First Presidency Message

Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus


Ezra Taft Benson

Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus

A most priceless blessing available to every member of the Church is a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His church. A testimony is one of the few possessions we may take with us when we leave this life.

To have a testimony of Jesus is to possess knowledge through the Holy Ghost of the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

A testimony of Jesus is to know the divine nature of our Lord’s birth—that He is indeed the Only Begotten Son in the flesh.

A testimony of Jesus is to know that He was the promised Messiah and that while He sojourned among men He accomplished many mighty miracles.

A testimony of Jesus is to know that the laws which He prescribed as His doctrine are true and then to abide by these laws and ordinances.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that He voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of all mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane, which caused Him to suffer in both body and spirit and to bleed from every pore. All this He did so that we would not have to suffer if we would repent. (See D&C 19:16, 18.)

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that He came forth triumphantly from the grave with a physical, resurrected body. And because He lives, so shall all mankind.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that God the Father and Jesus Christ did indeed appear to the Prophet Joseph Smith to establish a new dispensation of His gospel so that salvation may be preached to all nations before He comes.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that the Church, which He established in the meridian of time and restored in modern times is, as the Lord has declared, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” (D&C 1:30.)

Having such a testimony is vital. But of even greater importance is being valiant in our testimony.

A testimony of Jesus means that we accept the divine mission of Jesus Christ, embrace His gospel, and do His works. It also means we accept the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith and his successors and follow their counsel. As Jesus said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38.)

Speaking of those who will eventually receive the blessings of the celestial kingdom, the Lord said to Joseph Smith:

“They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given.” (D&C 76:51.)

These are they who are valiant in their testimony of Jesus, who, as the Lord has declared, “overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.” (D&C 76:53.)

“Those who are just and true!” What an apt expression for those valiant in the testimony of Jesus. They are courageous in defending truth and righteousness. These are members of the Church who magnify their callings in the Church (see D&C 84:33), pay their tithes and offerings, live morally clean lives, sustain their Church leaders by word and action, keep the Sabbath as a holy day, and obey all the commandments of God.

To these the Lord has promised that “all thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (D&C 121:29.)

Not to be valiant in one’s testimony is a tragedy of eternal consequence. There are members who know this latter-day work is true, but who fail to endure to the end.

One who rationalizes that he or she has a testimony of Jesus Christ but cannot accept direction and counsel from the leadership of His church is in a fundamentally unsound position and is in jeopardy of losing exaltation.

From the days of my youth, I have gratefully cherished a testimony of the truth of this glorious work in which we are engaged. I want you to know of my love for my counselors, my brethren of the Twelve, the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric. I know them to be men appointed by our Lord under the inspiration of heaven. I sustain their inspired words and counsel and testify of the unity that we all feel among the General Authorities of this church.

I love the members of the Church. I love all our Father’s children and desire all to realize the blessings of eternal life. I know that is what the Lord, our Savior and Redeemer, desires for each one of us.

My appeal to all members of the Church is to be valiant—true and loyal,

True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true [may] we ever stand.

(Hymns, 1985, no. 254.)

I bear testimony that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. He presides over it and is close to His servants. God bless us all to be valiant in our testimony of Him, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Ideas for Home Teachers

Some Points of Emphasis. You may wish to make these points in your home teaching discussion:

  1. 1.

    To have a testimony of Jesus is to possess knowledge through the Holy Ghost of the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

  2. 2.

    Of even greater importance is being valiant in our testimony of Jesus, which means embracing his gospel and doing his work in these latter days. “These are members of the Church who magnify their callings in the Church, pay their tithes and offerings, live morally clean lives, sustain their Church leaders by word and action, keep the Sabbath as a holy day, and obey all the commandments of the Lord.”

  3. 3.

    Those who are valiant in their testimony and “overcome by faith” have been promised “all thrones and dominions, principalities and powers.”

Discussion Helps

  1. 1.

    Share your feelings about being valiant in the testimony of Jesus. Ask family members to share their feelings about being valiant in the testimony of Jesus.

  2. 2.

    Are there some scriptures or quotations in this article that the family might read aloud and discuss?

  3. 3.

    Would this discussion be better after a pre-visit chat with the head of the house? Is there a message from the quorum leader or bishop?

[illustration] “Behold My Hands and Feet,” by Harry Anderson