- Without God, life would end at the grave and our mortal experiences would have no purpose. Growth and progress would be temporary, accomplishment without value, challenges without meaning. There would be no ultimate right and wrong and no moral responsibility to care for one another as fellow children of God. Indeed, without God, there would be no mortal or eternal life.
He shares several examples from the scriptures that teach us the nature of God.
- From the New Testament we know that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, have a physical presence. They stand in one place at one time, as the New Testament disciple Stephen testified: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
- We also know that the Father and the Son have voices. As recorded in Genesis and the book of Moses, Adam and Eve “heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day.”
- We know that the Father and the Son have faces, that They stand, and that They converse. The prophet Enoch declared, “I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another.”
- We know that God and His Son have bodies, in form and parts like ours. From the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon, we read, “And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood.”
- We know that the Father and the Son have feelings for us. The book of Moses records, “And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept.”
- And we know that God and His Son, Jesus Christ, are immortal, glorified, and perfected beings. Of the Savior Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith recounts, “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters.”
Elder Hales shares that it is only through the Holy Ghost that we are able to gain a testimony of God. His ultimate purpose is to testify of God and the divine mission of the Savior Jesus Christ. We need to remember that the Holy Ghost can only testify to those that are worthy of His presence. The companionship of the Holy Ghost is based on righteous living.
- I testify that the way to know the truth about God is through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, is a personage of spirit. His work is to “testify of [God]” and to “teach [us] all things.”
- However, we must be careful not to constrain His influence. When we do not do what is right or when our outlook is dominated by skepticism, cynicism, criticism, and irreverence toward others and their beliefs, the Spirit cannot be with us. We then act in a way that the prophets describe as the natural man.
Elder Hales takes us through several steps that have been taught to us by prophets before that will help us gain a testimony of God and His son Jesus Christ.
- Brothers and sisters, you may already know, deep in your soul, that God lives. You may not know all about Him yet and do not understand all His ways, but the light of belief is within you, waiting to be awakened and intensified by the Spirit of God and the Light of Christ, which you are born with. So come. Believe the testimonies of the prophets. Learn of God and Christ. The pattern to do so is clearly taught by prophets of old and prophets today.
- Cultivate a diligent desire to know that God lives.
- This desire leads us to ponder on the things of heaven—to let the evidence of God all around us touch our hearts.
- With softened hearts we are prepared to heed the Savior’s call to “search the scriptures” and to humbly learn from them.
- We are then ready to ask our Heavenly Father sincerely, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, if the things we have learned are true. Most of us will not see God, as the prophets have, but the still, small promptings of the Spirit—the thoughts and feelings that the Holy Ghost brings into our minds and hearts—will give us an undeniable knowledge that He lives and that He loves us.
- Gaining this knowledge is ultimately the quest of all God’s children on the earth. If you cannot remember believing in God or if you have ceased to believe or if you believe but without real conviction, I invite you to seek a testimony of God now. Do not be afraid of ridicule. The strength and peace that come from knowing God and having the comforting companionship of His Spirit will make your efforts eternally worthwhile.
He promises great blessings to us and to our posterity as we gain a testimony of God. He promises us great joy when we learn for ourselves that God lives, that He loves us, and that He has a plan for our happiness in this life and in the next.
- Even more, with your own testimony of God, you will be able to bless your family, your posterity, your friends, your own life—all those you love. Your personal knowledge of God is not only the greatest gift you will ever give, but it will bring you the greatest joy you will ever have.
Learning about God and gaining a personal testimony of Him is a key part of our mortal mission. Elder Hales gives us a great outline on what we can do to build the faith necessary to seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost to confirm to us that God lives. Without the knowledge of a loving God, the purpose of life would be nonexistent. We find personal meaning in life from the knowledge that God lives and that He has a plan for our eternal happiness. The pattern is outlined on how we learn for yourself that God lives.