When I look at the people I admire such as Elder David A. Bednar and Sheri Dew I am continually amazed not only at their depth of testimony, but their incredible articulation they have in their ability to express their testimonies. It is a skill I wish to develop.
Elder Bednar teaches that true understanding in a doctrine or principle is reflected in your ability to explain that doctrine or principle to another. (I am so sorry I don’t have a reference for this, I looked everywhere for it, I think it must have been in one of the video clips that came with one of his three books. I will continue to search for it and hopefully update with an exact quote and reference. I promise that it is a real quote and that he is the one that said it.) So our ability to bear a succinct and powerful testimony is directly related to our understanding of the eternal doctrines and principles of the gospel. I know that seems obvious, but sometimes what is obvious to everyone else isn’t to me. (I may be more than a little stubborn at times.)
We all have different talents, and our testimonies will grow in articulation in whatever medium we are best able to express ourselves. (Hint: This is one reason we are to cultivate our talents!) As the testimony of a musician grows their ability to articulate their testimony through the power of music will grow, as an artist strengthens their testimony their art will reflect that. Still others may bear their testimony best in ways that aren’t quite as quantifiable. Someone who has the gift of peace may best articulate their depth of testimony to others just by bringing others into their circle of comfort. The trick is finding what ways (plural, because I guarantee we are not limited to only one) we can express our testimonies and then do the work to cultivate our articulation through our personal talents of expression.
So how do we cultivate our testimonies so we can articulate them?
The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.
(Teachings of Presidents of The Church: Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 10, p. 141)
As we study the scriptures, specifically the Book of Mormon, we become more familiar in the language of our Heavenly Father. As we practice speaking in that pattern of language our abilities will grow until we become fluent in His language. Articulation of gospel principles comes from study of the gospel, not from talent in speaking or writing alone.
I can testify of this in my own life. The more I truly study the words of God in the scriptures the more I am able to express my testimony, which for me is mostly through music and words. The more I understand the eternal definitions of the words in the scriptures the more I am able to use them appropriately, and therefore with articulation. I may not ever have the abilities to testify like Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, whose testimony seems to “speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth” (Alma 29:1), but that is no excuse for me not to grow in my own talents and testimony.
I’ve mentioned before that I have a strong desire to live my life in such a way that it is another testament of Jesus Christ. To be a testator of Jesus Christ I have to live it not only in deed, but in word. I have to learn to articulate my testimony to the best of my mortal abilities, and then fulfill my duty to share it as far as my circle of influence reaches.