Several years ago I was in Relief Society and our teacher was teaching us with an object lesson. She pulled out of her pocket a crisp $20 bill and offered it to anyone in the class. Someone jumped right up and collected it. When the teacher handed over the money, she said, now you can keep that $20, or while holding up a beautifully wrapped box, you can have something that is inside this box that is far more valuable than what you are holding in your hand. What will you choose? The woman who had jumped up to grab the money was intrigued and handed over the money and opened mysterious box. She pulled out a slip of paper that read “TESTIMONY.” I was reminded that day of how truly valuable and precious our testimonies are.
So, what is a testimony?
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a current apostle, has said, “A testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true.”
As a teenager, I had a very sincere desire to know if Joseph Smith was truly a prophet who restored the gospel of Jesus Christ in our day. I wanted to know, I needed to know. So, I followed these steps. I began reading his testimony in Joseph Smith’s History of his vision of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I pondered over other principles I had been taught. Then, several days later, one quiet evening I knelt in prayer, expressing my desire to know if Joseph truly saw what he said he saw and to know if he was a true prophet. I received that night, as a young teenager, such an overwhelming witness, not only of Joseph and the truths he testified of, but of the immeasurable love that my Heavenly Father had for me. It reassured my doubting soul, that there is an eternal God who loves and watches over us. I learned that when I pray in faith, when I am obedient to God’s commandments, he will hear and answer my prayers.
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