Try the Experiment
"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." (Alma 32:27)
Webster defines the word experiment as "an operation or procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law or to establish a hypothesis, or to illustrate a known law."
As humans, this is very much how we learn about the world around us. We almost do it without thinking about it. If a new food is presented to us, we will first ask questions to form a hypothesis about it:
- Is it sweet?
- What are its ingredients?
- How was it cooked?
This forms a predictive mindset towards the item in question: It will be similar to such-and-such, or I probably will not like it because I also do not like another similar food. Once we form a hypothesis, there is only one way to confirm or refute it. We must taste the food. Whether you consider yourself someone who enjoys the scientific process (like I do) or not, experimenting is something that we all do.
When Alma was preaching to the people, he talked to them about this same action of discovery in a spiritual function. Read Alma 32. You can see that they were questioning many things about their faith. He gives them many good words of encouragement through his message, yet he tells them, don’t just believe me! Try it for yourself!
I can tell you about the things of God, but you need to prove Him for yourself. Alma challenges the people to cultivate faith like a seed. Even if they only have the smallest amount of faith, it can still grow according to the experiment.
How often do we try Alma’s experiment? I mean really experiment. He says, “if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart ... when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves ... it beginneth to enlighten my understanding ... Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us.” (Alma 32:28, 37) Are we cultivating a desire to discover more about the things of God?
Challenge yourself to start doing some experimenting just like Alma says. Here are some great examples:
- What do I need to do to have more of God’s Spirit?
- I would like to understand more about a specific spiritual subject.
- How can my prayer life be better?
- In what way can I share my testimony more?
- I want to get better at a specific part of my walk with God.
"For ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good." (Alma 32:36)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.