A testimony is not stagnant—it is actively moving, changing, and growing. To ensure and maintain the forward progress of our testimony we must take action. But what does this look like? Reading our scriptures, praying daily, serving others, keeping the commandments, attending church every week, and participating in temple worship frequently are all good ways to increase your testimony. However, one thing that has been on my mind lately is sharing our testimony with others. It is good to have it in our hearts, but as President Boyd K. Packer once taught, “Oh, if I could teach you this one principle! A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it.”
We are given the opportunity at the first of every month to share our testimony with our church congregation. How often do we take advantage of this wonderful opportunity?
Getting Out Of Our Comfort Zone:
I have always been a very introverted person who prefers to keep to myself. Growing up, I never bore my testimony in church or other meetings because I was too shy to stand in front of others and share something so personal. As I got older I slowly found more confidence in myself and my beliefs. When I was about 14 I started participating in public speaking events at my school. This was way out of my comfort zone, but it was one of the greatest things I could have done. Speaking in front of people still makes me nervous, but I have learned that it is good to do things that make me uncomfortable because it helps me grow. I saw the reward of my work toward public speaking when I won the state competition and was able to participate at the national level in my event.
When we practice bearing our testimony we may not see the reward in the same way. Our reward will come in the form of increased love and knowledge of the gospel. Bearing a testimony in front of others may require you to step out of your comfort zone, but that is where you will find the most growth.
As a young woman, I was challenged to memorize The Living Christ. I spent months practicing so that I would have it completely memorized by the time I went to girl’s camp. The Living Christ is the written testimony of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency of the Church from 2000. This is a powerful testimony of Christ. As I read, memorized, and recited this testimony nearly every day for months I found that I was starting to believe what I was saying. This proclamation became a powerful piece of my testimony. As we speak the words of our testimony they become more real to us.
Learning To Be Vulnerable:
Bearing testimony is a test of what we truly believe. This requires an amount of vulnerability to stand and share your beliefs. It can be easy to doubt and question if what we believe is true, but when you share that with someone else you are opening yourself up to their doubts and questions of your testimony and the truths you hold dear. Bearing a testimony shows God that you dare to stand up for His gospel.
My dad passed away nearly six months ago. It was a moment that truly shook the foundation of my testimony. I questioned everything I had previously known. I saw the hand of God in my life in the week following his passing, but I still had so many questions. I didn’t understand why God would take someone so good. As I sat in fast and testimony meeting the Sunday after he passed, I felt the spirit remind me of what I already knew to be true. I was prompted to stand and bear my testimony that week on being grateful in any circumstance. The words I spoke were vulnerable, but I knew they were true.
A few months later I had another opportunity to bear my testimony to a non-member friend of mine. She had just lost her grandfather and was struggling with her grief. She asked me some questions about the church and I was able to bear my testimony to her about the plan of salvation. I also told her about the power that comes from receiving a priesthood blessing. I received a blessing after my dad passed away that gave me the strength to go on. I once again had to decide if what I was saying was true. The spirit testified to me that I already knew it was true. As you bear testimony to others you will find confirmation that what you are saying is true.
Bearing a testimony can be a benefit to those around us, but more importantly, it strengthens our own belief and forces us to decide if we actually believe it. You don’t need to say anything fancy or particularly profound when you bear a testimony, rather you can simply share what you know in your heart to be true.
In a devotional for young adults, President Nelson stated, “I plead with you to take charge of your testimony. Work for it. Own it. Care for it. Nurture it so that it will grow. Feed it truth…As you make your testimony your highest priority, watch for miracles to happen in your life.”