Lately I have been thinking a lot about my faith and I don’t think that I really have a testimony. I feel like I have just been going to the Mormon Church because I was born into it and have never really had to study and find out for myself if it is true. And it’s mostly because I think that there are conflicting stories about Joseph Smith and the early prophets. I know that they are just men and do make mistakes, but I feel a lack of trust in them. Please help me out with articles to help promote my faith and help me to gain a testimony.
Your experience is very similar to my own. Although I was “born and raised” in the Mormon Church, I never felt for sure that I had a testimony until I joined the Army Air Force in WWII. So perhaps I can make a suggestion or two that may deal with your concern.
Concerning the conflicting stories about Joseph Smith and the early prophets, that fact that there are such conflicting stories about them is a significant evidence that the church they represent is just what it claims to be–the only true and living Church of Jesus Christ on the face of the earth. Why would that be so? How much literature do you see published that denounces any one of the Protestant Churches, or the great Catholic Church, or the great Eastern Orthodox Church? You’re right–very, very little. And why is that so? Simply because the Mormon Church, properly called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, being THE true Church, is the direct object of Satan’s attempts to destroy it.
Now, don’t get me wrong; Satan is against all that is good and true, and he and his forces are aligned against every Christian organization, and every individual who believes in Christ, regardless of their creed. But all these other churches, in spite of the good that they do, have not the power to save any soul in the celestial kingdom of God. There is only one organization that has that power, and that is God’s own organization–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
But, you say, with all these conflicting stories, what am I to believe? If you wanted to buy a new Chevrolet, but weren’t sure about its qualities, would you go to a Ford dealer to find out about the Chevrolet? Of course not! By the same token you can discard out of hand all of the negative literature floating around about the Mormon Church. It is Satan inspired and has absolutely no credence. But that still doesn’t answer your question or give you a testimony. If you want to have a testimony that the Mormon Church is the true Church, simply ask God and He will tell you!
Take a look at these pertinent scriptures—
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:4).
That experiment has been performed millions of times, with the result that if the conditions are properly fulfilled the result is invariably achieved.
But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils (D&C 46:7).
In other words, we have to live by the word of God as we know it to the best of our ability, then He will talk to us. The Father wants us to do all that we can to reach Him. If we do less than we can that indicates that our interest is limited, and thus the communication link is not complete.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord (James 1:5-7).
That is the scripture that inspired the boy, Joseph Smith, a young lad of only 14 years, to ask God the very question that you have in mind. God answered his prayer! He will also answer yours.
Now let me make this suggestion. Resulting from Joseph Smith’s first prayer, he was entrusted with the golden plates on which had been transcribed the Book of Mormon, and by the gift and power of God, he translated them into the English language. He later said of the Book of Mormon—
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (Book of Mormon introduction).
My suggestion to you is that you read the Book of Mormon, and in doing so that as you turn each page you sincerely ask the Lord to let you know if this book is indeed true–that will be a total of 531 prayers. I will now promise you, in the name of the Lord, that if you will do that, before you will have finished the book, God will have answered your prayer, and you will KNOW in your heart, without any doubt, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that indeed the Book of Mormon is true scripture. If you know that, you will then know that Joseph Smith was a prophet–because the Book of Mormon says he was. You will know that Jesus is the Christ, because the Book of Mormon says he is. You will know that God’s kingdom on earth, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been restored on the earth because the Book of Mormon says that is has. You will have a testimony.