What testimony is…
Before I start talking about how we can build upon our faith and testimony, I want to be sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what testimony means. Joseph Fielding Smith said that a testimony:
“is a convincing knowledge given by revelation to (a person) who humbly seeks the truth… Its convincing power is so great that there can be no doubt left in the mind when the Spirit has spoken. It is the only way that a person can truly know that Jesus is the Christ and that His gospel is true.”
Perhaps you have felt the testimony that you have in your life.
How testimony and faith grow
Henry B. Eyring does an amazing job in explaining this in his talk “Testimony.” This is what he says:
“Testimony requires the nurturing by the prayer of faith, the hungering for the word of God in the scriptures, and the obedience to the truth we have received. There is danger in neglecting prayer. There is danger to our testimony in only casual study and reading of the scriptures. They are necessary nutrients for our testimony.
You remember the warning from Alma:
‘But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof’ (Alma 32:38-39).
Feasting on the word of god, heartfelt prayer, and obedience to the Lord’s commandments must be applied evenly and continually for your testimony to grow and prosper. All of us at times have circumstances beyond our control that interrupt our pattern of scripture study. There may be periods of time when we choose for some reason not to pray. There may be commandments that we choose for a time to ignore.
But you will not have your desire for a living testimony granted if you forget the warning and the promise in Alma:
‘And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yeah, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
Then…ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you’ (Alma 32:40-43).”
Is the ground that you plant your seed of testimony and faith barren? What are you doing to have fertile soil and to nourish the seed of faith and testimony? I know that as we continually nurture our testimony through scripture study, prayer, and obedience, our lives are enriched and filled with purpose and meaning.