Category Archives: Testimony

Spotty Shower Glass and Foggy Testimony: Daily Attention Cures Both

The other morning, after showering, I had a conversation with my husband about a cleaning product that I use that has changed my life. It went like this:

Him: Why are you spraying down the glass? It’s clean.

Me: Because, if I use this every day, crud won’t build up, and it won’t get all spotty, and I won’t have to scrub all this glass to get it clean.

Him: But it’s not dirty at all.

Me: (holding up the bottle and shaking it in the air) It’s not dirty at all because I use this every day!

It’s true. If I use this product as directed – each day after I shower – my glass stays relatively clear. Though not perfectly streak-free, believe me, it looks great, and holy cow – it saves me a ton of time scrubbing hard water spots off. It’s a beautiful thing!

After my exchange with my husband, I immediately saw a spiritual object lesson.

How quickly things can change.

Alma, the head of the government and high priest over the church, described his people, the Nephites, who had suffered many afflictions, like this:

“they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty. And they began to establish the church more fully; yea and many were baptized … and were joined to the church of God…and there was continual peace in all that time.” [1]

But just one short year later things were turning in a different direction within the church. Alma records that pride had taken hold of the hearts of the Nephites and they began to…

“set their hearts on the riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful…to persecute those that did not believe…there began to be great contentions among the people of the church; yea, there were envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride…and thus the church began to fail in it’s progress.” [2]

This heartbreaking situation causes him to leave his governmental responsibilities and focus solely on the problems within the membership of church.

“Can ye feel so now?”

Alma travels to the cities and villages throughout the land hoping to rekindle and reawaken the testimonies of his people. He reminds them of the miraculous things God has done for them, how they felt in the past as the spirit burned within them, and how their hearts, and the hearts of others, had been changed. Then he asks this penetrating question:

“if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” [3]

With love, but with boldness, Alma then teaches and encourages them in the things they must repent of and the practices they must return to, in order to once again have their hearts softened and their testimonies burn brightly.

Are we them?

Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, likened the Nephite’s situation and Alma’s teachings to us in our day in this way:

“It is not surprising that some in the Church believe they can’t answer Alma’s question with a resounding yes. They do not “feel so now.” They feel they are in a spiritual drought. Others are angry, hurt, or disillusioned. If these descriptions apply to you, it is important to evaluate why you cannot “feel so now.”

Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed.” [4]

A Little Effort Each Day.

Courtseyof Echotech Glass

Courtesy of Echotech Glass

It doesn’t take me much time at all to spray down the glass after each time I shower, and those couple of extra minutes are time well spent. If I neglect to do so, I’m looking at a good chunk of time spent scrubbing in the future when the hard water spots have really built up.

So, it is with our testimonies. Things can build up quicker than we think and before too long we are in a place of complacency or even doubt. A little time spent on them each day will save us a whole lot of difficult time, and pain, trying to restore their brilliance in the future.

Here are some suggestions of things you can do in just a few quick minutes daily that will help keep your testimony from dulling:

  • Read your scriptures.
  • Say your prayers.
  • Read something from the Ensign or other Church magazines.
  • Repent.
  • Listen to a General Conference address (as you clean your shower 😊)
  • Share something gospel related on your social media site.
  • Read your patriarchal blessing.
  • Write a paragraph on a gospel principle.
  • Keep a journal of how you see the Lord’s hand in your life each day.
  • Fill your home with beautiful gospel music.

The possibilities are endless. You can probably come up with ten more lickety-split!

Foggy Testimony?

If your testimony has begun to fog over – if spiritual things aren’t as clear for you as they used to be, if negative feelings come up easily towards Church leaders, standards, or doctrines, and honest questions have become doubt – then more time and effort will be needed to restore your faith to it’s former brilliance. But it can be done. It has been done by others, many others. And, if you’re really willing to scrub too, you won’t be the exception. The road may be long. Repentance may be needed. But, the Lord promises those with “real intent” that “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” [5]

The Nephites, us, and shower glass.

Just like my shower glass, if we do not take care of our testimony each day, things can get pretty cloudy pretty quickly. We are just as prone to the trappings of pride as the Nephites were, and perhaps even more so due to the luxury, abundance, and vast amount of worldly knowledge we enjoy in our day.  With daily care, though we won’t be totally streak free, our testimonies will remain strong and bright, and we won’t be easily deceived by the philosophies of men or societal pressures.

 

 

[1] Alma 4:3-5

[2] Alma 4:8-10

[3] Alma 5:26

[4] “Can Ye Feel So Now?”, Oct 2012 General Conference

[5] Moroni 10:4-5

 

 

 

Can You Turn on the Dark?

One of our responsibilities on our mission in Moscow, Russia was to teach an Institute class in English each week. As part of the lesson one evening I planned to share a video. When the time came I asked, “would one of you mind getting up and turning on the dark?” As you might imagine, a fun conversation ensued. Because I’m such a teaser I egged them on, and we went around and round about light verses dark, and which has power over the other.

Let’s talk about the dark

I’m not truly afraid of the dark. Are you?  But, being in the dark is uncomfortable – even in our own homes, a familiar place.  When it’s dark we feel uneasy, we bump into things that we know are there, but we now can’t see …they become obstacles to us. We have a difficult time in making things out.

In the dark our imaginations shift into high gear, reality becomes distorted to us, and we can begin to see in our minds things that aren’t really there, and wonder if there are things lurking that might get us.

We are easily fooled in the dark, presented one thing but told it is something entirely different.  (Think of the haunted houses you went through as a child, where peeled grapes were presented as eyeballs and wet pasta as brains). 

How about doing a simple task in the dark, like coloring a picture? We can’t see the lines that are provided for us to stay inside of to make our picture lovely.  When the lights come up we have drawn all over the page, all out of the lines; something we would not normally do.  (Well, I can only speak for myself, I’ve not seen any of you color.)

What about doing a complicated task in the dark?  Anyone here want to undergo brain surgery while the hospital is in a total blackout?

Being in the dark causes distress, confusion, and problems. Thank you,Thomas Edison. Continue reading

When Questions Arise ‘Will Ye Also Go Away’?

the 5000It was a large gathering. John calls it “a great multitude.” They had come to listen to the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, hoping to see another miracle. They were not disappointed. Christ had the 5,000 sit on the grassy ground. He took five barley loaves and two small fishes offered by a lad, blessed and broke them, and the disciples distributed the baskets of food to the crowd. When all were filled, the remnants were gathered up, 12 baskets full. John records that those who witnessed the miracle then said, “this is of truth that prophet that should come into the world.” [1]

The next day the multitude followed after Him. When they confronted Him about why He had left, He answered that they were more concerned with the food that He had provided than His message. Then came the beautiful sermon on the symbolism of the manna from heaven to the Children of Israel.

 “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead…I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever…”

The crowd was mostly frustrated with this teaching. It was to be spiritually discerned, but they could not receive it. When they realized that their physical need, their bodily appetite, was not to be satisfied again, they lost interest.  John sadly records,

“from that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.”[2] Continue reading

Light and Dark; Don’t Flip the Switch!

light-in-the-darkI love light. But let’s talk about darkness. I don’t ever remember being afraid of the dark as a child. I mean, no more than usual. Were you? Admittedly, it’s uncomfortable to be in the dark. Even in our own homes, a familiar place. When it’s dark, we feel uneasy. We bump into objects that we know are there but we now can’t see. They become obstacles to us.  We have a difficult time recognizing our surroundings and we wonder if there are things hiding there that might GET US!

In the dark our imaginations shift into high gear. Reality becomes distorted to us, and we can begin to see in our minds things that aren’t really there. We can be easily fooled in the dark. We might be presented one thing but told it is something entirely different. Who can forget sticking a hand into that bowl of peeled grapes and being told they were eyeballs, or the wet pasta that was brains at the elementary school spook alley as a child? That about scarred me for life! Continue reading

I Will Always Follow the Prophet

follow the prophetI’ve been thinking about the phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately, about how children shouldn’t be “punished” for the sins or actions of their parents.  Let me clarify, as one who should know.  Children are not punished for the actions of their parents, but sometimes they do suffer for them.

Some children suffer a lot more than others, but whenever parents make choices that negatively affect their children, believe me, the children suffer.  I attended World Congress of Families IX two weeks ago.  It was a productive and enriching experience.  I learned and re-learned things and made new friends.  I came home feeling excited about what I might be able to do to curb the tide that threatens traditional marriage and family values.  Let me share with you my personal story of how I know that even though children might suffer for their parents’ choices, but are never punished for them. Continue reading

When You Think You Are Beyond the Gospel’s Light

When You Think You Are Beyond the Gospel’s Light

Want a stronger testimony? You might try to simplify things by just living the basic doctrines of the gospel.

Want a stronger testimony? You might try to simplify things by just living the basic doctrines of the gospel.

I remember the first time I felt like I was in over my head. I had just graduated high school and the bishop of our congregation, or “ward,” had invited me in to his office during Church. As we chatted about my plans for college and other things, he asked if I would accept a “calling,” or in other words, a church assignment. I was expecting him to ask if I would be the ward chorister or something. But instead, he asked me if I would accept the assignment to be the teacher of a group of teenage girls, or “Young Women,” in our congregation.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a girl graduates from High School or turns 18, she stops attending the teenage girls’ classes, and attends the women’s class, the “Relief Society,” in the ward. I had been really looking forward to attending the women’s classes.

Here Am I, Don’t Send Me!

I was surprised, to say the least. Though I had already graduated, I was still seventeen, which meant that there could technically be a Young Woman in the group of girls who was older than I—the teacher—was. I felt very young and unprepared. I had never taught before. And to make things potentially even more strange, because I had just left the Young Women program, that meant that I was now expected to “teach” the peers and friends I had been in the program with for years! I felt very uncomfortable giving any kind of counsel in such a formal setting to girls that I loved to chat and hang out with. Would they think I was coming off as “holier than thou?” Would it change my friendships?
Continue reading

Terrie Lynn Bittner: Faith in Terminal Brain Cancer

Terrie Lynn BittnerTerrie Lynn Bittner is the Senior Editor of the Mormon Women Stand blog. She is a technical guru who made this website possible. Terrie is an intelligent, published author with many accomplishments under her belt. She loves children, and many of us couldn’t wait every Sunday for her weekly Facebook post about her Primary class. More importantly, she is our good friend, mentor, and confident. Terrie has a strong testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. You can read her conversion story here. She is steadfast and immovable.

Very suddenly, Terrie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and is preparing to go home to her Heavenly Father. The time that she has left here in mortality, she is not wasting. On the contrary, she is showing the rest of us how to live with faith and courage. She is teaching us how to love life, love our Heavenly Father, and endure to the end.

The first article Terrie has written since brain surgery was just published on LDSBlogs, and we would like to share it here. We share it as a testimony of not only her strength, but the strength of all of us as women. We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, and together we can do anything–even write articles after brain surgery. Terrie, we are cheering you on. You are in our thoughts and prayers constantly. We love you!

The MWS Team

Click here for Terrie’s first article post-surgery.

Follow the Prophet

MonsonFollowing the prophet is not something I take lightly.  Recently, I read a few blog posts on the internet that bothered me a bit.  The writer of these posts proclaimed to have a testimony of The Book of Mormon, a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  However, he says he does not have a testimony of current living prophets.  In addition, his posts try to convince his readers that living prophets don’t exist.

In an attempt to understand this man, I reached out a few days ago to the readers of our Mormon Women Stand Facebook page.  I posed the following questions to our readers:

1) Is it easier to teach children to follow the prophet, or to follow the prophet yourself?

2) Is it easier to teach children to follow the prophet when you are following the prophet yourself?

3) Is it easier to follow ancient prophets, or modern-day prophets?

4) Is it easier to follow one prophet over another?

5) If you have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored by the prophet Joseph Smith, which includes the principle of ongoing revelation, is it possible to not have a testimony of living prophets?

Our Mormon Women Stand readers never disappoint, and quite a few people engaged in the conversation.  The comments gave me a lot to consider, and I learned a few things. Continue reading

Trust God, Trust His Prophet—Part One

Primary teacherRecently, the six-and-seven-year-olds in my Primary class were role-playing a situation in which they had to advise a friend who was struggling with a gospel principle. One child said firmly, “Well, you’re just going to have to call in the Holy Ghost on this project.” I thought to myself what a wise bit of advice that was. I wish someone had told me that when I was struggling to gain a full testimony. Read about why I became a Mormon without a testimony. Continue reading

Gaining a Line-Upon-Line LDS Testimony

Young woman ponderingWhen I was baptized just after my seventeenth birthday, I did not have a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true. I wanted one, but I didn’t have one. Just before I started my lessons with the missionaries, a friend taught me how to pray to learn what is true. The missionaries taught me even more about it. Since I had been seeking God’s only true church since I was a child, I set out to pray. I had never prayed for information before. I’d been raised to recite a little prayer at bedtime, but I never asked for advice or to know what is true. I didn’t know how God’s answers would come to me, and the missionaries had given me some possibilities, but told me I’d learn to recognize them with practice. When no answer came to my requests to know if the Church was true, I was afraid. Finally, I realized I was asking a question that was too hard—not too hard for God, but too hard for me. Maybe I wasn’t ready yet. I asked a new question: Should I join this Church? Continue reading