Believing in the Power of Belief

My husband doesn’t know the Church is true, and that’s completely fine with me.

"What we know will always trump what we do not know." --Jeffrey R. Holland

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse

When I first watched Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2013 general conference talk, “Lord, I Believe,” I loved Elder Holland’s solemn assurance that I didn’t have to know every gospel teaching all at once. I could just believe. Yet even after that assurance, I still thought belief was something to be slightly ashamed of, something to hide until I could get to the worthier step of knowing. I did not understand the exquisite power of belief. That is, not until I began dating PJ.

Around the summer of 2014, I attended a fast and testimony meeting with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, PJ. As in many such meetings, most testimonies started with the confident statement “I’d like to bear my testimony that I know the Church is true.”

After sacrament meeting, PJ referred to that common opening phrase and asked me, “Do you really know that the Church is true?”

“Of course,” I replied, somewhat offended that PJ would challenge my faith.

“Well, I don’t know the Church is true,” PJ said. I was shocked. Here was a man who prayed fervently with me, faithfully served a mission, and loved to discuss important gospel topics with me. Now it seemed that he was rejecting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

At that moment, I was certain that PJ wanted to leave the Church, but then he said, with absolute power of the Spirit, “I don’t know the Church is true, but I believe the Church is true.”

He explained to me that as he thought about his testimony, he could not honestly say that he had an absolute knowledge of the truth of the Church. He did not know beyond a shadow of a doubt. He did not know with a surety. But he did believe. And this belief was a powerful influence for good in every aspect of his life.

After this fervent explanation, I thought back to Elder Holland’s talk. Elder Holland tells us of a fourteen-year-old boy who hesitantly says, “Brother Holland, I can’t say yet that I know the Church is true, but I believe it is.” Elder Holland replies to the boy that “he need never apologize for ‘only believing.’”

I realized that I had been like that fourteen-year-old, hesitant to admit that I had doubts and that I didn’t know every principle of the gospel to be true. I had even apologized for not knowing. But when PJ so confidently told me that he believed, he taught me to treasure the act of “only believing.”

As I have reread this talk and have seen how belief has worked in PJ’s life, I have finally stopped apologizing for believing but not knowing. Even though I don’t know every gospel principle to be true, I now unabashedly believe in the power of believing.

You can learn more about the importance of believing by watching or reading Elder Holland’s 2013 general conference talk, “Lord, I Believe.”

Source: LDS General Conference

—Katie Stanley, Mormon Insights 

feature image by ryan franco

Find more insights

If you want to find out how to increase your faith and belief, read Alma 32.

To discover how we can use belief to face difficult trials, watch or read President Thomas S. Monson’s April 2012 talk “Believe, Obey, and Endure.”

To discover how belief and knowledge can work together, read or watch Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson’s April 2016 talk, “Do I Believe?

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