A testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost. The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that Heavenly Father lives and loves His children; that Jesus Christ lives, that He is the Son of God, and that He carried out the infinite Atonement; that Joseph Smith is the prophet of God who was called to restore the gospel; that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior's true Church on the earth; and that the Church is led by a living prophet today. With this foundation, a testimony grows to include all principles of the gospel.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the sacred opportunity and responsibility to obtain their own testimonies. Having obtained a testimony, each member has a duty to nurture it throughout life. Happiness in this life and throughout eternity depends largely on whether individuals are "valiant in the testimony of Jesus" (D&C 76:79; see also D&C 76:51, 74, 101). Testimony grows through the application of the following principles:
The quest for a testimony begins with a righteous, sincere desire. Speaking to a group of people who did not yet have testimonies of the gospel, Alma taught: "If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words" (Alma 32:27).
Testimony comes through the quiet influence of the Holy Ghost. The results of a testimony can be miraculous and life changing, but the gift of testimony usually comes as a quiet assurance, without spectacular displays of God's power. Even Alma, who had been visited by an angel and had seen God sitting on His throne, needed to fast and pray so he could receive a testimony through the power of the Holy Ghost (see Alma 5:45–46; 36:8, 22).
Testimony grows gradually through experiences. No one receives a complete testimony all at once. It grows as individuals show willingness to serve in the Church and to study, pray, and learn. It increases as individuals obey God's commandments.
Testimony grows as it is shared. Part of a testimony's development comes when it is shared. In the Church testimony is shared often in fast and testimony meetings, in Church classes, and in conversations with family members and friends.
—See True to the Faith (2004), 178–80
Charles Didier, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 62–64
To have a testimony and to share it provides a firm foundation for us to stand on and a way to control our lives in this constantly changing world.
"The Soil and Roots of Testimony"
John K. Carmack, Ensign, Nov. 1988, 25–27
The real power of the Church is . . . the quiet testimonies of its members.
"Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus"
Ezra Taft Benson, Tambuli, June 1987, 2–4; or Ensign, Feb. 1987, 2–3
A most priceless blessing available to every member of the Church is a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His church.
M. Russell Ballard, Liahona, Nov. 2004, 40–43; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 40–43
Testimony—real testimony, born of the Spirit and confirmed by the Holy Ghost—changes lives.
"Securing Our Testimonies"
Donald L. Staheli, Liahona, Nov. 2004, 37–39; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 37–39
True testimonies bring the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ into our lives and focus all of us toward the same goal of returning to our Father in Heaven.
"The Power of a Strong Testimony"
Richard G. Scott, Liahona, Jan. 2002, 100–103; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 87–89
A strong testimony is the unshakable foundation of a secure, meaningful life where peace, confidence, happiness, and love can flourish.
"The Importance of Bearing Testimony"
James E. Faust, Liahona, Mar. 1997, 2–6; or Ensign, Mar. 1997, 2–5
We bear testimony not only through our words but also through our lives.
"The Importance of Receiving a Personal Testimony"
Robert D. Hales, Ensign, Nov. 1994, 20–22
Each of us needs to know what a testimony is, how we can get it, and what our responsibilities are once we have received a testimony.
Guide to the Scriptures
"A Testimony of the Truth"
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, Chapter 17
Encyclopedia of Mormonism
(Please note that the contents of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company, do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)
The Latter-day Saint Woman, Part A, Lesson 5
"A Testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ"
Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Part A, Lesson 26