|photo from lds.org|
I considered skipping it since I had read that scripture passage countless times, especially with studying Preach My Gospel, and because the discussion seemed to focus on real intent, which had been covered thoroughly in that week's study. But I decided to humor myself and do it anyway. And what I learned surprised me. There are actually four steps an investigator must complete before asking God with real intent and receiving an answer:
- Read the Book of Mormon. How can we know if something is true if we haven't even read it? We have to become familiar with what we desire to believe in. Reading the Book of Mormon also invites the Spirit and helps us find other answers we seek, both helpful in gaining a testimony of the keystone of our religion.
- Remember the Lord's mercy to His children. If we do not believe in a merciful God, how can we expect Him to hear and answer our prayers? We need to believe He knows and loves us individually and will give us the revelation we seek.
- Ponder the words in your heart. Reading is not enough; we must also think about what we are reading, and do so in our hearts, where we can focus on our feelings and feel the influence of the Spirit.
- Receive the word. We must allow the words of the Book of Mormon to enter and grow in our hearts, as Alma counseled:
After we have completed all of the above, then we can ask God through prayer if the Book of Mormon is true. We must ask with a sincere heart, meaning we really desire to know; with real intent, meaning we will act on the revelation we receive; and with faith in Christ, meaning we believe we will receive an answer. If we have put in our effort to truly know the truth, we will receive the knowledge and testimony that the Book of Mormon, and therefore the Restoration and the Church, is true.Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves--It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. (Alma 32:28)
Challenge: If you or an investigator has not received an answer, determine what step has not been done and complete it so you/they can gain that testimony.