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What does it mean to bear testimony?

A testimony is a spiritual witness, given by the Holy Ghost, of the truthfulness of the gospel. When we bear testimony, we declare to others what we know to be true by the power of the Spirit. The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that Heavenly Father lives and loves us, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that His gospel has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior’s true Church.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What will help the youth understand what it means to bear testimony?

Matthew 16:13–19; Mosiah 3:17; Alma 5:45–48; 7:13; D&C 76:22–24 (Examples of testimonies in the scriptures)

Alma 4:18–20 (The power of bearing testimony)

Alma 11:39–41; 12:1; 15:12 (The testimony of Amulek has a powerful influence on Zeezrom)

Henry B. Eyring, “Witnesses for God,Ensign, Nov. 1996, 30–33

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Power of a Personal Testimony,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 37–39

Dallin H. Oaks, “Testimony,Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 26–29

Bear Testimony Frequently,Preach My Gospel (2004), 198–99

Teaching with Testimony,Teaching, No Greater Call (1999), 43–44

Video: “A Man without Eloquence,” “Testimony of Thomas S. Monson”; see also Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Visual Resources (DVD)

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between things they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help you:

  • Invite the youth to share a recent experience that has strengthened their testimony.
  • Ask the youth to imagine that they invite a friend to church on fast Sunday, and the bishop invites members of the ward to bear their testimonies. How would they respond if their friend asked, “What does it mean to bear testimony?” If necessary, refer the youth to the section titled “What Is a Testimony?” in Teaching, No Greater Call, pages 43–44.

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the youth understand what it means to bear testimony. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Invite the youth to read the section titled “What Is a Testimony?” from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “The Power of a Personal Testimony.” Ask the youth to make a list of what a testimony is and what a testimony is not based on what they read. Invite them to share experiences in which they heard someone bear testimony in a way that strengthened their faith and testimony.
  • Invite the youth to read section II of Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s talk “Testimony,” looking for similarities and differences between testimony and other kinds of knowledge. What can the youth do to strengthen their knowledge of the truth of the gospel? 
  • Invite the youth to find examples in the scriptures of people bearing testimony (such as those suggested in this outline). As they share what they find, encourage them to discuss the different ways they can bear testimony (including formal and informal ways). Watch the video “Testimony of Thomas S. Monson.” Ask the youth to share what they learn from President Monson about bearing testimony.
  • Invite the youth to read “Bear Testimony Frequently” and complete the accompanying personal study activity in Preach My Gospel, pages 198–99. Ask them to share their insights with the class. How can they apply what they have learned the next time they bear testimony (such as in a church meeting or a conversation with a friend)?
  • Show the video “A Man without Eloquence.” Ask the youth to share an experience in which they were touched by another’s simple, heartfelt testimony. What was it about that particular testimony that touched their hearts?

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to bear testimony? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Invite the youth to look for opportunities to bear testimony—formally and informally—during the coming week. Ask them to share their experiences in a future class.

Encourage the youth to write their testimonies in their journal.