The closure of our churches due to the pandemic has left many of us longing to mingle with each other again. We miss taking the Sacrament there. We miss the comradery, the music, the insightful instruction. And we miss our monthly Fast and Testimony meetings when our hearts can be stirred by the expressions of ward members.
Some churches have opened partially, others are still waiting for the green light. Mine is still in lockdown, and I caught myself this week thinking how much I miss hearing other people’s testimonies.
And then it hit me: For as long as I can remember, church leaders have told us that our own testimonies strengthen by the bearing of them. President Dallin H. Oaks once said, “We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it… testimonies are better gained on the feet bearing them than on the knees praying for them.”
Does this mean that our testimonies wane when we can’t go to church and stand at the microphone to bear them?
Many of us have grown accustomed to publicly bearing our testimonies on occasion, but we forget that we need no formal gathering to do this. The bearing of a testimony is really quite simple—we state what we know to be true. I’ll never forget the powerful testimony I heard at a meeting in Hawaii, when a sister from the Marshall Islands simply got up and said, “I know it. I know it. I know it.” The Spirit she brought was so strong that many of us had tears tumbling down our cheeks, just from those simple words.
And it doesn’t have to be in a formal church setting. In fact, bearing solemn testimony one-on-one can have enormous impact. It’s one of the most powerful components of missionary work. And it solidifies our own testimony as we express what we know, and the Holy Ghost testifies to us that we are speaking truth.
Let’s use this time of isolation to reach out in novel ways to bear testimony. A family could have a Zoom testimony meeting just for this purpose. You can record your testimony on a video. You can write it in your journal. You can write a letter to your loved ones, reminding them that you know God lives, Christ lives, that the restoration happened, that the Book of Mormon is true, that we are led by living prophets.
When we talk with one another, we may feel prompted to affirm our belief, and to share our testimony. Particularly with people you minister to, this could be done on the phone.
As parents, we need to take time to have spiritual discussions with our children, and bear them our testimonies as well. We can also emphasize our testimony of prayer, Priesthood power, forgiveness, family history, scripture study, and every other spiritual blessing we acknowledge.
When we do meet new people, just as we would “change the conversation” to give us a chance to talk about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we can include a heartfelt testimony. We shouldn’t be afraid to do this; it’s the one time when we can almost promise the Holy Ghost will bear witness that our words are true.
A testimony need not be long or elaborate. You don’t need a “hook” or a story. You just need plainspoken confidence. You are witnessing about what you know. And whether it’s received gladly or not, these are the precious feelings of your heart. At the very least you’ll be glad you did, and the Holy Ghost will confirm your action with a feeling of approval. Many times we are planting a seed, and that’s enough.
These peculiar times call for peculiar solutions. Not being able to stand and bear testimony in our meetings shouldn’t preclude us from bearing them privately. In fact, this is a chance to share our beliefs even more often.
I love what Elder Robert D. Hales said: “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.” And bearing testimony matters a great deal.
Hilton’s books, humor blog, and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Inter-Faith Specialist for Church Communications.