The Articles of Faith outline 13 basic points of belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fourth Article of Faith states, “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ…” Notice, the first principle of the first principles of the gospel is faith in Christ. The Book of Mormon may be the keystone to the LDS religion, but faith in Christ is the cornerstone, trusses, and framework.
Gaining a testimony of Christ is difficult and so is keeping it. A little more than two years ago, I was struggling in the gospel. I didn’t enjoy seminary, I didn’t enjoy doing my priesthood duties. I wasn’t against the gospel, I just didn’t have a testimony. Enter two guys, just like a missionary companionship, with missionary tags on their hearts but not their chests. They helped me to find my testimony, they talked to me, hung out with me, made sure I went to seminary, and above all they did as hymn #308 says, “as I have loved you, love one another.”
I gained a testimony from those two guys who I once called my closest friends. It took nearly 6 months, but through prayer, scripture study, and attentiveness in seminary and Sunday classes, I did gain a testimony that Jesus is the Christ. Looking back, that was the easy part. Now, it is hard to keep that knowledge. The two brethren that helped me obtain a testimony have since graduated high school and one is now on a mission. The other has since lost his testimony, had his records removed from the church, and is an active proseliter against the faith he once helped me to find.
When this brother, once one of my strongest brothers in the gospel, announced he was agnostic and started posting anti-LDS literature, it shook me and my testimony. I wondered what he had done wrong, why did he lose it? I spoke with friends, family, and especially the other brother who is now on a mission to help bring others the gospel of Christ and I realized this: keeping your testimony is harder than I previously thought. We need to constantly find and re-discover our testimony again and again. Every time we find it, we need to share it. Whether over the pulpit on fast Sunday or in a journal, or with a friend — we need to share it.
This principle was demonstrated to me recently. For three weeks, my family hosted a German foreign exchange student named Jessica. Jessica is a Catholic Christian but still attended seminary with me daily, listened to conference with us, and attended church every Sunday. Before she left, she commented how people here are happier than in Germany. My mom responded to her saying, “That’s the gospel, that’s the light of Christ in the members of our church”.
My favorite Sunday every month is fast Sunday. It’s a special Sunday where members are invited to forgo two meals and publicly share their testimonies wit each other. I love hearing others’ testimonies, I love to hear others testify to me through the spirit. Every time I hear someone say “I testify that Jesus is the Christ” I get chills. I am a very extroverted person. I’m not afraid to put myself out there and talk to anyone. But even I struggle with sharing my testimony with others.
Satan knows that as you share your testimony, not only will your own testimony grow, but others’ will as well. When you think your testimony isn’t strong enough to share, that is when it’s more important than ever. But, even though this is the best way to keep your testimony, you need to obtain a testimony first. D&C 11:21 reads, “…First seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed.” As I previously said, gaining a testimony is not easy. There is no right way to gain a testimony. The only thing we all have in common when it comes to testimonies is having an open heart and listening to the spirit.
Knowing that Jesus is the Christ is a hard thing to come to know. A testimony doesn’t have to be knowing for sure, without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Christ, it could also just be a desire to know. I testify that if we seek, if we desire with all our heart to gain a testimony of Christ, he will bless us with one.
I pray for the day when everyone on earth can be like Peter in Matthew 16:15-16. “15 (Christ) saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Brothers and sisters, I testify to you that Christ lives. He knows and loves each and every one of us. He is there in the latest hour of the night and in the middle of the day. As my favorite hymn states, “I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, he lives who once was dead. He lives, my ever-living head.” As we read in 3 Nephi, “(he) is the light and the life of the world”.
Earlier this week, a close friend of mine asked me how I am always so optimistic. I responded to her saying, I know that Christ lives. I know He is there for me and hates to see me fail, or feel bad. He rejoices in my hours of triumph and he weeps when I am sad. With Him at the helm, how can I fail?
“He lives! All Glory to his name! He lives, my Savior still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!” I testify to you that these things are true.