On Tuesday, April 25 at 11:30 a.m. in the BYU-Idaho Center, Elder Kyle S. McKay, a General Authority Seventy, gave a devotional talk in which he centered on gaining a personal testimony and how to strengthen that foundation.
He started his talk by sharing a message from President Russell M. Nelson in which President Nelson told the youth of the Church that they needed to convert to the gospel for themselves and that nobody could do it for them.
Elder McKay then asked a few clarifying questions to help individuals see where they should be at as far as testimonies go.
“Is your testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel strengthened by, but not dependent on others?” Elder McKay asked. “Is your foundation sure enough and certain enough that you can remain unshaken even if someone you admire in the faith makes a mistake now or in the future — or in the past? Have you learned the principles of the gospel in such a way that you can do all this?”
He continued his address by telling the congregation that even when they have testimonies of their own, they would likely encounter doubts stemming from individuals who try to steer believing members from their faith. Elder McKay explained that doubts from others should not challenge testimonies, but should promote the importance and need of agency in the everyday lives of members of the Church.
“In short, agency — that is, our ability, our responsibility, to choose for ourselves — is essential in all things, including and beginning with belief,” Elder McKay said. “In order to preserve our agency in the matter of belief, there must be opposites from which to choose — reasons to believe and reasons to doubt.”
Elder McKay went on to explain that another common shaker of faith is human error within the Church. According to him, people tend to make God in their own image and hold humans to a standard equal to Heavenly Father’s.
He used examples of both ancient and latter-day prophets who have made mistakes and he encouraged individuals to trust that these leaders were called of God. He emphasized that just a testimony of the gospel is not sufficient to remain spiritually firm. When doubts of Church leaders creep up, Elder McKay invites others to practice their faith that they are humans — and called of God.
In closing, Elder McKay shared his own testimony of Jesus Christ and President Nelson. As he did so, he also invited others to prioritize strengthening their own testimonies and to focus their faith on the divine ministry and life of Jesus Christ.
“I testify that Russell M. Nelson is a good, great and holy man, a prophet of God,” Elder McKay said. “I commend to you his invitation to make the continual strengthening of your testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel your highest priority.”