I’ve seen a recent surge lately of friends and acquaintances struggling a little bit in their testimony. We all do sometimes, on some level, and our less-than-perfect obedience is evidence of that. Sometimes failure to consistently keep a commandment is a good indicator that our testimony of that particular doctrine is a little unstable. Anyway, I’ve seen people asking a lot of questions lately that bloom from doubt. Questions are great things, because they give us an opportunity to learn if we address them in the right way. I think some main ingredients in that right way are faith in God’s ability and willingness to answer our questions, and then putting forth the work it requires to seek those answers. It’s a really important step in gaining confidence in our own understanding of God’s doctrine and His plans for us.
“Testimony” by Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr.
Elder Samuelson tackles some of the basic tactics and attitudes that are an important part of a God-sanctioned search for testimony. This is one of my favorite parts: “Everyone who is willing to pay the price—meaning keeping the commandments—may have a testimony. ” I love this because it coincides so well with Alma’s admonition (in Alma 32) to “experiment upon the word” and also what the Savior himself said when people questioned his teachings, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17). Obedience with a heart willing to learn is one of the greatest testimony builders of all. Anyway, he makes a lot of great points — 10 of them to be exact — that were a great review for me.
What stands out to you as you study this talk? What could this talk help you to do or see differently? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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4 thoughts on “GCBC Week 22: “Testimony” by Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr.”
This talk reminds me of a conversation with my 19 year-old niece who is very conflicted about the Church. She feels distant from God and because of this “distance” she is not doing the things that would bring her closer–prayer, scripture study, attending church, etc. It made me sad to listen to her. At this age, lots of young people are struggling to find themselves and decide what they really believe. Unfortunately, they tend to ascribe the problems they are having with their parents, family, or friends as signs that the Church isn’t true.
E. Samuelson’s talk certainly gives great advice and “how-to’s” for understanding what a testimony is and how it is obtained and nurtured. All of us can benefit from his reminders.
I’m glad to see something addressed directly to the young adults of the church. Elder Samuelson does have a way of reaching them. The principles apply to me also; not-so-young-adult.
I too have many around me who have lost their testimonies, usually through doubt, and I have been that young adult searching for the truth that was right in front of me the whole time.
I think the key for me was that a testimony is NOT free. You have to pay a price for it. If that were not so then mortality wouldn’t be a test of faith. Because my testimony was so hard to earn it is so precious to me, and even though I don’t understand everything completely the faith and hope I have give me the patience to work at those thing.
I really loved this talk when I heard in Conference the first time, and I love it even more after reading it.
I appreciated that President Samuelson pointed out that every person is eligible for a testimony. He didn’t say every Mormon he said a testimony is “within the capacity of every person.” Heather over at Women in the Scriptures recently posted that we as latter day Saints do not have a monopoly on faith and testimony. In fact, faith is the first principle of the gospel (before baptism) and as such means that anyone can have a testimony who is willing to put in the work. And like Kimberly said – it is not free. You have to do something for it.
I wrote more about it on my blog.
Sorry I have been MIA lately! We had a rough summer, but I am trying to “cram” the rest of the conference talks into my study before October General Conference. I have been studying 2-3 talks a day for the past few days, and it has been amazing!
Thanks, Stephanie for this awesome Book Club!