The Lifeblood of the Church


Spencer W. Kimball

In a talk given to a group of missionaries when he was a member of the Council of the Twelve, President Kimball spoke about the importance of testimony bearing, he said:

“Now this testimony bearing is not some strange eccentric thing which only we do. This is a fundamental part of the Church. … I remember bearing my testimony when I was just a child in Primary and in Sunday School. It is basic. It is important … We have critics who say it is silly to have little children bear their testimonies and that they cannot know it is true. Undoubtedly their knowledge is limited. But they can have feelings, and testimonies are feelings, not merely the accumulation of facts. Testimonies come from the heart. And so, they become a basic thing. … We have testimonies all through the Church. When we get a group of presidents of missions together, we bear our testimonies and when members get together in little groups almost anywhere they formally or informally bear their testimonies.

“At home we bear testimonies, we of the Twelve. The eighteen and a half years I have been in the Twelve, we have been holding a quarterly testimony meeting. We go to the temple early in the morning, the twelve of us, or as many as are not too far away from headquarters, … in our own room upon the fourth floor. Here is a room in which there are twelve old leather-covered chairs. They are very old. I think they have been occupied by apostles for half a century at least. The leather is wearing, but they are still comfortable old chairs. They are in a semicircle. We have our clerk there. President Smith sits at one end and the youngest member sits at the other. We sit in horse-shoe fashion. We sing. Brother Lee plays the organ or he leads the singing and I play the organ. We have a little pump organ which we pump with our feet. We pray very earnestly for the Spirit of the Lord to be with us and then we hear the minutes of our last meeting in great detail. The minutes take fifteen or twenty minutes to read … (and they) are thrilling. We hear again the testimonies we heard three months ago from the brethren.

“Then President Smith, who is President of the Twelve, generally stands up and with his books in his hand opens the scriptures to us, I think a great deal like the Lord did to the two men on their way to Emmaus …

“We are fasting. Two of us administer to (the sacrament} and we pass (it) to each other. And then the testimonies begin. We spend three or four hours, just the twelve of us, bearing testimony to each other. I mention this so you may know (that testimony bearing) is basic and is an important part of the Church program. If the Twelve Apostles need to bear testimony to each other to express themselves and speak their gratitude to the Lord, then the missionaries may need it too, to sustain and lift and inspire them, and to keep the fires burning. We sing again, and pray, and go back to our regular duties.

“Now we have another testimony meeting every six months on the Thursday preceding the General Conference. All of the General Authorities are there … in the room of the Presidency and the Twelve in the temple. At the top is a chair in which the President sits. Never does any one sit in that chair, except the Prophet of the Lord. Even though his counselors conduct the meeting when he is gone, they always sit in their own chairs …

“The sacrament is administered by two of the brethren, (we are fasting) generally two of the Twelve. Then we have our testimonies. The Patriarch, one of the Bishopric, one of the Seventies, one of the assistants, one or more of the Twelve, and all three of the Presidency, bear their testimonies. It is a glorious experience to have it all capped by the testimony of the Prophet of the Lord. To hear him stand there and say, ‘I know it is true. I know the Lord is responding. He is revealing His mind and will to us.’ I tell you that is an experience to remember.

“I mention this so you do not think that testimony bearing is some little thing that is incidental to the mission only. This is the Church program. It is powerful and mighty … It is the lifeblood of the organization and of the Church.” (The Berlin Spirit, January 1962.)