Testimony on Repeat
Sound familiar? Well, of course it does if you’ve spent any amount of time in Primary on Fast Sunday…or really at any Fast and Testimony meeting. It’s the old stand-by. It is somewhat expected. But do members of the church rely on repetition and “the standard” testimony? Do they take the standard testimony, dress it up and make it their own? I’d say a good many members do. There was a youth leader in our stake that would often bear their testimony and say, “if you can’t seem to find your testimony, that’s okay…you can borrow mine.” While that is lovely of that person to want to share, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?
In the May 1975 Ensign, O. Leslie Stone wrote, “To a Latter-day Saint, a testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel is the most precious possession he can have. It cannot be purchased. No one can give it to him. It can only be secured by prayer, by study, by faith, by repentance, by righteous living, and by listening to others bearing their testimonies, and through the manifestation of the Holy Ghost.
If we have a testimony of the gospel, we know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and our Redeemer. We know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. We know that the Book of Mormon is true, that it is indeed a second witness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. A testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel is the motivating force that helps us live the commandments and carry out our responsibilities.”
My experience with testimony meetings (and I’ll admit I haven’t been to very many in the past few years) is that there are too few people that actually bear a testimony that fall into the description by Elder Stone, above. There are some Sundays that feel more like Group Therapy than a testimony meeting. You almost want to answer back with “and how does that make you feel?” or something of the like. You start to feel like you should be getting paid for listening to those folks. (Especially because they did take the entire hour.) But then maybe there are just things for folks in the congregation to learn…like patience, understanding, acceptance, etc. Maybe there needs to be more of that, too.
But I must note, for the record, that I am totally against the singing testimonies...that’s just wrong. ;)