My husband was working late, and I was the sole grown-up leading scripture-reading time with the kids. As we are finishing up, Grasshopper (7yo) asks, “Mom, how do I know that the Church is true? I mean, how do I know that some other church isn't the true church?”
It is the question that every Mormon momma wants her kids to ask. Yet, can one ever be sufficiently prepared to answer it? And here I was, flying solo, right when it mattered the most.
Fortunately, we had just been reading from 3 Nephi, in which the Twelve Disciples “did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them” (3 Ne. 19:9). I had her read it and asked her why she thought that was what they most desired. She said she didn't know, so I had her read John 14:26,
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
I then asked her what this scripture tells us about the Holy Ghost that would make it so desirable to have, and she was able to quickly see that the Holy Ghost teaches us what is true. The discussion seemed to be going well, so I thought I should share how I learned that the Church was true. Alas, it was at this point that her 7yo attention span was about burned out, and I think I lost her long before I got to the end.
Needless to say, the experience left me on somewhat of an emotional roller coaster. I was so excited that she could even ask the question. But at the same time I felt a little insufficient to help her find her answer. I shared my concerns with my husband when he came home, and he reminded me of our garden experience of last year.
It was our first year planting a garden. We knew nothing about gardening, so we just started as best we could, planting our seeds with the kids. Our little girl, then 6yo, dutifully prayed for her tomato seeds to grow. When the weather was suddenly very nice, my husband decided to put our seedlings outside. Much to our dismay, after a few hours, they were completely withered and appeared dead. My husband, feeling a responsibility to make sure that Grasshopper had tomato plants in the garden, went out and bought some tomato plants to put in the garden, though he still planted our seemingly lifeless tomato plants, as well. By the end of the summer, it was those plants that we thought we had killed that were the strongest and most productive tomato plants. We realized through this experience that we ought to have trusted Heavenly Father to answer Grasshopper's prayers.
We did not then, nor do we now, need to answer our children's prayers. Our Heavenly Father loves them more than we do, and we must exercise our faith in Him when our children pray. I must be vigilant to have the Holy Ghost with me so that I can guide Grasshopper in searching for her own answers, but I do not have to worry, because Heavenly Father will answer her just as he has answered me and millions of others who have sought the truth.