“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, Mar. 2007, 22–24
Questions and Answers
Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.
“I want to serve a mission, but I feel that my testimony should be stronger. What should I do?”
Follow the pattern of reading the scriptures and praying.
Study Preach My Gospel to learn the gospel and be converted.
Live the commandments. As you do, your testimony will grow.
Listen to the Spirit, and let it guide you.
What will help you gain the testimony you’re looking for? Remember the words of the Book of Mormon: “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you” (Alma 32:27). Follow Joseph Smith’s example, of turning to the scriptures and praying. He read, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5), and then prayed for an answer. Your answer may not be as dramatic as his, but the pattern is important. Studying the scriptures and prayer are essential in gaining a testimony. Ask with real intent, and the Holy Ghost will confirm to you that the Book of Mormon is true (see Moroni 10:3–5). If the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet and was directed by God to restore His true Church.
Preach My Gospel is designed to help missionaries help investigators to gain testimonies. But it also helps missionaries, members, and families to learn the gospel. You can be your own first investigator and convert. Study Preach My Gospel as you work to receive your own testimony.
Another important part of gaining a testimony is being obedient. The Savior said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). If you want to know the Church is true, do the things it teaches. As you do, you will come to know “whether [they] be of God.” Go to your meetings, say your prayers, keep the commandments, repent. Do the things the Lord has asked you to do, and it won’t be long before you feel blessed for doing them. That will also strengthen your testimony.
Through living prophets, the Lord has told us that all worthy and able young men should serve a mission. He has also told us that missionaries need to enter the mission field fully prepared to serve. You are right to feel humbled by the challenge, but you can be equal to it.
Do all in your power to live the gospel, to prepare yourself to serve, and to listen intently to the Spirit. As you do these things, your testimony of the Church and of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost will grow. You will know the gospel has been restored in its fulness, and you will then be prepared to share what you know. As you teach the gospel and bear testimony of it on your mission, your testimony will continue to grow even stronger.
I overcame such feelings by realizing the testimony I already have. Each general conference I felt the love our leaders have for us. This was the beginning of owning my testimony. I also realized that when you know the Book of Mormon is true, you will also know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. Once you receive your testimony, share it so it will grow, and you will know with all your heart.
Elder John Hyrum Gedeborg, 20, Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission
If you do not really know if the Church is true, pray to Heavenly Father with faith. Ask Him if the Church is true, and search the scriptures every day, and He will answer you.
Thelimo W., 19, Haiti
If you know that you should serve a mission, then you at least have the beginnings of a testimony. You should sincerely ask the Lord to know if the Church is true. If you don’t receive an answer right away, persevere. Show the Lord that you really want to know, for “ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).
Christina H., 16, Virginia
I know that missionary work is important. It is God’s work. Those who go on a mission should have faith and strength that comes from prayer, reading the scriptures, and personal worthiness. If they do these things, then they will do missionary work so effectively. I know that this Church is true. I know what I say because I have had answers to my prayers. If you doubt, ask God. He will answer you.
Sureselty N., 17, India
Lack of confidence in the truthfulness of the gospel is one of the best weapons Satan has to slow down the growth of the Church. Nephi taught that we should “pray always and not faint” (2 Nephi 32:9). I believe that when we take our doubts to Heavenly Father, He will open our understanding and impart peace to our souls.
Ana Camila A., 16, Brazil
I have been able to confirm that the Church is true by accompanying the missionaries. When you listen to the missionaries share the message of the First Vision, a feeling of peace will come to you, the Spirit will fill your heart, and you will know that the vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith is true and, thus, the Church is true.
Ivan A., 18, Mexico
I had the same problem not too long ago. My parents encouraged me to pray, and I did. I found a quiet, peaceful place and prayed with intent to receive my answer. When the answer came, it was powerful that the Church is true and that I need to serve a mission. My testimony of missions is very strong, and now as I prepare for one, I’m excited and can’t wait to go.
Brian M., 17, Ontario, Canada
As my bishop says, if we want to have a testimony of Jesus Christ, we must center our studies on His life and ministry. When we pray, we will obtain this testimony. I know it is very important to have a testimony while we are still on the list of future missionaries.
Kra N., 21, Ivory Coast
Before I came on my mission, I had similar feelings. I decided to meet with my bishop. Through his inspired direction, I was able to learn to recognize the Spirit more fully and realize that I truly did have a testimony of the restored gospel. Now I get to help others recognize that Spirit and come to know those same truths.
Elder Chris Stevenson, 21, Indiana Indianapolis Mission
My advice to all who have this concern would be don’t wait to find your testimony. Seek now! The blessings of serving a mission are incredible and will change your life. Doubt will leave your mind, and you will gain a stronger testimony of the restored gospel. I know, because it happened to me.
Elder Josh Mojica, 21, Nevada Las Vegas West Mission
For more about gaining a testimony, read “The Quest for Spiritual Knowledge” by President Boyd K. Packer, New Era, Jan. 2007, p. 2.
“I feel overwhelmed. I’m taking music lessons and competing in sports and trying to serve in the Church and get good grades. How do I find balance?”
Send your answer, along with your full name, birth date, ward and stake (or branch and district), and photograph (including your parent’s written permission to print the photo, if you are under 18) to:
New Era, Q&A, 4/07
50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2420
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA
Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please respond by April 15, 2007.