“FYI: For Your Info,” New Era, Oct. 1993, 34–37
by Laura Mayo Bangerter
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to strengthen your testimony or to gain one is to share it. But sometimes that’s not easily said or done. To help, here are some pointers on what to do and what not to do when bearing your testimony.
Tell what you know about the gospel.
Talk about the things you are striving to gain a testimony of.
Pray for support and confirmation of your testimony before you bear it, even if it’s just a small prayer in your heart.
Take bearing your testimony seriously and sincerely. Peer pressure shouldn’t influence you.
Keep your testimony short and to the point.
Tell long stories, whether they are about yourself or someone else. If you have a good story, it might be best to save it for the next time you are asked to give a talk.
Describe the details of past sins and bad conduct.
Take up too much time. Others may be waiting for their turn.
Talk only about friends and family. Testimony meeting is a time to say what you know about the gospel.
Be embarrassed if you get emotional.
Be critical of others’ testimonies—we’re all learning. Plus, you won’t be able to feel the Spirit if you focus on the negative.
If you want to bear your testimony but you’re not quite sure what to say, here are some suggestions.
I know that—
God lives and loves me.
Jesus Christ is my Savior and that he died for me (see 1 Jn. 4:14–15).
Through Christ’s atonement, I can live with him again if I follow God’s commandments.
Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet in our day.
Christ’s church was restored to the earth through Joseph Smith.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).
Our church is led by a prophet of God who receives revelation for our church today.
The Book of Mormon is the word of God.
As you put these suggestions to use, your testimony will be strengthened. The Lord even promises, “Whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth” (Morm. 9:25).
In the early days of the Church, an elder found himself with the responsibility of giving a sermon to a large group of people gathered to hear a “Mormon” preacher. The situation wouldn’t have been that bad, but as Brigham Young explained, “[The elder] had never been able to say he knew that Joseph Smith was a Prophet.” The elder wanted to just say a prayer and conclude the meeting. But the building was so full, people were hanging through the open windows from outside to listen. There was no graceful way out for the elder except to speak.
He braved his way to the podium, and “as soon as he got ‘Joseph’ out, ‘is a Prophet’ was the next; and from that, his tongue was loosened, and he continued talking until near sundown,” Brigham Young reported. “The Lord pours out his Spirit upon a man when he testifies that which the Lord gives him to testify of” (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Seeking the Spirit, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, pp. 4–5).
“Serve and Volley” was the theme for the Laurel/priest activity held on a sunny day in the Modesto California Region. What would you expect but a service project with a little volleyball afterwards?
But it was much more than that. First they met to clean, clear, and revamp a recreational county park. Nearly 200 people did so much work the park ranger who supervised got all choked up.
Everyone then went back to the stake center for a potato bar/sundae bar dinner, awards ceremony, and video of the day’s work. After that they headed to a recreation center for the promised volleyball, golf, Ping-Pong, etc. It was all in a day’s work and a night’s play. The kids loved it!
In New Zealand, it isn’t just the girls who get a summer camp. The young men of Tokoroa recently received invites to a “missionary training camp” to promote both Scouting and missionary service.
The camp was divided into four “missions,” and the boys were taught first aid, problem solving alone, and problem solving with a quorum. They listened to guest speakers talk about missionary skills and preparation. They had a number of experiences that helped them grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.
“I enjoyed it soooooo much,” said Lucky Manu. “It has built my confidence to serve the Lord, wear the badge, and be proud to be a missionary.”
Ian Baker, of the Lichfield England Stake, had a great job as a Chef de Partie at a local hotel, but wasn’t quite satisfied. It seems the job required him to work on Sundays, and he wasn’t very excited about that. He decided to quit.
To his surprise, the head chef asked him back, offering a higher salary and most of his Sundays free.
It was a missionary experience that Ian shared with his brother Jonathan and the full-time missionaries that helped him have such firm commitment. They were both a little scared at first, but as they worked, they were “filled with the Spirit.” Jonathan is now serving a mission in the south of France.
Everyone who knows these brothers is impressed with their great spirituality and missionary enthusiasm. It’s obvious they’re quick to stand up for their beliefs.
Travis Ritchie, 17, of Richfield, Utah, appears to be the picture of the gifted, all-American boy. He’s in the National Honor Society, is involved in the student advisory council, is co-captain of his high school varsity basketball team, and is seminary council president. Few people realize he’s accomplished this in spite of a severe health problem.
Since age nine, Travis has had a daily routine of shots, blood glucose monitoring, insulin balancing, rest, and exercise. Travis has diabetes, which requires constant treatment.
“I’d like to live my life so I can be a good example to others who are diabetic, as well as those who are not,” he says.
In many areas of the Church, girls’ camp is taken for granted. After all, some girls’ mothers’ mothers attended. But not in Brazil. The camping program has just been started, and those involved couldn’t be more excited.
It was particularly difficult to organize the program in Brazil. The country includes São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, two of the world’s largest cities, and there are 87 stakes and nearly 500,000 members there. Some of the girls left their homes in concrete jungles and high rises to lug their hard-to-obtain camping gear on public buses and travel for hours. The fresh air, flowers, and stars of the country were new experiences for those who had never before been far from their homes in the cities.
The results are showing already. “Friendships have blossomed, confidence has increased, less active members have returned, and testimonies have sprouted,” said one leader. That’s what girls’ camp is all about.
It must be difficult living in a place where one of life’s greatest temptations is going to the beach on Sunday. “Sunday always has the perfect beach weather,” says Tami Ting Mei Lim of Honolulu, Hawaii, “but I want to be in church.”
Tami loves her home state and takes advantage of every opportunity to spread the gospel across it. She once spent two hours driving through the busy streets of Honolulu telling her captive driving instructor about the gospel. “I was surprised about the interest he took in hearing about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon,” she said.
Tami also takes advantage of opportunities to keep her state beautiful. She’s constantly involved in community cleanup projects. Her experience in church and school leadership positions helps her with this. All this, and an avid interest in violin and piano music? No wonder it’s tempting to think of relaxing at the beach.