A few weeks ago, my family and I attended a fast and testimony meeting at our church building (for those who don’t know what that is, you can read about it HERE). I leaned over to my son, who is 7, and asked if he wanted to share his personal testimony from the pulpit. He is quite shy, so I didn’t think he would be eager to participate, but I wanted to give him the option. I would have been completely surprised if he agreed.
I was surprised by his answer, although it wasn’t an agreement. It was something else entirely.
He replied, “Mom, I don’t have a testimony!” After a moment of thought, I said back, “I bet you do.”
Then, quietly I asked, “Do you believe in Heavenly Father?” He smiled and said, “Of course.” I asked him if he likes the scripture stories from primary and if he felt like they were real. He said, “Yes!” I continued to ask him questions about the gospel and he continued to confirm that he knew the answers and that he believed it was true.
In a few short minutes of conversation, we discovered that he did, in fact, have a testimony. It was there all along! He just didn’t realize that knowing and believing those simple things was what made up a testimony.
It made me wonder if, perhaps, other young members of the church feel the same way. They might not realize that their own personal testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is there. It simply needs to be discovered.
I put together an easy worksheet titled Discovering My Testimony. It is intended for young children, but it might be helpful for teens as well! This family night lesson will help you uncover the testimonies that are already growing inside of your children’s hearts. It is empowering and important for them to know that they do have a testimony!
Lesson: What is a Testimony?
President Uchdorf teaches, “For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the term testimony is a warm and familiar word in our religious expressions. It is tender and sweet. It has always a certain sacredness about it. When we talk about testimony, we refer to feelings of our heart and mind rather than an accumulation of logical, sterile facts. It is a gift of the Spirit, a witness from the Holy Ghost that certain concepts are true.”
We don’t have to know everything all at once. The gospel is taught line upon line. It is given to us in bits and pieces that we can understand and implement as we grow.
The five core elements of a strong testimony are that:
- God Lives. We are His children.
- Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. He is the Savior of the World.
- Joseph Smith restored the church in the latter days. He was a prophet of God.
- The Book of Mormon is the word of God
- We have a true and living prophet and apostles that guide and direct the church in our day.
These five truths are the building blocks of all the other areas of the gospel.
How do we increase our faith and our conviction?
We must have a desire to know the truth. When we ask, the Holy Ghost will speak to our hearts. Think about a time when you have felt the Holy Ghost. It might be small. Perhaps it was when you chose to do the right thing and you felt good inside. Or, maybe you visited the temple grounds and it feel peaceful and happy. The love you feel in your heart for your family is also the Holy Ghost confirming that families are eternal. There are many ways for the Holy Ghost to speak to us. Share personal experiences aloud as a family.
After you have a desire, then it is time to act! Study the gospel at home with scripture study and family night. Attend church and participate in the lessons. Volunteer to say the prayer in primary or to give a talk. Ask questions if you are confused or if you want to know more. The more you know about the gospel, the easier it is to have faith in it.
Then, focus on doing what you know to be right. Keep the commandments. Follow the prophet’s council. Listen to your parents. Actively living a good life will help your testimony to grow and get stronger. Think of something you can do to increase your activity in spiritual things. One idea is to say family prayer together each night or in the morning. Or, you could read one scripture mastery scripture aloud before school each day. Earn some money and then set aside 10 percent to pay as tithing. Think of an idea together as a family and set a goal to do it! When you act in faith, the Holy Ghost will help you to know that what you are doing is right.
Activity: Discovering Your Testimony
Print out the free worksheet from this blog post. Make sure to do one copy per person.
You can read the questions out loud as a group, or complete the form individually. Check all of the boxes that apply. There is not one right answer. Testimonies are as unique as each person. These questions are not all encompassing. There are so many other elements to a testimony. But, this activity is a jumping off point to help you and your family to discover their own personal beliefs!
The bottom three questions have a black space in the sentence. You can fill in the blanks with the words that fit best in your own minds and hearts.
After everyone has finished the worksheet, take a minute to talk as a group about what you each know, believe, and hope to be true about the Gospel. The more you share your feelings and beliefs, the stronger your testimony will become.
Save this worksheet in your scriptures or in a special drawer. Make sure to refer to it often. I loved watching my children discover for themselves that they DID have a testimony. It was already growing and developing inside of them. The knowledge and feelings and beliefs were there, it just did not have a name yet. I hope this lesson will give the special name of testimony to your own children’s feelings as it did mine.
There is great power in knowing. Having a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will allow your family to live with courage and conviction. Take time to discover the truth that is already inside your hearts. Recognize it. Act upon it. Watch it grow into an indestructible force for good in your lives and in the world around you.
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