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ldsguy422

Testimony Meetings

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Concerning fast and testimony meeting, I know that many of the brethren speak against travelogues, medical reports, or expressing love/thanks towards others. That's not really a testimony. Our testimonies need to be our own personal witness of the Gospel, of the Savior, of the priesthood, of the plan of salvation, of the scriptures, etc. It should be based on what we know and what we believe - why we believe it and how it has blessed us. But, how do you reconcile stories that helped someone learn a principle? A story that promoted faith? Is that a testimony or is that simply a talk/sermon? Certainly detailed travel stories are missing the mark. Is there any ground, however, for tying in a story with your testimony? I assume most members tell stories because they believe they're directly related to their testimony (albeit most of the time the story takes up 80-90% of the content). Thoughts? 

 

 

Edited by ldsguy422

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38 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

I assume most members tell stories because they believe they're directly related to their testimony

I believe that's true for most members as well.  I believe the counsel against wasting our testimony time is directed at the few members who, well, waste our testimony time.  Most of us have witnessed this firsthand.  I know I sure have - including one serial offender who bats around 500.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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It's a matter of focus, both in the time spent and the weight.  

Say you have one of those Jesus-take-the-wheel experiences in your life, and it really builds your testimony.  That's a great thing to share in Fast and Testimony meeting!  But the emphasis (both in time and weight) should be on the building of your testimony part, versus spending half the time of frivolous story details that just distract from important stuff (Christ-centeric testimony building).  

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42 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

Is there any ground, however, for tying in a story with your testimony? I assume most members tell stories because they believe they're directly related to their testimony (albeit most of the time the story takes up 80-90% of the content). Thoughts?

Yes, as long as the story is not the focal point and is shared briefly. A lot of time when people tell a story the story is 3 minutes or so and the testimony is 15 seconds. A person can share the finer points of a story and then make the testimony -- what you are bearing witness of -- the focal point.

When teaching at the MTC, long time ago, they had a training on testimonies and an apostles thoughts on stories. When I was single attending a singles ward one person in particular you could expect a 8 minute dialogue about her month and then 2 minute testimony.

Overall though, we call it testimony meeting for a reason.

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1 hour ago, ldsguy422 said:

Is there any ground, however, for tying in a story with your testimony?

Absolutely! There are many times where a faith promoting story can add weight to someone's testimony of Jesus Christ, just as a bad or pointless story can detract from the meeting. Let me give you an example of a good faith promoting story and an example of a bad story told at a testimony meeting to illustrate my point.

Good example: When I was in high school, I was driving myself, my sister, and our friend to Seminary. I was being an ignorant teen, and driving much too quickly despite the cold temperatures, and I spun out into the opposite lane of traffic at 60 mph at the top of a hill. I felt the Spirit wash over me, and under it's calming influence, help me turn the wheel correctly and bring the car to a safe stop facing in the opposite direction. I can think of numerous testimonies this story could help with (God watching over us despite our imperfections, the reality of the Holy Ghost, God's protection when we are on his business etc.) and it would be a good example (I hope☺) of a story entirely appropriate to share.

Bad example: On my mission, a sister stood up and gave a 5 to 10 minute testimony (before the bishop asked her to sit down, the only time I've seen this happen) on a dream she had about a many headed dragon and what she believed that meant for the future. She gave incredibly specific information about what this dragon looked like. It was weird, upsetting, and I to this day hope to God there were no struggling members or investigators I was unaware of in the audience. This is a more obvious example of a bad story, but it hits the major reasons why a story should not be shared in Fast and Testimony. It was not an attempt to focus people on God but on herself, added nothing to anyone's testimony of Christ, and took valuable time from someone else who could have invited the Holy Ghost with their words. 

 

Edited by Midwest LDS

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This is selfish of me, but I enjoy the stories.

This probably comes from having wards where sometimes we sit for quite a while. 

Testimonies normally are to be short and too the point, but I also enjoy the stories from time to time.  It's far more interesting to hear a testimony related that way than the same few phrases stated over and over again.

The only time I'm slightly bothered is when we are running short on time and it is obvious there are multiple people who wish to bear there testimonies and one person tries to take up the remaining time all on their own.

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5 hours ago, ldsguy422 said:

Concerning fast and testimony meeting, I know that many of the brethren speak against travelogues, medical reports, or expressing love/thanks towards others. That's not really a testimony. Our testimonies need to be our own personal witness of the Gospel, of the Savior, of the priesthood, of the plan of salvation, of the scriptures, etc. It should be based on what we know and what we believe - why we believe it and how it has blessed us. But, how do you reconcile stories that helped someone learn a principle? A story that promoted faith? Is that a testimony or is that simply a talk/sermon? Certainly detailed travel stories are missing the mark. Is there any ground, however, for tying in a story with your testimony? I assume most members tell stories because they believe they're directly related to their testimony (albeit most of the time the story takes up 80-90% of the content). Thoughts? 

I think stories are appropriate as long as they are short!

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I enjoy the Sacrament.

F&T meeting drives me nutz. I wish there was some good documentation about how we got here.

I think a theemed F&T meeting can be good.  After a father’s son campout or Girls camp.  Or when the Bishopric asks specific people to give their testimony.

We have actually had great meeting wherein people get up and share a story about their favorite hymn and then we sing it.

Too many times I have sat through uninspired testimonies or T Meetings.

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

This is one of those things that people who get it will get it, and those who don’t never will.

I think perhaps not. For a long time, I was one of those who didn't get it. Sometime in my adult life, probably between the ages of 30 and 40, I "got it". Now I see that fast and testimony meeting is absolutely crucial for our Church, if for no other reason than it allows people a public expression of testimony, which is vital.

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11 hours ago, Fether said:

This is one of those things that people who get it will get it, and those who don’t never will.

That seems to be the case for some members. I'd like to think some people catch the meaning and purpose of F&T, eventually. I've heard this excerpt read from President Oaks multiple times in different wards.

A testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true. Such facts include the nature of the Godhead and our relationship to its three members, the effectiveness of the Atonement, and the reality of the Restoration.

A testimony of the gospel is not a travelogue, a health log, or an expression of love for family members. It is not a sermon. President Kimball taught that the moment we begin preaching to others, our testimony is ended.

After hearing those words, I sense that many members are very cautious how they approach the meeting and what they say. Over time, we revert back to our natural tendencies - storytelling, medical reports, preaching, and travelogues. Having this read over the pulpit before a member of the bishopric gives their testimony is a great reminder - and I think it generally helps the members focus on the gospel truths really well for a few months. We forget so quickly, though, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to have a reminder like this every 3 months or so. And just this last GC, President Ballard said the following:

Testimonies of faith in our fast and testimony meetings are led by a member of the bishopric, who shares a brief testimony focused on the plan of happiness and the true, pure, and simple gospel of Christ. All others should follow that example. We need to remember that there are other appropriate places to tell stories or share travel adventures. As we keep our testimonies simple and focused on the gospel of Christ, He will provide spiritual renewal as we share our testimonies with one another.

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I personally don't really care to hear the story. If I am interested I can ask them later. I just want someone to tell me that they know by the Holy Ghost, by revelation, that various gospel principles (not the least of which is the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ) are true.

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In a courtroom, “testimony” is by definition a story or narrative—a series of personal experiences and observations related by a witness that lead the audience to believe that a certain conclusion is the truth.  Technically speaking, “conclusory” testimony is not generally admissible.

I rarely bear my testimony, except to my cub scouts during Cubmaster minutes.  But when I do, the paradigm I follow isn’t “I know x is true”; it’s “this is why I believe x to be true”.  (I almost never use the words “I know”.  Too many years spent in court showing that witnesses didn’t actually know what they thought they knew . . .)

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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On 8/26/2019 at 8:58 PM, Vort said:

 if for no other reason than it allows people a public expression of testimony, which is vital.

Agreed. While others need to hear our testimonies, it is equally if not more vital for the person actually bearing it. We all need the strengthening affects that come from bearing our testimonies.
Spencer W. Kimball:

Quote

Every time you bear your testimony it becomes strengthened.

 

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On ‎8‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 1:52 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

I rarely bear my testimony, except to my cub scouts during Cubmaster minutes.  But when I do, the paradigm I follow isn’t “I know x is true”; it’s “this is why I believe x to be true”.  (I almost never use the words “I know”.  Too many years spent in court showing that witnesses didn’t actually know what they thought they knew . . .)

Thanks. 

When I was 19yrs old about to go into the MTC I had an experience. The light of GOD filled my body with 100 gazillion megawatts of light, peace and happiness, I felt like I was floating, I felt like I was experiencing Heaven. No words, no vision, just an "out of this world" feeling.

 

*I know believe the light of God filled my body...I believe I was experiencing heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Edited by priesthoodpower

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