Testimony: 'the cornerstone of my life'

A testimony and knowledge that Jesus is the Christ has been a singular strength and blessing to President James E. Faust of the First Presidency.

President James E. Faust
President James E. Faust

"I am profoundly grateful that all my life I have had a simple faith that Jesus is the Christ," said President Faust on Sunday morning. "That witness has been confirmed to me hundreds of times. It is the crowning knowledge of my soul. It is the spiritual light of my being. It is the cornerstone of my life."

President Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, recalled the first cornerstone of his testimony being laid as a small child after he had a frightening nightmare. He was awakened by his grandmother who hugged and comforted him, fixed him a bowl of his favorite rice pudding and told him he was safe "because Jesus was watching over us."

"I was comforted in both body and soul and went peacefully back to bed, assured of the divine reality that Jesus does watch over us," he said.

President Faust added that other strong confirmations of the Lord occurred in response to earnest prayer.

"My faith continues to grow as building blocks were added to the cornerstone, line upon line and precept upon precept," he said. "There are far too many of these to be chronicled individually; some are too sacred to utter."

President Faust said one of the foundation stones of his testimony came while serving a mission in Brazil as a young man. The labor was unfruitful and difficult. At the time, it was difficult to envision the great outpouring of the Lord's Spirit that would occur in Brazil and the other Latin American countries.

"Sixty years ago, there was only one stake in all of these countries," he said. "Now there are 643 stakes in Latin America. I believe it is only the beginning. What has happened is beyond my wildest hopes and dreams. It is one of the many miracles we have seen. It is my witness that all of this could not have happened without the divine intervention of the Lord, who is watching over this holy work, not only in Latin America, but in all the countries of the world."

President Faust said his 57-year marriage to "an elect daughter of God" has been one of the supreme benedictions of his life. His children, he added, have also been a great blessing — even though the Fausts once thought they might never have any.

"Our joy has increased with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Only by the power of a priesthood blessing did this come about," he said.

President Faust said there have been other times when he has stumbled and been less than he should have been.

"All of us experience those wrenching, defining, difficult decisions that move us to a higher level of spirituality," he said. "They are the Gethsemanes of our lives that bring with them great pain and anguish. They are sometimes too sacred to be shared publicly. They are the watershed experiences that help purge us of unrighteous desires for the things of the world. As the scales of worldliness are taken from our eyes, we see more clearly who we are and what our responsibilities are concerning our divine destiny."

United testimonies of early Church members brought them from Palmyra to Kirtland, and from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley. Eventually, that faith will establish the work all over the world, President Faust said.

President Hinckley, he added, presides over what is possibly the greatest number of faithful people who have ever lived on earth.

"I testify that he is a truly great prophet," President Faust declared. "He needs faithful followers."

President Faust said he hopes Church members will strive harder to become a more righteous people, worthy to continue to receive the blessings of heaven.

The acceleration of temple building in our time has been marvelous, he said. Because of President Hinckley's prophetic vision, many temples now dot the many lands of the earth. This achievement has been made possible because of faithful tithe payers.

"All of these exquisite holy edifices are a testimony of our belief that the Savior broke the bonds of death and opened up the way for us to enter into covenants that will be binding in another world," President Faust said.

Enlisting the words of Alma, President Faust testified that "all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it."

The Lord has promised in scripture, he added, that every soul that forsaketh sin and comes to the Lord will see His face and know that He is.

"My greatest desire is to be true and faithful to the end of my days on this earth," President Faust said.

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