I’ve had occasion recently to wonder about the foundations of my faith. It may sound strange to say it, but I have powerfully strong faith. I was blessed with a believing heart, meaning that when friends taught me the gospel 32 years ago, I had an easy time understanding and accepting the truth. Their examples of faith gave me the strength to begin building my own testimony. Over the years, my faith has grown into a rock solid foundation that strengthens me in every aspect of my life.
I love the LDS faith so much, especially when I think about all the Church is and all that it means in my life. While my testimony is centered in Christ’s atonement, I truly love every aspect of the gospel. From the pioneers to the prophets, I cherish my church and it’s teachings. I love the prophets from Moses to Monson. I love the scriptures and the Sabbath. I love General Conference and the General Authorities, fasting, the Family Proclamation, and FHE. From tithing to temple worship, I’ve fully invested myself in all aspects of Church membership, and I’ve reaped dividends far beyond what I ever anticipated in the early stages of my membership. I’ve sometimes said that if I had known then what I know now, I would have literally run to the waters of baptism!
Recently while watching the movie 17 Miracles, a movie about the Mormon Pioneers, my heart burned with the knowledge that no matter what comes I will never, ever, leave what others have sacrificed virtually all they had to establish. If the Mormon Pioneers could hold on to their faith while starving to death on the plains trying to reach Utah and live their religion, how can I do less in my own time, in spite of the mountains of challenges that I may face? While the cold winds of doubt and spiritual starvation encompass the world, I hope my faith and the faith of others will burn brightly and fan the flame of faith for others in this darkening world.
So where did my faith come from? Why do I find my faith growing ever stronger when others question the church and it’s doctrines? Have I ever had doubts or questions arise? The answer is yes. In spite of my believing heart, I have had questions and had to build my testimony line upon line, precept upon precept as everyone does. I think the key for me is in the approach that I have taken when I needed my questions answered. My choice has been to engage in daily personal spiritual practices that have added bit by bit to my knowledge and testimony.
When I was a fairly new member and a college student, President Benson said we should read the Book of Mormon 30 minutes every day. My roommate and I took that counsel to heart. We were up early almost every day to allow that time to read and study the Book of Mormon. Whether I knew it then or not, the foundations of my faith were being laid in those early morning hours in the early years of my membership.
Since that time, I have continued to pray and study the scriptures every single day. I have found that as I begin each day with prayer and scripture study, I feel empowered by the spirit to face the challenges, and appreciate the blessings that are a part of daily life. I sometimes say that without my personal study time, I would be “Satan Mom”. But because I make scripture study a priority, I find great joy in being a wife and mother, and I have the inspiration and guidance I need to meet the demands of those sacred roles in my life.
These acts of personal, private, religious behavior have led to so many blessing of guidance, direction, strength and peace, that I have come to know for myself that God is real, and that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, who knows, understands, and loves me personally and perfectly. I have tested Moroni’s promise that, if I asked in faith I would receive my own personal witness of the Book of Mormon (Mor 10:3-5). I have also come to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that we have had a continuous line of prophets leading the church through Priesthood authority since his time.
So when I say “faith comes from faithfulness”, what I really mean is that anyone can come to know for themselves, not just that the Book of Mormon is true, but that and so much more. You can test promises of the Book of Mormon, and every other aspect of the gospel as well. If you pray, you will come to know that prayers are heard and answered. If you read the scriptures, you will find very personal answers to your life’s challenges, and be more in tune to the daily promptings of the spirit. If you fast, you can call on the Lord with confidence and He shall say, “Here I am.” (Isa 56:9) If you listen to General Conference, you will find happiness, peace, and direction in your life, and come to know that we are lead by a living prophet today. If you pay tithing, the Lord will open the windows of Heaven “and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal 3:10) Through faithfulness, you can experience all these things and more.
If you want faith, I encourage you to be faithful. Set aside time each day to pray and study the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets. Keep the commandments. Ask God if all these things are true, and He will manifest the truth of them to you, as he has to me and countless others. When questions arise for you, as they do for everyone, look to God, not to blind guides, for answers.
In the Book of Mormon Helaman counseled, “…remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. “ (Hel 5:12)
I encourage all to build upon the rock of Christ. Although it takes a lifetime of continuous effort, the promised reward is worth all that is required to come to the knowledge of the reality of God.
What has helped build your faith? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
By Rachel Benson
Rachel Benson is a blessed wife and mother of 6 kids, 3 kids-in-law, sister/sister-in-law to 9, aunt to 40+, and grandmother of one beautiful baby girl. Based on her experience so far, Rachel thinks grandparenting might just be God’s most wonderful idea! She is the owner of Red Door Real Estate, and enjoys the occasional house flip and being a landlord. Her family, friends. and faith are the most important things in her life, and she loves making new friends everywhere she goes. You can find her on Twitter @strong_moms.