Passing the Gold Test

This last week I attended BYU Women's Conference.  One of the sessions I attended was titled, "We Never Walk Alone" presented by Marlene A. Christensen and Dottie Collins.  One of them read the scripture found in Zechariah 13:9 which tells us that the Lord will refine us as silver and test us as gold.

As I've thought about this scripture, I wondered, "How do we test gold?"  As with most questions, I turned to the Internet.

How to Tell if Gold Is Real

I discovered that you can test if gold is real in several ways.  As I read about these tests, I realized that God does something similar to us.  He tests us to see if we are true disciples.

Test #1 - Look at it

This seems like a simple and obvious test.  But this test involves more than just looking at it.  It means checking it for markings.  Is anything written on the gold to indicate what it is?

Gold will have a number on it indicating what percentage of the material is pure gold.
This is 75 percent pure gold.

If someone were to look at us would we look like one of the Lord's followers?  Does our appearance look like someone who follows God?

But just like people, gold can also be counterfeit despite its markings.  So in order to determine if it really is gold, we need to put it through additional tests.

Test #2 - Check for discoloration

If it isn't real gold, the color will eventually go away.  How do you check for discoloration?  You look to see where the gold receives the most friction.

What are we like when we are stressed?  Do we lose our temper or our faith?  Or do we stay true to who we really are?

Test #3 - Bite it

We've all seen people bite their Olympic gold medal.  But why?  Because it's a way to test to if it is real.

Tony Estanguet of France at London 2012 Olympics

When you bite real gold, your teeth will leave an impression.  The purer the gold, the deeper the impression.

 Are we humble and teachable? Is God able to leave an impression on us? 

Test #4 - Hold a magnet up to it

Take a powerful magnet and hold it close to the gold.

Fake gold will attach to the magnet; real gold won't be affected by it.

How easily are we swayed by the world and its temptations?  Do we find ourselves persuaded by what others tell us we should believe?  Can we stay strong no matter what the popular opinion is?

Test #5 - Measure its density

Last year a certain Englishman and I went gold panning in Alaska.  We learned that gold is the most dense of all materials in the river.  The trick is that you need to eliminate all the lighter rocks so that only the gold remains. 

One of the ways to check if gold is real is to measure its density.  You do this by weighing the gold and then measuring how much water it displaces when you place it in a vial of water.  If it is 19 g/ml then it is as dense as real gold.  

Are we solid? Are we always disciples of Christ and not just when others are looking?  

Test #6 - Drag it 

If you take a piece of gold and drag it across an unglazed ceramic surface it will leave a streak.  

If it isn't real gold, it will leave a black streak.

What impressions do we leave on others?  What do people remember about us after we leave them?

Test #7 - Drop acid on it

To see if your gold is real, you can release a drop of nitric acid on it.

If it turns a different color, it's not real gold.  If it remains unchanged, the gold is pure.

How do we react when faced with trials?  Do we turn away from God or do we turn closer to Him?

Becoming pure gold isn't something that happens overnight.  When we make mistakes, we may feel frustrated and discouraged.  We may think, "I'll never pass the gold test."  

But we would be wise to remember the words of Elder Russell M. Ballard.

Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our flecks are good enough.