Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable when I hear people bear their testimony and say, “I know the Church is true.” I’ll be honest, I don’t know but everyone around me sure seems to know. It’s a lot of pressure and it I feel like my testimony isn’t good enough. Do you have any advice?
I Just Don’t Know
Dear I Don’t Know,
My heart aches for you, because I believe I have (and often continue to be) in a similar place. I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve questioned the existence of God or the truthfulness of the Gospel. Sometimes, it happens as often as once a day. As I have wrestled with similar emotions, I’ve come to a better understanding of what the word ‘know’ means, as it can mean different things to everyone. Merriam Webster defines know as “to have (information of some kind) in your mind, to understand, to have learned.” It also says knowing is “to be acquainted or familiar with or, “to have experience of.” None of these suggest knowing means to never question or to never experience doubts of any kind. I would even suggest being “acquainted or familiar” with something requires you to interact with it in an intimate way that often involves questions and doubts. All this being said, if you feel uncomfortable bearing your testimony using the word know, maybe try replacing it with the word believe. “I believe this Church is true, I believe Jesus Christ is my Savior, I believe families can be together forever, etc.” I choose to usebelieve, and it feels more authentic to how I feel.
Finally, I really do find strength in the words found in D&C 46. Some are given the gift of belief and the ability to have faith in something, even when it isn’t reasonable. This is great, but it also suggests that some are not given that gift, and I believe the majority of us fall into that category. Most have to work quite hard for a testimony, and that’s okay, maybe even preferable. I think my doubts have always eventually strengthened my belief.
Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing. You’d be surprised how many people feel the exact same way you feel.