It’s no secret that the changes in the Church are preparing us to become more spiritually self-reliant in preparation for the Second Coming. We’re responsible for receiving inspiration for our ministering families and come January, we’ll focus more than ever on learning the gospel in our home and developing our own unshakeable testimonies.
President Nelson has urged us to become more spiritually self-reliant in his invitations during the past two general conferences. In April 2018 he said, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. . . . I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation.” He gave a similar statement in October 2018 when he said, “The adversary is increasing his attacks on faith and upon us and our families at an exponential rate. To survive spiritually, we need counterstrategies and proactive plans.” Elder Quentin L. Cook then proceeded to announce a shorter Sunday block schedule with an emphasis on home-centered gospel study.
These changes are blessing us with more opportunities to serve one another, strengthen our testimonies, and become more Christlike. It seems as though we’re becoming more independent in a way, and I think that can be an amazing thing. We need to be able to stand firm in our own faith in the gospel during these last days. But it’s interesting to see that as we become more independent in our testimonies, we come more dependent on the Savior.
In his October general conference talk, Elder Andersen said, “God did not create our spirits to be independent of Him. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through the incalculable gift of His Atonement, not only saves us from death and offers us, through repentance, forgiveness of our sins, but He also stands ready to save us from the sorrows and pains of our wounded souls.”
As we come to know for ourselves the truthfulness of the gospel, we’ll be able to stand for what we believe in, even if it means we’re standing alone. We’ll be able to confidently answer tough questions, and when we don’t have the answers, we’ll be able to have faith that we can receive inspiration and be patient as we wait.
As we’re working toward becoming more spiritually independent, there are things we can do to become more dependent on the Savior and strengthen our testimonies. And while everyone might feel His love differently, these three things will be important for our progression in the gospel and our relationship with God.
1. Attend the temple as often as possible.
There is no greater place to receive inspiration than within the walls of the temple. Being in the house of the Lord is refreshing, especially when there are so many worldly distractions weighing you down. Being in the temple reminds us of what’s truly important and gives us a space to receive inspiration for important decisions and burning questions, or to simply feel peace.
In the October general women’s session of conference, President Nelson said, “More regular time in the temple will allow the Lord to teach you how to draw upon His priesthood power with which you have been endowed in His temple. . . . Seek to know more, to understand more, to feel more about temples than you ever have before.”
2. Don’t look beyond the mark.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the changes and new responsibilities in the Church, but as long as we’re making an honest effort, helping each other progress, and growing closer to the Savior, we’ll be blessed. However, Elder Cook warned against looking beyond the mark in his October 2016 conference talk, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus.” He said, “When we elevate any principle in a way that lessens our commitment to other equally important principles or take a position contrary to or which exceeds teachings of Church leaders, we are looking beyond the mark.”
He mentioned this again while explaining the new home-centered church curriculum in the October 2018 conference. “We trust you to counsel together and to seek revelation for implementing these adjustments while not looking beyond the mark or trying to regiment individuals or families,” he said.
3. Make prayer and scripture study a daily habit.
I’ve heard it said that we talk to Heavenly Father through prayer, and He talks to us through the scriptures. Block out time in your day to spend not just reading but studying the scriptures and praying sincerely. Take notes on the things you learn and write down the impressions you have. When you do these things, you’ll gain a greater relationship with Christ and a stronger testimony of His gospel.
In President Monson’s last general conference talk in April 2017, he stressed the importance of the Book of Mormon. He powerfully said, “It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.”