LIBERTY, Mo. — When Boden Christianson decided to enroll in medical school two years ago, he felt a confirmation from God that Kansas City, Missouri, was the place where he should go.
However, since moving to Missouri, the 26-year-old from Provo still has questions about his future.
“These last two years living in Missouri have been a refining process for me,” Boden said, as he described the difficulty of not only medical school but of being far away from friends and family. “There have been times when I’ve felt my lowest of lows, having experienced loneliness and heartache from different things.”
Part of the refinement Boden has experienced has been his journey of striving to follow the plan God has for him. Like the Prophet Joseph Smith, there have been times when Boden has been surrounded by chaos and confusion and he hasn’t known what to do. As he’s sought God’s will, he turned the pattern that Joseph Smith set forth in seeking revelation from God.
Boden said he’s done what Joseph Smith did, “in having a question, going to the scriptures for answers, really pondering and praying . . . and then going to a quiet place to pray and receive revelation.”
Boden said he has found clarity and answers as he’s followed this pattern day in and day out.
“I have my set place every morning and every night in my room,” he said. “Right when I wake up and right before I go to bed, Heavenly Father knows that’s when I’m going to be praying and seeking revelation.”
Boden hasn’t only prayed to receive answers to his own personal questions but also to help others receive answers to theirs. One of his friends who was investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had many questions and doubts that she was trying to work through as she sought to find the truth. Boden asked for God’s help as he tried to help his friend find the answers she was looking for.
“She had a lot of questions about LGBTQs and the gospel and how they fit into the Plan of Salvation,” Boden said.
As he testified of the reality of God’s plan for His children, Boden said that his own testimony “was really strengthened that Heavenly Father loves all of His children and that He will provide a way for everyone to have salvation and exaltation.”
Boden said that this experience helped him learn the importance of asking questions about the gospel. “Questions lead to answers,” Boden said. “If you have a question or if you have a doubt, as long as you are honestly seeking to find an answer from God, that’s one of the best things you can do.”
Not only is it important to have questions about the gospel, Boden encourages others to seek answers because that seeking answers brings a “sure knowledge” of the things that you previously questioned or doubted.
Boden’s personal doubts and concerns have been resolved because of the foundation of his testimony: The Book of Mormon.
“I know that The Book of Mormon is true, and because of that, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that today we have a prophet as well, Russell M. Nelson,” Boden said “And because I know that, I’ve never really had any issue with any policy changes or doctrines that have been set forth.”
In facing difficult questions or doubts, Boden has relied on the words of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”
As Boden has focused on his faith instead of his doubts, he’s relied on experiences he’s had in the past. “I think it’s important to recognize that you do have doubts,” Boden said, “but at the same time, always think back to spiritual experiences that you’ve had and hold on to what you know is true.”
Boden has had times of trial that have turned into great spiritual experiences where he has been able to see God’s hand. He’s learned that trials are signs of “love from God.”
“(Heavenly Father) gives us trials because He loves us and He wants us to become better,” Boden said. “He wants us to become more refined and stronger.”
Doubt and trials can be difficult to overcome, but Boden has put his focus on the most important things. “If we endure our trials well, then we’ll be able to see Christ in our lives. Focus on that,” he said.
Focusing on Christ has built Boden’s faith and trust that God has a plan for him and that he’s being guided every step of the way. He continually puts in the work to be able to hear God’s voice and to strive to do His will. “We need to be doing everything that we can to receive (personal revelation),” Boden said. As he’s received his own, he’s learned to act on promptings with his “whole soul.”
Through trial and through sunshine, Boden has made the choice to seek God and to seek revelation. In return, God has not left him alone.
“He will guide us if we let Him,” Boden said.