“What’s a testimony?” I asked my mom one Sunday as we were getting ready for church. I knew that it was fast Sunday, that people would be “bearing their testimonies,” and I wasn’t sure what a testimony was.
My sister, Diana, hurried by, and Mom asked her, “What do you think a testimony is, Diana?”
“I think it’s when the Holy Ghost tells you something is true,” she said. “We’ve been studying about Jesus Christ in seminary. I have a testimony that He loves me and that He died for me. It’s a good feeling inside to know that He will help me when I have problems.”
“We can have a testimony of many things, Bryan,” Mom said. “Bearing a testimony means you tell how you know a gospel principle is true.
“I have an idea,” she added later, as we were going into the chapel. “Why don’t you write down all the things that the people bear testimony of in sacrament meeting today?”
“I can help you spell the people’s names,” Dad said. “Pretend that you are a secretary or reporter. It will help you learn what a testimony is.”
After the sacrament, Dad handed me a piece of paper and a pencil. At the top he had written, “Name, Testimony,” and he had drawn a big line underneath. I felt like a news reporter as I wrote down everything.
Brother Nielson talked about how his prayers had been answered that week, and I wrote “prayers answered” beside his name.
Brother Brown, who must be the oldest person in our ward, bore his testimony next. He told how a priesthood blessing had saved his sister’s life. Dad showed me how to spell priesthood. I know that when I have a sick stomach or a really sore throat and Dad gives me a blessing, I feel better immediately. Sometimes my stomach or throat still hurts, but I feel better. It’s like the feeling I have when I have a bad dream and Mom comes and holds me and tells me about Jesus. After she does this, the bad feeling goes away and I feel sleepy again. I think I have a testimony of priesthood blessings, just like Brother Brown.
Sister Hatty cried when she bore her testimony about how glad she was that families can be together forever. Dad whispered to me that her father had died the week before. I couldn’t think what to write down as her testimony, so Dad spelled out resurrection for me.
As I wrote the names and topics, a strange feeling began to grow in me. “Dad,” I whispered, “How old do you have to be to bear a testimony?”
“You can bear your testimony when you’re old enough to have a testimony.”
“Can someone my age bear his testimony?” I whispered.
“If a person is old enough to know what a testimony is,” Dad whispered back, “he can bear it. Children know things are true, just like grown-ups.”
When Craig bore his testimony, the funny feeling inside me grew bigger. Craig was still in elementary school, like me. He said that he was glad that his older brother, Aaron, was serving a mission. Craig said that he wanted to go on a mission, too, when he got older. I wrote “mission” by his name and thought how wonderful it would be to be a missionary like Aaron. Craig said that missionaries bear their testimonies all the time.
It was then that I decided that I wanted to bear my testimony. I wasn’t old enough to be a missionary, but I could tell what I believed in. Dad smiled and gave me a hug when I whispered what I was going to do.
When Sister Morris sat down, I took a deep breath and started walking to the front of the chapel. I felt really scared, and I wished I could run back to my seat. But the feeling that I wanted to bear my testimony kept me moving toward the front.
“I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ,” I said shakily and very loudly. I paused and I felt better. “I like to read the Book of Mormon. I get a good feeling when I read it, even when I don’t understand all of it. I like to pray. I know Heavenly Father answers my prayers.” The wonderful feeling had spread all over me, and I felt warm and safe, like when I am wrapped in Dad’s strong arms.
I felt really good when I finished my testimony, and I quickly walked back to Mom and Dad. Diana gave me a big hug as I squeezed by her. I whispered to her, “A testimony is a really good feeling that makes you happy inside, Diana, just like you said.” Then I added, “Bearing your testimony makes the good feeling inside feel even better.”