Monday, August 06, 2012

LDS Testimony

Testimony in a court of law involves knowlege of facts that were experientially obtained. The LDS testimony comprises truths that an individual knows to be true because this knowledge was divinely obtained. The LDS testimony ideally comprises 5 pieces of information. 1. That there is a living God who created the Universe and is our Heavely Father and that all humankind are His spiritual children. 2. That Jesus Christ is the only physically begotten Son of God and is the only Savior and Redeemer. 3. That Joseph Smith was called as a prophet to restore the true Church and gospel of Jesus Christ in these Last Days. 4. That the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is the word of God together with the Bible. 5. That The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's kingdom on the Earth and is led by a true and living prophet who is the only person on the Earth to exercize all priesthood keys and authority over Christ's Church.

Each month, LDS hold testimony meetings were members of the congregation are invited to come to the podium and share their testimony of these 5 and other truths. On occasion members may forget what a proper LDS Testimony should involve and may unknowingly speak of something other than a testimony while speaking. Others have questioned if the LDS Testimony meetings are too rote or canned with everyone getting up to say the same exact thing.

Here is how I understand and look at this issue. There is so much that we disagree on as people. Everyone has a different idea about the best way to do whatever. Conversely, the amazing thing about the LDS Testimony, is that millions of poeple can get up and agree upon and be unified in our knowledge of a few very important things. The LDS Testimony is what unifies us as a people, a community, and a family.

As far a being rote. The basis of the LDS Testimony is 5 things: 1. God 2. Christ, 3. Joseph Smith 4. Book of Mormon 5. Living Prophet. The important thing to know is that getting up and declaring these 5 things is wonderful and is enough. However, to spice things up, LDS can also get up and explain an experience that they have had that may have increased their testimony in one of these 5 areas. Such as; I had an experience this week (briefly describe) and this experience strengthened by knowledge of 1-5. It's perfectly fine to share experiential knowledge together with spiritual knowledge to support our testimonies. Christ taught "if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God or I speak of myself". In other words, "try it and see if you like it".

LDS Testimony shouldn't be a travel log, or a "thank-a-mony" or a "let-me list-all-my-friends-amony", or "let-me confess-all-my-sins-publically-amony", etc. The LDS testimony shouldn't just comprise expressions of gratitude for our blessings, or describe all the details of our summer vacation or try to impress everyone with how socially connected we are. However, if we happened to be on a vacation and we had an experience that strengthened our knowledge in 1-5, or another principle of the gospel like helping the poor, family history, tithing, or whatever, then its fine to describe that very briefly but spend no time telling about how we went suba diving or saw this great cave and given other non-applicable details.

That said, you dont have to have some "experience" to share your testimony. It's perfectly fine to get up and give the 5, and sit down. No one should feel like they haven't had enough of an "experience" to share their testimony. Testimony meetings are not about being entertaining or "hearing some new thing".

Also, LDS know we should be careful and usually not relate personal spiritual experiences that involve visions. LDS can talk about "feeling the spirit" or "hearing the voice of the Spirit" while doing such-and-such or reading in the scriptures. We should not go into visions and such. These are sacred and should be shared with our immediate family and kept private in our personal journals.

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