“I Have a Testimony,” Friend, Feb. 2003, 4
“What do you want to play next?” Tyler asked Jonathan. “I don’t know. What other toys do you have?” Even though they were best friends in the second grade, this was the first time Jonathan had come over to play at Tyler’s house.
“Let’s see,” Tyler said. “We already jumped on the trampoline. We played digging for dinosaurs. We put the space shuttle set together three times. Those are all my favorites.”
“Do you have any new games?” Jonathan asked.
“No, but I just had an idea. I have something to show you that I bet you’ve never seen.” Jonathan followed Tyler into the family room. Tyler got out an envelope and a big square board covered with fuzzy flannel.
“Look at this,” Tyler said. He turned the envelope upside down and a bunch of pictures fell out onto the floor. “I’ve been practicing my lesson for family home evening tonight. I’m going to tell the story of Joseph Smith just like the missionaries do. Want to hear it?”
“Hold on,” Jonathan said. “What’s family home evening, and who’s Joseph Smith?”
“Family home evening is when our family gets together every Monday night. We do lessons, play games, sing songs, and stuff like that. And we always have treats at the end. Anyway, it’s my turn to give the lesson. It’s all about Joseph Smith. Want to hear it?”
Jonathan shrugged. “OK.”
“Good. It starts off when Joseph was a teenager.” Tyler put a picture on the flannel board of a boy dressed in old-fashioned clothes. “He wanted to know which church was true. He was reading in the Bible where it says that if you have a question, you should ask God. Joseph Smith decided to pray and ask God which church he should join.”
“Is this a Bible story?” Jonathan asked.
“Well, not really.” Tyler took the boy’s picture off the flannel board and put on a picture of some trees. Then he got out another picture of the boy, only this time the boy was kneeling. “This is the good part. Joseph Smith went into the woods where he could be alone to pray. When he prayed, he asked God his question about which church was true.”
Tyler put another picture above the Joseph picture on the flannel board. This one showed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, all dressed in white. “God and Jesus came down and told Joseph Smith not to join any of the churches. They told him that the true church was not on the earth. Later, when Joseph Smith was older, he was able to help bring the true Church back to the earth. He was a true prophet.”
Tyler stopped and looked at Jonathan. Jonathan was staring at the pictures but not saying much. Finally Tyler asked, “What do you think?”
“Well, I don’t know,” Jonathan said. “The only prophets I’ve ever heard about are from Bible stories. Are you sure Joseph Smith was a prophet?”
“Sure, I’m sure.”
“But how do you know? I mean, if it’s not in the Bible, how do you know?”
Tyler hesitated. He knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but how could he explain it to Jonathan? “I just know,” he said.
Jonathan still had a frown on his face, and Tyler had a feeling that there was something else he should say. Then he knew what it was. “I know because I have a testimony.”
“Oh,” was all Jonathan said.
Tyler began putting the pictures back into the envelope.
Just then, Tyler’s mom poked her head around the corner. “How about a snack?” she said. “There are cookies in the kitchen.”
Tyler and Jonathan told each other jokes while they licked the frosting from the middle of their cookies. By the time they munched down the chocolate outside parts of the cookies, Jonathan’s mom had come to pick him up. He went outside to look for his shoes next to the trampoline. Tyler went with him.
While Jonathan was tying his shoes, he looked up at Tyler. “You know that story you told me? It was good. I mean, it’s good about your testimony and all.”
Before Tyler could answer, Jonathan had jumped up and was running through the gate out to the car. “See you tomorrow!” he called over his shoulder.
“Yeah, see you tomorrow,” Tyler called back.
“It is important that we each know for ourselves that Jesus is the Christ and that He has restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith the fulness of His everlasting gospel. As we press forward in His service, spiritual experiences will increase our faith, and we will find great joy. … And as we come to know and understand these true doctrines for ourselves, we will discover that there is also a great need for us to share our knowledge and beliefs with others while always maintaining their friendship and goodwill.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
From an April 2000 general conference address.