Today I had the opportunity to teach a Sunday School Lesson in the Teaching The Gospel Course – lesson 3, Teaching By the Spirit. I was overwhelmed with power of the Spirit in that class today. I wanted to share a few of my thoughts before they are gone.
One of the important points we talked about was the importance of bearing testimony of the truths of the gospel when teaching. Two quotations that relate to this lesson were very powerful:
President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, reflected on a lesson he learned while serving as a mission president. He wrote that his mission wasn’t progressing as it should. He didn’t know what it was that needed changing. During a testimony meeting at a zone conference, he heard the testimony of a frightened, new elder. President Packer recalled:
“The testimonies we’d heard from all the other missionaries went something like this: ‘I’m grateful to be in the mission field. I’ve learned a lot from it. I have a fine companion. I’ve learned a lot from him. I’m grateful for my parents. We had an interesting experience last week. We were out knocking on doors and. . . .’ Then the missionary would relate an experience. His conclusion would be something like this: ‘I’m grateful to be in the mission field. I have a testimony of the gospel.’ And he would conclude ‘in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.’
“This young elder was different somehow. Anxious not to spend an extra second on his feet, he said simply, in hurried, frightened words, ‘I know that God lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that we have a prophet of God leading the Church. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.’
“This was a testimony. It was not just an experience nor an expression of gratitude. It was a declaration, a witness!
“Most of the elders had said ‘I have a testimony,’ but they had not declared it. This young elder had, in a very few words, delivered his testimony—direct, basic, and, as it turned out, powerful.
“I then knew what was wrong in the mission. We were telling stories, expressing gratitude, admitting that we had testimonies, but we were not bearing them” (Teach Ye Diligently , 275,http://institute.lds.org/manuals/missionary-preparation-student-manual/miss-1-4.asp).
“A testimony is not an exhortation; a testimony is not a sermon (none of you are there to exhort the rest); it is not a travelogue. You are there to bear your own witness. It is amazing what you can say in 60 seconds by way of testimony, or 120, or 240, or whatever time you are given, if you confine yourselves to testimony. . . Every time you bear your testimony it becomes strengthened” (President Kimball Speaks Out on Testimony, by President Spencer W. Kimball [August, 1981],http://lds.org/new-era/1981/08/president-kimball-speaks-out-on-testimony?lang=eng).
I need to be more diligent in bearing my testimony so that it can be strengthened! I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. His atonement is real and he does indeed live. I can be forgiven of my sins and become better. Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God, and I know that he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ face to face and talked with them. He translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I know the Book of Mormon is true. There is a power in this book like no other. I know that the priesthood of God was restored to the earth. It is real. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth today – President Thomas S. Monson. Heavenly Father loves me and is mindful of me and my family. I cannot deny these things that I know because they were made known unto me by the Holy Ghost. I want my family to know that I know these things. We can be an eternal family if we will but live according to these things that are true. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for this knowledge he has given me through his Spirit.