Many members of the LDS church (Mormons) will speak of testimony. For the uninitiated, it seems odd, since they may equate testimony with statements made in court, under oath.
For church members, a testimony is a brief expression of faith -- what we know or what we believe to be true -- and why. Sometimes it takes the form of an account of a particularly faith promoting experience, such as an answered prayer or a newly learned principle or doctrine that has brought specific comfort or understanding. Or it may be a simple expression of faith in or first hand knowledge of a principle of the gospel gained over time.
In our worship services, we have testimony meetings usually once each month when members may stand voluntarily and express their testimonies to the rest of the congregation. When a member teaches a class, he or she might also express, or bear a testimony about the subject of the lesson.
My testimony of the church (the institution) and the gospel (its teachings) has grown over time. I felt even as a child when our family was baptized members of the church the stirring in my heart that we often equate with the promptings of the Holy Ghost; that experience was the beginning of my testimony. As I grew older, my testimony also grew.
In some ways it became more sophisticated as I matured, but in some ways, it has always been rooted in those first spiritual promptings.
My testimony has been strengthened by my reading of scriptures, by prayer, and by putting into practice the things I have learned through the years. That I have a testimony does not mean I do not have questions or concerns. In fact, the opposite is true. I heard once that the larger our testimony is, the larger its border with the unknown is, and, therefore, the greater room for doubt. In other words, the more we know, the more we know we don't know.
But I have held to what I know, and found over time that the things I do not know can be clarified and resolved.
And so, my testimony is this: God lives. He loves us, his literal children. He sent his Son, even Jesus Christ, to provide a perfect example and to overcome death through resurrection so that we might also overcome death. The Savior's atoning sacrifice allows us to repent of our sins and prepare to live with God again. The Lord speaks to us through prophets today. Through modern prophets he restored the priesthood keys which allows us to enjoy the ordinances He requires so that we may return to His presence. Our Father in Heaven has done all of this out of love for us, His children, so that we may return to Him. And He has provided for all of his children to enjoy those blessings.