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Back in the dinosaur ages when your parents were kids, temptation was kind of hard to come by. Your mom would meet with a temptation when she was at the store with a friend and her friend said, “Hey you should steal that candy bar.” Your dad would meet with a tetmpation when he was helping his neighbor clean out his garage and saw a pile of inappropriate magazines. Those temptations were still real, but they weren’t very common or easy to come by.
But NOW? Now you’ll find that unlike your parents when they were young, you don’t have to look for temptation. These spiritual traps comes looking for you. Literally. Temptation is just one click away on your phone, laptop, or TV– you are pretty much surrounded by it 24/7.
And guess what that means.
It means that you’ve got to have a rock solid testimony to be able to avoid Satan’s traps every single time.
How can you do that?
Let’s answer that question by going back over 2,000 years ago.
You might have heard of a man named Korihor in the Book of Mormon. He was an anti-Christ and a smooth talker– not a great combination. When he arrived in the city of Zarahemla he began to preach to the people that Christ was not real– that He wouldn’t come to earth and atone for our sins. Korihor must have been very convincing because many of the people believed him. But there was one man who definitely did NOT believe him and was brave enough to go to spiritual battle with him: Alma, the high priest.
As Korihor spoke to Alma he used the same cunning arguments he had used so successfully with his new followers in Zarahemla.
How could Alma stand up to him? What could he say to avoid this spiritual trap?
He didn’t have to say much because each sentence built a powerful testimony pyramid that Korihor couldn’t possibly knock down.
When Korihor told Alma that he didn’t believe there was a God, Alma replied how you and I might– with his personal experience. He said, ”I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come.” – Alma 30:39
Korihor wasn’t impressed and kept on fighting Alma’s testimony. He told Alma that he couldn’t possibly prove that God was real without showing him a sign.
Alma replied by sharing the evidence that God is real, “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” – Alma 30:44
Probably sensing Korihor’s skepticism Alma added one last layer to this unbreakable testimony pyramid– the authority of the prophets and the scriptures. He said, “. . . ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets. . . The scriptures are laid before thee . . . . – Alma 30:44
Korihor still didn’t believe and still fought against Alma– but you know who wasn’t shaken? Alma. And that’s what really matters in this story: in the face of a professional tempter Alma didn’t fall for any of his spiritual traps. No matter what Korihor said or did, Alma’s testimony pyramid stood strong.
So how was this testimony pyramid different than what you and I normally do to build our own temptation smashing testimonies?
Well, often when we think about or share our testimonies we only share the top layer– our own experience. We’ll say things like, “The Spirit has told me that the Book of Mormon is true.”
But what about times when you’re not feeling quite as certain about those spiritual experiences? Or what if a temptation is especially strong and you need extra testimony power?
That is when having a strong testimony base can help.
So let’s practice building a testimony pyramid together using the Book of Mormon for our example.
Let’s start with a strong foundation as our first layer: AUTHORITY. What have the scriptures and prophets taught you about the truth of the Book of Mormon? Do you believe the prophet when he says it’s true? What about your bishop? What about the General Authorities? Whose testimony do you trust and what do they say about the Book of Mormon? Pause and either write or discuss your answers to that question!
Great! Let’s build the second layer of our testimony pyramid: EVIDENCE. What evidence do you have that the Book of Mormon is true? Have you studied linguistic fingerprints that prove the book was written by many authors, not just one? What about the fact that despite the efforts of thousands of people over hundreds of years, no one has been able to prove the Book of Mormon is NOT true? What about Joseph Smith’s lack of education, or how quickly the book was translated and published? Which pieces of evidence help you know the Book of Mormon is true? Pause and either write or discuss your answers to that question!
Awesome! Now let’s add that top layer: EXPERIENCE. What has been your own experience with the Book of Mormon? How do you feel when you read it? Does it teach good things? Does it help you come closer to Christ? Pause and either write or discuss your answers to that question!
Great job! You have just built a testimony pyramid for the Book of Mormon. Doesn’t that feel so much more solid than just thinking or saying, “I have felt that the Book of Mormon is true?”
That is the kind of testimony that will help you avoid the spiritual traps Satan will set for you!
And the great news is that you can build a testimony pyramid for any aspect of the gospel: the Atonement, the importance of good media, following the prophet, prayer, fasting, and so much more!
With each testimony pyramid you build you’ll be more and more like the prophet Alma– able to withstand even the strongest temptations and avoid even the biggest spiritual traps!