Elder Helvecio Martins, a Brazilian who joined the Church in 1972 and who was sustained last April as a member of the Seventy, spoke Saturday afternoon on the value of a testimony.
He told how he had been searching for answers to many questions that confused and troubled his spirit, and related how the testimonies of the two missionaries who knocked on his door affected him and his wife.He said even though their first visit to Church was an edifying experience because of the spirit and the love shown them there, they postponed baptism because of the fear of negative reactions from their extended families.
Elder Martins said he also attended a district conference where a testimony "touched my heart and all my being." He said he could not control his emotions, and in the moment he heard the testimony, the Holy Ghost reconfirmed the truthfulness of the things he and his wife already knew: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the Lord's Kingdom on earth, the road back to the celestial mansion of our Eternal Father."
As fears about baptism vanished, he and his wife and their son, Marcus, were baptized July 2, 1972. One of Elder Martins' sisters has been baptized, and the remainder of the family highly respects the Church, he said. In their social and professional circles, prejudice and misunderstanding eventually subsided and some of their best friends have accepted baptism.
"To what do we attribute such miracles? To the strength and power of the testimonies of the faithful saints upon which I was temporarily dependent," declared Elder Martins. "This influence aroused me intellectually and spiritually, preparing my mind and heart to receive in fullness a personal confirmation of the Holy Ghost.
"But a testimony is not a work that is merely completed and concluded. Indeed, it is a process in continuous development. Nourishing and strengthening our testimonies is essential to our spiritual survival."
He cited examples of men who had firm testimonies, such as John Taylor, and Ammon and his brothers who "had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth. . . . " (Alma 17:2.)
"A testimony should not be hidden," Elder Martins declared, shaking his head and waving one index finger back and forth. "It must be shared."
With his voice straining against his emotions, Elder Martins bore testimony that God lives, that "Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, also lives, and we are dependent on Him for our salvation and exaltation."