‘Believest thou?’ Elder Gonzalez asks students at BYU—Hawaii

A “believest thou” approach can benefit one’s faith, taught Elder Walter F. Gonzalez in his BYU—Hawaii devotional remarks Tuesday, March 15, with the General Authority Seventy sharing scriptural examples that can help strengthen one’s spiritual foundation.

“The promises of the Lord could be ours in any place we reside, said Elder Gonzalez, speaking on campus in Laie, Hawaii.

Stop and be still

Mentioning his excitement for the upcoming general conference that is two weeks away, Elder Gonzalez quoted President Russell M. Nelson from the October 2021 general conference.

“Nothing invites the Spirit more than fixing your focus on Jesus Christ. Talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, feast upon the words of Christ, and press forward with steadfastness in Christ.”

Elder Gonzalez said this focus on Jesus Christ enables the Holy Ghost to reveal truth and knowledge, adding that he learned the importance of gaining knowledge from the teachings of Joseph Smith.

The Prophet said: “In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings, because he has greater knowledge; and hence he knows how to subject all other beings to Him. He has power over all” (History of the Church, 5:340).

This means, Elder Gonzalez said, that education must be centered on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He encouraged the students to find examples from the Savior’s life that they can “copy and paste” into their own lives.

Slide quoting President Russell M. Nelson used by Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, a General Authority Seventy, during his BYU—Hawaii devotional on March 15, 2022.
Slide quoting President Russell M. Nelson used by Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, a General Authority Seventy, during his BYU—Hawaii devotional on March 15, 2022. Credit: BYU—Hawaii

Elder Gonzalez provided a few examples of his own to get the students started on their own list.

In Matthew 20:30-34, he pointed out that Jesus “stood still” while observing and listening to the blind men at the side of the road as they asked for a miracle.

In 3 Nephi 17:1-6, the resurrected Savior said he could “perceive” the level of strength and preparedness of those He was teaching. Elder Gonzalez said that perception comes from paying attention to the needs of others.

“I would like to suggest that stopping and standing still could help us to control our circumstances, reduce our stress and fortify our spiritual foundation,” Elder Gonzalez said.

He transitioned to a series of “believest thou” teaching moments and said that considering personal beliefs in moments of stillness can “strengthen our spiritual foundation and faith.”

‘Believest thou’ from missionaries

Ammon sought to teach King Lamoni in Alma 18:24-27, but he needed to know what the king believed before he could begin.

Ammon asked, “Believest thou that there is a God?” He asked, “Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?”

Aaron asked a similar question a few chapters later in Alma 22:7-11.

Asking about a personal belief enables individuals to use their agency to make a decision on their beliefs, Elder Gonzalez said.

Believest thou’ from heavenly messengers

Nephi, Elder Gonzalez said, had to decide what he believed when a heavenly messenger asked him if he believed what his father, Lehi, had shared with him.

“Believest thou that thy father saw the tree…?”

Nephi answered yes and was taught and praised by the Spirit, Elder Gonzalez said.

‘Believest thou’ from the Savior

In His mortal ministry, the Savior spoke to Martha following the death of Lazarus. Elder Gonzalez showed that Jesus taught of eternal life that could come only through Him and asked if Martha believed what He taught her.

She believed, Elder Gonzalez said, and she saw Lazarus come back to life.

“Having faith in Christ is a decision that we make when we choose to believe and act,” Elder Gonzalez said as he concluded. “As we reaffirm our faith in His holy name the promises become a reality in our life.”