The first time I attended the LDS Church was a Fast and Testimony Meeting at the University Ward in Berkeley, California. Coming from a background where a liturgy was the Sabbath Service with very small amount of a sermon or speech coming from the Rabbi or Bar/Bat Mitzvah kid, I was just dumbfounded. The idea of members of the congregation getting up and just speaking extemporaneously was shocking to me. I was incredibly impressed and really enjoyed it even if, at the time, I had very little clue what they were talking about.
Fast forward a year later and I am a member at this point. As I attend testimony meeting each month, I see a pattern developing. Young and old alike use this phrase “I know the Church is True.” After that, I begin to notice other things, the travel logs, the solicitations (more about that another time), the scripture reading, and the ‘thank you’s.”
But what of this expression, “I know the Church is true.” What does that really mean? I suppose it must be an easy phrase to repeat since it is repeated so many times. I figured out that they must mean, “I know this is the True Church.” I can understand a small child or even a teenager using the expression, “I know the Church is True,” but why do adults use it as well. I always think in my mind, “is true WHAT?”
It bugged me for a long time. But I‘ve matured to the point now where I like to listen to testimonies with spiritual ears rather than just my natural ears. That is, I try to understand what they are trying to say rather than the way they say it. This has helped me appreciate better how many members really feel about their Church, the Savior, the restoration of the Gospel, the scriptures, the prophets and so on.
It is very easy to be critical of how people express themselves. It can also be downright funny at times. But the point is that we have to appreciate the fact that folks are willing to get up there and express the love they have and to share their personal revelation. Sure it can be cookies cutter, but in my mind, it is a far cry better than hearing the same exact thing spoken in the service week in and week out for your entire life.
In fact, just today, I heard something so profound to me, it was like a revelation. I still appreciate that part of testimony meeting.
Next time, I’ll discuss what a testimony is and what it is not.