Lesson 26: Testimony

Young Women Manual 1, (2002), 113–16


Objective

Each young woman will know how to obtain, strengthen, and share her testimony.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Bring some seeds and a potted plant.

  2. 2.

    Make a poster containing the following definition:

    A testimony is sure knowledge received from the Holy Ghost that:

    1. a.

      Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world.

    2. b.

      Joseph Smith is the prophet through whom God restored the gospel.

    3. c.

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true Church and is led by a prophet today.

  3. 3.

    Write each of the following scripture references on a separate piece of paper: Alma 32:27; Doctrine and Covenants 11:22; Moroni 10:4; John 7:17; Alma 5:46.

  4. 4.

    Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Object lesson and scripture discussion

Show the class the seeds and the potted plant.

  • What relationship do these two things have?

  • In order for the seeds to grow into plants, what has to happen?

Explain that in the Book of Mormon, Alma compared a seed to something else. Ask the young women to read Alma 32:27–28 to discover what the comparison was. (The word of God.)

  • What do we call a knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel? (A testimony.)

Poster and discussion

Display the poster with the definition of testimony (see “Preparation”) and have one of the young women read it aloud. Explain that without any one of these most important elements, our testimonies are not complete. Leave the poster on display throughout the lesson.

Each Young Woman Can Obtain a Personal Testimony

Scripture discussion

Explain that this same Alma, who compared the gaining of a testimony to the growing of a seed, had a strong testimony of his own. Although as a young man Alma saw an angel (Mosiah 27:8–15), he had to come to know for himself that the gospel is true.

Have one of the young women read Alma 5:45–46 aloud.

  • How did Alma come to know for himself?

Explain that no one is born with a testimony and that for many, acquiring a testimony begins seriously at the age of the young women in your class.

Thought questions

  • Do you have a testimony of the gospel as explained on the poster?

  • Can you honestly say, as did Alma, “I do know of myself”?

  • If you don’t have a testimony yet, have you ever wondered how you could get one?

Quotation and discussion

President Spencer W. Kimball said that everyone can gain a testimony:

“We can have positive certainty of the reality of a personal God; the continued active life of the Christ … ; the divinity of the restoration through Joseph Smith. … These can be known by every responsible person as surely as the knowledge that the sun shines. To fail to attain this knowledge is to admit that one has not paid the price” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], pp. 13–14).

  • What must a person do “to pay the price,” as President Kimball suggests? (Gain a knowledge—a testimony—of God, Christ, and Joseph Smith and the Restoration.)

Scripture activity and chalkboard discussion

In the scriptures we find what other prophets have said we must do to pay the price of gaining a testimony.

Hand out the slips of paper with the scriptural references Alma 32:27, Doctrine and Covenants 11:22, Moroni 10:4, John 7:17, and Alma 5:46. If the class is large enough, divide the young women into four or five groups. If it is a smaller class, have them work individually or in pairs. After they have read their assigned scripture, ask each group the following question:

  • According to the scripture you read, what is part of the price of gaining a testimony?

As the answers are given, write them and the scripture references on the chalkboard and discuss how each can help in gaining a testimony.

Desire to believe (Alma 32:27).

Study the scriptures and the words of the modern prophets (D&C 11:22).

Pray with real intent (Moroni 10:4).

Live gospel principles (John 7:17).

Fast and pray (Alma 5:46).

Note: Leave this list on the chalkboard; it will be referred to later in the lesson.

Scripture discussion

  • After you have paid the price of desire, study, prayer, righteous living, and fasting, what must you receive to complete the process of gaining a testimony?

If the young women are unable to answer this question correctly, have them read Moroni 10:4.

Teacher presentation

Whether they come suddenly or slowly, all testimonies come through the power of the Holy Ghost. A testimony comes to different people in different ways but is often described as a burning feeling in our hearts or enlightenment in our minds (see D&C 6:15; 8:2–3; 9:8; 11:13; Luke 24:32).

Quotation

“An eyewitness [is] not enough. Even the witness and testimony of the original Apostles had to be rooted in the testimony of the Holy Ghost. A prophet has told us that the witness of the Holy Ghost makes an impression on our soul that is more significant than ‘a visitation of an angel’” (Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, p. 36; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, p. 30).

A Personal Testimony Brings Great Rewards

Story and discussion

Once a young woman has received a testimony, it brings other blessings to her life. As you read the following story of a young woman, ask class members to identify the blessings that came because of her testimony of the gospel.

“In May 1972 Julie [Wang] was walking down a street in the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, when she saw two young foreigners handing out slips of paper to everyone who passed by. She took one slip and soon discovered that it was a brief message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. … Julie had been carefully reared with gospel teachings, and she was moved upon by the Spirit to learn about this restoration. She returned the card and was almost immediately visited by the elders. She knew the gospel was true from the moment she heard it, and she desired to be baptized.

“Julie’s father [who was the minister of their congregation] could not understand her request. … Nonetheless, as Julie told him more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he also accepted the message of the restoration.

“On Sunday, April 1, 1973, Julie went with her father and mother and 62 other members of the K’e Liao Church to the Kaohsiung chapel. On that day Julie stood with tears in her eyes as she saw her father and mother baptized. … She brimmed with joy as she saw 48 more people whom she had loved all of her life also enter the waters of baptism.

“… Through the strength, courage, and testimony of one fifteen-year-old girl, a whole congregation was brought into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Malan R. Jackson, “Julie Wang,” New Era, June 1973, p. 7).

  • What blessing did Julie’s testimony bring into her own life and the lives of others?

Story and discussion

Explain that some more private effects of a testimony are revealed by this incident from the life of a young convert. Listen for the blessings a testimony brought into her life.

“I had just been baptized a short while when I discovered that I needed surgery. When a nonmember friend visited me in the hospital, I told her that I had been baptized into the Church. She responded by telling me that I was in the hospital because I had joined a church that didn’t believe in Christ. I was amazed at her lack of knowledge about the Church, knowing that she had lived among members for several years.

“I had never borne my testimony before, but I felt a need to do so at that moment. I told her that we do worship Jesus Christ, and that he is the Son of God, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Church continues to receive revelation today.

“I did not convince my friend that she should join the Church, but from that experience I felt an indescribable inner strength. This strength helped me in my days of recovery and has been a great source of comfort ever since.”

  • How can bearing your own testimony benefit you?

  • Why does bearing your testimony bring inner strength and comfort?

Tell the class that every young woman who is willing to pay the price can gain her own testimony and the blessings that come with it.

A Testimony Should Be Continually Strengthened and Shared

Object lesson and discussion

  • Once a young woman has obtained a testimony of the gospel, can she be guaranteed that her testimony will always remain with her?

Show the plant to the young women.

  • How could this plant be compared to a young woman’s testimony? (Both need constant nourishment.)

  • What will happen to a testimony if it is not properly cared for?

  • What might be the reason for a person losing her testimony? (Possible answers: neglecting prayers and gospel study, placing worldly things above spiritual things, failing to keep the Sabbath holy, breaking the Word of Wisdom.)

  • If I continue to water and care for this plant, what will happen?

That same thing is true of a testimony.

  • How can we maintain a strong testimony?

During this part of the lesson, refer to the chalkboard and help the young women understand that continuing to do the things that helped them gain a testimony will also help them strengthen it.

Quotation and discussion

Explain that one way to strengthen your testimony is to bear it.

President Gordon B. Hinckley has told us, “Once having received that testimony, it becomes our obligation to bear record to others” (in Conference Report, Seoul Korea Area Conference 1975, p. 12; italics added).

  • Why is it our “obligation” to bear our testimonies? (See D&C 88:81.)

  • One sacrament meeting a month in the Church is a testimony meeting. Why do you think this is so?

  • How do you feel when someone bears a strong testimony of the gospel?

  • How does it affect your testimony?

Story

Explain that our testimonies become stronger as we bear them and as we hear the testimonies of others. One young woman had this experience when bearing her testimony:

“It’s funny how a testimony grows by leaps and bounds when you share it. I was born and reared in the Church and have always tried my best to obey its teachings. I believed I had as strong a testimony as anyone, but I had never actually borne it. Sure, my close friends knew of my conviction, but that was about all.

“Then one day I was sitting in seminary when I heard my name called as one of three in the class to come up and bear testimony. I was shocked, not to mention scared to death. When my turn came I just stood there not knowing what to say and then the words started coming. I actually poured my heart out. I bore witness that Jesus was the Christ, that the Church was true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God as is the President of the Church today.

“When I was done I had a warm, special feeling inside. My testimony had grown; I could feel it. It was like watching a flower grow in fast motion on a science film.”

Refer to the poster and explain that this young woman’s testimony included all the items listed on it.

Thought questions

  • How strong is your testimony?

  • What are you doing to strengthen it?

  • When was the last time you bore your testimony?

Teacher testimony

If you feel so prompted, bear your own testimony to the young women. Express confidence that each of them can know for herself that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church today, and that a living prophet guides us today. Encourage the young women to bear their testimonies within the next month.