The author lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
In preparation for this past general conference, I wanted to do as President Russell M. Nelson had encouraged us to do six months before and study Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the gospel. So, leading up to conference, my husband and I read through the Joseph Smith—History together and other past conference talks about Joseph Smith and the First Vision.
Throughout this period of study, one night I lay in bed pondering what I know and believe to be true. I knew I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I had developed a witness of its truth and goodness in my life through study, prayer, and by putting its principles to the test. And I received my endowment and have been sealed in the temple for all time and eternity to a righteous husband. I loved making those covenants and had felt comfortable and at peace in the temple.
However, as I sat and thought more about it, I didn’t feel that I had a strong personal witness of Joseph Smith’s First Vision or the Restoration—looking back now, I should have taken all those things as a sign of my testimony of the Restoration, but it didn’t occur to me that they were connected.
So I prayed to Heavenly Father in faith, asking Him to allow me to obtain a stronger personal witness of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.
I kept studying the Restoration too, and I didn’t expect immediate results, but I knew the Lord would respond in His way and timing.
On the Sunday afternoon session of conference, President Dallin H. Oaks spoke. He answered my prayer, word for word. Reading from the new proclamation on the Restoration, he said, “Those who prayerfully study the message of the Restoration and act in faith will be blessed to gain their own witness of its divinity and of its purpose to prepare the world for the promised Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (“The Great Plan,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2020, 93).
I sat there with my family, pierced by his words. I hurried to scribble down in my journal the proof of my prayer being answered by an Apostle of the Lord. He told me exactly what I needed to do in order to gain a stronger personal witness of the Restoration. I felt a peace and comfort in my heart knowing that my prayer was heard—that if I followed the Lord’s direction, my desires would be granted
As I’ve reflected further on this experience following conference, I continue to think it special how my prayer was answered.
President Oaks could have chosen any other passage to read from the proclamation, but he was inspired to read the exact words that spoke to my heart.
I know that the Lord hears our prayers. I know that our righteous desires and efforts will be magnified by the Lord.
I invite you to prayerfully identify a principle or aspect of the gospel you would like to gain or strengthen a personal witness of. It’s OK if you don’t know or understand every aspect of the gospel right now. Remember, learning comes “line upon line, precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30). As you apply the same method of prayer, study, and faith, I know that the Lord will help you gain a testimony of what you’re seeking. He did for me.