F.H.E. Friday {testimony}

....A lesson of Friday to teach on Monday...

Over the past few weeks I've been studying this April's General Conference talks. And one of the distinct impressions that I have received is that we needed to share our testimonies more.  I decided put together a family home evening lesson to review just what a testimony is, how we gain our own testimony and how we keep our testimony growing.  This was a more "serious" lesson, without games and extra fun "stuff", but everyone stayed involved and it was a great experience, we all felt and recognized the spirit.  This lesson is geared toward the senior primary & youth age groups. Enjoy...

You Will Need:
  • Scriptures for each family member
  • A way to watch this short video.
  • You may want to print of some of the quotes below, and hand them out to family members to participate.
  • Scripture Challenge Sheet {see below}
Song Suggestions:

Read: "The quest for a testimony begins with a righteous, sincere desire. Speaking to a group of people who did not yet have testimonies of the gospel, Alma taught: 'If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.' (Alma 32:27)" {True to the Faith, 178-80}

Ask: What is a testimony? {Sharing what you know and believe to be true, a confirmation from the Holy Ghost to know that something is right and true... NOTE: they don't have to have all the right answers right now, we will be reading some quotes to help explain more}

We are going to read some quotes that will help explain and help us understand even more just what a testimony is.  {Hand out quotes to family members to read, if desired.  After each discuss what each quote means or how it makes you feel}

#1: "A testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost.  The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that Heavenly Father lives and loves His children; that Jesus Christ lives, that He is the Son of God, and that He carried out the infinite Atonement; that Joseph Smith is the prophet of God who was called to restore the gospel; that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior's true Church on the earth; and that the Church is led by a living prophet today.  With this foundation, a testimony grows to include all principles of the gospel." {True to the Faith, 178-80}

#2: "A testimony is the spirit of prophecy (see Rev. 19:10).  It is a personal revelation from God, revealing the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A testimony comes through the Holy Ghost; it makes a deep and lasting impression on the soul.

Individual testimonies are the foundation and strength of the Church.  Our testimony provides a guiding light that leads to a commitment which directs our conduct and our way of life.  Our testimony is true north on a spiritual compass.  It is a moving force that cannot be seen but can truly be felt.  It is a burning within that tells us what is right.  It is when 'your heart tells you things that your mind doesn't know' (Harold B. Lee)" {Elder Robert D. Hales}

#3: "Our testimony is a measurement of our faith.  Faith is testimony; testimony is faith.  Having a strong testimony allows us to help others in their search for truth.  Our testimony is a gift from God.  It should be shared, but we do not have the authority to bestow a testimony upon someone else, because a personal testimony is granted by the Holy Ghost.  It can aid others in gaining knowledge for themselves-a knowledge abiding in the heart that leaves no room for doubt." {Elder Robert D. Hales}

#4: "Our testimony is a knowledge of who we are-a child of God, where we came from-the presence of our Heavenly Father, and where we are going eternally if we are faithful-back to the presence of our Heavenly Father.  We must each gain such a testimony if we are to withstand the trials and adversities of mortality and go to the glorious eternal future we all desire." {Elder Robert D. Hales}

Ask: What does "the Spirit" feel like? {The Spirit can feel different to different people.  Talk with your family about how they feel the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.  Some answers may include: warm feeling, peace, comfort, sometimes you cry}

Ask a family member to read: Doctrine and Covenants 9:8-9

Watch the video "Increase Your Testimony"

Ask: How did you feel as you watched this video?

Ask: What things did the people in the video do to help gain or grow a testimony? {pray, study, fast, ask}

We did this portion as a scripture chase to make it a little more fun--whoever finds it first gets to read...but you can just assign scriptures if you like.  Read each scripture and talk about how each teaches us how to grow a testimony.

1 Nephi 2:16,  Ether 12:6,  Alma 32:7,  D&C 42:51, and John 8:32

It is important to remember that "Testimony grows gradually through experiences.  No one receives a complete testimony all at once.  It grows as individuals show willingness to serve in the church and to study, pray and learn.  It increases as individuals obey God's commandments...part of a testimony's development comes when it is shared." {True to the Faith}

President Marion G. Romney taught us: "It is obvious that the first step toward getting a testimony is to learn the will of the Father.  This can be done by studying the word of God and obeying his commandments as they are learned.  Study the scriptures.  Study the teachings of the prophets.  Study the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Bible.  Read the teachings of the modern prophets, the life of the Prophet Joseph.  Learn and obey the will of God.

There is no shortcut to a testimony.  There are no two ways; there is only one way.  The Lord revealed that sure and certain way when he said to Oliver Cowdery, 'Oliver Cowdery, verily, verily, I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and Redeemer, even so surely shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive a knowledge...Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.  Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation" (D&C 8:1-3)

Everyone who sincerely prays with real desire to know the truth concerning what he has learned about the gospel will receive a witness in his mind and in his heart, by the Holy Ghost..." {President Marion G. Romney}

Share these two experiences of how Sister Romney and President David O. McKay gained a testimony. You may want to add a personal story of your own. 

Elder Robert D. Hales tells us of an experience President David O. McKay had as a boy longing for a testimony: "President David O. McKay was the ninth President of the Church.  In his boyhood he desired to know, as Joseph Smith had know, of the reality of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.  One day while herding cattle in the foothills near his home, he sought a testimony through prayer.  He said:

'I dismounted, threw my reins over my horses head, and there under a serviceberry bush I prayed that God would declare to me the truth of his revelation to Joseph Smith.' (New Era, January 1972, p.56)

He prayed fervently and sincerely with as much faith as he could find within him.  When he finished his prayer, he waited for an answer.  Nothing seemed to happen.  Disappointed, he rode slowly on, saying to himself at the time 'no spiritual manifestation has come to me.  If I am a true to myself, I must say I am just the same 'old boy' that I was before I prayed'

A direct answer to this prayer was many years in coming.  While serving a mission in Scotland, Elder McKay received a powerful spiritual manifestation.  He later commented, 'Never before had I experienced such an emotion. ...It was a manifestation for which as a doubting youth I had secretly prayed most earnestly on hillside and in meadow.  It was an assurance to me that sincere prayer is answered 'sometime, somewhere.' " (Francis M. Gibbons, David O McKay, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986 p.50)" {Elder Robert D. Hales}

President Romney shared this experience of his wife's "At one time she was a member of a stake Sunday school board.  As such, it was her responsibility to instruct teachers in a union meeting class.  The lesson for a particular session was the Prophet's vision of the Father and the Son.  She was aware that in the class there would be a graduate from the University of Idaho who was not a Latter-day Saint and who did not believe the gospel.  It occurred to her that the account of the Father and the Son's coming to the Prophet Joseph Smith would not be accepted by this educated, refined, and lovely woman.  Thinking about it, she became greatly disturbed.  She was not sure that she herself knew it was true.  She was so distraught that she sought out her mother.  Weeping she said. 'Mother, I can't give the lesson.  I don't know that Joseph Smith had that vision.  That woman will laugh at me and ridicule me.'

Her mother was not an educated woman, but she did have a testimony.  She said to her daughter, 'You know how the Prophet got the vision, don't you?'

'Yes,' answered her daughter, 'he got it by praying to God for wisdom.'

'Why don't you try that?' said the mother to the daughter.

The daughter went to her room and tried it; she 'wrestled' with God, as did Enos.  The result was that she went to that union meeting and gave the lesson convincingly, with power beyond her natural abilities.  How could she do it? Well, the Holy Spirit came to her in response to her inquiry.  She received a burning within her soul.  She knew that Joseph Smith had seen the vision, as well as he knew it.  She had not seen the exact same things with her eyes that the prophet saw, but she had the same knowledge.  She knew from Joseph Smith's description what he had seen, and she had a witness from the Holy Ghost that his account was true." {President Marion G. Romney

We gave each of our children a challenge {well, the ones that can read} to read the Book of Mormon, then to pray about it to gain a testimony of their own.  I created a chart to help them stay on task.  It breaks the Book of Mormon down into daily reading assignments, each with a place to put the date and some quick thoughts about what they read that day.  The reading starts out light, about 2 pages a day until about the halfway point {Alma 24}, when it doubles to 4 pages a day.  You can download it below.

Share your testimony.

Printable version here.

I thought I would share my testimony with you too.  I know that our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine.  I know that we have a loving Savior who atoned for our sins and makes it possible for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father.  I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the influence it has had in my life.  I am thankful for the knowledge of eternal families, and for the peace it brings to know I will be with my family forever.  I know the Book of Mormon is true, that it testifies of Christ and is a wonderful influence in my life.  I know that we have living Prophets today to teach, lead and guide us.  I am thankful for all the blessings that have come into my life through the gospel.  I am so thankful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To learn more, visit Mormon.org

1 comment:

KayC. said...

Love your testimony...It has been awhile since I heard it. Thanks for sharing it and this wonderful FHE lesson!