As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am often asked, or rather accused, if I even believe anything I am taught, or if I just am appeasing my parents and friends by agreeing. This is a valid question, and a problem many could face. A testimony, or declared belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is something personal and sacred. However, before a solid testimony is built in an individual, one must base their beliefs on those of their parents or friends. While this isn't an essentially bad thing to do, long term it can be detrimental. One must explore their beliefs, ponder what they mean, both to themselves and in a broader sense, and decide if this belief is something they would like to continue in. So, in answer to those who ask me if I believe in this "Mormon Stuff", or if I am just following in the steps of my parents, I would tell them I have a testimony of my own, and while my beliefs do coincide with my parents, I do not base my beliefs off of theirs. I gained this testimony on my own, by researching, praying, pondering and asking God if this was right.
In the Book of Mormon we learn the terrible consequences of following blindly in our parents; beliefs. In Mosiah 10, we read about the Lamanites' main downfall, and the source of their wickedness. In this verse, we read about the 'traditions of their fathers,' in that the Lamanites blindly followed their ancestors, and never stopped to ask for themselves what was right, or at least they didn't until much much later. This caused them to believe that the Nephites were wicked, tricksey people who manipulated the Lamanites and caused all of the grief they had ever experienced. This caused wars, hatred, torture and most importantly, loss of blessings from God. All of this could have been avoided, had the Lamanites simply thought to ask God themselves if what they were doing was right. If they had simply listened to the promptings of the Spirit and done what was right.