“A Challenge Just for You,” Friend, Nov. 2001, 4
Tyler watched as some of his Primary friends went to the front of the chapel. It was fast and testimony meeting. Every month, his friends shared their testimonies in front of the whole ward. Even little Sunbeams and CTR five-year-olds did it. Tyler squirmed in his seat. He wanted to share his testimony, too, but he was afraid that everyone would make fun of him.
Tyler had been in speech therapy since he was four years old. At first, he had worked on sounds that he’d never been able to make. Slowly he became really good at them. But now that Tyler was seven, he had a different speech problem. It seemed that when he talked, no one listened. He wanted everyone to hear what he had to say, so he kept starting over. His speech teacher called it “stuttering.” Some of the older kids on the school bus called him “stupid.” Tyler knew that he could not talk as well as the other kids his age. He also knew that he wasn’t stupid. Still, being called names hurt his feelings.
“Why don’t you say your testimony?” Tyler’s little sister, Michelle, asked loudly as he sat hunched over on the bench with his family.
Tyler knew that his face was turning red. “Don’t worry about me,” he hissed at her.
Mom leaned over and whispered to Michelle, “Tyler will share his testimony when he’s ready.”
After church, Tyler found his mother studying her Primary lesson at the kitchen table. He had waited until he could talk to her alone. “I can’t say my testimony because I stutter,” he blurted out to her.
She looked up from her lesson manual and smiled at him. “Everyone has challenges in their lives to work on. This one is just for you.”
Tyler looked down. Tiny tears were starting to form in the corners of his eyes. “But, Mom, no one else stutters.”
His mother was very quiet. Tyler looked up at her and thought he saw tears in her eyes, too. Finally she said, “No one else in our family stutters, but even some grown men have speech problems. Even some of the Lord’s prophets were afraid to share their testimonies because of their speech problems. We don’t know what we would call their problem today; the scriptures describe it as being ‘slow of speech.’”*
“Grown men? Even prophets had trouble talking?”
His mother smiled at Tyler’s excitement and nodded. “In the scriptures, there are two prophets that I can think of who were worried about sharing the gospel because of their speech. They both learned to follow the counsel of the Lord and overcame their fear of speaking. They did great things for the Lord.”
Tyler’s eyes twinkled with joy. “Who were they?”
“Well, one of them was Moses.”
“Moses!” Tyler exclaimed. “He was a great prophet. He led the children of Israel to the promised land. But I thought his brother, Aaron, did all the talking.”
“Very good,” Mom said. “I can tell that you were listening in family home evening. That’s right—Aaron did talk at first. But Moses gradually overcame his fear and did a lot of the talking himself.”
“I didn’t know that,” Tyler said. “Who was the other prophet?”
“You might not have heard of him,” Mom told him. “His name was Enoch. He lived before Noah and the flood.”
“No, I haven’t heard of him. What did he do?”
“He taught his people the gospel.”
“What’s so special about that?” Tyler wanted to know. “All the prophets do that.”
Mom nodded. “Yes, but with Enoch, the difference was that his people listened.”
“To a prophet who couldn’t talk very well?”
“Absolutely. They listened to him so well that their city of Zion was translated, or taken up to heaven to be with Heavenly Father. The scriptures say that they were so righteous that the Lord couldn’t keep them from His presence, and He took them to Himself.”
“The people really didn’t laugh at Enoch, did they?”
Mom closed her manual and folded her arms on top of it. “Tyler, when people listen with the Spirit of the Lord, they listen to what you say, not how you say it.”
Tyler traced the pattern on the tablecloth with his finger as he thought about what Mom had said.
“You know, Tyler,” she continued, “there are General Authorities today who come from different parts of the world. Often they don’t speak English as well as they would like to when they speak at general conference. But every time I listen to them, I have a warm feeling inside. I know that what they’re saying is true.”
“I bet some people would make fun of them, too.” Tyler frowned.
Mom nodded. “I think you’re right. Some people probably do. But if they do, they’re only hurting themselves. They’re missing out on a wonderful spiritual experience.”
Tyler was quiet as this new thought went through his mind. “Thanks, Mom. That helps a lot.”
When the next fast and testimony meeting came, Tyler was ready. He didn’t care if some of the other children laughed. He was going to bear his testimony. He had wanted to do it for a long time, and now he wasn’t going to let other people’s rudeness stop him.
To his surprise, no one laughed. No one even snickered or pointed. Tyler spoke to the whole ward about what was in his heart, what he had felt the Spirit testify was true. It wasn’t a long testimony like adults sometimes give, but it was his testimony.
When Tyler returned to his seat, Mom leaned over. “That was one of the most beautiful testimonies I’ve ever heard. Thanks, Tyler.”
The warm feeling inside of Tyler grew. He knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord making him feel good. All he could think of to answer his mom was, “Thank you, too, Mom.”