I have been thinking a lot the last few months about the talk entitled Pure Testimony that was given by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the October 2004 session of general conference. He talked about what a testimony is and what it is not. More recently Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy talked about this in his Ensign article titled Bearing Testimony in October 2005. I have included below some points that these two brethren made.
What a testimony is not:
- A list of things that we are thankful for.
- A list of things that we love.
- Story, travelogue, lecture, talk, or sermon.
- A testimony can be identified by the use of powerful verbs such as know, testify, believe, certify, declare, affirm, bear witness, bear record.
- An admission ("I have a testimony").
- An exhortation.
- A public confession.
- Not a long explanation of how you know.
- A testimony is a witness or confirmation of eternal truth impressed upon individual hearts and souls through the Holy Ghost.
- Simply stated, testimony—real testimony, born of the Spirit and confirmed by the Holy Ghost—changes lives.
- Anchored very early to the first principles of the gospel.
- Centered on the Savior, the doctrines of the gospel, the blessings of the Restoration, and the teachings of the scriptures.
- A declaration ("I know").
- Brief and concise.
We talked about Abraham and sacrafice. Being saved by Jehovah prepared him to trust the Lord later in life.
Arab nations are decendants Ishmael. Israelis are decendants of Isaac. With the way that the Arabs and Israelis fight with each other the thought occurred to me of how similar that is to the Lamanites and Nephites. Both brothers were blessed with great blessings, but the younger brother was given the blessing to be a leader.
The lesson was on prophets having words for their day. We talked about some of the messages President Hinckley has given to us. One of them included his cousel to stay away from gambling.
We considered the billboards that talk of casinos being good for Indiana due to the number of jobs that it creates. What it doesn't mention is the damage to families while fathers and mothers waste their families money and partake of things that could put their marriages at risk.
I got to thinking about day trading being a form of gambling. You don't necessarily get all the trappings that usually accompany gambling, but it can be addictive and waste or tie up money that could be used elsewhere.