Often, when people are trying to learn about Mormonism, they do it entirely by “research.” Sometimes the research is well-done, and other times it isn’t. Some will go only to websites designed to convince people not to become Mormon. Some will only read books with that same goal. Others will talk to Mormons and even, in some cases, read the Book of Mormon, which Mormons study with the Bible, and other materials that Mormons recommend to them. However, many of them skip the most important step.
They fail to ask God in prayer.
When I tell them they need to be asking God what is true, they protest, saying there is no way to tell if their thoughts and feelings are coming from God, Satan, or just their own thoughts, and so they rely only on their intellect. This always breaks my heart, because it tells me Satan has convinced them of a critical lie and they haven’t realized the source of that lie.
The key to the whole problem is understanding just how much God really loves us. He is the Father of our spirits. He created us and He loves us more than we can ever imagine. Sending us to Earth must have been very hard for Him. Mormons believe we lived with God for a long time before coming to Earth. While we were there, we learned, grew, and began to decide who we really are. But even those not making the best choices were physically close to God and He could talk to them at any time.
Once we came to Earth, He had to give us more freedom. He had to let us come without knowledge of Him and then learn about Him during our time on Earth. We would have to decide for ourselves if we believed in Him and if we were willing to put Him first. We had to choose whether or not to love and trust Him. His heart must break every time one of his children rejects Him or ignores Him.
The idea that God refuses to talk to us or to answer our questions must be one that Satan is proud to have placed in some human minds. If he can keep us from believing God loves us that much and wants us to find Him that much, Satan wins. Just think what a great success it is for Satan if he can convince us God won’t speak to us or that God doesn’t even love us enough to help us know what is true. Do you want to give Satan that victory? I don’t.
One thing I know for sure: God loves me. He wants me to find the truth and to know without any doubt that He is real and that His church is real. He knows that leaving it to guesswork or intellect will not work—those results could go anywhere and we’d have no proof. This isn’t a guessing game. It is real, and the results are eternal. God is prepared to give us everything we need to succeed in our eternal life. However, we have to ask Him for His help. Once we sincerely do that, He steps in and tells us what is true.
I’ve been there. I am a convert who became Mormon a few weeks after I turned seventeen. I’d been searching for the truth since I was about ten years old—a young age, I know, but I longed to know what church was really God’s church. I had visited many with my parents’ permission. They had each been raised in different churches and had no special commitment to either one, and did not attend. I had seen, even at such a young age, that churches didn’t agree on what was true.
I tried the intellectual approach, being that kind of child and teenager. It didn’t work. Eventually I figured that out and learned—from the Mormons—how to take my questions directly to God. It was such an amazing experience. For the first time, I really understood how much God knew me and loved me and how much He wanted me to find the right answers. I understood how hard He was willing to work to help me succeed.
Try it yourself. Trust God to love you that much. It will change your life forever.
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.