I lost my faith in them.
I realized that much of what I had been taught as fact was not. This changed my perspective on everything in my life. I no longer saw teachers as sources of truth. I began to question all that I had been taught and had believed in. I wanted everything to be proven to me.
I began to question whether an absolute truth could exist. Yet I knew that certain things must exist. My lack of ability to comprehend God caused me to question his existence. I would say to myself, “God exists and his laws are absolute.” Then I would quickly think of something else to avoid questioning God’s existence.
Yet as I learned more, I tried to understand and explain God. Although I disliked my thinking, I could not deny what I felt. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to believe in that which I had always believed. My life was becoming depressing and insecure.
As the desire for stability and truth grew in my life, this great desire caused me to turn to the scriptures. It was then that I found a new meaning in Moroni 10:4 [Moro. 10:4]:
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would ask God, the eternal Father in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
These were words of hope and comfort to me. I began to read the Book of Mormon with a new purpose. The writings of the prophets found a new place in my heart. I read with the desire to learn and know.
I longed for the comfort, purpose, and perspective that the gospel had always given to my life. Each night before I read, I would pray with a great desire to know the truth. I felt that the scriptures were true, but I wanted to know. When I read, I often found scriptures that gave me inspiration on how to live my life better. Many tears were shed as I felt the power and truth of the Book of Mormon.
I began to regard prayer more seriously. My relationship with my Father in Heaven became much closer. I prayed to him with a new enthusiasm. I desired to know if he was there. I prayed for a remission of my sins. I prayed for forgiveness because of my lack of faith.
After reading the Book of Mormon, I knelt in prayer. I had a great desire to know of its truth. I hoped it was true, knowing what joy this would bring me. That night I prayed for hours desiring to know. The following nights I continued in my prayers and began to wonder if I would receive a witness.
My determination in waiting for a witness was a trial of my faith. After many days I came to the realization that I knew the Book of Mormon was true. It came not as a sign or a voice. I knew because in the center of my being I could not deny that it was true. I also knew that God existed and that he is my Heavenly Father, that Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God.
This came to me, not as new knowledge, but as a peaceful remembrance of that which I already knew. I did not need a further witness. I had always known the truth. My pride in my own knowledge had caused me to forget my testimony.
With this new understanding my life received meaning and peace. Although I still question some of what I hear, I do it for my own good and a desire to learn the truth.