From Faith to Conviction
by Kathryn Skaggs
I love writing and I really love being a Mormon blogger. I am passionate about my faith and have always found Mormonism to be incredibly fascinating. I love Mormon doctrine, and I love to teach it. Throughout my life I’ve often expressed that to do so is my favorite thing.
When I first became active in the Church, at 17, I read Bruce R. McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” from cover to cover — like a novel. (I’m kind of a dork in that way.) I was like this huge sponge; soaking up every ounce of gospel truth I could get my hands on, and loved every minute of it. That was the beginning of my love to study the gospel of Jesus Christ. As the years have gone by, my time, and passion, to deeply study the gospel have been intermittent.
Early in my journey of faith, I was blessed with a powerful witness to the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon — because I asked. However, it wasn’t until after my fifth child was born that I began a serious study of its content, that included more than just a daily investment of my time. That child is now almost 21. I did so upon the challenge of my then Stake President. I had been called to serve as the education counselor (Do they even call it that anymore?) in our Stake Relief Society Presidency and felt the weight of my call to teach and train with power.
I can’t stress enough the importance of developing our testimony of the gospel upon the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. Not just upon the content of the book, but upon its truthfulness. My experience has taught me that there is a significant difference. In fact, I believe, it is the difference that has the power to enable us to withstand the very real and inevitable buffetings of the adversary.
I have always found it significant to acknowledge the point in my relationship with The Book of Mormon, at which I came to know that it is true. It was not after years of deep study of its pages. Rather, it was during my initial contact and deep desire to know, for myself, of its truth. The results of which, no question, changed the course of my life. I knew it would, and that’s why I had to know for sure — it is true?
It is not a light thing to profess that a testimony of the authenticity of The Book of Mormon, come from God, produces, as its byproduct, a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. Period. God, in His masterful way, intended this to be so. And it is precisely this faith based and Spirit-testified testimony, that has the power to save us, literally!
I know this is true. I know this power in my own life. I know this truth is my own personal lifesaver — because it saves me every single day.
All around us we see our brothers and sisters in the gospel, fall by the wayside. Each casualty has a personal story as to what has caused him or her to choose to leave the path. Unfortunately, and far too often, it is due to a lack of conviction. And here is where the importance of a testimony based on the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon, in my experience, applies its incredible power.
Because I know, by the Power of the Holy Ghost, that The Book of Mormon is a true record, brought forth by the Gift and Power of God — I also KNOW (Think of how many people today, even some within the Church, detest and even mock that phrase) that Joseph Smith was, and is, a true prophet of God.
Said Gordon B. Hinckley, in one of my all-time favorite General Conference addresses, about The Book of Mormon:
“The Book of Mormon is the only book ever published, of which I know, that carries in it a promise that one who reads it prayerfully and asks concerning it in prayer will have revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost a knowledge that it is true (see Moroni 10:4).”
Because of my own experience, in acquiring this specific knowledge, President Hinckley’s testimony has remained with me — in understanding how profound this promise, from God, is intended to be for each of His children. It is real, and available to all willing to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and His words. And, it is that which develops unfaltering conviction.
I love the word CONVICTION. President Uchtdorf taught this about conviction and testimony:
“A testimony is the sure knowledge or assurance from the Holy Ghost of the truth and divinity of the Lord’s work in these latter days. A testimony is the “abiding, living, [and] moving conviction of the truths revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Marion G. Romney, “How to Gain a Testimony,” New Era, May 1976, 8; emphasis added).
When we bear testimony, we declare the absolute truth of the gospel message. In a time when many perceive truth as relative, a declaration of absolute truth is not very popular, nor does it seem politically correct or opportune. Testimonies of things how “they really are” (Jacob 4:13) are bold, true, and vital because they have eternal consequences for mankind. Satan wouldn’t mind if we declared the message of our faith and gospel doctrine as negotiable according to circumstances. Our firm conviction of gospel truth is an anchor in our lives; it is steady and reliable as the North Star. A testimony is very personal and may be a little different for each of us, because everyone is a unique person.
However, a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will always include these clear and simple truths:
• God lives. He is our loving Father in Heaven, and we are His children.
• Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and the Savior of the world.
• Joseph Smith is the prophet of God through whom the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the latter days.
• The Book of Mormon is the word of God.
• President [Thomas S. Monson], his counselors, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are the prophets, seers, and revelators in our day.”
On a daily basis we are confronted with multiple assaults against what we believe, how we believe it, and even how what we believe came to be. The fiery darts of the adversary are relentless and will continue to be so. If we are not careful we can find ourselves feeling the need to make choices, daily, to either allow or ignore these challenges to our faith.
The great blessing of acquiring a testimony, based on the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon, as promised by God, is a conviction of such power that it enables us to not be shaken out of our place under any circumstance.
Consider the many darts that lose all ability to injure, when we personally come to know, with deep conviction, that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God — or that we truly have living prophets upon the earth, today, who speak the mind and will of the Lord. This verse of scripture comes to mind…
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
I am so grateful for my personal testimony of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. I have come to understand that, indeed, it is the keystone of our religion — and what that means to my personal testimony of the gospel. I am in awe of God’s grand design in establishing His entire work, in these latter-days, upon its foundation. It is God’s word, and as promised He will verify such to anyone willing to sincerely, with real intent, study and pray for that testimony.
- How has your personal testimony of The Book of Mormon, enabled you to remain convicted to your faith that the Church is true?
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