Feb 3, 2015

I know These Things Myself

by Elder Craig C. Christensen

This talk is all about Testimony - our testimony.  It really made me think about and measure how strong my own testimony is.  Have you ever heard the old Brad Wilcox talk Filling Your Testimony Tank.  I love Brad Wilcox.  He is so entertaining and spot on.  If you have not heard this talk, buy the download and listen to it and then have your children and spouse listen to it. 

Elder Christensen begins by quoting President Monson who said, 
"In order for us to be strong and to withstand all the forces pulling us in the wrong direction. . . .we must have our own testimony.  Whether you are 12 or 112- or anywhere in between- you can know for yourself that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true."

"In response to President Monson's statement, I would ask:
Does each of us know for ourselves that the gospel is true?  Can we say with confidence that our testimonies are truly our own?"

What is a testimony?
"It is a sacred gift from God that comes to us by the Holy Ghost.  It is the calm, unwavering certainty we receive as we study, pray, and live the gospel.  It is the feeling of the Holy Ghost bearing witness to our souls that what we are learning and doing is right."

"Now is the time and today is the day to learn or reaffirm for ourselves that the gospel is true."

 "It's up to us to fill our testimony tank."

"Some people speak of a testimony as if it were a light switch - it's either on or off; you either have a testimony or you do not.  In reality, a testimony is more like a tree that passes through various stages of growth and development.  Some of the tallest trees on earth are found in Redwood National Park in western United States.  When you stand at the base of these massive trees, it is amazing to think that each grew from a tiny seed.  So it is with our testimonies.  Although they may begin with a single spiritual experience, they grow and develop over time through constant nourishment and frequent spiritual encounters"

". . . Often. . . a testimony begins with sacred, enlightening assuring feelings that demonstrate to us that the word of God is true.  . .If we ignore or neglect these early spiritual promptings, if we do not nurture them by continuing to study the scriptures and pray and by seeking more experiences with the Spirit, our feelings will fade and our testimonies will diminish."

I love the following analogy told by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Many years ago, large packs of wolves roamed the countryside in Ukraine, making travel in that part of the world very dangerous. These wolf packs were fearless. They were not intimidated by people nor by any of the weapons available at that time. The only thing that seemed to frighten them was fire. Consequently, travelers who found themselves away from cities developed the common practice of building a large bonfire and keeping it burning through the night. As long as the fire burned brightly, the wolves stayed away. But if it were allowed to burn out and die, the wolves would move in for an attack. Travelers understood that building and maintaining a roaring bonfire was not just a matter of convenience or comfort; it was a matter of survival.

We do not have to protect ourselves from wolf packs as we travel the road of life today, but, in a spiritual sense, we do face the devious wolves of Satan in the forms of temptation, evil, and sin. We live in dangerous times when these ravenous wolves roam the spiritual countryside in search of those who may be weak in faith or feeble in their conviction. . .We are all vulnerable to attack. However, we can fortify ourselves with the protection provided by a burning testimony that, like a bonfire, has been built adequately and maintained carefully.

So, how is your testimony?  Is it a tiny sliver of light or is it a roaring bonfire?

Protect yourself from the wolves - don't let your spiritual bonfire burn out!