Last blog post we talked about what a testimony is. For many of us, we have a testimony—we often feel the pull to grow and strengthen it even more.
And possibly more important, we feel the desire to help those we love to strengthen their testimonies too. But how? Elder Bednar taught us it’s kind of like a sunrise.
Having grown up in the Church I can’t tell you when or where my testimony started. I do remember the first time I read the Book of Mormon all the way through and prayed about it. I was about 13 years old and I will always vividly remember sitting in my room praying. That memory of testimony is burned into my heart. But that wasn’t really when my testimony started.
I remember sitting in Church once when I was about 13 or 14 and having a powerful experience feeling that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God. But that wasn’t the real beginning of my testimony.
I can’t even start to pinpoint where my testimony of my Savior and a loving Heavenly Father started. Primary I suppose.
And for many members it is the same. The only problem is, that when you don’t know where your testimony came from or how it started it is hard to go back and recreate the experiences that helped shape your testimony in the first place.
Here is how Elder Bednar described it:
The second experience takes place as we watch night turn into morning. Gradually and steadily the intensity of the light increased, and the darkness of night was replaced by the radiance of morning. Eventually, the sun did dawn over the skyline. But the visual evidence of the sun’s impending arrival was apparent hours before the sun actually appeared over the horizon. This experience was characterized by subtle and gradual discernment of light. (The Spirit of Revelation, April 2011)
Because it is so gradual and almost imperceptible we have to figure out the steps necessary to add more light. Both to bring more light into our own lives and to show an example to others of how to increase the Light of Christ in their life.
Luckily we have some advice from President Uchtdorf.
First: Desire to believe. The Book of Mormon encourages us: “If [you] will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, … even if [you] can no more than desire to believe” (Alma 32:27).
Some may say, “I cannot believe; I am not a religious person.” Just consider, God promises us divine help even if we have only a desire to believe, but it has to be a true and not a pretended desire.
Second: Search the scriptures. Have questions; study them out; search in the scriptures for answers. Again, the Book of Mormon has good advice for us: “If [you] give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart” through diligent study of the word of God, the good seed “will begin to swell within your breasts” if you will not resist with unbelief. This good seed will “enlarge [your] soul” and “enlighten [your] understanding” (Alma 32:28).
Third: Do the will of God; keep the commandments. It is not enough to enter into a scholarly debate if we want to know for ourselves that the kingdom of God has been restored upon the earth. Casual study is also not enough. We have to get in on the action ourselves, and that means learning and then doing God’s will.
We need to come to Christ and follow His teachings. The Savior taught: “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:16–17; emphasis added). And He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Fourth: Ponder, fast, and pray. To receive knowledge from the Holy Ghost, we must ask Heavenly Father for it. We must trust that God loves us and that He will help us to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. (The Power of a Personal Testimony, October 2006)
Concrete steps. Simple things we all can do. Important steps to adding more light in our life.
Each of us need to make sure that even through it is small and simple, that we have more light in our life this week than we did last.
Pick one of Elder Uchtdorf’s ideas and start putting it in action today. Comment below with which step you will take.