The Importance of Testifying in the Home
Contributed By Carol F. McConkie, Young Women general presidency
- Youth today are surrounded by evil influences.
- Words spoken with faith, hope, and charity and by the power of the Holy Ghost expand children’s understanding and change their hearts.
- Parents in the scriptures have set examples for their children by bearing their testimony to them.
“We testify of Christ so that our children may know the source of all truth.” —Carol F. McConkie of the Young Women general presidency
When I was a young mother, my husband and I often wondered whether our efforts to teach and to bear testimony to our children ever entered into their ears, let alone into their hearts and minds. But I have learned that a testimony of truth spoken by parents, family members, and beloved leaders who strive to bring up children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Enos 1:1) does have a deep, penetrating influence and prepares them to become defenders of truth. President Boyd K. Packer taught, “Keep the fire of your testimony of the restored gospel and your witness of our Redeemer burning so brightly that our children can warm their hands by the fire of your faith” (April 2003 general conference).
Our youth are surrounded by ideas and philosophies that are corrupt, crude, devoid of the Spirit, and denigrating to gospel truth. They live in a day when many “call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (2 Nephi 15:20). But consistently hearing the word of God from those who care for their eternal well-being will help our young men and young women walk confidently on the strait and narrow path even in the midst of a “war of words and tumult of opinions” (Joseph Smith—History 1:10). Words spoken with faith, hope, and charity and by the power of the Holy Ghost expand understanding and change hearts. Those who speak by the Spirit and those who receive by the Spirit are “edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:22).
The words of Christ spoken by the Spirit are a testimony of the covenant we have made to lift the burdens of others, “to mourn with those that mourn; … comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).
Many of our opportunities to teach and testify are formal occasions, meetings, classes, large activities, and family home evenings. But perhaps some of the most effective teaching moments are impromptu, one-on-one, answers to questions, or a part of simple conversations. Of sacred things, the Lord instructed His covenant people, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
My husband set an example for me in a conversation with one of our sons. After a long workday, he came home briefly before leaving again to fulfill his Church assignment. That same evening a championship ball game was showing on TV, and all day our youngest son had anticipated watching the game with his dad. He was devastated when he found out that his dad would not be home to cheer on their favorite team. He asked, “Dad, why don’t you just stay home and watch the game with me?”
Kneeling down and looking directly into our young son’s eyes, he gently responded, “John, I love you, and there is nothing I would rather do. But I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the Church of Jesus Christ and His gospel to the earth. Because that is true, I have the privilege and the responsibility to serve the Lord and to serve in His Church.”
As he spoke, the Spirit of the Lord filled the room. By the Spirit, I saw that our little boy felt that his father spoke truth. Disappointment and resentment faded away in a kind and inspired testimony of the Restoration. The fire of pure testimony ignited the desire in a young boy to stand true to the faith of his father.
The sons of the people of Ammon were true at all times because “they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” Even in troubled times they testified, “We do not doubt our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:47–48).
In the depths of anguish and godly sorrow, Alma remembered and relied upon the prophecies of his father “concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world” (Alma 36:17). The words Enos had heard his “father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into [his] heart” (Enos 1:3). It was his father’s words that ignited Nephi’s desire to obtain his own testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost (see 1 Nephi 10:17) and then to preach those same words by the same power.
Can we doubt the power of a testimony of truth? Would we deny the rising generation the blessing of the word of God and of a sure witness of its truth? Parents and leaders talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, and preach of Christ. We testify of Christ so that our children may know the source of all truth. By the warmth and light of the faith that burns brightly in the fire of pure testimony they may know how to obtain peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come.