Mustard Seed Sprouting

Five years ago, I first walked into an LDS chapel, with a squirmy babe-in-arms, and sat alone in the back, amazed by the parade of young people bearing their testimonies. At that meeting, the vocabulary and vernacular was unfamiliar, but the spirit present was what I had been seeking. I didn’t “know” much, but I knew I was coming back.

Until today, I have stood to bear my testimony only twice. Both times, I was strongly moved to do so, but my testimony has never mirrored those of my ward brothers and sisters. It marvels me that folks I know and hold dear stand up and state with surety that they “Know” something… “Know” the church is true. “Know” the Savior lives. “Know” Joseph was a prophet.

This is just something I have truthfully been unable to say.

I have hoped. I have prayed. I have believed. I have yearned to “Know”, but instead have had to accept faith in that which cannot be proven, as good enough.

Today, sitting again in the back, this time with three squirmy children and an active, priesthood-holding husband beside me, I was surprised to find myself standing. As I walked to the front of the chapel, my knees were not knocking as before. My heart was not pounding, my hands were not shaking. I wasn’t even sure what I was doing.

How strange is this, I thought…

As I stood at the microphone, looking over the congregation of familiar, loving faces, I was flooded by memories of the last five years. While I had been waiting for an angel to appear in my room, for the glowing rocks to light my way, for Nephi himself to show up and have a chat, an amazing transformation had occurred.

My life, my whole life, had been retooled, redirected, and refocused, and not through machination of my own; there are directions, situations and people that cannot be explained away by any logic, coincidence or theory. While I was waiting on shafts of light so that I could say “I know”, instead of “I hope”, an alchemy was being worked on my heart; the hand of the Lord can be seen as clearly as I see my own fingerprints.

I can finally say, “I know”.


  1. Tracy, in only 5 years? How humbling to hear this, and how inspiring. It reflects well on you, and on your ward, and helps remind a “lifer” like me how the gospel changes lives for the better, even in a short period of time. Thanks for sharing today at your pulpit, and at this one.

  2. What a wonderful description of the growth of your faith and testimony. Hopefully all of us arrive at the same destination. But some of us get there “line upon line, precept upon precept” and some of us get there in a lightning flash.

    I remember when a good brother looked me in the eye and testified, in the name of Jesus Christ, that he knew Joseph Smith had restored the true Church. And as he looked me in the eye, I KNEW it as well. There was no doubt in my mind. However I still didn’t think the Church was perfect and in my mind I imagined Joseph could have made some mistakes and I thought the Book of Mormon (BOM) was one of them. I had read a fair amount of anti-mormon literature and I thought he had cooked up the BOM, in a feeble human attempt to bolster his true claim.I didn’t have any problem seeing Joseph as human and prone to mistakes and still KNOWING he had been called of God to restore the Church. I believed God had just given him too long of a leash, so to speak.

    Well I was invited to read the BOM and put the Moroni promise to the test which I did with predictable results. And so it is with most of us. We learn a little, and than we learn a little more.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  3. Commenter says:

    After membership in church approaching a decade, I still can’t say “I know” (I’m stuck, I guess, with “I believe”), but it doesn’t bother me. To be honest, I find the concept somewhat baffling when it comes to things of a spiritual nature that ultimately can’t be proven. So when other people say, “I know,” I don’t doubt them, I just don’t see how that could ever happen to me.

    The situation reminds me of a time many years ago when I sat on a jury, and the judge told us that “beyond a reasonable doubt” didn’t mean absolute certainly, only enough certainty that you would base an important life decision on that strength of belief. And that’s good enough for me.

  4. Thomas Parkin says:

    Hurrah, Tracy!!

    The great thing is that nothing ends here. We go on from faith to faith and knowledge to knowledge adn grace to grace. We may come to understand things that we would never speak of on a blog. J Smith said that certain spirutal blessings are only had by those whom the Lord has proven will serve Him at “any hazard.” So, we get wonderful milestones, but we never get to cross the finish line, spike the ball and say ‘it is finished’ until some time later.

    I know that we don’t quote scripture with impunity on BCC, but this came to mind from D&C 46.

    “13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
    14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life (literally: to know Jesus) if they continue faithful.”


  5. Thank you, Tracy.

  6. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post in which I used the term “I believe” in a bit of testimony. Someone read that as a rejection of the “I know” terminology. It was not.

    Thanks, Tracy.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    Although I personally continue to use the “I believe” formulation and expect always to do so, I understand why people say “I know,” and I rejoice that you are able to do so now. Thank you for sharing your experience and your spiritual growth with us.

  8. Kevin, HP- I know I will continue to speak in the “I beleive”, I still cannot, and really don’t ever expect to, have a testimony that sounds like anyone else’s.

    It was startling to me, as I stood before my ward memebers, that there was actually something I could state as an “I know” for the first time.

    One of the things I value and love best about this chuch is that the constant evolution of the human spirit is not only encouraged, but rejoiced.

    Thanks for all of your comments.

  9. Steve Evans says:

    Tracy, once again you demonstrate a singular ability to talk about wonderful spiritual things with artistic directness. Thanks for this.

  10. Hi,

    Does this mean that you will start posting more frequently here at BCC again. I have always enjoyed your posts.

    This one is great as well

  11. A few weeks ago at ward conference, our SP said that saying “I believe” when bearing a testimony is perfectly acceptable and doesn’t mean that your testimony is any less strong than someone who can say “I know”. I think he was encouraging those who wonder why they can’t say “I know” like everyone else and giving “permission” for that to be okay and a great thing. I enjoyed hearing that.

  12. bbell,
    You know that we do our best to limit the amount of faith promoting stuff at this blog to one post a month. Thus, Tracy is not allowed to post again until July. However, we will supply you with a fresh batch of gay marriage and democratic politics semi-weekly until that time.

  13. Yes, they keep me chained in a back room, with only a crust of bread, back issues of Utne Reader and essays by Noam Chomskey. I will resist!

    Seriously, I have been moving. And am now landed. I shall do my best to be around more- Thanks for the nod.

  14. This post was thrilling. Thank you for sharing this experience and providing such a moving testament.

  15. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    I’m so happy for you, Tracey. ^_^ For me, I say “I know” because even though I don’t always feel that solid in my testimony either, I do feel that on some basic level I DO know and that I just tend to let human doubts get in my way a bit.

  16. Thanks from me, as well, Tracy. Not only was your post beautiful and uplifting, but it inspired some truly insightful comments, as well.

  17. StillConfused says:

    Way cool!!!

  18. Wonderful post.

  19. Awesome post! My life has been transformed too, and yet I don’t think anyone looking from the outside would notice it. But from the inside everything is different completely in a drastically better sort of way. =)

  20. A good post.