Elder Cecil O. Samuelson: Testimony

181st Annual General Conference — Church News coverage

During his interactions with the young people of the Church, Elder Cecil O. Samuelson of the Seventy has conferred with some who have had various doubts or challenges with their testimonies.

Elder Cecil O. Samuelson
Elder Cecil O. Samuelson | Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

"Because the implications are so significant and serious for each of us," he said, "it seems appropriate to consider the matter of our testimonies. In our Latter-day Saint context we refer to our testimonies as our sure witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is obtained by revelation through the Holy Ghost."

From this declaration arise several potential questions. First, who is entitled to have a testimony? "Everyone who is willing to pay the price — meaning keeping the commandments — may have a testimony."

Second, how does one obtain the necessary revelation and what are the fundamental steps to achieve it? Elder Samuelson quoted Moroni 10:4-5. "The promise given for obtaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon also applies generally," he said.

Third, is gaining a testimony an isolated event or an ongoing process? "A testimony is similar to a living organism that grows and develops when treated properly," he explained. "It needs constant nourishment, care and protection to thrive and prosper."

He then shared ten observations and suggestions learned from his "valued and faithful young friends."

"First, everyone has worth because we are all children of God...."

"Second, we must understand that [the "mighty change of heart" described in the scriptures] often happens gradually rather than instantaneously....

"Third, we need to remember that fundamental purpose of life is to be tested and stretched and thus we grow from our challenges. ...

"Fourth, we must learn to trust the things that we believe in or know to sustain us in times of uncertainty....

"Fifth, as Alma taught, gaining a testimony is usually a progression along the continuum of hoping, believing and finally knowing the truth.

"Sixth, teaching someone else what we know strengthens our own testimony. ... Seventh, we must do the little but necessary things daily and regularly.

"Seventh, we must do the little but necessary things daily and regularly.

"Eighth, we should not have higher standards for others than we do for ourselves.

"Ninth ... being too hard on yourself when you make a mistake can be as negative as being too casual when repentance is needed.

"Tenth, we must always be clear that the Atonement of Christ is fully and continuously operative for each of us when we allow it to be so."

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