"We are familiar with the vision received by the Prophet Joseph Smith and how he obtained his testimony of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ," said Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve in the 1994 October general conference.
"As we humbly testify to the world, there appeared to Joseph in answer to his prayer the very Eternal God of heaven and earth and His Only Begotten Son, who is the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. . . ."Joseph Smith sealed his testimony with his own blood. The Prophet's martyrdom was a voluntary acceptance of death to seal the testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 135:1) and to bear holy witness of Jesus Christ and His gospel in this dispensation."
However, continued Elder Hales, "we do not give our testimony and lives in the manner that Joseph Smith, the martyred Prophet, gave his life. Rather, we give testimony by devoted service in our lives each day to lift and strengthen others.
He suggested five ways a testimony is often gained.
- "Have a sincere desire to know the truth and express that desire in humble prayer to our Heavenly Father. If ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you. (Alma 32:27.)
- "Search the scriptures. Continue to pray. The scriptures are filled with the testimonies of those who have gone before. Even they, though long dead, can reach your heart and bring peace to your mind and direction to your life.
- "Search and ponder the truths you are learning about gospel principles. Think about them. Test them with further prayer. Relate them to what you know and feel. All the truths you will learn can eventually fit together into a fervent, undoubting testimony.
- "Be humble and receptive. Have ears to hear when Heavenly Father leads us to someone who can teach us about the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . But know that once we pray, study, and have faith with a desire to learn spiritual matters, the Lord will provide a way for us to gain further light and knowledge.
- "Live your testimony. We must obediently follow the Savior's teachings and the prophets' examples. Our testimony and example will assist others who are searching for the truth."