The last devotional of the semester aired this morning at 11:30 a.m. Kelly Burgener, BYU-Idaho Academic Vice President, conducted the session.
The devotional opened with a prerecorded musical number, “How Wonderful and Great” by BYU-Idaho Vocal Union.
Robert Tueller, a music department faculty member at BYU-I, then presented his talk entitled “Testimony Building: Steady and Strong.”
Tueller began by referencing Doctrine and Covenants 46:8 which lists specific gifts given by the Holy Ghost, such as the gift of prophecy or the gift of tongues. As a young man, he used to wonder if he had any of the gifts described until he read the following verses more closely.
“To some it is given to believe by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God…To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful,” Doctrine and Covenants 46:13-14.
Tueller recognized that he has been given the ability to believe on the words of others. He explained how this gift has helped him to develop a strong testimony, which he described as one of his most prized possessions.
Tueller then likened testimony development unto something he expertly understands — playing the cello. As a music teacher, Tueller has taught many students that musical mastery comes from repetition. It is not only important to challenge yourself by learning new things, but is also important to do the things you already understand over and over.
“I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, that I think this same approach is true in our personal gospel development, as we build and strengthen a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ through repetition of gospel-centered routines,” Tueller said.
He acknowledged that people commonly associate repetition with negative things like boredom or impatience, but he reassured us that repetition is widely used in the gospel to reinforce doctrinal truths.
Tueller referenced Elder David A. Bednar’s talk “Repeat Over Again… the Same Things as Before” in which he elaborates on the role of repetition in the Joseph Smith – History account of Moroni appearing to Joseph four times with the same core message.
“In each of the four appearances of Moroni to Joseph Smith, the core message was identical,” Elder Bednar said. “But in a line upon line and precept upon precept pattern of revelation and learning, additional knowledge and instructions were given in the second, third, and fourth manifestations…Repetition is a vehicle through which the Holy Ghost can enlighten our minds, influence our hearts, and enlarge our understanding.”
Tueller also expressed how the parable of the seed in Alma 32 demonstrates the need for consistent effort in nourishing faith. Like an unnourished seed, testimony without repetitious efforts will die.
According to a July 2007 Harvard Business Review article, athletes and musicians alike can achieve mastery in their respective fields with these three things: a mentor, support from home and time. Tueller believes that these things can help with testimony building as well.
Regarding time, 10,000 hours worth of effort is said to precede greatness and professionalism in any field. Tueller recommended giving time to things we wish to develop; however, he stressed that the quality of time spent developing a skill or belief is more important than quantity. Tueller concludes his talk by reiterating his main message.
“Building strong testimonies requires us to continue working every day; nourishing with care, diligence and patience; and leaning on the support and example of others, while we await the growth that will allow us to understand all things,” Tueller said. “Repetition takes time to reveal its rewards. Let a few days turn into a few weeks, then months. Only then, look back to discover the extraordinary blessings that come from ordinary actions.”
To view Robert Tueller’s full devotional address, visit the BYU-Idaho Devotionals page.