Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Testimony and Conversion

                Gaining a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not the same as being converted to the work.  Even Satan and his minions can testify that Jesus is the Christ, but they are definitely not interesting in building the kingdom of God.

                President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave some counsel on this subject.  “We know from our own experience and from observing others that having a few great moments of spiritual power will not be enough.  Peter denied he knew the Savior even after he had received a witness by the Spirit that Jesus was the Christ.  The Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon had direct testimony given to them that the Book of Mormon was the word of God, and yet later they faltered in their ability to sustain Joseph Smith as the Prophet of the Lord’s Church.”

                In order to be converted, we must have a change of heart much like the people of King Benjamin experienced.  King Benjamin, a prophet-king in ancient America, taught his people about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  His people believed his words and experienced “a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually….
                “And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 5:1-2, 5).

                I know lots of people who have testimonies but are not converted.  There are several members of my extended family who know the truth but who are not living it.  They have had spiritual experiences but make choices that are not compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I see friends and loved ones fall away from the truth and feel concern for them and for all my loved ones.  We all need a “mighty change” in our hearts in order to be truly converted, but we need to nourish our conversion by doing those things that strengthen us.  What must we do to stay converted to Christ?

                The Lord told Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32).  Some of the best things we can do to strengthen ourselves and others is to pray, study the scriptures, attend church and temple, and serve others.

                President Eyring continued, “The Lord taught us that when we are truly converted to His gospel, our hearts will be turned from selfish concerns and turned toward service to lift others as they move upward to eternal life.  To obtain that conversion, we can pray and work in faith to become the new creature made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

                “We can start by praying for the faith to repent of selfishness and for the gift of caring for others more than ourselves.  We can pray for the power to lay aside pride and envy.

                “Prayer will be the key as well for receiving the gift of a love for the word of God and for the love of Christ (see  Moroni 7:47-48).  The two come together.  As we read, ponder, and pray over the word of God, we will come to love it.  The Lord puts it in our hearts.  As we feel that love, we will begin to love the Lord more and more.  With that will come the love for others that we need in order to strengthen those whom God puts in our path.”

                I am truly grateful for my testimony of Jesus Christ.  I know He is the Son of God because the Holy Ghost has borne that witness to me.  I cannot doubt the presence of the Holy Ghost in my life; however, I might temporarily forget my testimony if I do not feed it daily.  I feed my testimony and strengthen my conversion by communicating with my Heavenly Father every day.  Whenever I feel a distance between us, I recognize that it is I who has moved, not Him, and I return to the basics.  What are those basic things I need to do?  President Eyring told us.

                Instead of just reading a few verses in the Book of Mormon –Another Testament of Jesus Christ, I immerse myself in the scriptures, spending more time reading, pondering, and applying the scriptural counsel in my own life.  Then I read the words of prophets and apostles living in our day in at least one article in the Ensign; however, I usually read several articles before I feel I am back in the safe zone.  I attend my Sunday meetings, knowing that I get as much out of the talks and lessons as I am willing to receive.  I attend the temple regularly, usually spending several hours in the temple each week.  I renew my commitment to fulfill the assignments in the Church that I have accepted, and I look for someone to serve.  I know that I can strengthen my testimony of Jesus Christ and my conversion to doing His will, and I know I must diligently work at strengthening my testimony and conversion every day.

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