Q: What do we mean by witness testimony?
A: Elaine Cannon:
One who gives testimony is a witness. A testimony is a declaration of truth based on personal knowledge in support of an asserted fact that may serve as evidence to others when publicly made known.
Q: Why is it that some people experience some things, and other people don’t?
A: What we experience is due to a combination of factors:
- Our gifts (D&C 46)
- The level of our sincerity and intent: what we are willing to do in response to the experiences we are given? (Moroni 10:4, James 4:3)
- Our capacity to believe (Mark 16:17-18)
- Our surrounding culture (Mark 6:5-6)
- God’s will (2 Nephi 4:35)
Q: Are Latter-Day Saints the only people who experience the power of God?
A: No. President Dallin H. Oaks said in his talk on miracles:
…the Lord works miracles in response to the faith of His children. No denomination—not even the restored Church—has a monopoly on the blessings of the Lord. He loves and blesses all of His children.
Q: Is it normal to feel jealous that some people have experienced things that I haven’t?
A: Yes- that is a normal human reaction. Sometimes we treat a miracle or other experience as a sign of God’s favor, and we conclude that our lack of that experience means that God does not like us or is disappointed with us. This is not true. When we hope to experience more of God’s power, that is a righteous hope. And the scriptures encourage us to covet gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). Paul is very clear in 1 Corinthians 13, however, that the greatest of all gifts that we can seek is charity.
Q: My testimony isn’t based on powerful manifestations or sensational experiences; all I have is a deep conviction about the reality of the restoration. Is that okay?
A: President Oaks quotes George Q. Cannon’s observation that
It has been a matter of remark among those who have had experience in this Church that where men have been brought into the Church by such manifestations, it has required a constant succession of them to keep them in the Church; their faith has had to be constantly strengthened by witnessing some such manifestations; but where they have been convinced by the outpouring of the spirit of God, … they have been more likely to stand, more likely to endure persecution and trial than those who have been convinced through some supernatural manifestation.