When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was true. I was not a guesser. I didn’t want to guess—I wanted to know. I could solve a math equation or do a science experiment to figure out academic things, but what was I supposed to do with my religious questions? I told a friend there was no way to know what was true when it came to religion. She told me that she knew what was true. I was fascinated. How did she know?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the “Mormon Church”) has a video for teenagers featuring a teen girl with the same problem I had. She wants to know what is true. This girl also got her answer from another teenager—but one who lived in the 1800s. Like her, a fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith was trying to figure out what church to join. He didn’t just want to pick one that was fun or that his friends and families belonged to. He wanted to join the true church.
Too Many Churches: Which One Is Right?
But how could he figure out which one that was? He went to lots of different churches and talked to ministers and other people he respected. They were all quite firm that their church was the right one. The problem was that their churches all disagreed with each other. Every denomination has certain important teachings that differ from those of other churches. How could you possibly guess which one was right? After all, these were ministers. It seemed like they knew more about the Bible than Joseph would, but even they couldn’t agree on what was true.
Joseph Smith’s family loved the Bible and read it as a family. However, Joseph decided that it was time for him to read it on his own. He was reading in James 1:5 when he came across a really interesting verse. Here is what it said:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God—James 1:5.
Suddenly Joseph knew how to solve his problem. All those ministers might have ideas about what was right, but God knew for sure what was true. All Joseph Smith needed to do was to ask God. Right there in the Bible, in a book a lot of people think was written by Jesus’ own brother, was a promise that God would answer that question, as long as you asked with faith that He could answer.
Praying to Know the Truth
Joseph decided such an important prayer needed to be done in private. Privacy wasn’t easy to come by in a small house filled to the brim with family, so he went into the woods near his home. There he knelt down and prayed out loud—the first time he’d ever prayed aloud.
Joseph got his answer. In his case, God and Jesus came in person to answer his prayer. Joseph was called of God and given the responsibility of becoming the first prophet in modern times, so he needed a rather special answer. When my friend told me about Joseph Smith, I said I didn’t think God would be coming in person to answer me. She agreed, but said I didn’t need Him to come in person. He could send the Holy Ghost to put the answer into my heart. All I had to do was to pray and to believe I’d get an answer.
The girl in the video, which you can watch at the end of the article, realized that she could do what Joseph Smith did. Just as I did when I was sixteen, she asked God to help her know what was true. You can see by the smile on her face at the end of the video that she got her answer.
I did, too—the same one this girl got. It took me awhile. I needed to study and to learn how to pray for answers and how to recognize the answers. I met with Mormon missionaries for a few weeks and they taught me how to do all that and encouraged me to follow my friend’s advice and to pray. A few months later, just after my seventeenth birthday, I was baptized and became a Mormon.
Do you have a Mormon friend? If so, ask them to tell you about their own testimony. If you don’t, you can go to Mormon.org and read about Mormons. You can even chat online with a missionary. It’s not a place to socialize or argue, but it is a place to ask serious questions if you’re a person who really wants to know what is true.
Read what happened when Joseph Smith wanted to know what was true. (He was only fourteen at the time.)
Watch the video: