“Stand as a Witness,” Ensign, December 2014, 30–31
Since the time of Joseph Smith, people have been curious about the Church and its teachings. In 1842, a Chicago newspaper editor named John Wentworth asked the Prophet Joseph Smith about the beliefs of the Latter-day Saints. Part of the Prophet’s response is recorded in scripture as the Articles of Faith.1
Today people continue to ask Church members to explain their beliefs. President Thomas S. Monson said, “We will have opportunities throughout our lives to share our beliefs, although we don’t always know when we will be called upon to do so.”2
Whether by being a friend or answering others’ questions, members around the world are taking the opportunity to stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Peter Vousden of Devon, England, had an opportunity to discuss the gospel because of his friendship with his neighbor Paul. One evening during their commute home on the train, Paul abruptly asked his friend, “Would you mind if we talked about doctrine?”
Brother Vousden says, “Paul was a devout Christian, a church attender, and an intelligent man. He knew I was LDS, but the request surprised me. I was delighted.” Over the course of the discussion, the two men both bore their testimonies of Jesus Christ.
The next day, Brother Vousden took a Book of Mormon to Paul with several passages marked. A little later Paul came hurrying up the pavement to Brother Vousden’s house clutching the Book of Mormon. “This is what I believe!” he exclaimed.
“I thought he might be referring to the verses I had highlighted,” Brother Vousden says, “but he had the front cover open and pointed to the part explaining the purpose as ‘convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.’
“‘This is what I believe,’ he repeated.”
And although Paul declined Brother Vousden’s invitation to learn more from full-time missionaries, their exchange about beliefs resulted in a more meaningful friendship.
“I attended the christening of Paul’s son, and he attended the baptism of mine,” Brother Vousden says. “He kept the Book of Mormon, which he knows is a book that testifies of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When Charles Nwachukwu of Delta, Nigeria, was getting a vaccination, two nurses who were not Latter-day Saints were discussing the Book of Mormon. One of the nurses knew Brother Nwachukwu was a Latter-day Saint and asked him to explain what he believed. “I told her that the Book of Mormon is another testimony of Jesus Christ, that it testifies of Christ’s dealings with another tribe of the house of Israel, and that it supports the Bible’s testimony that Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind,” he says. “I bore my testimony that the Book of Mormon has helped me solve my life challenges.”
With her interest piqued, one of the nurses asked Brother Nwachukwu if she and her husband could come to his home for more clarification. He agreed. That evening he answered their questions and invited them to church. On Sunday, the couple came with their children and a visiting relative. Eventually, the nurse, her husband, and their children chose to be baptized.
Brother Nwachukwu says, “I had been looking for an opportunity to share my testimony with people who are desirous to know about the Church and its doctrines. I felt so fulfilled after bearing my testimony. We need to be prepared because we don’t know who might ask about the gospel. Be bold and open your mouth. The Lord will fill it with His word.”
Since the early days of the Church, prophets and members alike have been standing as witnesses of the gospel. As that gospel continues to spread throughout the world, more of us will be able to share our testimonies. By doing so, we fulfill our covenant “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).