How do I gain a testimony of the Savior and the gospel? When I pray, read the scriptures, keep the commandments, and follow the living prophets, Heavenly Father will give me a testimony through the Holy Ghost.
What is a testimony? It is the personal knowledge given to each of us who seek it that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real, that They love us, that the prophets speak in Their name, that the scriptures really are the word of God, that the priesthood is the power and authority of God, given to worthy men to help us, that the Church is true, and that Joseph Smith restored it in our day.
When we pray to Heavenly Father night and morning and feel Him close to us, we begin to understand that He lives and that He loves us. Even when we are very young, we can know that He hears and answers our prayers. We can testify of the things that we know and believe.
The prophet Moroni gave us a special promise about gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Moroni said that we should study the Book of Mormon, then ask God if it is true. If we do this with a sincere heart and having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto us by the power of the Holy Ghost. Many people have tested this wonderful promise in Moroni 10:3–4 [Moro. 10:3–4] and found out for themselves that it works. They can testify that the Book of Mormon is true. We, too, can testify that the Book of Mormon is true when we study it and test it for ourselves. We, too, can receive the witness of the Holy Ghost.
When we know that the Book of Mormon is true, we know other important things, as well: (1) We know that Jesus is the Christ—this is the most important message of the Book of Mormon. (2) We know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and that he translated the Book of Mormon under the direction of God.
We can testify of these things.
Instructions: Mount page 47 on lightweight cardboard, then cut out the wheels, the windows in the wheel with the large picture, and the boxes. Place the wheel with the tab under the one with the large picture, punch a hole through the center of both pictures, and insert a paper fastener through the hole. Use the tab to position a statement on the bottom wheel to appear in the lower window of the upper wheel. Decide which of the two boxes that statement belongs in, and write it there.
I Can Testify of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
What Is a Testimony?
I know God lives.
I know Jesus Christ is my Savior.
I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.
I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
How Can My Testimony Grow?
My testimony grows when I pray and listen.
My testimony grows when I read the scriptures.
My testimony grows when I keep the commandments.
My testimony grows when I share it.
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)
1. Tell the children that we learn many things from our five senses but that spiritual learning goes beyond that. Invite 5 children to sit in chairs, facing the rest of the children. Ask the first child, “How many children are in the class on the first row?” (or another question related to something he can see). Stand behind the second child and blow a whistle or ring a bell without letting her see. Ask her what she heard and why she thinks that’s what it is. Blindfold the third child and ask him to touch a piece of sandpaper or soap. Ask what he felt. Have the fourth close her eyes tightly and smell a lemon or other recognizable smell. Ask her to identify it. Have the fifth child close his eyes and taste a chocolate chip or salty popcorn. Ask what it was. Explain that our senses are important tools for gathering information about the world. There are other important ways we can know things. Ask if any of the children believe that their families love them. How do we know this? (by the things they do, by the feelings we have). Ask if any of the children have a good feeling about reading the Book of Mormon by themselves or with their families. Those good feelings are the beginning of a witness that the Book of Mormon is true. Another way we can know something is through the power of the Holy Ghost. Read Moroni 10:5 [Moro. 10:5] with the children. When the Holy Ghost testifies to us, we can know the truth even more surely than when we rely on our senses. Sing “The Holy Ghost” (CS, p. 105). What are some of the important things that the Holy Ghost will witness to us as we pray, keep the commandments, and continue to grow in the gospel? Have the children post the following wordstrips: Heavenly Father lives. Jesus Christ is the Savior. Joseph Smith is a prophet. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. There is a living prophet today [name him]. Bear your own testimony briefly that these things are true and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love the children and will help them to gain testimonies of their own.
2. In a bag or box, assemble a CS with p. 5 marked, a picture of Jesus Christ, a picture of Joseph Smith, a Book of Mormon, and a picture of the living prophet. Tell the children that we are going to talk about our testimonies. Have a child take a picture or object out of the bag. As each thing is taken, ask questions and/or sing songs about it, then help the children understand what they already know or feel about it. E.g.,
CS—sing “I Know My Father Lives” (p. 5) [We have a Father in Heaven; He lives today; we are His children; He hears our prayers.]
Jesus Christ—ask, “What did He do for us?” “What did He teach us?” [He died for us and atoned for our sins if we repent; He taught us to love one another as He loves us.]
Joseph Smith—ask, “What happened when the Prophet Joseph prayed in the Sacred Grove?” “What did he do with the gold plates when he got them four years later?” [He saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ; he translated the Book of Mormon.]
Book of Mormon—sing “Book of Mormon Stories” (CS, pp. 118–119) and ask, “What is it about, and whom do all the prophets in it testify of?” [It has true stories of real people; Jesus Christ, our Savior.]
Living prophet—ask, “Who is our prophet today?” and sing “Follow the Prophet” (CS, pp. 110–111) [Name the prophet and talk about how he guides us today.]
Help the children understand the feelings they have in their hearts when the Holy Ghost testifies (see Gal. 5:22–23; D&C 6:22–23). When the Holy Ghost is with us, we have a spirit of love and peace in our hearts. Often we want to share our feelings, or testimonies, with others.
3. There are many ways in which we can share our testimonies. One way is through music. Work with the music leader for this Sharing Time. Ask the children to identify each of the following songs from the CS (or choose others that the children know well) as the pianist plays a few introductory notes: “I Am a Child of God” (pp. 2–3), “I Know My Father Lives” (p. 5), “On a Golden Springtime” (p. 88, vs. 2–3), “The Priesthood Is Restored” (p. 89), “Faith” (pp. 96–97), “He Sent His Son” (pp. 34–35), “I Lived in Heaven” (p. 4), “This Is My Beloved Son” (p. 76), “Nephi’s Courage” (pp. 120–121, chorus only), “I Feel My Savior’s Love” (pp. 74–75). As a child identifies a song, have him come to the podium as if he were bearing testimony and sing the song along with the rest of the Primary. You might have 2 or more children come to the podium at a time, especially for the longer songs. Ask a question or two to help the children understand what they are bearing testimony to in each song.
4. Our testimonies grow as we share them and as we hear the experiences and testimonies of others. We bear testimony not only in words but in the way we act—even in the way we dress. Write out a role-play situation for each class to help the children see that there are many times when they can share their testimonies. Give the classes a few minutes to prepare their role plays; then present them. Possible situations:
You are playing with a group of friends. Two of you are wearing CTR rings. One of the other children asks what the letters mean.
You have a friend who is ill or injured, and you visit her. She is very discouraged. What can you say to help her understand that Heavenly Father loves her and will bless her?
Two of your friends at school are talking about a child who is new in your class. They think that he dresses strangely, and they don’t want to play with him. You think that you should follow what Jesus taught and be a friend. What can you say to them? How can you include him?
Your family listened to a talk by President Gordon B. Hinckley. He said that every member of the Church needs a friend, a responsibility, and nurture (spiritual nourishment) with the good word of God. A family who lives not too far from you has just joined the Church. They have children your age. As you ride home in the car, you start to discuss what you might do for this family, since you have a testimony that President Hinckley is a prophet.
Your class has been asked to give a Sharing Time presentation about prayer. Have you or has someone in your family had an experience in which your prayers were answered? Ask if two or three class members would like to briefly share their experiences, their testimonies that prayers are answered.
You have a friend who has a serious problem. You know that reading the scriptures would help her. What could you tell her?
A repairman comes to your house and sees a Book of Mormon sitting on the table. He asks what it is about. What would you tell him?
In conclusion, thank the children and remind them that we can share our testimonies in testimony meeting, when we give talks, when we sing, when we interact with our friends, whenever we are prompted to by the Spirit, and by our examples. Our testimonies grow when we share them with others.
5. The Church is building new temples all over the world. It is important for us to build our testimonies so that we will be prepared to enter the temples and make covenants there. Have copies of the CS available. Enlarge a picture of a temple, and mount it on heavy paper. Make it into a puzzle by cutting it into 5 large pieces, one of which is the base. For each puzzle piece, make a wordstrip and a “clue card” (see below) that says: “Look up the following scriptures to find out one thing that the Lord expects us to do to gain or build up a testimony: [insert scriptures]. Choose a Primary song that encourages us to do this.” See the Topics index in CS for ideas, and list 2–4 songs for the children to choose from. Give a puzzle piece and a clue card to each class. They will read the scriptures and decide what their puzzle piece represents as a way to gain or build up a testimony. A class representative then puts the puzzle piece in place and posts the appropriate wordstrip on it. Then the class leads the Primary in singing their chosen song. Wordstrips and scripture references:
6. For additional Friend resources, look at the IFC for statements by General Authorities; they bear testimony of a gospel principle by telling of a personal experience. Note especially “Testimony” (Oct. 1998). See also: “A Testimony Feels Good,” May 1996, pp. 34–35; “Friend to Friend,” Feb. 1998, pp. 6–7; and “Little Testimonies,” Mar. 1997, pp. 16–18. In 1991, the Primary theme was “I Can Gain a Testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”; each issue of the 1991 Friend has a coloring page and Sharing Time Ideas on testimony.