Sunday, November 10, 2013


I was called this Sunday to give a talk on the topic of Testimony, which was based on Cecil O. Samuelson Jr.'s April 2011 General Conference talk also titled Testimony. I wasn't expecting to be asked to speak in front of the entire church at Sacrament Meeting, but I was happy to have the opportunity. I know this is probably only the first of many talks I'll probably be giving throughout my life, so I might as well get used to it now. This is my first Sacrament Meeting talk, but I did give one in front of a much smaller audience at my mom's Baptism back in July. 

For whatever reason, I felt relatively uninspired after reading Cecil O. Samuelson Jr.'s talk. It didn't really get my juices flowing, so to speak. Also, even though I had been running ideas through my head for the majority of the week, I still felt like I was experiencing a writer's block. What I basically came up with was pretty short and to the point, but I entered the writing of my talk prayerfully so I'm confident that the message delivered was where the Holy Ghost led me.

In his April 2011 General Conference talk, Cecil O. Samuelson Jr. states that a testimony is "In our Latter-day Saint context, we refer to our testimonies as our sure witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is obtained by revelation through the Holy Ghost." According to LDS.Org
"Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the sacred opportunity and responsibility to obtain their own testimonies. Having obtained a testimony, each member has a duty to nurture it throughout life. Happiness in this life and throughout eternity depends largely on whether individuals are "valiant in the testimony of Jesus". Testimony grows through the application of the following principles:
The quest for a testimony begins with a righteous, sincere desire. Speaking to a group of people who did not yet have testimonies of the gospel, Alma taught: "If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words".
Testimony comes through the quiet influence of the Holy Ghost. The results of a testimony can be miraculous and life changing, but the gift of testimony usually comes as a quiet assurance, without spectacular displays of God's power. Even Alma, who had been visited by an angel and had seen God sitting on His throne, needed to fast and pray so he could receive a testimony through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Testimony grows gradually through experiences. No one receives a complete testimony all at once. It grows as individuals show willingness to serve in the Church and to study, pray, and learn. It increases as individuals obey God's commandments.
Testimony grows as it is shared. Part of a testimony's development comes when it is shared. In the Church testimony is shared often in fast and testimony meetings, in Church classes, and in conversations with family members and friends."
John 7:17 states that If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
I also believe that Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways to help us gain a Testimony, even in the hearts of those who aren't yet members of the church. I was one of those people. The reason I'm here today is because of a book I read in April 2013 that placed Mormons in a negative light. This book was chosen by a Christian book club that I'm a member of online. The members of the book club knew that the book involved Mormon characters, but not that they would be falsely portrayed or that the author would do a scathing interview at the end of the book where she would describe Mormons as, "empty, wounded people" and continuously bash the church.
Thanks to a review of this book I wrote for I was connected with a fellow sister in a Tennessee ward, Kimberly Terry. Sister Terry emailed me thanking me for my honest review and said she felt the same way, that the book was unfair and it had also made her uncomfortable. I didn't know at the time that Sister Terry was a Mormon. Through conversation a few weeks later I learned that. We had been emailing back and forth and I told her I was looking for a new church, it was at that time that she told me she was Mormon, she converted when she was a few years younger than me. I had noticed a beautiful chapel behind Waterford Lakes Town Center only a few minutes from my home and I decided to check it out.
A few minutes later I was on requesting a visit from the missionaries. After my first meeting with Elders Vance and Howard I knew that nothing that the author said was true. I could feel my testimony growing just in that short time and I was baptized just two weeks later. If I never read a book meant to convince other Christians that Mormons aren't true followers of Christ then I may not be here today.
Thanks to that book meant to convince me otherwise, I now know that our Heavenly Father loves us, that Jesus Christ is his son and our Savior and Redeemer, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of the Lord sent here to restore The Gospel, that The Priesthood exists and has the power and authority to bless our lives, and that President Thomas S. Monson is a living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. I say these things in Jesus name- Amen.

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