Quotes on Testimony

See aso: 1 Nephi 15:24

It is impossible to keep a man silent who is filled with the testimony of Jesus.  I would as soon undertake to shut up fire in dry shavings, as to shut up in that man’s heart the good news. . . . — Elder Parley P. Pratt, in an address given August 26, 1855, at the Bowery on Temple Square

Recently the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles issued a statement alerting members of the Church to the dangers of participating in circles which concentrate on doctrine and ordinances and measure them by the intellect alone.  If doctrines and behavior are measured by the intellect alone, the essential spiritual ingredient is missing, and we will be misled. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1991, p. 21

Can human hearts be changed?  Why, of course!  It happens every day in the great missionary work of the Church.  It is one of the most widespread of Christ’s modern miracles.  If it hasn’t happened to you – it should. — President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1985 General Conference

Each may know that it [the gospel] is true through the gift of the Holy Spirit, and with as certain an assurance as the sun will rise in the morning.  And knowing that it is true, he will be inclined to discipline himself as becomes one who has a knowledge of the meaning and purpose of life, of his great responsibility to his fellowmen, of his responsibility to his family, of his responsibility to God. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, July 1993, p. 6

This rock of revelation [Matt. 16:13, 15-18] is the source of knowledge concerning the things of God.  It is the witness of the Holy Spirit that testifies of eternal truth, and the gates of hell will not prevail against any man or woman who seeks it, who accepts it, who cultivates it, and who lives by it. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, July 1993, p. 6

. . . Preparations are necessary if one is to replace anxiety with anticipation.  Those who have patterned their lives after the guidance of the Holy Spirit shall not be deceived.  Elder Harold B. Lee, speaking to the Church in general conference, warned members of the Church that the only thing that would permit them to survive the great days of evil and deception would be an unshakable testimony.

“Unless every member of this Church gains for himself an unshakable testimony of the divinity of this Church, he will be among those who will be deceived in this day when the ‘elect according to the covenant’ are going to be tried and tested.  Only those will survive who have gained for themselves this testimony.” — Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October, 1950, p. 129.

. . . one may have a testimony and not continue to act in faith.  This is the terrible route that apostates of every dispensation have taken.  Having known the goodness of the Lord, they chose to stand apart, to forsake the ways of righteousness, and to return to the world and to sin.  A testimony never impels a person to be righteous; it only enables him so to act.  The devils all have testimonies of Christ.  They know him and know who he is, but they deliberately choose the way of sin because their hearts are not honest and good.

The scriptures plainly reveal to us that testimony and faith must grow together before either is strong or of great value. — Chauncey Riddle, “The Pillars of Testimony,” BYU Devotional, June 30, 1970, p. 8

Concrete is like faith.  A testimony is like reinforcing steel.  Satan is the destroyer trying to smash your faith.  If you are full of reinforcing steel, Satan cannot smash you.  He would like to take you up bodily and cast you away.  But our Savior does not give him that power.  So Satan hunts for faith without testimony, for good acts, obedient acts, where the person is not sure whom he is obeying, why he is obeying, and if it is worthwhile to obey.  When he finds such a person, he puts the pressure on.  Not necessarily a great massive pressure – just enough to chip off a corner.  And then another corner.  Here a piece, there a piece, the person is destroyed all the while trying to do what is right.  Trying but not succeeding – because of only half trying.  Trying to live the gospel without searching the things of the spirit, without pondering the meaning of the Lord’s message, without keenly observing the fruits of the Spirit.  To try to have faith without a testimony is to be thoughtless.  But to think, to search, to obey, to experiment, to find that rock upon which to build, that is thinking, the best kind of thinking; it is called repentance.  And that kind of thinking is real living; in fact, it is the beginning of eternal life. — Chauncey Riddle, “The Pillars of Testimony,” BYU Devotional, June 30, 1970, p. 9

. . . my friend asked:  “How can you possibly claim such a thing?  How can you possibly claim that yours is the only true church?”

The answer came, not from me, but through me:  “I am not claiming it,” I said.  “I am quoting it.  Jesus Christ said it.  Don’t argue with me.  If you wish to take issue, pray and talk with Heavenly Father about it.” — Bishop Keith B. McMullin, Ensign, May 1996, p. 9

 

Never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Never apologize for the sacred doctrines of the gospel.  Never feel inadequate and unsettled because you cannot explain them to the satisfaction of all who might enquire of you.  Do not be ill at ease or uncomfortable because you can give little more than your conviction. — Boyd K. Packer, CES Fireside, February 1, 1998

When children first start to read, they look at the letters and ask what they are.  After a time they can recognize the letters by their names and put them together to form a word.  And then a miracle happens.  They can read a word, then a sentence, then a book.  The steps of gaining a testimony follow the same pattern.  We want to know, we begin with what we know; and when we know, we further enrich our knowledge by sharing and practicing what we know. — Elder Charles Didier, 1st Quorum of Seventy, General Conference, October 1991

A man who has a testimony that we are engaged in the work of God values that testimony more than life itself; and I believe I am safe in saying that the most earnest desire of every true Latter-day Saint is that his children may grow up in the nurture and the admonition of the Gospel, keeping the commandments of God, so that they may be saved in His kingdom. . . .

I may know that the Gospel is true, and my wife may know it; but I do not imagine for one moment that my children will be born with this knowledge.  We receive a testimony of the Gospel by obeying the laws and ordinances thereof; and our children will receive that knowledge exactly the same way; and if we do not teach them, and they do not walk in the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life, they will never receive this knowledge.

I have heard people say that their children were born heirs to all the promises of the new and everlasting covenant, and that they would grow up in spite of themselves, with a knowledge of the Gospel. I want to say to you that this is not a true doctrine, and it is in direct opposition to the commandment of our Heavenly Father. — President Heber J. Grant, April 6, 1894; see Collected Discourses, Vol.4

The terrestrial kingdom will include the “honorable,” clearly not bearers of false witness.  Yet they were still “not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 65:65, 79).  The best way to valiantly testify of Jesus is to become steadily more like Him, and it is that consecration that carves out the emulative character (see 3 Ne. 27:27). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Ensign, May 2002, pp. 36-37

 

Some of us are naturally reserved and timid about bearing our testimony with words. Perhaps we should not be so timid. The Doctrine and Covenants tells us, “But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man” (D&C 60:2). When we do bear testimony, we should testify with a spirit of humility. Section 38 of the Doctrine and Covenants reminds us, “And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness” (D&C 38:41).

Perhaps we do not always remember that it is the power of the Spirit that carries our testimony into the hearts of others. Our testimony is our own.  It cannot be challenged by someone else. It is personal and real to us.  But it is the Holy Spirit that gives a similar witness to another. — President James E. Faust, “The Importance of Bearing Testimony,” Ensign, March 1997, p. 4

. . . we can become unconverted just as well as we can become converted.  Your testimony is something that you have today but you may not have it always.

Testimony is as elusive as a moonbeam; it’s as fragile as an orchid; you have to recapture it every morning of your life.  You have to hold on by study, and by faith, and by prayer.  If you allow yourself to be angry, if you allow yourself to get into the wrong kind of company, you listen to the wrong kind of stories, you are studying the wrong kind of subjects, you are engaging in sinful practices, there is nothing that will be more deadening as to take away the Spirit of the Lord from you until it will be as though you had walked from a lighted room when you go out of this building, as though you had gone out into a darkness. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee, p. 43

Testimony gives us the eternal perspective necessary to see past the trials or challenges we will inevitably face.  Remember what Heber C. Kimball prophesied:

“The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light.  Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. . . .

“. . . If you don’t have it you will not stand; therefore seek for the testimony of Jesus and cleave to it, that when the trying time comes you may not stumble and fall.”  (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 450.) — Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Press On,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 103-4

Once or twice in a thousand years a new door is opened through which all men must enter if they are to gain peace in this life and be inheritors of eternal life in the realms ahead.  Once or twice in a score of generations a new era dawns: the light from the east begins to drive the darkness of the earth from the hearts of men.  Now and then in a peaceful grove, apart from the gaze of men, heaven and earth share a moment of intimacy, and neither are ever thereafter the same.  Such a moment occurred on that beautiful, clear morning in the spring of 1820 in a grove of trees near Palmyra, New York.  Man asked and God answered.  Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son.  These things I know and of them I testify. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Once or Twice in a Thousand Years,” Ensign, November 1975, p. 15

I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.  But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Ensign, May 1985, p. 9

JS-Matt. 1:20   “ And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith, in his inspired version of that same scripture, added these significant words: “who are the elect, according to the covenant.”  This is what has been said, in effect, in this conference: Unless every member of this Church gains for himself an unshakable testimony of the divinity of this Church, he will be among those who will be deceived in this day when the “elect according to the covenant” are going to be tried and tested. Only those will survive who have gained for themselves that testimony. — President Harold B. Lee in Conference Report, October 1950, p. 129

When bearing a testimony, testify of these things:

                        1.            God lives

                        2.            Jesus Christ is His Son

                        3.            Joseph Smith is a Prophet

                        4.            The Book of Mormon is true

                        5.            President Hinckley and 12 Apostles are prophets, seers and revelators

To gain a testimony, you must:

                        1.            Have a desire to believe

                        2.            Search the scriptures

                        3.            Keep the commandments

                        4.            Ponder, fast and pray

— President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2006

A testimony is not an exhortation; a testimony is not a sermon (none of you are there to exhort the rest); it is not a travelogue.  You are there to bear your own witness.  It is amazing what you can say in 60 seconds by way of testimony, or 120, or 240, or whatever time you are given, if you confine yourselves to testimony.  We’d like to know how you feel.  Do you love the work, really?  Are you happy in your work?  Do you love the Lord?  Are you glad that you are a member of the Church?  (New Era, Aug. 1981, pp. 6-7)

Just tell how you feel inside.  That is the testimony.  The moment you begin preaching to others, your testimony ended.  Just tell us how you feel, what your mind and heart and every fiber of your body tells you. Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 76

I noted that we also bear our testimonies by our lives. In World War II, I was stationed at an army camp in Pennsylvania.  We lived in a little ward in which our stake patriarch also lived.  His name was William G. Stoops. Brother Stoops worked at a machine shop in the little town of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Everyone called him “Pappy.” He was a kindly, gentle, wonderful, exemplary member of the Church.  All who met him honored and admired him.  One time a nonmember with whom he worked said something like this: “I don’t know much about the Mormon Church.  I have never met with the missionaries, and I have never studied the doctrine. I have never been to one of their services, but I know Pappy Stoops, and if the Church produces men like Pappy Stoops, it has to have much good in it.”  We never know the power of our own example for either good or bad. — President James E. Faust, “The Importance of Bearing Testimony,” Ensign, March 1997, pp. 2,4

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) taught: “Testimony isn’t something that you have today and you keep always. Testimony is either going to grow and grow to the brightness of certainty, or it is going to diminish to nothingness, depending upon what we do about it. I say, the testimony that we recapture day by day is the thing that saves us from the pitfalls of the adversary.”  We need to stay close to the Lord every day if we are to survive the adversity that we all must face.

In some ways our world today is similar to Kirtland of the 1830s. We too live in times of financial distress. There are those who persecute and rail against the Church and its members. Individual and collective trials may sometimes seem overwhelming.

That is when we need, more than ever, to draw near unto the Lord. As we do, we will come to know what it means to have the Lord draw near unto us. As we seek Him ever more diligently, we will surely find Him. We will see clearly that the Lord does not abandon His Church or His faithful Saints. Our eyes will be opened, and we will see Him open the windows of heaven and shower us with more of His light. We will find the spiritual strength to survive even during the darkest night. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Hold on a Little Longer,” Ensign, January 2010, pp. 6-7

As Heber C. Kimball said, “The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light.  Each will have to be guided by the light within himself.” (Quoted by Pres. Harold B. Lee in Conference Report, Oct. 1956, pp. 61–62.) Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 336

Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared in crossing an ocean, settling in a new world.  I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon.  I did not proselyte with Alma and Amulek nor witness the fiery death of innocent believers.  I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of an entire civilization.  But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs.  Like them, “[I] give [my name] unto the world, to witness unto the world that which [I] have seen.” And like them, “[I] lie not, God bearing witness of it.” (“The Testimony of Eight Witnesses,” Book of Mormon; emphasis added.)

I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven.  I hope I have a few years left in my “last days,” but whether I do or do not, I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days.

Brothers and sisters, God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done that in our time.  Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:37) – and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul,” General Conference, October 2009

The Savior asked His Apostles, “Will ye also go away?” 

Peter answered:  “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

“ . . . We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”  (John 6:67-69) — Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Never Leave Him,” Ensign, November 2010

A testimony is fortified by spiritual impressions that confirm the validity of a teaching, of a righteous act.  Often such guidance is accompanied by powerful emotions that bring tears to the eyes and make it difficult to speak.  But a testimony is not emotion.  It is the very essence of character woven from threads born of countless correct decisions.  These choices are made with trusting faith in things that are believed and, at least initially, are not seen.  A strong testimony gives peace, comfort, and assurance.  It generates the conviction that as the teachings of the Savior are consistently obeyed, life will be beautiful, the future will be secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our path. A testimony grows from understanding truth distilled from prayer and the pondering of scriptural doctrine.  It is nurtured by living those truths with faith anchored in the secure confidence that the promised results will be obtained.

Your testimony will be made strong through willing obedience to the law of tithing and by giving fast offerings, and the Lord will bless you richly for it.  As your testimony is fortified, Satan will try harder to tempt you.  Resist his efforts.  You will become stronger and his influence on you weaker. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Transforming Power of Faith and Character,” Ensign, November 2010, pp. 43-46 

Elder George Q. Cannon, who was in the presidency of the Church at one time, said this: “I know that God lives.  I know that Jesus lives; for I have seen Him.  I know that this is the Church of God, and that it is founded on Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.  I testify to you of these things as one who knows – as one of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ that can bear witness to you today in the presence of the Lord that He lives and that He will live, and will come to reign on the earth, to sway an undisputed sceptre.” — Delivered in the October 1896 General Conference and reported in The Deseret Weekly, October 31, 1896, vol. 53, p. 610

We should be patient in developing and strengthening our testimonies.  Rather than expecting immediate or spectacular manifestations, though they will come when needed, we should pray for a testimony, study the scriptures, follow the counsel of our prophet and other Church leaders, and live the principles of the gospel.  Our testimonies then will grow and mature naturally, perhaps imperceptibly at times, until they become driving forces in our lives. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Patience, a Key to Happiness,” Ensign, May 1987, p. 30

So as I conceive it, we must stand adamant for the doctrine of the atonement of Jesus the Christ, for the divinity of his conception, for his sinless life, and for, shall I say, the divinity of his death, his voluntary surrender of life.  He was not killed, he gave up his life.  It is our mission, perhaps the most fundamental purpose of our work, to bear constant testimony of Jesus the Christ.  We must never permit to enter into our thoughts and certainly not into our teachings, the idea that he was merely a great teacher, a great philosopher, the builder of a great system of ethics.  It is our duty, day after day, year in and year out, always to declare that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ who brought redemption to the world and to all the inhabitants thereof. — President Reuben Clark, Jr., in Conference Report, October 1955, p.  23

Elder George Q. Cannon, who was in the presidency of the Church at one time, said this:  “I know that God lives.  I know that Jesus lives; for I have seen Him.  I know that this is the Church of God, and that it is founded on Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.  I testify to you of these things as one who knows – as one of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ that can bear witness to you today in the presence of the Lord that He lives and that He will live, and will come to reign on the earth, to sway an undisputed sceptre. — Delivered in the October 1896 General Conference and reported in The Deseret Weekly, October 31, 1896, vol. 53, p. 610

Now, to anyone within the sound of my voice who has wondered regarding our Christianity, I bear this witness.  I testify that Jesus Christ is the literal, living Son of our literal, living God.  This Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer who, under the guidance of the Father, was the Creator of heaven and earth and all things that in them are.  I bear witness that He was born of a virgin mother, that in His lifetime He performed mighty miracles observed by legions of His disciples and by His enemies as well.  I testify that He had power over death because He was divine but that He willingly subjected Himself to death for our sake because for a period of time He was also mortal.  I declare that in His willing submission to death He took upon Himself the sins of the world, paying an infinite price for every sorrow and sickness, every heartache and unhappiness from Adam to the end of the world.  In doing so He conquered both the grave physically and hell spiritually and set the human family free.  I bear witness that He was literally resurrected from the tomb and, after ascending to His Father to complete the process of that Resurrection, He appeared, repeatedly, to hundreds of disciples in the Old World and in the New.  I know He is the Holy One of Israel, the Messiah who will one day come again in final glory, to reign on earth as Lord of lords and King of kings.  I know that there is no other name given under heaven whereby a man can be saved and that only by relying wholly upon His merits, mercy, and everlasting grace (See 1 Nephi 10:6; 2 Nephi 2:8; 31:19; Moroni 6:4; Joseph Smith Translation, Romans 3:24) can we gain eternal life. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent,” Ensign, October 2007

Great was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision.  It encompassed all the peoples of mankind, wherever they live, and all generations who have walked the earth and passed on.  How can anyone, past or present, speak against him except out of ignorance?  They have not tasted of his words, they have not pondered about him, nor prayed about him.  As one who has done these things, I add my own words of testimony that he was and is a prophet of God, raised up as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty to usher in a new and final gospel dispensation. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Praise to the Man,” Ensign, August 1983, p. 6

We should be patient in developing and strengthening our testimonies.  Rather than expecting immediate or spectacular manifestations, though they will come when needed, we should pray for a testimony, study the scriptures, follow the counsel of our prophet and other Church leaders, and live the principles of the gospel.  Our testimonies then will grow and mature naturally, perhaps imperceptibly at times, until they become driving forces in our lives. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Patience, a Key to Happiness,” Ensign, May 1987, p. 30

If you should have doubting thoughts, remember the counsel given by President Stephen L. Richards, a former counselor in the First Presidency, who declared:  “Just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts, ‘I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people.  I know that happiness and contentment are there and I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith.  I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it.  I grant that I cannot explain the miracles of the Bible, and I do not attempt to do so, but I accept God’s word. I wasn’t with Joseph, but I believe him.  My faith did not come to me through science and I will not permit science to destroy it.’” — President Thomas S. Monson, “Great Expectations,” CES Fireside for Young Adults January 11, 2009

 A testimony cannot be given to us by somebody else.  The conviction comes from our Heavenly Father.  (Conf. Report, April 1905)  

I stand here today profoundly grateful for the knowledge that has come to me.  I am thankful that I am not dependent upon any individual for the testimony that I possess.  Of course, I am grateful for the encouragement I received from others who possess light and truth, and who give encouragement by lives of righteousness, but I do not depend on any of them for a knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind and Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Lord.  These things I know for myself. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 118

Keep the fire of your testimony of the restored gospel and your witness of our Redeemer burning so brightly that our children can warm their hands by the fire of your faith. — President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 2003, p. 84

Some are willing to set aside the precious gospel truths restored by Joseph Smith because they get diverted on some historical issue or some scientific hypothesis not central to their exaltation, and in so doing they trade their spiritual birthright for a mess of pottage.  They exchange the absolute certainty of the Restoration for a doubt, and in that process they fall into the trap of losing faith in the many things they do know because of a few things they do not know. — Elder Tad R. Callister, “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration,” Ensign, November 2009, p. 37

It is not alone sufficient for us as Latter-day Saints to follow our leaders and to accept their counsel, but we have the greater obligation to gain for ourselves the unshakable testimony of the divine appointment of these men and the witness that what they have told us is the will of our Heavenly Father. — President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1950, p. 30

A testimony is fortified by spiritual impressions that confirm the validity of a teaching, of a righteous act, or of a warning of pending danger.  Often such guidance is accompanied by powerful emotions that make it difficult to speak and bring tears to the eyes.  But a testimony is not emotion.  It is the very essence of character woven from threads born of countless correct decisions.  These choices are made with trusting faith in things that are believed and, at least initially, are not seen.  A strong testimony gives peace, comfort, and assurance.  It generates the conviction that as the teachings of the Savior are consistently obeyed, life will be beautiful, the future secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our path. A testimony grows from understanding truth, distilled from prayer and the pondering of scriptural doctrine.  It is nurtured by living those truths in faith and the secure confidence that the promised results will be obtained. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, October 2001

Those of us who have partaken of the Atonement are under obligation to bear faithful testimony of our Lord and Savior.  For he has said, “I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment – that you remain steadfast in your minds in the solemnity and spirit of prayer, in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you” (D&C 84:61).  (See “The Atonement and Missionary Work” seminar for new mission presidents, 21 June 1994, 2.)

Thus all of us are to “remain steadfast . . . in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto [us]” (D&C 84:61).  The forgiveness we need is correlated with our steadfastness in the work of the Lord. — Elder Neal A Maxwell, Liahona, April 2002

Be willing to endure the test of time.  Do not think that it is easy to maintain a testimony.  Others will test us. Sometimes they will point the finger of mockery and scorn. Sometimes they may persecute you openly.  Be prepared.  Know in advance that the best of God’s children have had the courage of true conviction and were willing to suffer ridicule, deprivation, and even death for the sake of true testimony. Is each of us willing to do likewise? — Elder Robert D. Hales, “How You Can Know,” New Era, August 2002, p. 40

Your testimony will begin from acknowledgment that the teachings of the Lord seem reasonable.  Seek continually to understand the divine attributes of God our Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.  Such understanding is secured by a willing reliance upon Them, which is a consecration of the heart.  Hone your spiritual susceptibility by being constantly alert to the guidance that will come through the still, small voice of the Spirit.  Let your Father in Heaven know of your feelings, your needs, your concerns, your hopes and aspirations.  Speak to Him in total confidence, knowing that He will hear and respond. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, October 2001

A testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will always include these clear and simple truths:

God lives.  He is our loving Father in Heaven, and we are His children.

Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and the Savior of the world.

Joseph Smith is the prophet of God through whom the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the latter days.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God.

— President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign, November 2006, 38

Your security is in God your Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  As one of His Apostles authorized to bear witness of Him, I solemnly testify that I know that the Savior lives, that He is a resurrected, glorified personage of perfect love.  He is your hope, your Mediator, your Redeemer.  Through obedience, let Him guide you to peace and happiness amid increased evil in the world. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “How to Live Well Amid Increasing Evil,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 102

 

The challenge for most of us is that, while we believe these things, the events of that day in 1820 are far away and sometimes forgotten.  The wear and tear of daily living often overshadows the things we know; and we fail to heed.  Without meaning to, we sometimes find ourselves doing or saying things that are inconsistent with the voices from the grove, and Joseph’s experience there ceases, for a time, to have what Elder Neal A. Maxwell called “operative relevancy” for our lives.

To ensure that I do not forget the things that my eyes have seen and my heart has felt, I carry with me a reminder of the reality of the First Vision.  It is a leaf from a 200-year old beech tree.  I found it in the Sacred Grove a few years ago.  The tree, as nearly as I can tell, was in the grove on that spring morning in 1820.  Perhaps some of the light Joseph saw shone on it and caused it to sink its roots deeper into the rocky soil.  I keep the leaf in my scriptures, and every time I open them, the leaf helps remind me of what I know.

May we always remember what we know and most surely believe, and may our lives reverently reflect the reality of these things. — Elder F. Howard Burton, “Hearing & Heeding the Message from the Grove,” Ensign, February 2009, p. 13

We have been and will be stirred by the testifying messages of the Brethren and sisters in this conference.  I believe this confirming experience should relate to you.  You may very well receive an affirmation that what is said is true.  Brigham Young taught, “Not only the Saints who are present, . . . but those of every nation, continent, or island who live the religion taught by our Savior and his Apostles, and also by Joseph Smith; . . . also bear the same testimony, their eyes have been quickened by the Spirit of God, and they see alike, their hearts have been quickened, and they feel and understand alike.”

I know with all my heart and soul that God lives.  I believe He will enlighten our lives with His love for each of us if we strive to be worthy of that love. President James E Faust, “The Light in Their Eyes,” General Conference, October 2005

There is another and simpler test that all who seek to know the truth might well take. It calls for us simply to read, ponder, and pray – all in the spirit of faith and with an open mind.  To keep ourselves alert to the issues at hand – as we do read, ponder, and pray – we should ask ourselves a thousand times, “Could any man have written this book?”

And it is absolutely guaranteed that sometime between the first and thousandth time this question is asked, every sincere and genuine truth seeker will come to know by the power of the Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true, that it is the mind and will and voice of the Lord to the whole world in our day. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “What Think Ye of the Book of Mormon?” Ensign, November 1983, p. 72

As your testimony is fortified, Satan will try harder to tempt you.  Resist his efforts. You will become stronger and his influence on you weaker.  Satan’s increasing influence in the world is allowed to provide an atmosphere in which to prove ourselves.  While he causes havoc today, Satan’s final destiny was fixed by Jesus Christ through His Atonement and Resurrection.  The devil will not triumph.

Even now, he must operate within bounds set by the Lord.  He cannot take away any blessing that has been earned.  He cannot alter character that has been woven from righteous decisions.  He has no power to destroy the eternal bonds forged in a holy temple between a husband, wife, and children.  He cannot quench true faith.  He cannot take away your testimony.  Yes, these things can be lost by succumbing to his temptations.  But he has no power in and of himself to destroy them. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, October 2001

President David O. McKay has said that he has always thought that the purpose of the book of Job was to emphasize the fact that the testimony of the spirit, the testimony of the Gospel, is beyond the power of Satan’s temptation or any physical influence. — Dedication of the Salt Lake Temple Annex in 1963, Deseret News

In order to find God as a reality, we must follow the course which he pointed out for the quest.  The path is one that leads upward; it takes faith and effort, and is not the easy course.  For this reason many men will not devote themselves to the arduous task of proving to themselves the reality of God.  On the contrary, some take the easy path and deny his existence or merely follow the doubter’s course of uncertainty. These are the atheists, infidels, free thinkers, skeptics, and agnostics. — President Howard W. Hunter, Conference Report, April 1970

Our testimony is a measurement of our faith.  Faith is testimony; testimony is faith.

Having a strong testimony allows us to help others in their search for truth.  Our testimony is a gift from God.  It should be shared, but we do not have the authority to bestow a testimony upon someone else, because a personal testimony is granted by the Holy Ghost. It can aid others in gaining knowledge for themselves – a knowledge abiding in the heart that leaves no room for doubt. — Elder Robert D. Hales, Conference Report, October 1994

In our own lives, in our daily workaday world, we can create our own “mountaintop experience” so unique and personal that I wonder why more of us do not readily do so.  The spiritual mountaintop of which I speak is the development and refining of a testimony of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Just as we can stand on the top of any great mountain and experience an awe-inspiring panorama, I believe we can stand in our own places and experience overwhelming awe in knowing that the Savior, in an act of love which defies mortal understanding, gave his life in taking upon himself our pain and suffering. — Elder Jack H. Goaslind, “Spiritual Mountaintops,” Ensign, November 1995, p. 9

I have sympathy for young men and young women when honest doubts enter their minds and they engage in the great conflict of resolving doubts.  These doubts can be resolved, if they have an honest desire to know the truth, by exercising moral, spiritual, and mental effort.  They will emerge from the conflict into a firmer, stronger, larger faith because of the struggle. They have gone from a simple, trusting faith, through doubt and conflict, into a solid substantial faith which ripens into testimony. — President Howard W. Hunter, Conference Report, October 1960, p. 108

Be willing to endure the test of time.  Do not think that it is easy to maintain a testimony.  Others will test you.  Sometimes they will point the finger of mockery and scorn. Sometimes they may persecute you openly.  Be prepared.  Know in advance that the best of God’s children have had the courage of true conviction and were willing to suffer ridicule, deprivation, and even death for the sake of true testimony.  Is each of us willing to do likewise?

In our day, those blessed with a testimony of the truth have a shield of faith that will protect them from the fiery darts of the adversary at the hands of critics and detractors.  We should not let others determine our faithfulness and affect our testimony and ultimately our eternal salvation.

Doubts about matters of religion that arise from a lack of knowledge can be constructively resolved.  The solutions are instruction, study, and prayer, which result in increased testimony, which drives out further doubts. — Elder Robert D. Hales, Conference Report, October 1994

We may sometimes find satisfaction in sharing our material wealth with others.  But far greater satisfaction comes from sharing ourselves, our time, our energy, our affection, and particularly in imparting to others our testimony of God. — Elder Henry D. Moyle, Conference Report, April 1957, p. 32

 The relationship between testimony and appropriate action is emphasized in the Savior’s instruction to the Saints in Kirtland:  “That which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do” (D&C 46:7).  Our testimony of gospel truth should be reflected both in our words and in our deeds.  And our testimonies are proclaimed and lived most powerfully in our own homes.  Spouses, parents, and children should strive to overcome any hesitancy, reluctance, or embarrassment about bearing testimony.  We should both create and look for opportunities to bear testimony of gospel truths – and live them. — Elder David A. Bednar, Ensign, November 2009

I was recently in Vavau, Tonga.  It is a little island which is one and a half hours away from Nuku’alofa by plane and twenty-four hours away by boat.  By boat it is the worst trip that can be made.  (If you don’t believe that, ask Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, who went there recently to organize a stake and could not get a plane.)  When the area conference was announced for Tonga, it was determined that only one boat would be available for the Saints from Vavau.  The boat held 150 people.  If you stuffed bodies into every possible corner of the ship, you could get close to three hundred people.  Eight hundred Tongans jammed onto that boat and stood up for twenty-four hours without sleep, without food, without drink, without anything – because they knew that a prophet of God was going to be in their islands and they were not going to miss him for anything in the world.

Do you want to go to conference that badly?  Do you care that the prophet of the Lord is speaking in the neighborhood?  Do you care enough to flip on a television set, a radio, or to come to this building to watch a priesthood meeting?  Eight hundred people stood up for twenty-four hours to get to conference, and they didn’t think anything about it.  “The President of the Church is here,” they said.  “That’s our prophet, and we may not see him again soon.”  And they came. — Jeffrey R. Holland, “Remembered and Nourished by the Good Word of God,” BYU Devotional, September 26, 1976

How does a person know when he or she truly has received the witness of the Holy Ghost?  The person will know it by how he or she feels (see Mosiah 5).  The Spirit will touch a person who may have been passive in the drama of life and make of him or her a witness to the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and all it stands for. As Elder Marion G. Romney said, “No person whose soul is illuminated by the burning Spirit of God can remain passive.  He is driven by an irresistible urge to fit himself to be an active agent of God in furthering righteousness and in freeing the lives and minds of men from the bondage of sin.” — Loren C. Dunn, Ensign, June 1995, p. 26; Conference Report, October 4, 1941, p. 89

Great was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision.  It encompassed all the peoples of mankind, wherever they live, and all generations who have walked the earth and passed on.  How can anyone, past or present, speak against him except out of ignorance?  They have not tasted of his words, they have not pondered about him, nor prayed about him.  As one who has done these things, I add my own words of testimony that he was and is a prophet of God, raised up as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty to usher in a new and final gospel dispensation. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Praise to the Man,” Ensign, August 1983, p. 6

Those who have felt the touch of the Master’s hand somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives.  There is a desire to live better, to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to be more like the Savior.  Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight:  “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). — President Thomas S. Monson, “Anxiously Engaged,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 58

Just as the truths of science must be tested and verified by reason and factual investigation, so the moral and spiritual truths which the world is seeking from its prophets must be proved and validated in the experience of men.  In his search for truth, every man must be true to himself. He must answer to his own reason and to his own moral conscience.  Anything less than this would betray his dignity as a human being and a child of God.  True dignity is never won by place, and it is never lost when honors are withdrawn.  Especially in the realms of spiritual and religious endeavor where faith ventures into untried fields, truth must meet the test of unbelief and endure the fires of persecution, opposition, rejection, and hatred.  Truth crushed to earth shall rise again. — President Hugh B. Brown, Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 76

Once the Saints of God have gained a testimony which is unshakeable and which will allow them to confront the antagonists of the faith with confidence, they have in this life entered into the rest of the Lord.  Theirs is a settled conviction of the truth which comes through their hope in Christ and the faith that he will in time bestow upon them the riches of eternity. — President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 58, 126

If you should have doubting thoughts, remember the counsel given by President Stephen L. Richards, a former counselor in the First Presidency, who declared:  “Just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts, ‘I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people.  I know that happiness and contentment are there and I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith.  I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it.  I grant that I cannot explain the miracles of the Bible, and I do not attempt to do so, but I accept God’s word. I wasn’t with Joseph, but I believe him.  My faith did not come to me through science and I will not permit science to destroy it. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Great Expectations,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, January 11, 2009

Declaring our testimony of the gospel is good, but being a living example of the restored gospel is better.  Wishing to be more faithful to our covenants is good; actually being faithful to sacred covenants – including living a virtuous life, paying our tithes and offerings, keeping the Word of Wisdom, and serving those in need – is much better. Announcing that we will dedicate more time for family prayer, scripture study, and wholesome family activities is good; but actually doing all these things steadily will bring heavenly blessings to our lives.

Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness.  It is the path to our best and happiest self. Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become.  Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves.  He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents.

The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets.  The more we rely on the Savior’s grace, the more we will feel that we are on the track our Father in Heaven has intended for us. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Ensign, November 2012

I testify from the bottom of my heart, with the intensity of my soul, to all who can hear my voice that those apostolic keys have been restored to the earth, and they are found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, “Please come.”  To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets.  The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand.  I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.”  (D&C 20:73.)  That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well.  To the youth of the Church rising up to missions and temples and marriage, we say: “Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation.  You have a monumental work to do, underscored by that marvelous announcement President Thomas S. Monson made yesterday morning. [Mission calls now extended to young men at age 18 and young women at age 19.]  Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The First Great Commandment,” Ensign, November 2012, p. 85

All my life I have studied and pondered the principles of the gospel and sought to live the laws of the Lord.  As a result there has come into my heart a great love for Him and for His work and for all those who seek to further His purposes in the earth.  I know that He lives, that He rules in the heavens above and in the earth beneath, and that His purposes shall prevail. He is our Lord and our God. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth,” Ensign, December 1971, p. 27

Today we are troubled by evil-designing persons who are endeavoring with all their power to destroy the testimonies of members of the Church, and many members of the Church are in danger because of lack of understanding and because they have not sought the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord.  Every baptized member of the Church receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands.  This, however, will not save them unless they continue in the spirit of light and truth.  Therefore it is a commandment from the Lord that members of the Church should be diligent in their activities and study of the fundamental truths of the gospel as it has been revealed.  The Spirit of the Lord will not continue to strive with the indifferent, with the wayward and the rebellious who fail to live within the light of divine truth.  It is the privilege of every baptized person to have an abiding testimony of the restoration of the gospel, but this testimony will grow dim and eventually disappear unless we are constantly receiving spiritual good through study, obedience, and diligent seeking to know and understand the truth. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1963, p. 22

The essence of true membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is this – that you and I, independent of every other person in the world, will live our religion and do our duty, no matter what other people do.  As Joshua expressed himself in olden times, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15.)  The true measure of our standing in this Church is that we will do right, no matter who else does right or does wrong.  Therefore let us seek to get that spirit upon us and live by that rule. Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 416

Jesus was the one perfect man who ever lived. In rising from the dead, he conquered death and is now Lord of the earth.  How utterly weak, how extremely foolish is he who would willfully reject Christ’s way of life, especially in the light of the fact that such rejection leads only to unhappiness, misery, and even to death! Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, p. 68

 

I know that the cloud will burst, and Satan’s kingdom be laid in ruins, with all his black designs; and that the Saints will come forth like gold seven times tried in the fire, being made perfect through sufferings and temptations, and that the blessings of heaven and earth will be multiplied upon their heads; which may God grant for Christ’s sake. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pp. 234-35

We live in a time when some misrepresent the beliefs of those they call Mormons and even revile us because of them.  When we encounter such misrepresentations, we have a duty to speak out to clarify our doctrine and what we believe.  We should be the ones to state our beliefs rather than allowing others the final word in misrepresenting them. This calls for testimony, which can be expressed privately to an acquaintance or publicly in a small or large meeting.  As we testify of the truth we know, we should faithfully follow the caution to speak “in mildness and in meekness” ( D&C 38:41).  We should never be overbearing, shrill, or reviling.  As the Apostle Paul taught, we should speak the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15).  Anyone can disagree with our personal testimony, but no one can refute it. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, April 2008