I’m a recent convert to the church. In fact I was baptized and confirmed just this past weekend! I am the first and only member of the church in my family and I have been getting a lot of hard questions regarding the history of the church. I’ve tried to explain that Heavenly Father confirmed the truth to me by the Spirit, but it’s not a good enough answer to them. They just want to argue “facts” and figures. Advice on how to best respond? Thank you so much!
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your baptism! How then to best respond to non-Mormons (even family) who want “facts” and “figures” rather than a sincere and honest testimony from the Holy Ghost? First, one thing we have to remember is that we can only share what we have come to know for ourselves, and how a person responds to what we share we can not control. For example, let’s review Joseph Smith’s testimony regarding his first vision, and how people persecuted, ridiculed, and reviled him for simply sharing something that happened that could not be explained with “facts” and “figures”:
“However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.”
As you know, it is a “fact” that “Heavenly Father confirmed the truth to [you] by the Spirit.” The best way to respond is to respond with faith, hope, and charity; however, it isn’t easy especially if loved ones, friends, or strangers begin to mock something we hold sacred. If a mind has already been made up, then “facts” and “figures” will not convince them either, because they are not yet ready to receive it. And always remembers this, your testimony is a “good enough” answer even if they don’t want to receive it.
Continue to do your best in answering any question they may ask, even historical events, and if they don’t like it, then they don’t like it. I understand this isn’t an easy answer, but it is the truth. The only way they will come to the truth is through personal study, humility, and then asking God in prayer the same way you did. This is how the majority of us have received a testimony for ourselves. If they still don’t like it I would respond in this manner, “Thank you for caring about me and the decision I have made in joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I truly appreciate your love and concern for me. I have shared with you how I have come to know this is true and that this is the right path for me.” These are your family members, they love you, and they also want what is best for you. Acknowledge their love while keeping true to the confirmation you have received from Heavenly Father through his Spirit of truth.
Another option, in correlation with the previous paragraph you can direct them to the following sites for their further reading (and yours):
These are faithful attempts from members of the Church that answer, or give a different insight to, multiple historical events.