- When you are willing to listen and learn, some of life’s most meaningful teachings come from those who have gone before you. They have walked where you are walking and have experienced many of the things you are experiencing. If you listen and respond to their counsel, they can help guide you toward choices that will be for your benefit and blessing and steer you away from decisions that can destroy you. As you look to your parents and others who have gone before you, you will find examples of faith, commitment, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that you should strive to duplicate.
He says that answers to life's difficult questions come from the scriptures and the words of prophets and apostles.
- For the most important questions of your eternal lives, there are answers in the scriptures and in the words and testimonies of apostles and prophets. The fact that these words come largely from older men, past and present, doesn’t make them any less relevant. In fact, it makes their words even more valuable to you because they come from those who have learned much through years of devout living.
He speaks about light and how the light of Christ can help guide your life. He speaks about spiritual darkness and how we can replace darkness with light.
- Our Heavenly Father loves all of His children, and He wants them all to have the blessings of the gospel in their lives. Spiritual light is not lost because God turns His back on His children. Rather, spiritual darkness results when His children turn their collective backs on Him. It is a natural consequence of bad choices made by individuals, communities, countries, and entire civilizations. This has been proven again and again throughout the course of time. One of the great lessons of this historical pattern is that our choices, both individually and collectively, do result in spiritual consequences for ourselves and for our posterity.
He makes it clear that we all have our own agency to follow the light of Christ or look to something else from other sources. But the choice is ours and how we choose to make that choice can have eternal consequences.
- Each one of you has to decide for yourself if you are going to ignore the past and suffer the painful mistakes and tragic pitfalls that have befallen previous generations, experiencing for yourself the devastating consequences of bad choices.
He continues by discussing that it is God's plan that we have a family structure to help support our belief and discipleship of the Savior. It is through our families that testimonies have a chance to grow into something strong.
- Learning the lessons of the past allows you to walk boldly in the light without running the risk of stumbling in the darkness. This is the way it’s supposed to work. This is God’s plan: father and mother, grandfather and grandmother teaching their children; children learning from them and then becoming a more righteous generation through their own personal experiences and opportunities. Learning the lessons of the past allows you to build personal testimony on a solid bedrock of obedience, faith, and the witness of the Spirit.
He tells us that it is important to listen to the Holy Ghost because He will guide us to understand the blessing that come to us as we learn from those who have come before us.
- If you are open and receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit in your lives, you will understand the lessons of the past, and they will be burned into your souls by the power of your testimonies.
Finally, Elder Ballard discusses what a testimony is and how we can each gain a testimony of our own.
- And how do you get such a testimony? Well, there’s no new technology for that, nor will there ever be. You cannot do a Google search to gain a testimony. You can’t text message faith. You gain a vibrant, life-changing testimony today the same way it has always been done. The process hasn’t been changed. It comes through desire, study, prayer, obedience, and service. That is why the eachings of prophets and apostles, past and present, are as relevant to your life today as they ever have been.
I love the advice that Elder Ballard gives. How great it is to have old men who have lived life a little bit be the leadership of our church. I love and respect the lives that the apostles have lived and how their commitment to give all they have and are to the Savior is amazing. I hope that I can learn from those that have gone before me and increase my discipleship of the Savior.