Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week of March 1 - More Thoughts on Testimony, Knowledge, and Conversion

I plan on being the type of member who can be relied upon to do all things that people ask. Speaking about the priest quorum (the 16-18 age young men), the youth over here seem so much more enthusiastic about the church and even seem to be more closely bonded together for some reason.  That was not always what I experienced back home, which is really sad. I have been trying to pinpoint what the difference is and I just think it comes down to the general desire to know the truth and then act on it. I think here in Australia the kids have to really rely on their own testimonies at an earlier age since there aren't a ton of members (i.e., they need to be personally stronger to stand against the opposition). I think that the trick is to teach them (the youth) how to rely on themselves (at an early age) as opposed to just looking to others and the past as the basis of their testimonies. Elder Bednar said he absolutely doesn't like it when people bear their testimonies on something that happened years ago. He said that you should bear testimony on things that you learn/experience each week and even day by day.  Building (and bearing) one's testimony should be a constant, renewing process.

In regards to the "truth of all things" I just look at some people in the past that have been given loads of knowledge such as the Brother of Jared, Nephi, John the Beloved, Ezekiel, Moses, and Abraham. These men had truth and knowledge shown unto them, and it was something that was undeniable. Modern prophets, too, have been able to have experiences where there is no longer opportunity to question what is truth - it is a sure knowledge. I don't expect to necessarily have miraculous experiences, but I want a testimony that cannot be questioned or shaken. I have heard stories of people who have had their calling and election made sure in this life and I guess that I kind of desire to get to that level of trust between me and God. Elder Bednar kind of said something in regards to this. He said that that knowledge will come as we continue to (seek and) receive revelation every single day actively and then we will learn line upon line of the absolute truth of those things. In relation to Alma's discourse on faith, in Hebrews we learn that you start with an assurance, then Alma says it goes to a belief, then to hope, and finally to a pure knowledge. I just want to be able to say that I don't have to rely on faith anymore in regards to the simple truths of the gospel, but that I will have graduated to having a sure knowledge of those truths. 

In Joseph Smith's discourses, he says that there are three baptisms - one of water, fire, and the Holy Ghost. I believe that equates to the initial desire to exercise faith and the preparatory cleansing, the continuation of exercising faith until you are purified, and then you are ready to be sanctified and receive that pure witness by the Holy ghost. He also said that there is "another Comforter" besides the Holy Ghost which he described as the testimony received through the Savior himself and not through the Holy Ghost. I want to eventually get to that level of conversion.

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