93952_000_008Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.
I have a hard time bearing my testimony in public. I know I have a testimony, but do I have to bear my testimony out loud?
As members of the Church, we have many opportunities to tell each other what we have learned about the divinity of Christ and how we feel about living the gospel. We can bear our testimonies during the fast and testimony portion of sacrament meeting on the first Sunday of the month. We also have opportunities to bear our testimonies when we give talks or participate in other meetings.
Why do we bear testimonies? And why do we do it out loud? Bearing testimonies is one way of teaching and strengthening each other. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:118 [D&C 88:118], we are asked to “teach one another words of wisdom.” By bearing our testimonies with the spirit of the Holy Ghost, we talk about the things that have strengthened our faith. This is one way we are fulfilling that responsibility to teach each other.
We believe it is by the power of the Holy Ghost that we come to know that something is true rather than by how well someone uses language or just by logic. Many of us have felt that power when listening to someone bear their testimony. Nephi talked about it just as he was finishing writing his record in the Book of Mormon. “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Ne. 33:1).
Brigham Young was converted to the Church because of this type of experience. An LDS missionary, Eleazar Miller, bore his testimony to Brigham Young, and the future president of the Church said he would never have been convinced if the missionary had tried to use fancy language or had given a list of reasons. Instead, as President Young said, “When I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only say, ‘I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Lord,’ the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true” (Journal of Discourses, 1:90).
During testimony meetings, people are not assigned to speak. Any who want to testify about the things they have learned to be true are welcome to stand and bear their testimonies. You can join in the feeling of the meeting without participating, but it would be a blessing to you if you tried to bear your testimony. Elder Boyd K. Packer has said, “A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!” (Ensign, Jan. 1983, p. 54). There is something powerful about trying to put into words the things you believe. You may discover that the testimony you have been nurturing and searching for is stronger than you think.
People often become emotional when bearing their testimonies. If you are afraid that you cannot control your emotions, you may want to take opportunities to bear your testimony in small groups such as at camp or at youth conference or in your Young Women class or priesthood quorum.
Also, try writing your testimony in your journal. That may help you sort out just what you would like to say. The scriptures are a record of the testimonies of righteous people, people who knew that Christ lives. Bearing your testimony may be difficult, but in testimony meetings you are always among friends who will receive what you have to say with gladness. Try it.
The Lord will be pleased and happy when we express our testimony for it may strengthen and touch the hearts of those we share it with. There may be people who need to hear our testimony to come unto Christ.
Leva Naga, 14 Suva, Fiji
Yes, you should bear your testimony out loud. In Doctrine and Covenants 62:3 [D&C 62:3], it reads, “Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.” Also other people benefit from hearing our testimonies.
Kevin Livingston, 18 St. Louis, Missouri
From my own experience, I’ve found that sharing my testimony makes it strengthen and grow.
Daniel Quinn Roundy Tucson, Arizona
It took time and practice to bear my testimony. President Heber J. Grant taught, “That which we persist in doing becomes easy to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but the power to do has increased.” I hope you will have enough courage to stand up in perilous times and bear witness of Him who is the Savior of all.
Tiffany Pargeter, 16 Arlington, Washington
As you ponder what the Savior did for you, you’ll have a desire to share this feeling with others, and not only will your testimony grow, but you’ll touch the hearts of others. I had an investigator who was not too sure about baptism. During fast and testimony meeting, he was touched by the testimony of a sister and decided to be baptised. She had been an instrument in the Lord’s hands.
Elder George Kissi, 23 England Manchester Mission
The way we live can be an example to the world and a testimony that Jesus lives and his church is true.
Carolina Dacoli, 12 Montevideo, Uruguay
I know that when I hear someone else’s testimony, it helps me with mine.
Mary Hanson, 14 Austin, Texas