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How Do You Bear a Testimony?

Dave Edwards

Like anyone else, you can say what you know and how you know it.

Every month it was the same, and had been for as long as I could remember. By the time I was a deacon, I knew the drill—on fast Sunday, Brother Andersen got the microphone first.

As soon as the bishopric member finished speaking, even before someone handed him the microphone, Brother Andersen would stand up in place and start speaking in his heavy Danish accent (“Brudders and Sisters, …”) and then give his testimony. You could count on it.

Brother Andersen never took long bearing his testimony. He simply spoke about Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, faith, the scriptures—something different every time. And you could tell he put some thought into it.

I once heard some people wonder why Brother Andersen insisted on being first every month. I wondered myself. It wasn’t until some time later that I heard a story about Brother Andersen that made me see his monthly testimonies in a different light.

His monthly testimony was one way he felt he could keep his promise.

When he was a young man, World War II started and Nazi-controlled Germany invaded his home country of Denmark. Like many, he was afraid for his future. During this time he prayed to Heavenly Father, asking for His help in surviving so that he could eventually leave Europe and come to the United States. He promised Heavenly Father that if He would help him through this ordeal, he would bear witness of Him and His Son and of the restored gospel at every opportunity.

His monthly testimony was one way he felt he could keep his promise. Of course, we’re not expected to bear testimony in sacrament meeting every month, but this example made me wonder how I kept my baptismal promise to “stand as [a witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).

A Testimony—for Everyone

For our monthly testimony meetings, the First Presidency has asked that we “learn to express a brief, heartfelt testimony of our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and the truths of the restored gospel” (First Presidency letter, Feb. 14, 2013).

Within those guidelines, there are many things we can testify of and many thoughts and feelings we can share. Taking the opportunity to do this will bless both us and the people listening.

A testimony is a spiritual witness given to us by the Holy Ghost. How we share that witness with others depends on the context, which could include class discussions on Sunday or even conversations with friends. But ultimately, listeners should come away with a clear understanding of what we believe, what we know, and how we know it.

We can take the prophet Alma as an example. After testifying of Jesus Christ and the words of the prophets, he said:

“I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. …

“Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit” (Alma 5:45–46).

Also remember what President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, has taught us:

“The Church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of our testimony. I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, ‘Your testimony must be this tall to enter’” (“Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth,” Ensign, Nov. 2014, 22).

Even if you don’t feel quite as confident as Alma or Brother Andersen, you can still share the testimony you have.

“A testimony is a testimony, and it should be respected, whether it is small or large” (Boyd K. Packer, “How Does the Spirit Speak to Us?New Era, Feb. 2010, 3).

Join the Conversation

Things to Ponder for Sunday

  • When has someone else’s testimony touched you?
  • What things do you feel you can bear testimony of? What would you say?

Things You Might Do

  • As you study the scriptures this week, pay attention to the feelings you have.

Share Your Experience

What experiences have you had bearing your testimony? Click Share your experience below.

This article originally appeared in the May 2015 New Era.

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