Over the years I have enjoyed many wonderful and powerful testimony meetings. Those special occasions on the first Sunday of each month, when the congregation are invited to share Gospel principals, that they know to be true. Usually done in the spirit of Fasting.
However there are occasions Fast and Testimony meetings are more of a Starve and Tell, a Skip a meal and share a Story event. Thoughts about a cats ailments or a family trip.. I’m a compassionate animal loving guy, tell me of your pet ownership woes, but do it in person, in the corridor, please not from the stand.
Elder Ballard shares “My experience throughout the Church leads me to worry that too many of our members’ testimonies linger on “I am thankful” and “I love,” and too few are able to say with humble but sincere clarity, “I know.” As a result, our meetings sometimes lack the testimony-rich, spiritual underpinnings that stir the soul and have meaningful, positive impact on the lives of all those who hear them. Our testimony meetings need to be more centered on the Savior, the doctrines of the gospel, the blessings of the Restoration, and the teachings of the scriptures. We need to replace stories, travelogues, and lectures with pure testimonies.“
If we are not to share stories, experiences and issue public thanks, what should we speak of?
Elder Uchtdorf has taught…
- God lives. He is our loving Father in Heaven, and we are His children.
- Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and the Savior of the world.• Joseph Smith is the prophet of God through whom the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the latter days.
- Joseph Smith is the prophet of God through whom the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the latter days.The Book of Mormon is the word of God.
- The Book of Mormon is the word of God.President [Russell M. Nelson], his counselors, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are the prophets, seers, and revelators in our day.
These 5 points are what a testimony boils down to. We shouldn’t feel a need to dress our spiritual witness in long winded stories. Perhaps a recent experience, briefly shared will illustrate how or why we believe what we do. But ponder the wise words of one of my inspired priesthood leaders.
“More than 5mins is s talk, more than 20 mins is a fireside.”
You may think a meeting full of people, all sharing the same truths will not entertain or keep people’s interest? Remember though, we meet together to inspire, uplift and invite the spirit, not be entertained.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” Matthew 18:20
So why does this post begin with a picture of my hand, quite simply our hand with 5 digits, reminds us of the 5 key points of testimony.
There is an excellent activity that children and adults can learn from, called “Testimony Gloves” that highlight these 5 key points. You can find the activity in the church produced Friend magazine HERE
As ministering brothers and sisters we can help in improving these meetings as we lovingly share some of our leaders counsel. Perhaps simply sharing this post personally or online may hekp.
In closing, think of the last testimony meeting you attended, do the words of hymn 137 fit how you felt at the end?
The witness of the Holy Ghost,
As borne by those who know,
Has lifted me again to thee,
O Father of my soul.
I know that thou art in the heav’n.
I know the Savior reigns.
I know a prophet speaks to us
For our eternal gain.
My eyes are wet; my heart is full.
The Spirit speaks today.
O Lord, wilt thou my life renew
And in my bosom stay.
As testimony fills my heart,
It dulls the pain of days.
For one brief moment, heaven’s view
Appears before my gaze.