By BRINTON WILKINS
In a cynical and doubting world, everyone can gain a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and the gospel, said Elder Angel Abrea of the First Quorum of the Seventy during the Saturday priesthood session of the 170th Annual General Conference of the LDS Church.
Speaking as if he were holding a conversation with his grandsons, Elder Abrea answered questions about what a testimony is, why it is important and what must be done to receive one.
Quoting Elder John A. Widtsoe, Elder Abrea asked, “Do you realize that a testimony is defined as the highest type of knowledge and ‘man’s chief possession’ and that in the Doctrine and Covenants the Savior mentions it as a knowledge ‘which shall dwell in you heart’ (D&C 8:2)?”
Gaining this knowledge in today’s world can be a challenge, Elder Abrea said.
“The truth is that you will not be condemned for wondering or questioning if you make a sincere effort to find the answer.”
Cynicism, pride and doubt hold people from gaining a true testimony, Elder Abrea said.
These negative influences can be negated if we follow the counsel of the Savior, he said.
“We are benefited by retaining the humility and teachableness of a child, but we must be sure to continue growing and not be content with the limited knowledge or comprehension of the gospel which a child has.”
Speaking to his grandson, Paul, he said, “Remember, Paul, what the apostle of your same name said to the Corinthians: ‘Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (1 Corinthians 14:20).'”
Those who follow four steps outlined in 1 Nephi 15:11 in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, can gain a testimony, he said.
The four steps are: harden not your heart, ask in faith, keep the commandments and seek and be worthy of the Holy Ghost, Elder Abrea said.
“Faith based on personal prayer, study and obedience is more lasting than blind faith; it is more rewarding, and for sure it is better grounded.”
Speaking of the Holy Ghost, Elder Abrea quoted Elder Marion G. Romney who said, “We must ever keep in mind, however, that he will not dwell in an unholy environment. He is used to the society of God, for he is an associate of the Father and the Son.”
A testimony is unique because it will continue with us in the next life, he said.
“Think of Joseph Smith; those who took his life could not take his ‘chief possession’ — his testimony,” he said.