Learn what a testimony is, then follow steps to get one

Desire to know truth

Search scriptures, pray- Be humble, receptive

A testimony is needed to provide a steady course in times of prosperity and to overcome doubt and fear in times of adversity, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Council of the Twelve said in the Saturday afternoon session.

"Each of us needs to know what a testimony is, how we can get it, and what our responsibilities are once we have received a testimony," he said.

He explained that a testimony is the spirit of prophecy, a personal revelation from God; true north on a spiritual compass; the fruit of obedience in the form of peace, joy and understanding in our hearts of gospel principles; a measurement of faith; and the "knowledge of who we are - a child of God, where we came from - the presence of our Heavenly Father - and where we are going eternally if we are faithful - back into the presence of our Heavenly Father."

He continued, "We must each gain such a testimony if we are to withstand the trials and adversities of mortality and go on to the glorious eternal future we all desire."

Elder Hales said Church members can obtain a testimony in the same way all the prophets from Joseph Smith on down have gained theirs. He specifically reviewed how Joseph Smith received his testimony and then touched on testimony-building experiences of several other latter-day prophets.

"While each of our lives is different," Elder Hales said, "I believe we can, with some confidence, outline from the testimony of others, such as the prophets, and our own personal experience the process and phases we go through to gain a testimony: Have a sincere desire to know the truth and express that desire in humble prayer to our Heavenly Father. . . . Search the scriptures and continue to pray. . . . Search and ponder upon the truths you are learning about gospel principles. . . . Be Humble and receptive."

Once a testimony is started, the Lord will provide a way to gain further light and knowledge through accepting the responsibility of living the testimony, sharing the testimony, and being willing to endure the test of time.

"The fruits of testimony may be observed in the lives of the faithful," Elder Hales said. "Those lifted by the power of testimony can find greater happiness and fidelity in marriage. Their testimonies are an antidote to the plague of divorce. They enjoy greater freedom, seldom enslaved to alcohol, tobacco, drugs, abuse and other forms of self-indulgence. They find strength to deal with the problems of life.

"Each of us will be tested, tempted and tried for our testimonies and to find out if we will remain true and faithful through these trials of our faith.

"We also know, beloved Brothers and Sisters, that if we do not continue faithful in the testimony that is imparted to us by the Spirit, then the light dwindles until it is extinguished. A testimony must be constantly nourished and defended, or it will waste away."

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