- A few months ago, I received a letter from a Church member who posed an unusual question: “Do I have a right to bear testimony of the Savior? Or is that the sole prerogative of the Twelve?” In response, I will share some thoughts on why every member of this Church should bear witness and testimony of Jesus Christ.
Our personal commitments to the gospel of Jesus Christ qualify us to witness of the Savior. We are under obligation to take upon us Christ's name when we enter the waters of baptism and renew those covenants each week at the sacrament table.
- We serve as witnesses of Jesus Christ through our baptism, our membership in his Church, our partaking of the sacrament, and our prayers and other actions in his name.
When we testify of the Savior's effects in our lives, the Holy Ghost testifies to others of the truthfulness of our words. We have a duty to share our personal experiences so the Holy Ghost can testify of those truths in our lives.
- A prophet (Joseph Fielding Smith) has told us that the witness of the Holy Ghost makes an impression on our soul that is more significant than “a visitation of an angel.” And the Bible shows that when we testify on the basis of this witness, the Holy Ghost testifies to those who hear our words.
- The mission of the Holy Ghost is to witness of the Father and the Son. Consequently, everyone who has received the witness of the Holy Ghost has a duty to share that testimony with others.
Apostles are special witnesses of Christ's name, church members who gain a personal testimony of Christ have a duty to testify of Him.
- Apostles have the calling and ordination to be special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world, but the duty to witness and testify of Christ at all times and in all places applies to every member of the Church who has received the testimony of the Holy Ghost.
Gaining a testimony of the Savior is a gift of the spirit. Just as any gift, it can be strengthened through exercising the gift over time.
- Those who have the gift to know must give their witness so that those who have the gift to believe on their words can enjoy the benefit of that gift.
President Oaks talks about being "valiant" in our testimonies meaning that we keep the commandments, serve Christ, and share what He has brought into our lives.
- What does it mean to be “valiant in the testimony of Jesus”? Surely this includes keeping his commandments and serving him. But wouldn’t it also include bearing witness of Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer, to believers and nonbelievers alike?
- All of us need to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus. As believers in Christ, we affirm the truth of Peter’s testimony in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
In our world today, with all the distractions of life, President Oaks says there is a great need to share our testimonies in public and in private with those we love.
- There has never been a greater need for us to profess our faith, privately and publicly.
- There are still many God-fearing people who testify to the divinity of Jesus Christ. But there are many more—even in the formal ranks of Christianity—who doubt his existence or deny his divinity. As I see the deterioration in religious faith that has happened in my own lifetime, I am convinced that we who are members of his Church need to be increasingly valiant in our testimony of Jesus.
President Oaks concludes with words of encouragement for each of us to share our testimonies and help others realize the blessings that the Savior brings into our lives.
- Each of us has many opportunities to proclaim our belief to friends and neighbors, fellow workers, and casual acquaintances. I hope we will take these opportunities to express our love for our Savior, our witness of his divine mission, and our determination to serve him.
I am touched by the idea that having a testimony of Jesus Christ is a gift of the spirit. I realize that the knowledge of His divinity is granted to us through the Holy Ghost. It truly is a blessing to believe what the Spirit testifies to each of us. When we receive that gift from the Spirit, we are obligated to share that gift with the world. President Oaks knows that the world needs more people in it that have gained the knowledge that Jesus Christ can change the world. Following the Savior will have a great effect on the world and we each have an obligation as believers in Christ to share our gifted knowledge with the world.