When I was on my mission, I had a companion who really hated it when young children bore testimony in the general fast and testimony meeting. I had never encountered that perspective before, but once he had articulated it I began to notice casual comments from a few general authorities here and there who shared his view. As I understand it, the idea is that testimony should reflect a genuine witness of the spirit, not rote memorized phrases such as the ubiquitous “I know my family loves me.” Testimony meeting is not the venue for children to go up and be cute and hear their voices project over the microphone. (I’m sure I’m not articulating the point of view well, so I invite others to express it more fully in the comments.)
I personally am not bothered by such testimonies the way my companion was; to the contrary, I tend to find them charming, with two caveats. First, they have never been overwhelming or taken up the majority of the time in my wards here in Illinois. To the contrary, they are relatively rare out here. I might feel differently if I lived in some huge Utah ward where they absorbed the entire time of the testimony meeting and pushed out adult participation. Second, the kids need to be able to do it on their own, without their parents prompting them in their ears. But otherwise, I say bring the testimonies on.
The whole Mormon concept of having our children with us in Sacrament Meeting is for the family to worship together qua family, and to accustom the little ones to such worship. If we want them to bear testimonies when they’re older, we need to allow them to bear testimonies when they are young. If we’re not going to do that, let’s just do it like the Protestants and have a nursery during worship services. It would be easier to hear the speakers!
So where do you fall on this issue, and why? I am genuinely interested in your perspectives.