No man is defeated without until he has first been defeated within. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Question #18381 posted on 09/14/2005 3:13 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I´ve got a question concerning ones testimony. How do I know that I really have a testimony? Do I have to pray about something and receive an answer or do I already have a testimony when I say "I believe all this is true and I don´t doubt it". In this case, is it a real testimony or just a stong believe? Can I KNOW the truth when the spirit never told me that it´s true?

- Not sure of myself

A: Dear not sure,

You, my dear werf, have asked an extremely important question; in fact, it's important enough that I'm going to stop what I was doing and dedicate all of my time to answering this before returning to my regular routine (i.e.; putting on my shirt). How do we know the Church is true for sure? I can tell you that I know that the Church is true. Yet I don't remember specifically asking the Lord in prayer whether the Church is true or not. In fact, I can recall standing up in testimony meeting and telling people that I knew the Church was true before I had any sort of spiritual experience confirming to me that it was so.

So how do we get the Spirit to tell us that something is true? After all, that's what He does, doesn't He? Isn't that His role? This has been referred to in many past Board quetsions, but I would recommend that you read Boyd K. Packer's talk "The Candle of the Lord," which I believe he gave in a 1983 General Conference. He tells us something important about a testimony - "a testimony is found in the bearing of it." Quite simply, you can't have a testimony until you bear it to someone. At the moment that you tell someone that you know X is true - even if you don't know it yet - the Spirit will testify to you that it is indeed true.

It may sound a little iffy, but I can tell you that it's true. I had the same issue as you did at one point. I wasn't sure that the Church was true, but I wanted a testimony. I got up in testimony meeting (the same time that I described earlier, in fact) and told everyone that I "believed" the Church was true. I prefaced it by telling everyone that I didn't know for sure yet, but I had heard that this was the way to find out for sure, so I was going to give it a shot. Sure enough, it worked. The Spirit told me that the Church was indeed true. In fact, the Spirit is telling me again that the Church is true as I'm writing this response. It's really cool. I suggest that you try it for yourself. If you want to know for sure that the Church is true, tell someone else. We're talking testifying with faith and believing that the Spirit is really going to come through for you. He will. Trust me.

- Optimistic.