Sometimes people will ask me why I decided to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a Mormon, as some call us. I explain how I studied the religion and then turned to God in prayer to find out if the Church was true. Often, they respond, “Oh, I’ve been taught not to do that because you can’t tell if the answer is from God or from Satan.”
When I hear this, my mind often turns to a scripture found in the Book of Mormon:
And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. (2 Nephi 32:8 in the Book of Mormon)
God knows the truth of everything, and while man might lead you astray, God never will. For this reason, Satan is very afraid of having people pray about truth. Once they receive truth from God, their faith can become so strong he finds it difficult, if not impossible, to reach them. So it’s in his best interests to discourage us from praying—but it’s certainly not in our own best interests. If we’re unwilling to pray about truth, we are forced to trust mere men.
Throughout the Bible, God instructs us to pray. Never does He say to avoid prayer for fear you won’t recognize the answer. The scriptures regularly assure us that if we have faith and learn to know the Father, we will recognize God’s voice.
Have you ever met someone briefly and then, when you met them again, didn’t recognize them? They weren’t recognizable to you because you didn’t know them well. Have you ever developed a close friendship with someone, gotten to know their heart, and then been separated for many years? When you encounter them again, you remember them, even though you haven’t seen them in years. The difference is in how well you know them.
This is how it is in our relationship with God. When we build a relationship with Him as we study the scriptures, ponder in our hearts, and spend time talking to God, His voice becomes more familiar to us. In time, we know Him so well there is no doubt who is speaking to us.
God has given us the ability to recognize His voice through the Light of Christ. When we pray, sincerely seeking truth for all the right reasons and committed to doing whatever God tells us, the Light of Christ will whisper in our hearts that it’s true. Satan can’t bring true peace, so when we feel peace, joy, or contentment, we know the answer is from God.
God wants you to ask Him what is true and He’s prepared to give you an answer you will recognize as His. I know this because I know God can do anything at all, including this, and I’ve tried it.
This article was originally published in July 2008.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.