“The Blessing of a Persistent Challenge,” New Era, September 2017
One Sunday morning during our priests quorum meeting, my teacher, Brother Allen, asked me, “Brother Davis, do you have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ?” I told him I did. He asked me how I knew it was true. I told him my parents had taught me it was true, and I believed them.
He explained that I could not rely on my parents’ testimony forever—I needed to obtain my own. He told me that if I read from the Book of Mormon and prayed to Heavenly Father, He would answer my prayer, and I would know for myself that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true. He asked me to do that during the week and return next Sunday to report.
The next Sunday, Brother Allen asked for my report when class started. At first, I didn’t even remember the previous week’s lesson. I told him I had no report for him. He smiled at me and explained that sometimes it takes some work. After renewing his challenge, he told me he would ask about it next week.
During the following week, I read from the Book of Mormon for several days, and I said some heartfelt prayers. Soon it was Sunday again. I went to my quorum meeting with some trepidation. I hoped that Brother Allen would simply forget about his challenge.
When Brother Allen asked me about it again, I told him that I had read and prayed but had nothing more to report. He renewed his challenge and encouraged me to ask in faith. He then promised me that Heavenly Father would answer my prayers.
During the next week, I read several chapters of the Book of Mormon every night. I prayed earnestly for a testimony of its truthfulness. But by Saturday night, I was unsettled because I still had no answer.
That night, I read a chapter in the Book of Mormon, knelt by my bedside, and prayed like I had never prayed before. I begged my Heavenly Father for a knowledge of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and that the Church was true. After my prayer, I lay in bed. My mind and my heart were filled with a message from the Holy Ghost. It was not a voice but a feeling; yet specific words were given to me. These are the words that filled my soul: “My son, you know the Book of Mormon is true. You know the Church is true. You have felt it in your heart since you were young. The Holy Ghost has testified to you that it is true. Of course it is true.” I was reminded of several specific spiritual experiences in my life when I had felt the undeniable influence of the Holy Ghost.
The next morning, I was up early and ready for church, excited for Brother Allen to ask for my report. As we assembled in our classroom, Brother Allen began teaching the lesson. He didn’t ask for the report as he had done the last two weeks. I raised my hand. He was startled, but he realized immediately that I was now ready to share my experience. I then told Brother Allen and my priests quorum that I had a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that I knew the Book of Mormon is true, and that Heavenly Father had answered my prayer. In my 16-year-old language, I tried to share the magnitude of my discovery, though my words were insufficient.
I will always be grateful to Brother Allen for his persistence and his love as I gained my own testimony. I know that God lives and answers my prayers. ■