Ethan sat in sacrament meeting and listened as his best friend, Sam, shared his testimony. He talked about a service project he did. Sam said he had a testimony of service. Ethan’s dad also gave his testimony. He talked about temple work. Everyone who spoke testified that the Church is true. It seemed like everyone except Ethan had a testimony.
What do I have a testimony of? Ethan wondered.
He thought back a few years to when he and his friends were baptized. His Primary teacher, Sister Calder, had given a talk on the Holy Ghost.
“The Holy Ghost can give you a burning feeling in your heart. He can help you know what is true,” she’d said. “And that’s how you get a testimony of what you believe.”
Ethan tried to do what was right so he could feel the Holy Ghost. He read the scriptures and prayed. But he had never had that burning feeling people talked about. Did that mean he didn’t have a testimony?
This question stuck in Ethan’s head all the next day. He was still thinking about it when he and Sam went skateboarding after school. He wondered how he could ask Sam about it.
“Hey, Sam,” Ethan finally asked, “were you scared when you gave your testimony yesterday?”
Sam hopped off his board and walked to the grass. “Not really,” he said, sitting down. “I’ve shared my testimony at family night before.”
Ethan joined him and set his skateboard on his lap. “But how did you know you had a testimony?”
“Well, I prayed and I felt good about it.”
Ethan slowly nodded and spun a wheel with his hand. Somehow he wanted to feel that way too.
That night, when the house was quiet, Ethan knelt by his bed to pray.
In the middle of his prayer, Ethan stopped. He thought for a minute. Then he asked himself, Well, do I know anything yet?
And then he felt a quiet, peaceful feeling. It wasn’t a powerful burning feeling. But Ethan knew it was the Holy Ghost.
A thought came into Ethan’s mind: I know that I know. And as he thought about it, he realized he had felt this peaceful feeling before.
Whenever he read the Book of Mormon, it felt good and right. Now he knew that feeling was the Holy Ghost testifying to him. When he went to church and it felt good and right to be there, that was the Holy Ghost too. He had already been getting a testimony!
He didn’t need to know everything right now. But he did know that the Holy Ghost was real and could help him keep building his testimony.
Ethan began to pray again. But this time it was to say thank you.
“Like almost everything else in life, testimonies grow and develop through experience and service.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Pure Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 40.