ALPINE, UT—In an attempt to make sure the bearing of testimonies is “as uplifting and enlightening as possible,” Bishop Gerrald R. Schwartz of the Alpine 34th Ward has created “a few helpful guidelines” for people to use when they want to bear their testimonies.
He calls his idea a “logical result” of the advice that General Authorities have given recently about testimony bearing. After the church gave guidelines about what topics should be discussed when bearing testimonies, such as the truth of the church and the role of Joseph Smith, Bishop Schwartz says, “I began to see how sacred testimony-bearing time really is. I started to realize that I had a crucial duty to make sure that time was used correctly.”
But it was after church officials explained that children should not be encouraged to bear their testimonies that Bishop Schwartz really began to fast and pray about the topic. “When the Brethren began to emphasize that testimonies are not travelogues and that people shouldn’t use that time to tell long personal stories, I began to see that the members in my ward needed some more help,” he explained.
Consequently, he created the following testimony waiver, which members must sign each fast and testimony day if they want to bear their testimonies:
Your Bishop’s Name:
Your Baptism Number:
In order to bear your testimony today, you must conform to the following guidelines:
1. You must be between the ages of 18 and 45. This is because the Brethren have asked that no children bear their testimonies in sacrament meeting, and, frankly, old people tend to ramble.
2. You must be male. Women cry too much.
3. If you are over 25, you must be married. Otherwise, you are a menace to society and a threat to others’ testimonies.
4. You must be appropriately attired in a suit, white shirt, and conservative tie, and you should be wearing your “I Passed the Tie Check!” sticker. These stickers are awarded in the foyer ten minutes before sacrament meeting starts.
5. You must be a native English speaker. Accents detract from the Spirit.
6. You must agree to read the following script when bearing your testimony. Items 6a and 6c are mandatory; item 6b is optional. You must choose only two sentences from 6b, but you may decide in which order to say them.
a. MANDATORY: My dear brothers and sisters, I am glad to stand before you on this [warm, sunny, stormy, windy] day and bear my heartfelt testimony. I know this church is true. [You may also say: I know the LDS Church is true]. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet. I know the Book of Mormon is true. And I know Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet. [You may also say: I know President Hinckley is a prophet.]
b. OPTIONAL (choose two): I have a testimony of prayer. I have a testimony of fasting. I have a testimony of church attendance. I have a testimony of temple attendance. I have a testimony that families are forever. I have a testimony of tithing. I have a testimony of the Word of Wisdom. I have a testimony of the Law of Chastity. I have a testimony that R-rated movies are bad. I have a testimony that our church leaders are called of God and that everything they do is righteous. I have a testimony of obedience.
c. MANDATORY: In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I have read and understood the terms as described above. I realize that if I misrepresent myself or vary from the above script, such actions will have severe repercussions on my standing in the church.