“How to Share Testimony More Naturally,” Liahona, March 2019
We have covenanted to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9). Sharing our testimonies is part of standing as a witness and is a powerful way to invite the Holy Ghost to touch someone’s heart and change their life.
“Testimony—real testimony, born of the Spirit and confirmed by the Holy Ghost—changes lives,” said President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.1
But sharing our testimony can be intimidating or uncomfortable for some of us. That may be because we think of sharing our testimony as something we do in fast and testimony meeting or when teaching a lesson. In those formal settings we often use certain words and phrases that seem out of place in natural conversation.
Sharing our testimonies can become a more regular blessing in our lives and the lives of others when we understand how simple it can be to share what we believe in everyday settings. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
A testimony doesn’t need to begin with the phrase, “I’d like to bear my testimony,” and it doesn’t need to end with, “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” A testimony is an expression of what we believe and know to be true. So to visit with your neighbor on the street about a problem she is having and to say, “I know that God answers prayers,” can be as powerful as any testimony shared from the pulpit at church. The power doesn’t come from flowery language; it comes from the Holy Ghost confirming truth (see Doctrine and Covenants 100:7–8).
If we’re willing to share, there are opportunities all around us to fit testimony into everyday conversations. For example:
Someone asks you about your weekend. “It was great,” you reply. “Church was just what I needed.”
Someone expresses sympathy after learning about a challenge in your life: “I’m so sorry.” You reply: “Thanks for your concern. I know that God will see me through. He’s been there for me before.”
Someone remarks: “I hope this awful weather changes soon,” or “The bus sure is late,” or “Look at this traffic.” You might respond: “I’m sure God will help everything work out.”
We often talk with each other about our challenges. When someone tells you about what they are facing, you might share a time when God helped you in your trials and testify that you know He can help them too. The Lord said He strengthens us in our trials so “that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions” (Mosiah 24:14). We can stand as witnesses of Him when we testify of how He has helped us in our trials.
For some of us, sharing testimony on the spur of the moment can be intimidating. There are ways we can plan ahead and “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh [us] a reason of the hope that is in [us]” (1 Peter 3:15).
First, being prepared can mean looking at how we live. Are we inviting the Holy Ghost into our lives and strengthening our own testimonies each day through righteous living? Are we giving the Spirit opportunities to speak to us and give us the words we need through prayer and scripture study? As the Lord counseled Hyrum Smith, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed” (Doctrine and Covenants 11:21).
Second, being prepared can mean looking ahead and considering opportunities you might have that day or that week to share your testimony. You can prepare for those opportunities by thinking about how they might give you a chance to share what you believe.
President Ballard taught, “Although we can have testimonies of many things as members of the Church, there are basic truths we need to constantly teach one another and share.” As examples, he listed: “God is our Father and Jesus is the Christ. The plan of salvation is centered on the Savior’s Atonement. Joseph Smith restored the fulness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon is evidence that our testimony is true.” As we express those heartfelt truths, we invite the Spirit to bear witness that what we have said is true. President Ballard emphasized that “the Spirit cannot be restrained when pure testimony of Christ is borne.”2
Weary from a journey through Samaria, the Savior paused to rest at a well and met a woman there. He started a conversation about drawing water from the well. Using this everyday task that the woman was engaged in gave Jesus the opportunity to testify of the living water and eternal life available to those who believe in Him (see John 4:13–15, 25–26).
President Russell M. Nelson has told of a nurse who asked then-Dr. Nelson a question after a difficult surgical procedure. “Why are you not like other surgeons?” Some surgeons she knew could be short-tempered and profane as they performed such high-pressure procedures.
Dr. Nelson could have answered in any number of ways. But he simply replied, “Because I know the Book of Mormon is true.”
His answer prompted the nurse and her husband to study the Book of Mormon. President Nelson later baptized the nurse. Decades later, while presiding over a stake conference in Tennessee, USA, as a newly ordained Apostle, President Nelson enjoyed an unexpected reunion with the same nurse. She recounted that her conversion, brought about by his simple testimony and the influence of the Book of Mormon, helped lead to the conversion of another 80 people.3
Don’t be afraid to share your testimony. It can bless those to whom you minister. How will you use these ideas or your own to share your testimony today?