Monday, August 04, 2008

Testimony Meeting

At my church the first Sunday of each month is set aside for the members of the congregation to bear testimony of their beliefs. Yesterday was such a day. From the start of the meeting, I felt the Holy Ghost compelling me to stand in front of our congregation and bear witness of the things I know to be true. After the hymn preceding the sacrament and the administration of the sacrament, the bearing of testimonies began. The spirit only compelled me further rise and speak from my heart. I had several thought in my mind of the things most precious to me, such as my family, that I am so grateful for, that I know I can be united with forever through God's great Plan of Salvation.

Yet when I rose to speak and began to walk to the pulpit, which, let me tell you, usually feels like a long walk, but in this particular case it was a near-excruciatingly long walk, as we had been a little late and were sitting on the back row. I felt all eyes in the congregation on me. I should have felt like I needed something overwhelming and powerful to say. The build up almost demanded it. However, my mind was clear. I knew I was walking to the pulpit guided by the Holy Ghost. I would say what he would have me say. For God knows I have a deep and sincere testimony of his gospel. As I walked, I looked over at our gentle, kind bishop who is always smiling, cracked a giant grin of my own, and felt peace and comfort of his love.

As I reached the pulpit, I began to bear witness about how dearly I love the scriptures starting my day in their pages, with my heart and mind opened to the Holy Ghost, allowing the Holy Ghost to remain with me throughout my day. I also spoke about the stark contrast of days that I do not start in the scriptures, which I unfortunately have had many of in the past few weeks. This still amazes me that it has happened because I have been in the habit of scripture study every morning for quite awhile. But as I spoke about the extreme differences, I felt my testimony of the scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit only increase further and I felt forgiveness for slipping from my study commitment. I know that God has given us the Holy Ghost to teach us in all things, to discern between good and evil, to delineate between light and darkness. I know that the Holy Ghost will be our companion in all aspects of life, spiritual and temporal. I am a better employee because of the influence of the Holy Ghost. I am a better father because of the influence of the Holy Ghost. And I am nearer to God because of the influence of the Holy Ghost.

After speaking about this subject, which I had intended to speak on, I spoke about other subjects, including the Prophet, President Monson, that though I have a testimony of, I had taken no thought to before the minute I spoke the words. Clearly, our Father in Heaven had some things he wanted me to say, with which he influenced my mind through the Holy Ghost.

Following the meeting, several people thanked me for my testimony. I always feel very strange when this happens, because I do not share my testimony, my deepest beliefs, the things in my set of beliefs that the Holy Ghost centers my mind around, to be acclaimed of men. I share by beliefs because they are in the deepest recesses of my heart, often having left to realm of faith to becoming actual knowledge. So I am almost embarrassed in this situation. I expressed this feeling to my amazing wife. She reminded me that when people comment on my testimony it is more to say that something I said touched their heart. She, of course, was correct, which really brought it all together.

By sharing my testimony and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me, I grew a little more spiritually. At the same time, whatever I said, or however my words were organized, influenced others who were prepared through the Holy Spirit, allowing them to grow a little more spiritually. So, through my testimony and the testimony of everyone else who also felt compelled to rise and share their beliefs at the pulpit, all who were seeking in the congregation drew a little closer to God, and that is the purpose to true worship.

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