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BrntSeth

Testimonies

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So, for a while I have noticed that during fast and testimony meeting (the first Sunday of every month) most people do not mention Jesus until they close with "...in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."  When parents spoon feed their testimony to their kids, Jesus doesn't even make top billing.  Adults seldom talk about His work on the cross, or His unwavering grace.  Instead, they relate some funny story that happened to them at the mall.  Others relate a sad story, where I find myself constantly praying that their tears are because of their passion and not because they are nervous public speakers.  More often than not, it seems to me that these people see testimony meeting as an opportunity for their 15 min without ever giving God any credit for anything in their life.  Isn't a testimony supposed to be just that, a testimony?  I feel that every word spoken in that moment should be drenched in our Savior's love and only glorify Him? I mean, we are ending our words with His name...shouldn't He get some credit.  I know I may sound cynical and calloused, but this truly bothers me.  I love my Savior so very much and it bothers me that given the opportunity to shout this to the heavens in front of their church family some people would rather talk about so many other things.  Jesus should always be our focus.  Am I wrong?  What do you think?

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I think where you might be missing something is in thinking that "my" going to the mall has nothing to do with Jesus.  I wouldn't think it would be necessary to say, "by the way, I'm doing all this because of Jesus" after every sentence when "my" entire life is dedicated to Him.  Every single thing "I" do is done under His commandment and my covenant with Him.  So that, when I talk about what happened at the mall, "I'm" merely relating what I have done with my life as I live in that strait and narrow path paved by Jesus... so my entire testimony is about Jesus regardless of whether I mention His name or not.

 

This is the exact same thing when I'm in a 1-hour meeting at my job.  We can go through an entire hour of talking without mentioning the name of our company once.  Not even in closing!  We all know and understand we are all doing what we are doing and we are talking about what we're talking for the company we work for.

 

Okay, I'm putting quotes in "my" because I'm pretending to be the person you are talking about that was talking about his trip to the mall...

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Yep you're right. Testimonies should be just that. Their testimony. Not about the latest trip to the mall or the funny things their dog did during week.

 

I think people confuse it with a "let me catch you up with my life." kind of thing and forget really what testimony meeting is intended for.

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You're right, Pam!  Of course, a testimony moment can happen at the mall or while the dog was being funny... but the focus should be the testimony and not the mall nor the dog.

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It's fairly presumptuous to presume that because others don't speak their testimony in the way that you would that it must be wrong. It's fairly presumptuous to presume that they're doing it just for their "15 minutes" when public speaking is known to be one of the greatest fears people have. So after they make this extreme effort to stand up in front of everyone and do their best, you're sitting there judging them because they didn't do it the way you would have? Hmm...

 

I have no doubt that many people do not give testimonies the way they should be, but lets cut them a little slack here. He who is without sin cast the first stone and all that.

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I can think Pam said it all. People confuse testimony meeting with "let me catch you up with my life". When my kiddos were younger in order to keep them somewhat quiet, I would choose a "magic" word in Church so everytime a speaker mentioned that word and they quietly told me about it, they would get a tiny M&M. Testimony meetings were the worst because if the magic word was "Jesus", it was hardly ever said. Yes, they were upset.

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It's not presumptuous at all, people get up there and waste time.  They don't do testimonies i.e. getting to the point. They do the "thank-a-monie" or the "pity-a-monie" or the "vacation-a-monie" the "catch you up -a-monie" the "brag-a-monie" were i get the hear about how great their kid/missionary is. The "scripture-a-monie" were they get up and read a verse and preach to us.

 

The list goes on and on. I agree with the OP do it right or sit down.

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May I suggest that those who are in wards that this is an issue either offer to give a sacrament talk on the topic or suggest that this be the theme for sacrament talks on occasion?  You could also get up during F&T meeting yourself and demonstrate.  

Also heard of this a while ago that might help people remember: https://www.lds.org/friend/2008/10/testimony-glove?lang=eng

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Also, for those in wards/units with 'repeat offenders' - just ignore 'em and read some hymns or scriptures until someone else gets up. That way you can still feel the Spirit without the risk of passing judgment.

Ill take the risk on passing judgement...lol

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Well here is a letter from the first Presidency that states what the testimony should be:

 

https://www.lds.org/church/news/first-presidency-letter-testimonies-in-fast-and-testimony-meeting?lang=eng

 

I'm not responding to what you're saying Pam, obviously, but to other's comments here. I'm just using your post as a springboard...

 

The first presidency guides are not tools by which we are meant to judge others. We should use these guides to improve our own efforts.

 

Sitting in judgment of others during testimony meeting is a sure way to not feel the Spirit.

 

On the other hand, if we approach it with compassion, acceptance, truly listening for the messages' intent, we can, and will be taught by the Spirit, even when others' testimonies are poorly executed.

 

I am, frankly, shocked at the judgment some have. Do we really love our neighbors so little? Wow!

 

It's one thing to preach principle (something I do often, and am accused of judging for). It's another thing entirely to sit and criticize people for their weaknesses.

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I guess you missed the LOL at the end of my statement....maybe I should add a J/K at the end of every statement.

 

Are the first presidency guides suggestions on how to give a better testimony or commandment since it was said by the first presidency?

 

They say " Bishoprics are again encouraged to help all people learn to express a brief, heartfelt testimony of our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and the truths of the restored gospel so that more members may have the opportunity to participate"

 

I got to be honest with you most of what I hear in fast and testimony meeting do not fall within these guidelines, but I guess it's just a suggestion even though the first presidency thought enough to write a letter about it. 

 

Sorry if I tune out and the spirit leaves as soon as someone starts talking about their family vacation...

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I'm not responding to what you're saying Pam, obviously, but to other's comments here. I'm just using your post as a springboard...

 

The first presidency guides are not tools by which we are meant to judge others. We should use these guides to improve our own efforts.

 

Sitting in judgment of others during testimony meeting is a sure way to not feel the Spirit.

 

On the other hand, if we approach it with compassion, acceptance, truly listening for the messages' intent, we can, and will be taught by the Spirit, even when others' testimonies are poorly executed.

 

I am, frankly, shocked at the judgment some have. Do we really love our neighbors so little? Wow!

 

It's one thing to preach principle (something I do often, and am accused of judging for). It's another thing entirely to sit and criticize people for their weaknesses.

 

Oh sure.  Just spring right off of me.  :P

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I think that bearing our testimonies should edify those within ear shot... not bore them to tears.

 

I love hearing a good story from some of our members...but, when I am listening to their testimony I want to hear something that I can draw from during the week when I am having a bad time or when I need to feel closer to the Lord. Or for those times that I may feel that I am lost and need Him (Jesus) closer to me. I remember those testimonies where the member is up there speaking a heartfelt testimony.

 

I know that not all things being said will edify everyone... but, when I am listening to only a testimony about "the mall" and nothing in it pertains to Jesus Christ... I can get bored really quick.

 

But... I found that almost every time I think a testimony is truly boring... by the end of it the person pulls it all together and it ends out being something that it an awesome testimony. Chances are if you listen to the whole thing...get the whole picture of what they are saying... you will be edified.

 

I give credit to anyone that gets up to bear their testimony. I am not one to get up in front of people unless I have to. I swear, someone puts super glue on my seat every fast and testimony Sunday and I cannot move... so thank you to all of you that do move and get up there!

 

:)

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I think that bearing our testimonies should edify those within ear shot... not bore them to tears.

 

<snip>

 

I give credit to anyone that gets up to bear their testimony. I am not one to get up in front of people unless I have to. I swear, someone puts super glue on my seat every fast and testimony Sunday and I cannot move... so thank you to all of you that do move and get up there!

 

:)

 

True story.  There was a time a few years ago when the bishop challenged me to bear my testimony every single month... for a year.  Yep.  I'm a trained orator so I have no problem getting up infront of people and speaking.  I can speak for hours even.  You know why he asked me to do so?  I was about 5 years or so into being a convert and I was going through a rough patch in my faith.  The bishop asked me if I'm struggling with my testimony.  I told him no, I am not struggling with my testimony I'm just struggling with keeping my convenants - spirit is willing, flesh is weak kinda thing.  He thinks bearing my testimony every month will strengthen my flesh...

 

What I learned from that experience... in bearing one's testimony, one doesn't have to worry about edifying the congregation.  It is okay to bear one's testimony to strengthen one's self.  But, whatever you say, however badly you execute it, how much different what came out of your mouth from what you actually wanted to say was... if you speak straight from your spirit with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will not be the words that would edify somebody in the congregation, it will be your spirit.  So that it won't matter that you failed to specifically say Jesus' name, because you will feel Jesus.  Of course, the person in the congregation will only feel Jesus if he is, himself, receptive to the spirit.  Sitting there criticizing people's testimony is not going to make one receptive to the spirit and it won't be the fault of the speaker.

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Yep you're right. Testimonies should be just that. Their testimony. Not about the latest trip to the mall or the funny things their dog did during week.

 

I think people confuse it with a "let me catch you up with my life." kind of thing and forget really what testimony meeting is intended for.

This is the reason my FIL invented "testimony hangman".

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I can think Pam said it all. People confuse testimony meeting with "let me catch you up with my life". When my kiddos were younger in order to keep them somewhat quiet, I would choose a "magic" word in Church so everytime a speaker mentioned that word and they quietly told me about it, they would get a tiny M&M. Testimony meetings were the worst because if the magic word was "Jesus", it was hardly ever said. Yes, they were upset.

 

That's odd.  We play this game too - but each of us pick our word and we tally in the end of sacrament meeting.  The most number wins.  On Testimony Meeting Sundays, the words "Jesus", "Christ", and "Amen" can't be picked because they are sure winners.  We can have around 12 people bearing testimonies and they all end in Jesus Christ Amen so that's an instant 12 points.

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Well here is a letter from the first Presidency that states what the testimony should be:

 

https://www.lds.org/church/news/first-presidency-letter-testimonies-in-fast-and-testimony-meeting?lang=eng

I don't see any requirement in there for a mandatory minimum number of times that the name Jesus must be uttered for it to "qualify" as a testimony.

I guess those other points referenced.....our Heavenly Father....the truth of the gospel, etc.,....don't count as a testimony. It's only a testimony if we say the name Jesus enough times to satisfy the critics. You know...the ones sitting in their pew and NOT giving a testimony.

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That's odd.  We play this game too - but each of us pick our word and we tally in the end of sacrament meeting.  The most number wins.  On Testimony Meeting Sundays, the words "Jesus", "Christ", and "Amen" can't be picked because they are sure winners.  We can have around 12 people bearing testimonies and they all end in Jesus Christ Amen so that's an instant 12 points.

 

We seem to play the game differently. We don't count prayers in our game and believe me or not, very few times I hear the word "Jesus" in Sacrament meeting, I am not trying to be critical but just factual.

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I wonder what the count would be on the words "Lord", "God" or "Heavenly Father" and the like. Is there something specific to referring to Jesus instead of Heavenly Father that makes testimonies more valid? I would guess that most people use these terms more in testimonies in the LDS world.

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We seem to play the game differently. We don't count prayers in our game and believe me or not, very few times I hear the word "Jesus" in Sacrament meeting, I am not trying to be critical but just factual.

 

We don't count prayers and hymns either.  But we do count "In the Name of Jesus, Amen" that ends every talk and every testimony - which is really a reminder to those intent on counting that the entire talk is about how we lived and applied Jesus' teachings.

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