For as long as I can remember, any time I heard the call from my church’s leaders to Come Unto Christ or to work toward personal conversion I immediately told myself, “Yes! I will! I am converted and I am willing to do everything the Lord tells me to do.” Reflecting on my personal testimony, I am proud of my enthusiasm and my willingness to serve. However, recently I have taken a different approach to developing my testimony and, in the process, I have discovered a new meaning of conversion.
Recently, a few friends of mine have decided to leave our faith – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. These were not friends who I ever thought might leave our church. I heard their testimonies and looked to them as examples. When the news reached my ears about their decision to leave, it did not leave me with the same, “Yes! I will do anything the Lord tells me to!” attitude. I began to ask some important questions. Why? What made them leave? If they lost their testimony, could I lose mine? Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t lose my faith. I simply decided that in order to have an unshakable testimony I needed to reevaluate what I knew.
Right from the start, I discovered the foundation of my testimony is prayer. Almost every time I asked for a better understanding of something, God put someone in my path that taught me the truth of it. I knew I could not deny that God answers my prayers. Right after prayer came a testimony of the truth of scripture. My new attitude forced me to earnestly search the scriptures instead of just reading them. The yearning for truth and understanding, I learned, is essential for diligent scripture study. Prayer taught me that God is my loving Heavenly Father, and the scriptures taught me that the LDS Church is truly Christ’s restored gospel on the earth. My testimony of these two basic doctrines were enough to solidify my testimony of the church against any doubt.
However, my testimony cannot be part of the foundation of yours or anyone else’s testimonies. To anyone who is reading this that does not have a strong, independent testimony (or any type of personal testimony at all) I politely, but strongly urge you to take up this challenge. Create your own gospel foundation. This will be the most important thing you will ever do.
To those who haven’t made their foundation yet but sincerely want to, I recommend you read the General Conference address by L. Whitney Clayton. In his message he describes a girl who was in a plane crash and traveled completely alone toward a light she saw in the distance. He says that even though the light was faint at first and would disappear behind hills and plants she knew what she saw, had faith, and persevered. That perseverance and dedication to following the light saved her life. Clayton then teaches us that we must go through this type of trial with our faith.
To those who have a testimony but, like me, want a stronger foundation, consider doing what I did. When I first read Moroni 10:3-5 I wondered why it said, “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true” I found it peculiar. I thought, why didn’t it say and ask if they are true? I didn’t mean anything special to me until I was asking myself if what I knew wasn’t true. For me it taught me to seek truth more diligently every day, and I more easily recognize the blessings that were given to me because of my testimony.
I can testify, in the name of Christ, that the blessings of obeying the will of the Father are innumerable and eternal and that you will find peace and comfort in Him. My testimony is my most prized possession and I value it above all else. I implore you, no matter where your testimony is at, to choose to make it stronger every day; little by little, precept by precept. “7 Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 8 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” (3 Nephi 14:7-8)