Of the Seventy
I recall when I first attended a fast and testimony meeting at church. I remember hearing quite similar testimonies from full time missionaries. They even appeared to imitate each other. They shared that they knew God lives, that Joseph Smith was called of God to be a living prophet, that The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that the church is true. All testified that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
Their testimonies inspired me and caused me to have a sincere curiosity to find out: What is a testimony? Why do I need to share my testimony? How do I share my testimony? How do they know what they say is true? How do I gain my own testimony like theirs?
After living the gospel for years by keeping His commandments, daily scripture study, daily prayer, searching the inspired messages of our church leaders, and fifty years of unconditionally serving in callings from the Lord, my understanding of this matter has gradually increased. We learn the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.1 It comes through personal inspiration and revelation from the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. All can receive it if we are obedient to the Lord’s commandments and live righteously. The testimony is the shield of faith.2 I am always taught by the words of Nephi, “after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels?”3
I also learn from apostles who taught us; “A testimony of the gospel is not a travelogue, a health log, or an expression of love for family members. It is not a sermon. President Kimball taught that the moment we begin preaching to others, our testimony is ended.”4 Additionally testimony is neither a public confession nor a sermon or a talk on some doctrinal point, although someone may quote a scripture and then testify of it.5 Their teachings always remind me of what a testimony is and how to bear my testimony.
We should declare our heartfelt testimony in brief and concise statements related to our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the true restored gospel. What will happen when the congregation sit in the fast and testimony meeting and hear pure testimony of members saying:
I know that the Father and the Son appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I know Joseph Smith saw the personages of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
I know Joseph Smith was called of God to be the true living prophet.
I know the angel Moroni spoke to Joseph Smith and delivered him the gold plates.
I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and the restored gospel is true.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true restored church.
Sharing true testimony will inspire them to ponder and to have a greater desire to learn and seek more truth from the scriptures. It would inspire them to have more personal, humble, faithful prayers. It would allow others to gain more faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
“A strong testimony is the sustaining power of a successful life. It is centered in an understanding of the divine attributes of God our Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. It is secured by a willing reliance upon Them. A powerful testimony is grounded in the personal assurance that the Holy Ghost can guide and inspire our daily acts for good.”6
Correctly sharing our testimonies during fast and testimony meeting is crucial because it produces faith for both the bearer and the listener. All present are edified by the power of the Holy Ghost. It helps us strengthen each other and assures our faith in Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It helps us stay strong in the church, be active in the Gospel, live happily, and enjoy the blessings of the Gospel even in difficult times of life. I pray that all will be able to share personal testimony in a proper way so that all of us will bless the lives of many by our true and simple testimony. “Your personal testimony of light and truth will not only bless you and your posterity here in mortality, but it will also accompany you throughout all eternity.”7 I join the testimony of the Apostles that I know His atoning sacrifice is real and He lives. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen. ■
Caption: Elder Wisit Khanakham
1 See Revelation 19:10
2See Doctrine and Covenants 27:17
32 Nephi 32:2
4 Dallin H. Oaks, “Testimony”, Ensign, May 2008, 26.
5 Jay E. Jensen, “Bearing Testimony”, Liahona, October 2005, 10.
6 Richard G. Scott, “The Power of A Strong Testimony”, Ensign, November 2001, 87.
7 Dieter F. Utchdorf, “Receiving a Testimony of Truth and Light”. Ensign, November 2014, 23.