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Bearing a testimony... (how to)

bearing testimony how to

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#1 glow_inthe_dark_girl

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:51 PM

some months ago in a Church conference my dad (who is the 1st counselor in the stake presidency) gave a talk in Church. it was a about bearing a testimony, specially on fast and testimony meeting, this was because a lot of members of the ward used the time of testimony to preach doctrine or exhort people and confessing sings to the whole congregation, it was becoming a problem because that would make some people uncomfortable and of course it dirsupted the Spirit.. (For instance, a sister confessed that she tried to kill a boy a long time ago and that se was repented , so we were all kinda shocked,..)

my dad based his talk on this great article LDS.org - Ensign Article - Bearing Testimony but the problem is that members still dont seem to understand, sometimes they talk about everything but testimony, they share experiences, exhort, confess, and mostly express gratitude...

so, my dad doesn't really know what to do now, how to tell them again without "hurting" their feelings , I would appreciate any suggestion.. He has tried but now it has become a little problem, I dont know if any of you has experience on the subject..

does this happens in your ward too? or it's just here?:o

#2 Traveler

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 10:04 PM

I personally believe that before a testimony be offered at “fast and testimony” meeting that one must prepare through fasting and prayer. I even taught my children that they must not present a testimony unless they had preceded their testimony with fasting and prayer. I taught them that when they were old enough to fast that they were finely old enough to present their testimony.

However, when I was in the bishopric and suggested this at fast and testimony meeting few then offered their testimonies. I am not sure if this was because so many came unprepared or if my words were misunderstood. I would point out that there are ways that those that must eat for various reasons can still fast and pray. I would also point out that fasting is NOT skipping meals and snacks – but a covenant to seek the spirit of the L-rd by not seeking after the needs of the flesh. For example, I am quite sure that an “R” rated movie on Saturday night is not in the spirit of fasting.

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#3 dnc76v22

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 02:56 AM

I am quite sure that an “R” rated movie on Saturday night is not in the spirit of fasting.


True, whether you fast or not, it is not in harmony with Gospel principles and drives away the Spirit.

By the way, we should be ready to bear our testimony at any time, not just on Fast Sunday. :)
Don

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,-Ephesians 3:14-15

All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother.- Abraham Lincoln


#4 Seanette

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 04:15 AM

I've been a member fifteen years, and can probably count the number of actually spiritual F&T meetings I've attended in that time, and stay well in two digits.

In every ward I've been in, roughly 99% of "testimonies" consist of people spending at least five minutes each blubbering their way through rambling stories about their lives, then maybe, if the listener is lucky, throwing on one or two sentences referring to the Gospel (said sentences clearly being a pro forma afterthought). This really doesn't inspire me.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm horribly spiritually deficient not finding listening to your sobbed-out autobiography with little to no mention of anything having to do with the Gospel profoundly uplifting and inspirational.

#5 Justice

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 04:30 AM

Our testimony meetings are very good. Our Bishopric has preached and demonstrated a proper testimony for years now. I don't think it is something your dad, even being in the Stake Presidency, will be able to do overnight. Oddly enough, we get stories and travel logs from people who are visiting from other places or even stake visitors. I have to tell you that when we get the occasional travel log it looks so out of place and is easily recognizable. I bet, though, it's the norm for their ward and they don't recognize it. So, I'd say recognizing it is the first step. I would think they could work through the Bishoprics and have them demonstrate proper testimonies during meeting. It will take time, but it worked in our Ward.

#6 changed

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 05:57 AM

Our testimony meetings are very good. Our Bishopric has .... demonstrated a proper testimony for years now. ....


A few months ago, our stake pres sat up front, and made a list of names of people who he wanted to give a testimony. After about half of the meeting, he stood up, bore his testimony, and then proceeded to talk about his list, and invited a few people up (including me :D) to bear their testimony. Not that anyone likes being on the spot like that, but I honestly would not get up unless invited.

Anyways, perhaps a good idea would be to call a few people who understand what a testimony should be before the meeting (rather than in front of everyone during the meeting :rolleyes:) plan ahead, make sure that the meeting is dominated by people who know what they are doing. Peer pressure / examples are great at motivating people :D. Just my .02.

Several strong people consistantly demonstrating a proper testimony would turn the tide I think - including you - if you think you know how to do it, get up and show everyone how it is done!!!
1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, ...we shall be changed.

#7 Seanette

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 06:28 AM

I've tried doing a testimony focused on the spiritual, with just enough about me that the listener understands why whatever I focus on that day is on my mind. Doesn't help, everyone else goes to the travelogue/"thankimony" style (where you blubber your way through bragging about all the goodies in your life, then append a sentence or two expressing gratitude to God for said goodies).

#8 Misshalfway

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 07:30 AM

some months ago in a Church conference my dad (who is the 1st counselor in the stake presidency) gave a talk in Church. it was a about bearing a testimony, specially on fast and testimony meeting, this was because a lot of members of the ward used the time of testimony to preach doctrine or exhort people and confessing sings to the whole congregation, it was becoming a problem because that would make some people uncomfortable and of course it dirsupted the Spirit.. (For instance, a sister confessed that she tried to kill a boy a long time ago and that se was repented , so we were all kinda shocked,..)

my dad based his talk on this great article LDS.org - Ensign Article - Bearing Testimony but the problem is that members still dont seem to understand, sometimes they talk about everything but testimony, they share experiences, exhort, confess, and mostly express gratitude...

so, my dad doesn't really know what to do now, how to tell them again without "hurting" their feelings , I would appreciate any suggestion.. He has tried but now it has become a little problem, I dont know if any of you has experience on the subject..

does this happens in your ward too? or it's just here?:o



They probably think that talk is directed at everyone else.^_^

#9 Dravin

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 07:53 AM

I'm not sure you'll ever get rid of thankimonies, blogimonies, sermimonies and greetimonies, in fact I used to just sit there and classify them to the person I knew sitting next to me (admittedly probably not the attitude and behavior that best facilitates feeling the spirit) . I'd be happy if one of my pet peeves (that devolped as a missionary) would go away, and that is bearing testimony of the Prophet, the Church and that the Book of Moron is true without a single mention of Christ. Now as I member I know that part of the church being true is Jesus is the Christ and I also know the Prophet bears testimony of Christ as does the Book of Mormon. So that by bearing testimonies of these things a testimony of Christ is implied, but at some point I opened my mind a wee more and tried to listen to a Fast and Testimony Meeting as some random guy walking in off the street or an investigator there for the first time and it finally clicked how somebody could think we are a Christless cult. So now I always try to bear a direct (instead of an implied or indirect) testimony of Jesus Christ. P.S. Note, I'm classifying this as a pet peeve, I'm not bringing down the hammer of judgmental self-righteousness on those who do the above, it's just one of those kinda irrational and highly personal niggles that annoy you to one degree or another, aka the aforementioned pet peeve.

Edited by Dravin, 26 June 2009 - 09:07 AM.

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#10 martybess

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 08:35 AM

For the most part we have the same problem in our ward. It drives me crazy and I have to keep reminding myself it’s not my place as I’m not a member of the bishopric. I know it bothers others in our ward because they get up and bore a great testimony with a comment about our testimony meetings going astray. My suggestions: -From my experience it’s a few people that always get way off track and from there it spreads and before long the whole ward is doing it. They don’t get it for some reason even though they are told. These are the people your dad needs to focus on. They need to be taught repeatedly and of course the challenge is how to do that. Maybe invited to attend a family relation class or something. Then with the teachers help lessons are adapted to include testimony bearing in every lesson, by the time the 12 week class is over they will have a good idea. -The bishopric member who in conducting has to know himself how to bare testimony and be prepared to do so. I’ve had bishops get up and give a great thank-ta-monies for the whole time they were bishops, so this is where it starts. -Ask those in the ward that know how to bare testimony to bare it. Tell them to keeping it short and to the point. I once got up after hearing nothing but travel logs and said something like “The heavens are once again open, the gospel of Jesus Christ is once again upon the earth. There is a prophet who has been called by G-d, set apart and sustained and is the voice piece for G-d just as in the time or Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham and others. As well as those prophets that are can be found in the BOM. The BOM is holy scripture and has been given to us by G-d and translated by his power or in other words the priesthood which also has been restored by heavenly messengers even Peter, James and John. It is true and correct! The gospel is true and offers all things needed by way of ordinances as in times of old that will enable us to return to HF victorious and glorified” and sat down. Really I don’t even think it was that long. The stake president was attending and thanked me. If they do a great job then ask them again the next month. The more asked the better in my opinion. Side note: A few years ago our stake really focused on missionary farewells and after about 2 years we now have truly spiritual meetings with the missionary teaching gospel doctrine. Some take the entire time themselves. When they return they always take the entire time and it’s awesome!!!! Only preaching and teaching doctrine. Once we had a sister move in and left for a mission shortly thereafter. She said she could not take the entire time and wanted her parents to talk as well. The whole meeting was on her and the stuff she did throughout her life. All the funny, dumb and bad stuff she had done. More like a dedication meeting to her, the way I remember the farewells when I was a kid. There was no spirit and it was really an awkward meeting for me and others. So I guess there’s wards out there that are still giving farewells (or whatever they are called no days) the way they use to be years ago. If our ward changed the way farewells are done we can change “fast and testimony meetings” too. - Marty

#11 Misshalfway

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 08:39 AM

I don't know if this is a very popular perspective, but I think it is ok to have an "imperfect" testimony meeting. I very much appreciate that the church raised the bar with regards how these meetings should go. But, there is something charming or maybe organic about people just being people or just doing their best. I mean, a sincere testimony is somehow really wonderful, even if it has some less than centered perspectives. NOt that the "preachomonies" or the like are sincere.......

#12 martybess

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:01 AM

I would agree Misshalfway is far as members doing their best but one must be careful that the meeting doesn't digress to a point where it's in the wrong, it can happen. I remember a branch where the branch president thought he was doing the vary best he could under the circumstances and therefore had sisters blessing the sacrament because of the lack of worthy males. He was pretty upset when we told him this was not correct and we had to fix the mess.

#13 changed

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:10 AM

Yes, the church is a one room school house containing all grade levels. It is a journey, and different people are at different places in the journey. I think if we all know how to listen, we can each get something out of each testimony born. The more we know the person, have charity, and know how to listen, the more we will enjoy watching the progression of those around us.
1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, ...we shall be changed.

#14 martybess

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:12 AM

Yes, the church is a one room school house containing all grade levels. It is a journey, and different people are at different places in the journey. I think if we all know how to listen, we can each get something out of each testimony born. The more we know the person, have charity, and know how to listen, the more we will enjoy watching the progression of those around us.


I think I need to work on my attitude some. Thanks

#15 hordak

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:21 AM

I personally liked personalized testimony's, not preaching what is wrong with the ward but actual stories/ personal incidents etc. I dislike the when it is turned into an oath as 30 people take turns to go up and recite the same thing "I Love God I know the church is true, I love Jesus I'm great full for the atonement I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. Called to restore the true church I know President Monson is a prophet today InthenameofJesuschristamen." next person "I was debating on getting up here today, but since brother/ sister X did so i thought i would. I love God... ...inthenameofjesuschristamen" I can almost hear someone shouting "next" between the speakers. (note i'm not speaking of testimonies based on the same ideas but i've been to more then a few F&T meetings where the only difference between the adults and kids where that the adults didn't have someone bending down to whisper into their ears.)
"There are not enough general authorities to do all the thinking for the membership of the church." J. Golden Kimball


"I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord." Elder Oaks

#16 changed

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:28 AM

LOL hordak!!!
1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, ...we shall be changed.

#17 martybess

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:29 AM

I personally liked personalized testimony's, not preaching what is wrong with the ward but actual stories/ personal incidents etc.

I dislike the when it is turned into an oath as 30 people take turns to go up and recite the same thing

"I Love God
I know the church is true,
I love Jesus
I'm great full for the atonement
I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. Called to restore the true church
I know President Monson is a prophet today
InthenameofJesuschristamen."

next person

"I was debating on getting up here today, but since brother/ sister X did so i thought i would.

I love God...

...inthenameofjesuschristamen"

I can almost hear someone shouting "next" between the speakers.

(note i'm not speaking of testimonies based on the same ideas but i've been to more then a few F&T meetings where the only difference between the adults and kids where that the adults didn't have someone bending down to whisper into their ears.)


The basic: "I Love God,,I know the church is true, I love Jesus, I'm great full for the,atonement, I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. Called to restore the true church, I know President Monson is a prophet today, InthenameofJesuschristamen." can be a breath of fresh air in some wards.

#18 Seanette

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:32 AM

I don't know if this is a very popular perspective, but I think it is ok to have an "imperfect" testimony meeting. I very much appreciate that the church raised the bar with regards how these meetings should go. But, there is something charming or maybe organic about people just being people or just doing their best. I mean, a sincere testimony is somehow really wonderful, even if it has some less than centered perspectives. NOt that the "preachomonies" or the like are sincere.......

For me, the problem comes when that's ALL that happens in F&T, when a five-minute ramble has maybe one or two references to anything spiritual (and that in a very perfunctory way), and this is what everyone in the meeting does. Feels more like the speakers are focusing on themselves and less on what their listeners might need to hear.

#19 Seanette

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:33 AM

The basic: "I Love God,,I know the church is true, I love Jesus, I'm great full for the,atonement, I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. Called to restore the true church, I know President Monson is a prophet today, InthenameofJesuschristamen." can be a breath of fresh air in some wards.

Like a lot of the ones I've attended (see prior remarks for descriptions of what I normally have to sit through).

#20 martybess

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:36 AM

For me, the problem comes when that's ALL that happens in F&T, when a five-minute ramble has maybe one or two references to anything spiritual (and that in a very perfunctory way), and this is what everyone in the meeting does. Feels more like the speakers are focusing on themselves and less on what their listeners might need to hear.


Yes I feel the same way!





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