Sunday, September 01, 2013

My testimony

How I would describe my testimony is probably different than how many of you would.

I don't have a testimony of Joseph Smith, but I believe that as a teen the young Prophet Joseph Smith wanted to know his place in the gospel of Jesus Christ and where he could find it. I believe that in response to his prayer he experienced the presence of God.

I don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but I believe that this book of scripture contains the gospel of Jesus Christ--a gospel that is perhaps best exemplified by a young prince named Ammon who believed and showed that an act of love and service could heal warring nations.

I don't have a testimony of the Church, but I believe that this church was divinely organized in 1830 to be a vehicle by which the Kingdom of God can be established on the earth. I believe that this community of brothers and sisters can be an example of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others.

I don't have a testimony of ordinances such as baptism and the temple, but I believe, as Joseph Smith taught, that heaven is a continuation of the relationships that we establish today. i believe that through making covenants with each other and with the Lord we can establish relationships that can embody the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I don't have a testimony of Church leaders, but I believe that the leaders of this church are trying earnestly to be inspired as they try to help us follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this can be difficult. If they are anything like me they struggle with trying to understand what the Gospel of Jesus Christ asks of us.

I don't have a testimony of perfect obedience, but I believe in perfect love. When Jesus told us to be perfect the word he used meant that he wanted us to be complete, and the completeness he spoke of was what he was referring to just a few sentences earlier: the complete love where we love both our friends and our enemies. Obedience is easy. Obedience doesn't require agency. Obedience is just doing what someone else tells us to do. Love is far more difficult, because love actually requires agency. We can't love someone just because someone told us to. And loving our enemies is the most difficult. Love must come from within ourselves and be active choice that we are making in our hearts. I believe that complete love lies at the center of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters, I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a testimony that the Gospel can not only heal warring nations but it can heal warring relationships. It is what can bring us together. It is or should underlie all that we do. It is what begs us to love one another.

I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and this is the testimony that I leave with you.


  1. I loved reading your heartfelt sentiments. Your beliefs appear powerful enough to move you to action, which is what we all should aspire to. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. How did you gain your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ? And why do you believe the other things you have stated you believe?

  3. Language. People have embedded theology that many of them aren't even aware of having; how it works in their speech and behavior; and/or what it feels like in their hearts. You study, research, reason, THINK about things and most people are "gospel lazy" (for the most part). It isn't for me to judge them because I don't know everything about their hearts, however I know that people jump on and into certain testimonials without an awareness of a different point of view. If you pulled their language apart and asked them for examples they would probably stammer and stumble, but they can say what they have heard and been trained to say. Like I've said before: Utah is a Mormon bubble and I live on the edge of that bubble in Idaho.

    I can't expect people to read what I read, and study what I study, or even think about what they believe beyond a Sunday lesson of milk and more milk. You are on a different level of thought. You conveyed a good message, but you cannot expect people to understand your reasoning when they don't have the ability (or desire in some cases) to process thought/reason/intellect in the same way. I see so much of myself in your reasoning and thoughts. My family and a few people who know me a little better than most tell me that I am brilliant. A big word that I do not understand because it doesn't feel that way to me. So, I am telling you that you are smart and you cannot expect others to be at your level. I hear my mom telling me the same thing I am telling you. It took a lot of years for me to let go of expectations (and I still carry some around with futility), but you have your own journey. Good luck. I share your pain. I always have people tell me that I think differently than they do - that I see things from a different perspective. I don't know why I think so differently from others, but I do...

    I received a blessing many years ago from Grandpa E. and he said something about seeing things as they could be and focusing on what I can actually change. It is frustrating to see things as they should be or could be (verses in the book of Jacob) and having to settle for rhetoric and human foibles. I have my weaknesses as well. I appreciated that our relatively new bishop said something yesterday about how each bishop has things that are important to him and he didn't know if it is due to personality or inspiration. Then he said, "probably both." At least he acknowledged that it might not be totally inspiration.

    They just called a bunch of new teachers to start team teaching the youth sunday school classes a couple of months ago. It is painful for me. My team teacher didn't like the way I taught a lesson (emphasizing grace and doing the best we can, etc.) so she actually taught my lesson over again the next week and told the kids that we "missed the mark" the week before and we need to have an eternal perspective so we can become like God. I had all the students participating with their own thoughts and ideas, and I think maybe two kids answered her questions with what she wanted to hear. One student told me, "Other teachers tell us what they want us to learn, and you ask us what we think about what we are learning." Apparently, my way misses the mark. Painful. But my point is....if our kids are being taught the same way (writing a list on the board like they are third graders, and rewarding the answers they gave in primary when they were ten) then no wonder we have adults who don't know how to think for themselves beyond a certain level. Over the years my anger/frustration has turned into sorrow/frustration.

    There you go. I'm done. For now.

  4. Awesome, sounds exactly like what I would say. BTW, DrC above is that dude in Utah, not me.

  5. Hello, brother in Christ. My testimony was very similar to yours, and that's way I am now happily Catholic. Peace be with you on your journey of faith.


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