Its a crying shame
For me a testimony is the most important thing I posses. I developed a strong testimony as a very young child. I had several experiences on my mission that helped me understand that testimony of the truth. These experiences not only helped me understand what my testimony was about, but what I was supposed to do with it. During my "low point" in my life, when some, if not all my choices were not the best that I could have made, it was my testimony that brought me through and brought me out. It was my understanding of what I know to be true that helped me become who I am today, instead of becoming what I was trying to be during that time. To this day I rely on my testimony as a large source of my strength when things are not going well for me.
It is under these thoughts that I have to agree with some of the things that have been said this week about testimony meetings. I have sat in testimony meetings that I have been so utterly disgusted with the travel logs that have been shared, that I have had to stand and share my simple testimony, that I know that God lives, and I know that Jesus is our savior. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s really sad that we are given this chance to tell those people around us that we have a testimony of the many wonderful aspects of the gospel, but all too often it ends up being stories about the car trip to Aunt Kelly’s house.
I do think that people need to actually think a little bit about what they are going to say. I don’t mean that people need to plan out a talk to share, but I do think they need to realize what they are going to say.
I got to a point where I did not like going to fast and testimony meeting. I did not feel the spirit was there, and I felt that most people were making fools of themselves. Then I made my first visit to Chicago to see my buddy Ed. Ed lives near the University of Chicago. The ward he is in picks up some very wealthy areas, like the homes of Louise Farrakhan, and Muhammad Ali. It also stretches into South Chicago. If you are not familiar with it, look it up online. It is the exact opposite of the beautiful neighborhoods and campus of University of Chicago. I have made a couple of trips out to see Ed, and some how they always fall on a fast Sunday. The ward is the most eclectic group of people you have ever seen. The testimonies were chaotic, there were people in the back yelling Amen through the whole thing, there were people getting up to merely say "Thank you Brother so and so for coming over to my house yesterday, amen". There is a brother who has shared his testimony each time I have been there, and he tends to get a little emotional, and tends to raise his voice up, and wave the Book of Mormon around. Honestly Chaotic is the only word to describe it. However....The spirit is always there. The Lord in some small way shines his grace down on that small ward in Chicago. I have learned a lot from being in those meetings.
I guess what I am saying in my rambling way is that sometimes we need to ignore what is said and pay more attention to what is felt. I have made an effort lately, and it has made a difference. I am not saying that I do not cringe from time to time. Like when a lady said a few months ago that sometimes the priesthood may not work, so that’s why we have things like mystics. I do cringe, and I do still think about my idea of putting railroad crossing arms up at the podium to keep people from going up as the time is running out. But I definitely look more for the spirit. And I definitely feel it more.
It was said earlier in the week that it’s not a good idea to bring a non-member to a fast and testimony meeting. I thought back to my time in Brazil, and all the crazy things I heard from the pulpit. Non-members still came back, people joined the church, and church members still pushed forward on the path of righteousness. I now understand that the spirit was there, I was just focusing on all the insanity coming from peoples mouths, and completely missed the spirit.
Well that’s my two bits on the subject, sorry to be too serious on this one, I could have broke out some doozies on this subject, just ask Becca about the messed up ward we grew up in. But I decided to share these thoughts instead.
Hope everyone has a great weekend, and think of me as I am killing myself in my triathlon Saturday. Love ya.