Thursday, October 2, 2008


This Saturday and Sunday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints will hold its 178th Semiannual General Conference where those who listen will be taught gospel and life truths by the leaders of the church. For any who are questioning our stands, this is an ideal time to see for yourselves what members of the church truly believe. There will be many that will bare testimony of the truths of our doctrines - but how can one know for themselves if what is being taught is correct?

One of our Apostles, Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught about the idea of gaining a testimony at our last General Conference. While it is a little lengthy, I love how he eloquently explains about the process by which this fundamental knowledge can be gained. Elder Oaks said,

"What do we mean when we testify and say that we know the gospel is true? Contrast that kind of knowledge with “I know it is cold outside” or “I know I love my wife.” These are three different kinds of knowledge, each learned in a different way. Knowledge of outside temperature can be verified by scientific proof. Knowledge that we love our spouse is personal and subjective. While not capable of scientific proof, it is still important. The idea that all important knowledge is based on scientific evidence is simply untrue.

While there are some “evidences” for gospel truths (for example, see Psalm 19:1; Helaman 8:24), scientific methods will not yield spiritual knowledge. This is what Jesus taught in response to Simon Peter’s testimony that He was the Christ: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). The Apostle Paul explained this. In a letter to the Corinthian Saints, he said, “The things of God knoweth no man, but [by]
the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11; see also John 14:17). In contrast, we know the things of man by the ways of man, but “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The Book of Mormon teaches that God will manifest the truth of spiritual things unto us by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Moroni 10:4–5). In modern revelation God promises us that we will receive “knowledge” by His telling us in our mind and in our heart “by the Holy Ghost” (D&C 8:1–2).

One of the greatest things about our Heavenly Father’s plan for His children is that each of us can know the truth of that plan for ourselves. That revealed knowledge does not come from books, from scientific proof, or from intellectual pondering. As with the Apostle Peter, we can receive that knowledge directly from our Heavenly
Father through the witness of the Holy Ghost.

When we know spiritual truths by spiritual means, we can be just as sure of that knowledge as scholars and scientists are of the different kinds of knowledge they have acquired by different methods."

I love these ideas because I have felt and deeply know this knowledge of the gospel, just as well as I have learned and proven scientific principles in the classroom. We challenge all to put these ideas to the test and watch General Conference this weekend. Those who do will come away from the experience strengthened with a greater desire to do good around them.
General Conference broadcasts will be shown at LDS stake centers, in many locations on television, and watched online at (times and details can also be found at this site).

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