Speaking to those who want a stronger testimony but aren't sure how to achieve it, Mark Colton, BYU associate professor of mechanical engineering, used personal experiences to share six keys to keep and strengthen a testimony at the BYU Devotional on Tuesday, June 30. Here's what he had to say:
1. Fight for it
"I think there are two reasons why we fight for our testimonies. First, we show our Father in Heaven how much we value our testimony and that we want to keep it. I believe He is more eager to give a gift of testimony to those who He knows will cherish it, protect it and fight for it. The second reason is that those things that constitute a good fight are also the things that will naturally result in a stronger testimony."
2. There is only one source of a true testimony
"No matter how impressive your learning, mastery of the scriptures, life experience or logic and reason, only the Holy Ghost can impart the kind of testimony that lasts. We need to turn to God for confirmation of the truth.
"There are many sources of falsehood in the world. Please don't put your fingers in those traps. Don't turn to them into your quest for a testimony."
3. Choose to believe
"We know that choosing to believe is the first step toward knowing if something is true... As part of choosing to believe, we need to suspend our doubts so that our faith and testimonies have a chance to grow... As the seed grows into a strong testimony, our doubts and concerns will be pushed further and further to the side."
4. Don't let unanswered questions undermine your faith
"We naturally want to understand how everything fits together. How science and religion agree. How church history and secular history match up. We want facts. We want proof. We want data. I understand. I consider myself a scientific guy. I want to understand how it all works. But I can't let what I don't know destroy what I do know.
"Remember that there are answers and there are reasons. God knows them and will help us to understand them if we don't let the unanswered questions undermine our faith."
5. Experiment upon the word
"You can read all you want about a topic, you can think carefully about a research question... but until you try it out, until you get your hands dirty in actual experiments, you will never get a definitive answer for yourself. The same is true for obtaining and keeping a testimony of the gospel: we need to experiment upon the word.
"It seems, at least initially, that the [experiments] never go exactly as we planned. Sometimes it is because we are asking the wrong question. Sometimes we are not following the correct procedure. Sometimes we are not patient enough, and we miss out on the beautiful results that would have come had we just stuck with the experiment a little longer.
"When it comes to experimenting upon the word to gain a testimony, we need to conduct experiments in the Lord's way. We need to complete all the required steps and make all the necessary connections to be successful."
6. Share it
"[While visiting a ward in Singapore] what impressed me most was how they focused on sharing their testimonies. The youth speakers shared their testimonies. The adult speakers shared their testimonies. The bishopric and instructors shared their testimonies. It was refreshing to feel such a focus on testimonies. It strengthened my testimony and I'm sure it strengthened theirs as they shared them."
If you missed Colton's address, you can watch it on BYUtv.org.
Next Week's Devotional
The next BYU Devotional address will be held on Tuesday, July 7, at 11:05 a.m., in the de Jong Concert Hall of the Harris Fine Arts Center.
BYU University Librarian Jennifer Paustenbaugh will speak on "When Your Bow Breaks" and will focus on what we can learn about handling challenges and adversity in life.
Her remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYU Radio.