“Nourishing and Bearing Your Testimony,” By Elder Gary E. Stevenson, General Conference, Oct 2022
- Why is it important that we take responsibility for the cultivation of our personal testimony?
- Why does it seem like this is not a relevant or issue of priority?
- How are testimonies gained? How are they cultivated? Why is there an urgency or priority in seeking to develop a testimony of Christ and His Work?
- Why do we have a tendency to believe that a testimony is gained by happenstance? What would be the alternative view of how a testimony should be acquired? How can we ensure that this isn’t something that just happens by chance, but rather that it is intentionally sought after?
Questions from Elder Stevenson’s talk:
- Do I know and understand what a testimony is?
- Do I know how to bear my testimony?
- What are the obstacles in sharing my testimony?
- How do I keep my testimony?
Key elements of a testimony:
- God is your Heavenly Father; you are His child. He loves you.
- Jesus Christ lives. He is the Son of the living God and your Savior and Redeemer.
- Joseph Smith is a prophet of God called to restore the Church of Jesus Christ.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s restored Church on the earth.
- The restored Church of Jesus Christ is led by a living prophet today.
Matthew Cowley, an early Apostle, shared this experience as he departed on a five-year mission at age 17 to New Zealand:
“I will never forget the prayers of my father the day that I left. I have never heard a more beautiful blessing in all my life. Then his last words to me at the railroad station, ‘My boy, you will go out on that mission; you will study; you will try to prepare your sermons; and sometimes when you are called upon, you will think you are wonderfully prepared, but when you stand up, your mind will go completely blank.’ I have had that experience more than once.
“I said, ‘What do you do when your mind goes blank?’
“He said, ‘You stand up there and with all the fervor of your soul, you bear witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the living God, and thoughts will flood into your mind and words to your mouth … to the heart of everyone who listens.’ And so my mind, being mostly blank during my … mission … , gave me the opportunity to bear testimony to the greatest event in the history of the world since the crucifixion of the Master. Try it sometime, fellows and girls. If you don’t have anything else to say, testify that Joseph Smith was the prophet of God, and the whole history of the Church will flood into your mind.”6
“Feed [your testimony] truth. …
“… Nourish yourself in the words of ancient and modern prophets. Ask the Lord to teach you how to hear Him better. Spend more time in the temple and in family history work.
“… Make your testimony your highest priority.”14President Russell M. Nelson