When I was first investigating the church, the hardest thing for me was to give up facts and figures. I liked to know things and trying to make a decision to join the church based on faith was very frightening. I started out trying to make lists and do analysis, but this wasn’t a science experiment. If there was physical proof, I wouldn’t need faith, and faith is part of what we came to earth to learn.
Richard G. Scott, an apostle, said, “God has given you the capacity to exercise faith so that you may find peace, joy, and purpose in life. However, to employ its power, faith must be rooted in something secure. There is no more solid foundation than faith in the love Heavenly Father has for you, faith in His plan of happiness, and faith in the willingness and power of Jesus Christ to fulfill all of His promises.” (Richard G. Scott, “Living Right,” Ensign, Jan 2007, 10–15)
This means that faith starts with knowing that Heavenly Father loves you. When you know this, when you’re as sure of it as you can be, it’s easier to trust Him to tell you the truth about eternal matters, and to do what He asks of you, even when it’s hard. The more you know about Heavenly Father, the more you will love and trust Him. Take every opportunity to notice what He does for you, and how He helps you through bad times.
Prayer is essential to growing the faith it takes to join and remain in the church. Only God the Father and Jesus Christ know what’s true, and so you need to spend a great deal of time talking to Them. The more often you talk to Them, the easier it will be to recognize their voices in your mind and heart.
Finally, you need to do what They ask of you. Living the gospel is the t: You cannot do wrong and feel right. When you’re doing what God wants you to do, you feel the spirit with you and you feel good about your life and what you’re doing. When you’re on the wrong track, you find you are less happy, uneasy with your choices, and less comfortable with yourself.
Go about the gospel with the right attitude. If you are looking for excuses not to join, you’ll find them. In order to gain faith, you have to truly have a humble heart and seek for the truth, not for what you personally want to be true. It may seem easier to stay as you are, but a seeker of truth can never feel at home until he’s surrounded by truth.
Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, promised us that it doesn’t take very much faith to get started, just that which is the size of a mustard seed. To learn more about faith and how to grow it, read Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon.
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.