Some speak of a burden relieved from them when they leave the church. To an extent, this is true. It is true in the same way that a person with an important job has less on his plate when he quits his job. But then what is the purpose of the life of that man? Some speak of having a hard time finding themselves. Some prophets have said that it is only when we lose ourselves in service to others that we can find ourselves, because there will be a lot more of our selves to find when we become great through service.
Testimony is to say these are the formulas I use to calculate the trajectory of my life, to guide all choices, and to process a firm belief that they are universally true. That these formulas, if used by all, would lead to maximum human progress, happiness, and salvation.
Bearing testimony is also a weight, a burden, which you have carried day to day, and you come to report that it’s worth it. A religious life often appears and is difficult. We stand to say it is the best way by every measurement. The main place and time you hear testimony is when no one is looking and no one is listening but God himself. A testimony is a character trait. It is how you operate.
There is a common Egyptian depiction of a king on a throne with a crown so large he requires a pole to help hold it up. This suggests, as the D&C puts it, an ‘eternal weight of glory’. The D&C warns that there are but few who are willing to bear that weight, and that only those who live the celestial law can gain the celestial glory.
Elder Holland reportedly responded, when asked by someone, ‘are you willing to give your life for the Lord?’ by saying, ‘I thought that is what I was doing.’ This suggests that rather than bold words and final stands, what really matters are the choices we make every day. Living for something is often harder than dying for it. Like Naaman told to do a small thing, so must we muster the strength to obey God when there is little public recognition or status symbols and circles for doing so.
Don’t be silly and stand at church and say, ‘I would be ungrateful if I didn’t stand to bear my testimony today.’ No, the reality is that you would be ungrateful if you didn’t stand to bear your testimony daily in the ways that really count. Don’t get up to say, ‘it’s been a long time since I’ve born my testimony.’ Goodness sakes, let’s hope not!
Why We aren’t Raptured Upon Conversion
I heard a radio preacher this morning say this, and I’ll tell you why he is wrong:
“we live in the world, as Jesus said we would. Why doesn’t got rapture us as soon as we are converted? Why isn’t it that when we say, “I am a sinner, Jesus Christ, I commit myself to you.” that we aren’t raptured up to heaven immediately? Its because God is keeping us here to reach out to others.”
WRONG. NOW I’LL TELL YOU THE CORRECT ANSWER.
God is keeping us here because WE’RE NOT DONE BEING TESTED, not because all there is left to do is to worry about other people. No, the quest for your soul is not over when you say, “Jesus is my Savior!” The scripture says, ‘not everyone who says Lord Lord will enter into the kingdom’. It takes a lifetime of WORK to get full access to the GRACE. The sooner you repent, the better. Then keep repenting. Joseph Smith said he was like a rough stone rolling down a hill, getting rough edges knocked off as he goes, becoming a polished shaft for the quiver of the Lord. This preachers message deleted the need for repentance, and thus undermined the sacred gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing it down to the level of a mere game.
Some Testimony Q&A:
How do we get a testimony?
We do like Elder Perry said in letting God lead us like a horse with a bridle in obedience, and we also do like another General Authority taught in experimenting on the word to see if it is true.
How do we experiment upon the word?
By doing what Jesus says and seeing what the result is. Merely not doing what Jesus says and getting a negative result isn’t sufficient for a knowledge of the blessings that come from obeying Jesus.
Why do we obey like a horse in a bridle?
It’s part of the experiment upon the word. It’s trying to do what Jesus says and seeing what the result is.
Do we need to sin or transgress in order to gain knowledge?
Adam didn’t sin, he transgressed. Modern prophets have clarified such.
So why did Jesus do the Atonement?
To overcome the effects of not only sin, but transgression. To overcome what happened in the Garden of Eden as well as what happened after it. Jesus wouldn’t have been able to overcome transgression we call the fall without being perfect, without having transgressed himself. Now we answer a former question, who knows more about sin, the sinner, or Jesus? Jesus. Only he knows the level of resistance required to not sin or transgress. Hence, we can learn of the truth in other methods than sin or transgression, and the methods of experimenting and obeying to get a testimony we learn are two sides of the same coin we use to purchase eternal life.
Are we to trust General Conference?
Joseph Smith said God will never allow the President of the Church or the majority of the 12 Apostles to lead us astray.
Also keep in mind that there are several aspects to every answer, and some talks emphasize one aspect more than another. Elder Oaks taught that in determining doctrine we are to not just look at one scripture (*or one modern prophet’s’ words I would add), but we must look at all of them to get an understanding.
How shall I compare what was said in the Church versus what is said now?
Several discourses on the role of prophet explain that the word of the Lord from the current Prophets and Apostles are what we need more than that of the old ones. For example, an issue could rise in 1950, then the Saints reject the warning from the prophet on that subject, and hence in year 2000 the Prophets speak on other topics, the day of warning having passed on the 1950 subject, the Saints left to fend for themselves.
So there is such a thing as a day of warning passing? Don’t the prophets always warn until the end on every issue?
No. Consider this example: There came a point when Noah was loading up the ark that there was no more coming on the ark. Elder Perry said, ““Sin is intensely habit-forming and sometimes moves men to the tragic point of no return.” Some wonder why prophets aren’t as outspoken on issues such as socialism or food storage etc. as they once were. Remember that Alma said when people reject a message, they get less message. Perhaps the brethren are dumbing it down for us as much as they can in a last-ditch effort to get us to do something.
Topics continue to be taught that are of importance, but may not be emphasized as much as they were in the past. For instance, President Benson spoke frequently against socialism when he was the prophet. Today, the Church still teaches against socialism and has in its archive’s discourses enumerating socialism as the work of the devil, but apparently other issues are at the forefront of Jesus Christ’s mind today, for he is instructing his prophets to emphasize other things. Perhaps the people of the world today are generally with less faith, and the prophets are working on building up their faith in Jesus Christ so they can get to the point someday where they can endure more speeches against socialism etc. without getting offended and leaving the Church. Milk before meat as the church now grows to a global organization, and is, in reality, still in its infancy in most places in which it is found.