How to Share Your Testimony Online
Testimony—real testimony, born of the Spirit and confirmed by the Holy Ghost—changes lives.
–M. Russell Ballard, “Pure Testimony,” Ensign (November 2004) 40–43.
There’s no way missionaries can do what they do now and shoulder the burden of finding. We’re going to have to do the finding using new media. And then, because new media can’t baptize, teach, convert, and testify, we’re going to have to feed that funnel, the product of that funnel, to the missionaries so they can do what they do best. Wouldn’t it be great if my grandson goes…on his mission…and gets to just teach nonstop because media and the Internet have finally picked up their rightful role and are funneling people who want to know.
–Scott Swafford, Media Director of the Missionary Department
There are a lot of people today who would like to know more about our faith but they are concerned about having their privacy invaded. They want to look at things in their own time and in their own way. They do not want to feel like they have any pressure…. We feel that the Internet and the privacy that it affords people is a wonderful way to do that…. There are a lot of people who are just not going to call a number…. But they will go to the Internet and look into it and we think that’s happening on a significant scale.
–Elder Quentin L. Cook
Before sharing your testimony, think of a specific principle or think about your conversion. Your testimony should be approximately 2-5 minutes long, but allow for whatever time is necessary to share your story. Written testimonies should also have a topic. You might also create multiple testimonies, with each one sharing a testimony of a gospel principle or conversion story.
For privacy reasons, only your first name will be included when your testimony is uploaded to the Internet.
Guidelines for Sharing Testimonies
Great testimonies usually include a story or experience. We encourage you to share your conversion story–how you came to know that the church or a specific principle of the gospel is true. We also encourage you to share stories of others’ conversion, such as those from your mission or those of your ancestors. Please only use firsthand or well-documented accounts.
We invite you to share your testimony at some point during your conversion story, and include in your account at least one gospel principle, shared in your own words. In sharing what you know about this principle, tell us also how you to came to know it. Relate your witness of that principle to your conversion story or testimony. In other words, share what you believe and why you believe it. The following are examples of gospel principles, and are only given as suggestions. You are not limited to only these five, but if you choose to use one, please testify of it in your own words.
1. God lives. He is our Father in Heaven, and He loves his children.
2. Jesus Christ lives. He is the son of God. He carried out the infinite Atonement.
3. Joseph Smith is the prophet of God who was called to restore the gospel.
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior’s true Church on the earth.
5. The Church is led by a living prophet.
Here are a few more suggestions for the bearing of testimonies:
- Testimonies should be sincere rather than contrived or trite.
- Testimonies should not include public confessions or details of past misdeeds. Relating how you’ve overcome a particular weakness is appropriate, if cast in light of the power and hope of the atonement.
- Testimonies are not sermons, opportunities for venting or criticism, “thankamonies” or “travelogs.”
- Testimonies should exclude politics.
- Testimonies should be shared with reverence. In some cases, humor flows as a natural result of sharing your story, but please do not aim to entertain.
- Testimonies are best spoken with your own natural vocabulary. Please refrain from using clichés such as “I ‘d like to bear my testimony,” “….beyond a shadow of a doubt” or “…with every fiber of my being.”
- Testimonies should be understandable to friends of other faiths as well as to members. Please define any LDS vocabulary that friends of other faiths would not understand (i.e. Mutual, Relief Society, and Deacon.)
Film or Printed Page?
You might plan to share your individual testimony online by writing it up and posting it on MormonsBelieve.org. Or you can post it on your own blog or on a blog you adopt from More Good Foundation. You might want to plan a testimony-sharing activity with your family and either write out your testimonies or film them. Ward groups can also join together to work on testimony sharing online.
If you choose to create a video, here are some suggestions:
- Set up your video location in a quiet place. Turn off any equipment that makes noise, such as air conditioning.
- Check your video equipment to make sure it’s working properly.
- Use an external microphone, if possible, but put it in a discreet place.
- Use a tripod for your camera.
- Use a large piece of black or white fabric as a backdrop, or shoot the video against a non-distracting wall.
- Set the camera up about five feet from the person to be filmed. Zoom in and be close enough to see their face, shoulders, and a little space above their head. The distance of the camera may vary depending on the microphone. The person can either sit down or stand for the filming, depending on what’s comfortable for them.
If you have a testimony-sharing activity on a ward basis, you will have to do some planning.
Announce the Activity:
1. Get everyone excited about being online missionaries. Let members of the ward know how important it is that Church members share what they believe. There are many others online telling people what they think members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe.
2. At Church, pass around sign-up sheets for people to bring video cameras and laptops to the activity. You may choose to include a sign-up sheet for refreshments as well.
3. Let members know that they will be sharing their testimony or conversion story on video camera. If they do not feel comfortable sharing it on video, they can use a provided laptop to write it. Ask them to be thinking of a specific principle or about their conversion. The testimonies should be approximately 2-5 minutes long, but allow for whatever time is necessary to share their story. Written testimonies should also have a topic. Multiple testimonies can be created by each person, with each one sharing a testimony of a gospel principle or conversion story.
4. Consider having someone talk on the topic of “bearing testimony” in Sacrament meeting or in Priesthood and Relief Society in conjunction with the scheduled activity.
5. Create and deliver fliers the day before to remind members about the event. Call those who are bringing video cameras, and ask them to arrive early so they can set up their equipment and arrange their room. The room should have paper and pens available for participants who will supply identification and contact information. The setting should include a backdrop, necessary lighting, and/or microphones as available.
Set Up the Activity:
- Prepare to show the Testimony-Sharing Video that can be downloaded from our site or mailed to you on DVD. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)
- Have multiple cameras set up in multiple rooms. Be sure the rooms are in quiet areas of the building. Test and check the recordings on each video camera to make sure everything is functioning properly.
- Set up a nursery where those who need to bring their children can have a place for them to play while they share their testimony. Establish a rotation order so that everyone can have an opportunity to bear their testimony. (Have this room be away from the rooms that are video recording.)
- Print out the guidelines for bearing testimonies and have a copy available for everyone to read.
Start the Activity:
1. Open the activity with a prayer.
2. Keep this part of the activity brief, so that everyone will have time to share his or her testimony.
3. Have someone give a brief welcome and message on the purpose of the activity (to share the gospel with others from all over the world.)
4. Show the video examples.
5. Have someone outline how the rest of the activity will go.
Now the activity is in full swing:
1. Direct people to the rooms which are available for video recording. Let them know that it should be completely silent in and around those rooms for best sound recording. Share with them the impact a video testimony can have, and that a video testimony is a more personal connection to those who seeking information.
2. Direct those who would rather write out their testimonies to another area where laptops and paper are available. All testimonies should be saved onto a flash drive, so that they are stored in one location for uploading. All written testimonies should give the person’s name, topic, and date. They should be stored in a separate file, with the person’s name as the file name. Handwritten testimonies will need to be typed up and saved.
3. Give a few moments for everyone to gather their thoughts. Make sure that everyone is familiar with and adheres to the Guidelines for Sharing of Testimonies. Try to keep the videos around to 2-5 minutes in length, but allow for whatever time is necessary to share their story. Members are allowed to create more than one video testimony, but make sure that everyone who wants to create a video testimony has the opportunity to.
4. Have those who are waiting to share their testimony, create an identification paper by writing his/her name, date, and a topic on the focus of their testimony, such as: Testimony of the Book of Mormon, or Testimony of Temples, or Testimony of Jesus Christ, or How I found the Church.
Shooting the Video:
1. Remind the person to speak slowly, loudly, and clearly
2. Video the identification paper for 10 seconds and at the same time, speak the information into the microphone.
3. Put the paper away and start recording. Record 5 seconds of silence at the beginning and end of each testimony.
Uploading the Testimonies:
If you are unable to find anyone in the ward with experience in clipping and uploading video, please contact us (email@example.com) so we can help you.
1. Edit the video into separate clips for each person. Keep track of identification information, so it may be included on YouTube.com. Save each video file name with the person’s first name and title. Keep these files small, as YouTube.com will compress the video anyway. Windows Media Files work great.
2. Create a YouTube.com account for your Ward, Branch, or Stake, and upload all video testimonies. Create a title, description, and tags that are applicable to the video. (Mormon Testimony, Mormon Beliefs, LDS, Mormon Church, Jesus Christ, Book of Mormon) Use terms that non-members would use in looking for information on Latter-day Saints. Use the phrase “Mormon Beliefs” in the title, the description, and the tags of every testimony, but also vary your titles and descriptions for each testimony. Include in the title the focus of the testimony. Allow comments on an approval basis, if you will take the time to approve good comments. Otherwise disable this feature on all testimonies.
3. Follow the same steps in point 2 above, and upload the videos to Videos.LDS.Net (Coming soon!)
4. Once the videos are on YouTube.com and Videos.LDS.Net, embed them into the site http://mormonsbelieve.org . Add categories to each video, so it can be easily found.
5. Upload all of the written testimonies on http://mormonsbelieve.org. Create a new page for each testimony, and add categories.
Please share with us your experience, and let us know if you have any suggestions on how to improve the process and what worked best for you. (firstname.lastname@example.org)