There are many, many things I love about being a missionary. I must admit one of my favorites is the opportunity I am having now of being a fellow-shipper to a beautiful, intelligent, 20 year-old, young woman. I first met Jill (the name is changed) at the home of a member in our ward. It wouldn’t be until a couple of weeks later that we would meet again. The missionaries called asking if I was available because the member who was going to go with them had cancelled. Little did I know what a fateful call that would be.
Jill had decided that it was time to know for herself if the religion of her friend and his family was really Christ’s true church. This took incredible courage. The tears and the agony in which she explained how much she loved her parents and didn’t want to disappoint them or even worse, have them push her away; was witnesses enough that she had put a lot of thought into this decision. She also explained she didn’t want to join just because of her friend. She wanted to know for herself. For someone brought up in the Catholic church, the idea of the restoration was hard to accept. The truths taught in the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ lessons rang true to her, but the need for a restoration was pretty tough pill to swallow. In exasperation she observed that if you read something written by a Catholic person there is no need for a restoration, and if you read something by an LDS author there was a need for a restoration. How was one to know?
Like an echo of Joseph Smith’s past. She posed the same question, “How was someone to know?” Only divinity can answer such a serious question. In response to Joseph’s question he was visited by the Father and the Son. For Jill and every other investigator, the answer is also found through divine revelation. God has promised that if one reads “The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” with real intent, He will answer so that one knows.
Trusting this promise resolves a lot of, “Who’s opinion is right?” questions. Because if the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s Church on this earth. God in his infinite wisdom has set in place the promise that “He will manifest the truth of it by the power of the Holy Ghost .”
I love that about our message. Don’t believe us. Believe God.
Because Jill is a person of great faith. She chose to act. She committed to read the Book of Mormon on a daily basis. She also chose to add fasting to her prayers.
“It was harder than I thought it would be, and I’m not sure it worked,” was Jill’s comment after fasting. As I listened to Jill talk about the internal battle of fasting. I was pretty sure every member of the Church that had ever fasted could relate. At three she told herself that some people eat dinner early so she should be okay to end her fast. Her determination would not be daunted. She was going to fast ‘til 5. She did finally resort to a trick many a member has used. I’ll just take a nap until it’s time to eat. Because I’ve had many experiences with fasting, I could confidently assure her that the Lord would give her an answer. She just needed to watch with spiritual eyes.
Two weeks later, Jill finds out the how the Lord answers fasting and prayer. At an unexpected moment, and in response to the scripture, “Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, she courageously asked her mom to go for a walk with her. She then shared that she was having the discussions. Is it all wonderful? No, but the all-knowing God gave her an assurance that He was there to help. Several times she had asked the Lord if he would just send the missionaries by her home and that her mom would listen. In the middle of their conversation her mom shared that the missionaries came by and that she let them in. They taught the apostasy.
Did the lesson for her mom go anywhere? Time will tell, but for a humble, courageous, 20 year- old, It helped propel her on her path