- You know from your own experience what a testimony is. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that a testimony “is a convincing knowledge given by revelation to [a person] who humbly seeks the truth.” He said of testimony and the Holy Ghost, who brings that revelation, “Its convincing power is so great that there can be no doubt left in the mind when the Spirit has spoken. It is the only way that a person can truly know that Jesus is the Christ and that his gospel is true.”
A testimony comes in small pieces over time.
- Testimony will come to you in pieces as parts of the whole truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ are confirmed. For instance, as you read and ponder the Book of Mormon, verses you have read before will appear new to you and bring new ideas. Your testimony will grow in breadth and in depth as the Holy Ghost confirms that they are true. Your living testimony will expand as you study, pray, and ponder in the scriptures.
A testimony must be given nourishment or it will cease to grow and ultimately retract.
- Like a growing plant, it must be nurtured or it will wither. Frequent and heartfelt prayers of faith are crucial and needed nutrients. Obedience to the truth you have received will keep the testimony alive and strengthen it. Obedience to the commandments is part of the nourishment you must provide for your testimony.
He speaks about our testimony of the Book of Mormon and Moroni's promise found in it. He shares that he continually takes the challenge of Moroni and continues to receive confirmation in his life that the Book of Mormon is true. He encourages us to receive that strengthening to our testimony on a regular basis.
- I do not depend on what has happened in the past. To keep my living testimony of the Book of Mormon secure, I receive the promise of Moroni often. I don’t take that blessing of a testimony for granted as a perpetual entitlement.
He tells us three things that are needed to continually help our testimonies to be strengthened.
- Testimony requires the nurturing by the prayer of faith, the hungering for the word of God in the scriptures, and the obedience to the truth we have received. There is danger in neglecting prayer. There is danger to our testimony in only casual study and reading of the scriptures. They are necessary nutrients for our testimony.
- Feasting on the word of God, heartfelt prayer, and obedience to the Lord’s commandments must be applied evenly and continually for your testimony to grow and prosper.
He gives us this promise of the result of growing our testimony.
- If you can look forward to such a day with enough desire born of testimony, you will be strengthened to resist the temptations of the world. Each time you choose to try to live more like the Savior, you will have your testimony strengthened. You will come in time to know for yourself that He is the Light of the World.
- You will come to feel light growing in your life. It will not come without effort. But it will come as your testimony grows and you choose to nurture it. Here is the sure promise from the Doctrine and Covenants: “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”
- You will be a light to the world as you share your testimony with others. You will reflect to others the Light of Christ in your life. The Lord will find ways for that light to touch those you love. And through the combined faith and testimony of His daughters, God will touch the lives of millions in His kingdom and across the world with His light.
- In your testimony and your choices lies the hope of the Church and of the generations who will follow your example of hearing and accepting the invitation of the Lord: “Come, follow me.”
I have come to know that a testimony needs to be nourished in order to grow. There have been times in my life that I have been less committed to strengthening my testimony on a regular basis. I have come to realize in those times that I not only don't have my testimony strengthened during those time, but that my testimony retracts and decreases as doubts and trials enter my life. Over time, I have come to realize that if I am not actively moving forward in my testimony, I am moving backwards in my faith and commitment to the Savior. It is my hope that we will all take steps in our lives that will bring us closer to the Savior, closer to knowledge of His love for us, and increase our discipleship by being obedient to His commandments. If we do this, a testimony of the living the gospel will given and you will be strengthened to live it with more commitment.