I want to start with a quote:

“Constant, never-varying inspiration is not a factor in the administration of the affairs even of the Church; not even good men, no, not though they be prophets or other high officials of the Church, are at all times and in all things inspired of God. It is only occasionally and at need that God comes to their aid.”

Elder B.H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907), 1:525


No one accused B.H. Roberts of not having faith.  The same is true of Richard Bushman or the Givens.

So, if you are more of a B.H. Roberts sort of person, how can you bear your testimony when your faith has matured, grown or deepened as a result of trials or experience or knowledge.  Given the experience of Kristine A and others, it is obvious that many ways of bearing your testimony just cause people to stereotype the speaker or bore the audience because they take too long to get out what you want to say.  After discussing this with a number of people, this is my advice. 

Start with:

“I’ve had my faith mature as it has been tested and find myself with more charity and love towards others now, with a stronger testimony than I had before.”

That meets the goal of being short, direct, and comprehensive.


The longer version is:

The Spirit has born witness to me that Jesus is the Christ, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church.  I‘ve had my faith mature as it has been tested and find myself with more charity and love towards others now, with a stronger testimony than I had before of the love of God for his children.

I’ll note that the other approach “I’ve had a faith transition, but I’ve still got a testimony, and I’m going to make a comment you won’t agree with” will put people’s teeth on edge and will probably get someone who uses it misunderstood.

I would suggest that you never use the term “faith transition” unless, of course, you fit the stereotype that has grown up around “faith transition” that it is a short cut for “loss of faith” or “transition away from faith.”

In addition, I think it is important to realize what it means to have a “true” Church.

First (from BYU Studies)

It is clearly apparent that there have been and now are many choice, honorable, and devoted men and women going in the direction of their eternal salvation who give righteous and conscientious leadership to their congregations in other churches. Joseph Smith evidently had many warm and friendly contacts with ministers of other religions. Quite a few of them joined the Church: Sidney Rigdon, John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt, and others in America and England. Some of them who carried the Christian attitude of tolerance did not join the Church. There are many others like them today.

Second (from the same essay):

[T]o refer to the restored Church as “the only true church” is to speak of it as being the most steady, sure, and solid institution on earth, the closest to the pattern of the primitive Christian Church, in terms of dispensing the mind and will of God and enjoying His complete approbation. It does not suggest that other churches are mostly false or that their teachings are completely corrupt.


It means that it is the church that comes closest to being what God has for you in this life.  (Not to say it doesn’t carry with it a host of other connotations or denotations — read the essay and countless others, if you want depth more than a blog post).

What do you think about how to bear your testimony to include the idea that it has grown and matured over time without derailing your audience into thinking that you do not have one?