When I was researching Mormonism, I constantly heard about the power of prayer and gaining of a testimony. I understood the power of prayer having been a long time person of prayer, but I didn’t understand the whole testimony thing.
What did it mean to gain a testimony?
A testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost. The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that Heavenly Father lives and loves His children; that Jesus Christ lives, that He is the Son of God, and that He carried out the infinite Atonement; that Joseph Smith is the prophet of God who was called to restore the gospel; that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior’s true Church on the earth; and that the Church is led by a living prophet today. With this foundation, a testimony grows to include all principles of the gospel.
I believed the Church was true. Yet, believing this, I expected the occurrence of a testimony to be a phenomenal event. Heavens opening, angels singing…you know, small miracles like that.
I prayed for a testimony, still not understanding what it meant to gain one. Nothing seemed to happen…meaning the gates of Heaven didn’t open up with angels singing Hallelujah! Undeterred, I started to study and talk to others about what gaining a testimony actually meant. I guess I believed I could study it to action.
The thing about testimonies is you can ask twenty different people about the definition of a testimony and you’ll get twenty different definitions.
Not one person’s miracle of a testimony is exact. For me, this makes it even more special and divine.
I wanted one. So I did what I always have done: I prayed. I researched. I rushed through my studies as if I were writing a term paper on the subject and then it hit me…
Since I started studying and praying for a testimony, I had never actually sat still long enough to actually meditate on anything to gain a testimony on. Ever. I was so excited with the teachings of the Church, I rushed through my studies and wanted to go on to the next spiritual subject.
I had not been meditating on His word. I was not meditating in prayer.
I wasn’t meditating on anything, period.
The revelation occurred when I was trying to wrap my head around The Vision. I asked myself, ” Why Joseph Smith? Why him?”
I thought about this for a very long time, allowing the question to flow through my brain.
And then…I felt the words: “Why not? Why NOT Joseph Smith? Why Paul? Why Peter? Why is anyone ever chosen?”
Gaining a testimony about Joseph Smith being a prophet was a tranquil moment. There wasn’t a gigantic burst of energy within me wanting to yell it from the roof tops. My testimony regarding Joseph Smith being a prophet was a silent whisper in the form of a question:
President Loren C. Dunn of the First Council of the Seventy wrote in the January 1973 issue of Ensign:
The three steps, then, in seeking a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel from the Lord himself are to read, ponder, and pray with real intent and sincerity of heart. If a person will prayerfully read the pages of this inspired book and carefully turn over in his mind what he has read and constantly ask the question, “Could any man have written this book?” the promise of the Lord is that he “will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Gaining a Testimony in Three Steps:
I try to do those three things everyday…gaining a testimony on a variety of spiritual things and sometimes despite doing those three things, a testimony doesn’t always occur. It doesn’t always happen instantly…yet there are times when it seems a testimony has always been.
Testimony—real testimony, born of the Spirit and confirmed by the Holy Ghost—changes lives. ~Elder M. Russell Ballard
My testimony: I believe this Church is true. I believe we have a modern day prophet in President Monson and I believe the Book of Mormon is added Scripture to the Holy Bible and all the Scriptures are inspired Word of God. I have felt and seen the power and blessings of prayer and I believe with all of my heart that our Savior is Jesus Christ.
I say all these things in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen