This statement by Sister Beck, given in the April 2010 general conference, really struck me. It's pretty bold to declare that there is a "single most important skill" to acquire! And yet she's right. For years I've felt very strongly that learning how the Spirit talks to them was one of the most important things I could help my children learn before they left home. It was nice to have the validation from a conference talk that I was on the right track.
Anyway, Sister Thompson talked about this same topic this month in general conference. (You can find the talk here.) The phrase that stood out most to me as she was talking was this one: "Because we have a strong testimony doesn’t mean it will always remain that way. We must nourish and strengthen it in order that it will have sufficient power to sustain us."
That reminded me of a quote from President Harold B. Lee: "The testimony you have today will not be your testimony of tomorrow. Your testimony is either going to grow and grow until it becomes as the brightness of the sun, or it is going to diminish to nothing, depending on what you do about it. The greatest responsibility that a member of Christ’s church has ever had is to become truly converted—and it is just as important to stay converted." (February 1971 New Era - This is an incredible article and I'd encourage you to read the whole thing.) Did you notice that superlative "greatest responsibility" again? We become converted as we learn how to recognize the Spirit.
Once we have felt the Spirit testifying truth to us, we need to work daily to keep our testimonies. And that reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures: Alma 5:26 "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"
Sister Thompson taught the way to keep our testimonies strong every single day: "The way to receive personal revelation is really quite clear. We need to desire to receive revelation, we must not harden our hearts, and then we need to ask in faith, truly believe that we will receive an answer, and then diligently keep the commandments of God."
I'm grateful for my testimony. I'm thankful for the encouragement to do the little things each day to keep it growing.
P.S. Saturday we went to watch the sunrise at the beach. It was a cloudy day, but you could still tell that the sun had actually risen above the horizon. It was reminiscent of Elder Bednar's talk last spring, which Sister Thompson also referenced: "The Spirit of Revelation."
quotes from Harold B. Lee - (He didn't just say it one time!)"Testimony is as elusive as a moonbeam; it’s as fragile as an orchid; you have to recapture it every morning of your life. You have to hold on by study, and by faith, and by prayer. If you allow yourself to be angry, if you allow yourself to get into the wrong kind of company, you listen to the wrong kind of stories, you are studying the wrong kind of subjects, you are engaging in sinful practices, there is nothing that will be more deadening as to take away the Spirit of the Lord from you until it will be as though you had walked from a lighted room when you go out of this building, as though you had gone out into a darkness."
"That which you possess today in testimony will not be yours tomorrow unless you do something about it. Your testimony is either going to increase or it is going to diminish, depending on you. Will you remember your responsibility, then? The Lord said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17)."
"No truly converted Latter-day Saint can be immoral. No truly converted Latter-day Saint can be dishonest, nor lie, nor steal. That means that one may have a testimony as of today, but when he stoops to do things that contradict the laws of God, it is because he has lost his testimony and he has to fight to regain it again. Testimony isn’t something that you have today and you keep always. Testimony is either going to grow and grow to the brightness of certainty, or it is going to diminish to nothingness, depending upon what we do about it. I say, the testimony that we recapture day by day is the thing that saves us from the pitfalls of the adversary."