The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This faith is not mere belief but sure conviction borne of the witness of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is literally the Son of God and our Savior. Having such a testimony is one of the foremost gifts of the Spirit that the Savior encourages us to earnestly seek.
Seeking a testimony of the Savior involves both asking and acting. President Gordon B. Hinckley observes: “The Lord Himself gave the formula when He said, ‘If any man will do [the will of the Father], he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself’ (John 7:17).
“It will take study of the word of God. It will take prayer and anxious seeking of the source of all truth. It will take living the gospel, … following the teachings. I do not hesitate to promise, because I know from personal experience, that out of all of this will come, by the power of the Holy Ghost, a conviction, a testimony, a certain knowledge” (Liahona, October 1995, 2–7).
Gaining a testimony is not a single event, but a process. Once a person receives a witness of Christ’s divinity, continued study, obedience, and service strengthen that conviction.
In 1945, Cynthia Mallory obtained a summer job at a tourist lodge in southern Utah as a way to earn enough money to help her through her third year of college. Several of her fellow workers, also college students, were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When they invited her to join a weekly discussion group to talk about religion, Cynthia, who was not a member of the Church, accepted because she had let her spiritual life give way to other interests during her years away from home. The group was small, led by a seminary teacher working for the summer as a tour bus driver.
She listened to the discussions and was fascinated by them but had no thought of changing religions—until they discussed the Holy Ghost. Cynthia walked to a grassy open space near the lodge, where she determined to test the promise made to her that if she would pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ to know the truth, she would be answered through the power of the Holy Ghost. It was dark, but the lights from the lodge made her feel safe as she knelt in the shadows to pray. Even before she finished asking the question, a light seemed to be turned on within her. The answer came clearly: what she had heard about Jesus Christ was true!
The direction of Cynthia’s life changed in that moment. She knew what to do: she would be baptized. She was exhilarated to realize that, guided by an unseen hand, she had made her first independent decision. Sensing the Savior’s approval and love, she resolved to keep his commandments.
Today, Cynthia remains devoted to the Lord and his gospel. Her testimony, strengthened by the Holy Ghost, is an ever increasing source of joy.
How can we increase and strengthen our testimonies of Jesus Christ?
How does knowing who the Lord is affect your daily life?