“How to Know for Yourself,” New Era, October 2017
Our dear young friends, our desire for each of you is that you may know for yourselves, independent of anyone else, that the God of heaven is real, that He knows you, and that His Son has atoned for the sins of the world.
Our hope is that you will gain for yourself an unshakable testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth for the last time. Joseph Smith’s mission was unique, yet his humble prayer is a helpful model for you and for me. Joseph started for the grove to pray with faith that a loving God would answer his prayer and relieve his confusion. He gained that assurance by reading the word of God and receiving a witness that it was true. Joseph also prayed with the intent not only to listen but to obey at whatever the cost. He was committed to act upon whatever God would communicate to him.
In that spirit, I would like to extend a challenge to the youth of the Church. The challenge is this: come to know for yourself that these things are true. You can do this by following Joseph Smith’s example: study the scriptures, let the words sink deep into your heart, reflect on them again and again, and then ask of God, with a willingness to accept His guidance—truly, His will be done.
While this challenge may sound like a simple invitation, I promise you it may take significant effort. I cannot promise that your answers will come in a day or in a week, but I can promise that God will speak to you in His own way and in His own time, if you ask in faith. As you accept and act upon this invitation, you will find that not only will answers come, but you’ll also establish a pattern of acquiring spiritual knowledge that will bless you for the rest of your life.