5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.
Sherem had been very successful in his efforts to draw people away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jacob tells us that Sherem “was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil” (Jacob 7:4). And he was a hard worker. “He labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts” (Jacob 7:3). He was so confident in his abilities that he wanted to talk with Jacob, believing that he could convince the spiritual leader of the people to abandon his faith as well.
But Sherem miscalculated. Jacob had experienced things which no amount of flattery or eloquence could overcome. His faith was strong enough to withstand Sherem’s attack. As he tells us in the passage above, “I could not be shaken.”
We may not have seen angels as Sherem did, but we can fortify our faith in the same way he did: by connecting with the sources of revelation in our lives. We can pray to receive inspiration through the Holy Ghost. We can study the words of ancient prophets in the scriptures and apply the principles we learn from them. And we can study the words given by living prophets. As Elder Robert D. Hales has warned:
In recent decades the Church has largely been spared the terrible misunderstandings and persecutions experienced by the early Saints. It will not always be so. The world is moving away from the Lord faster and farther than ever before. The adversary has been loosed upon the earth. We watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected….
In addition to inviting us to hold personal and family scripture study, Heavenly Father wants us to regularly study and apply what we have learned in [general conference]. I testify that those who put their trust in the Lord and heed this counsel in faith will gain great strength to bless themselves and their families for generations to come (“Strengthening Faith and Testimony,” General Conference, October 2013).
And remember this counsel from President Thomas S. Monson in the most recent General Conference:
If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. 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 (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” General Conference, April 2017).
Today, I will work on strengthening my testimony through prayer, scripture study, and studying the words of living prophets.