A testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost. The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that Heavenly Father lives and loves us; that Jesus Christ lives, that He is the Son of God, and that He carried out the infinite Atonement; that Joseph Smith is the prophet of God who was called to restore the gospel; that we are led by a living prophet today; and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior’s true Church on the earth. With this foundation, a testimony grows to include all principles of the gospel.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you have the sacred opportunity and responsibility to obtain your own testimony. Having obtained a testimony, you have a duty to nurture it throughout your life. Your happiness in this life and throughout eternity depends largely on whether you are “valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:79; see also verses 51, 74, 101). As you work at this process, remember the following principles:
Your Heavenly Father will bless you according to the righteous desires of your heart and your efforts to do His will. Speaking to a group of people who did not yet have testimonies of the gospel, Alma taught: “If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words” (Alma 32:27).
The results of a testimony can be miraculous and life changing, but the gift of testimony usually comes as a quiet assurance, without spectacular displays of God’s power. Even Alma, who had been visited by an angel and had seen God sitting on His throne, needed to fast and pray so he could receive a testimony through the power of the Holy Ghost (see Alma 5:45–46; 36:8, 22).
No one receives a complete testimony all at once. Your testimony will grow stronger through your experiences. It will expand as you show your willingness to serve in the Church, wherever you are called. It will increase as you make decisions to keep the commandments. As you lift and strengthen others, you will see that your testimony continues to develop. As you pray and fast, study the scriptures, attend Church meetings, and hear others share their testimonies, you will be blessed with moments of inspiration that will bolster your testimony. Such moments will come throughout your life as you strive to live the gospel.
Do not wait for your testimony to be fully developed before you share it. Part of a testimony’s development comes when it is shared. In fact, you will find that when you give what you have of your testimony, it will be returned to you—with increase.
In fast and testimony meetings and in conversations you have with family members and friends, you may feel prompted to share your testimony. In such instances, remember that you do not need to share a long, impressive discourse. Your testimony will be most powerful when it is expressed as a brief, heartfelt conviction about the Savior, His teachings, and the Restoration. Pray for guidance, and the Spirit will help you know how to express the feelings in your heart. You will find great joy as you help others share in the hope and assurance the Lord has given you.