“What’s a testimony?” I asked my mom one Sunday as we were getting ready for church. I knew it was fast Sunday, which meant that people would be “bearing their testimony,” 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 in seminary. I have a testimony that Jesus loves me and died for me. It’s a good feeling inside to know that Jesus will help me when I have problems.”
“We can have a testimony of many things, Bryan,” Mom said. “Bearing a testimony means you tell why you know a gospel principle is true.”
“I have an idea, Bryan,” Mom said 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,” Daddy said. “Pretend that you are a secretary or reporter. It will help you learn what a testimony is.”
After the sacrament, Daddy handed me a piece of paper and a pencil. At the top he had written “Name, Testimony” and 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 “prayer” beside his name.
Brother Brown, who seemed like the oldest person in the ward, bore his testimony next. He told how a priesthood blessing had saved his sister’s life. Daddy showed me how to spell “priesthood.” I know that when I have a sick stomach or a really sore throat and Daddy 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. Daddy whispered to me that Sister Hatty’s father had died the week before. I couldn’t think what to write down as her testimony, so Daddy finally spelled out “resurrection” for me.
As I wrote the names and topics, a strange feeling began to grow in me.
“Daddy,” I whispered a few minutes later, “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,” Daddy whispered back.
“Can someone my age bear his testimony?” I finally whispered.
“If a person is old enough to know what a testimony is,” Daddy whispered back, “he can bear it. Children know things are true just like grownups.”
When Mitchell went up to bear his testimony, the funny feeling inside me grew bigger. Mitchell was still in elementary school, like me. Mitchell said he was glad that his older brother, Aaron, was serving a mission. Mitchell said he wanted to go on a mission, too, when he got older. I wrote down “mission” by Mitchell’s name and thought how wonderful it would be to be a missionary like Aaron. Mitchell said that missionaries bear their testimonies all the time.
It was then that I decided I wanted to bear my testimony. I wasn’t old enough to be a missionary, but I could tell what I believed in. Daddy smiled and gave me a hug when I whispered that I was going to bear my testimony.
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 beside Daddy. But the feeling that I wanted to bear my testimony kept me moving toward the front.
“I love Heavenly Father and Jesus,” 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 Daddy’s strong arms.
I felt really good when I finished my testimony, and I quickly walked back to Mom and Daddy. Diana gave me a big hug as I squeezed in 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.”