One of my favorite scenes in the movie, “The Count of Monte Cristo” is where Edmond Dantès is getting ready to take the dying priest’s place, pretending to be his body in hopes of escaping the awful Chateau d’If. The priest gives Edmond a treasure map and urges him to use it only for good, reminding him that God said, “Vengeance is mine.”
A broken and defeated Dantès replies, “I don’t believe in God.”
“It doesn’t matter,” the priest says. “He believes in you.”
Recently, we went to the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point as a family. As we visited the Light of the World Garden with incredible life-sized statues depicting different scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, I began explaining each scene to my boys: Mary and Martha; Christ pleading to gather his people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings; Lazarus; Gethsemane.
After walking through the garden, we followed the path to the scene depicting the First Vision. My boys ran up to the boy statue of Joseph Smith and put their arms around him, looking up at the two heavenly beings standing above him in the air. It was a sweet moment until they tried to stick their fingers up the prophet’s perfectly carved and very lifelike nostrils. Brad was in the middle of explaining the importance of showing reverence and respect for art — especially art representing something so sacred — when another family appeared on the path. A little girl around my son Briggs’ age ran right up to my boys and stood beside them, following their gaze upward. The adults who were with her stood back a ways.
“Mom, is that the same person?” The little girl pointed at the Savior and the Father.
“Um, no,” her mother said. The little girl continued to stare.
“Who are they?”
My stomach clenched. Who are they? Did she not know? My boys, no longer trying to clean out Joseph’s Smith’s bronzed nose, looked at her with puzzled expressions on their faces. Who are they! They are the two most important people who little girl could ever learn about.
“Who are they, mom?”
“I don’t know,” the mother said. “Come on, let’s go.”
She began walking up the path. Her daughter stayed behind, still looking.
“Time to go,” the mother repeated. My heart pounded in my chest, and I so badly wanted to say something. I didn’t want to push myself on them and begin preaching if they weren’t interested. But as I watched that little girl gaze up in wonder, I felt I couldn’t not say something. She might not know them, but they know her.
I stood and walked over to her. “That is Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ,” I said smiling. She raised her eyebrows at me, then ran to join her mother on the path leading out of the garden.
“Mom!” I heard her yell as she hurried to catch up. “That’s Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ!”
I don’t know if she really didn’t know who they were. Maybe she was never taught. Or maybe she forgot. But I was glad I opened my mouth to tell her who they were. It was the smallest thing, but what if that knowledge changes her life?
It isn't always easy sharing what we know with others. Sometimes people aren't ready or willing to listen. And that's OK. But some are. And if we don’t take the opportunity to bear our testimonies, in big or small ways, the moment will pass and may not come around again for that person for a long time.
No matter where we are on our spiritual journeys — from knowing without a doubt that we have a Father in Heaven who lives and loves us, to still growing a new testimony, or just barely being given a seed — our Heavenly Father loves us and knows us and believes in us. He believes we will be able to seek out and learn truth for ourselves, and he believes once we learn that truth, that we can have the courage to share that with others.