In October General Conference this year, Elder Carlos Godoy‘s talk was titled Testimony As A Process. I really loved it. It was important for me, because it highlighted the fact that powerful spiritual experiences are not necessary for a strong testimony.
I have had experiences, that have influenced me greatly, but no, I’m not Alma or Paul (nor a Laman or a Lemuel). For me it has been enough to experience the confirmation by the Spirit as I have followed what my conscience has told me to do.
I was reading Our Search for Happiness the other day, and Elder Ballard’s testimony impressed me. He said there were no angels there for him, when he received a measure of certainty that allowed him to testify of the truth of the Restoration. For me there have been powerful experiences, but what has made the biggest difference to me is the experience over time. It is not easy to always do what you believe is right. But as Moroni counsels in Ether 12:6, we will not receive a witness until the trial of our faith. Seeing is not believing – believing is seeing.
I have found that we can attain a certain amount of certainty, but there will always be serious limits to our certainties. It is an article of faith for us, that “we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” (Articles of Faith 9) So we will have to strive to be humble and not arrogant.
My personal experience is that by telling other people what I believe to be true my own faith in those things becomes stronger. I have thought there must be a reason why it works this way. Perhaps it is so in order that if we do what the Lord has asked us to do (stand as his witness), we become stronger.
Anyway, I referred to Laman and Lemuel above. Angels visited them and they had powerful experiences, and yet they apostatized. I wish for more people to experience the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. It is very real and he can heal us by the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ – we really are not alone. We can accept limited understanding for now, and we will get “line upon line” until we understand fully.
If you haven’t read/heard Elder Godoy’s testimony, go ahead and read it. His is a humble but powerful witness.