I recently began rereading the Book of Mormon—something I have done many times throughout my
life. However, when I started reading it this time, I was feeling driven by a slightly different purpose. Several
days earlier during a family dinner, I’d gotten involved in a fairly vigorous discussion about our ability to
really know if something—particularly something of a spiritual nature—was true versus merely just
believing that it was true. As I bustled around the kitchen listening to the varied and differing opinions and
ideas, I’d decided to stay out of it until I heard someone say emphatically that there was no way for any of
us to really know that something was true. At that point, I felt compelled to join in.
As I quickly bore testimony of the possibility of knowing the truth as well as the very reality of actually
knowing it, I could not have been more taken aback by the unexpected response: “I completely disagree.”
It was the first time in my life my personal testimony had been so thoroughly and completely rebuffed,
and frankly, it left me reeling. Later that night I poured out my feelings to God, wanting nothing more
than to reaffirm my faith and conviction to Him. And in the days that followed, like the balm of Gilead,
He began to pour out the blessings of His love and assurance.
I recognized these blessings as soon as I started reading the Book of Mormon again. I have always loved and revered Sariah for her incredible
courage and faith, but that particular week as I reread her words, my heart swelled with an undeniable testimony of their truth. “And she
spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety
that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish
the thing which the Lord hath commanded them… . . .” Now I know of a surety. . . . As these powerful words sunk deep into my heart it was
almost as if I had been given a glimpse into Sariah’s heart—fearful, then faithful; murmuring, then penitent; grief-stricken, then joyful—so
humanly authentic, yet so completely obedient and determined.
I have thought of this experience often in the days that have followed, and as I do I am reminded of this comforting and profound counsel
from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “When we bear testimony, we declare the absolute truth of the gospel message. In a time when many
perceive truth as relative, a declaration of absolute truth is not very popular, nor does it seem politically correct or opportune. Testimonies of
things how ‘they really are’ (Jacob 4:13) are bold, true, and vital because they have eternal consequences for mankind. Satan wouldn’t mind if
we declared the message of our faith and gospel doctrine as negotiable according to circumstances. Our firm conviction of gospel truth is an
anchor in our lives; it is steady and reliable as the North Star. . . . As we acquire a deeper knowledge of these truths and of the plan of salvation
by the power and the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can come to ‘know the truth of all things’ (Moroni 10:5).”
May we accept the sacred charge of President Gordon B. Hinckley when he said, “Every Latter-day Saint has the responsibility to know for
himself or herself with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God.”
As we begin a new year, ever striving for improvement, it is wonderful to consider just as the Lord knew Sariah, He knows us and loves us.
He knows what is in our hearts. He knows what we are capable of and He has clearly marked the path that will lead each of us back to Him.
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