When I was little, I remember sitting in sacrament meeting during fast and testimony meeting, watching members of the congregation go up to the pulpit and bear their testimonies of God, of Jesus, of forever families.
I remember sitting next to my dad, at least I think I was sitting next to my dad. My dad rarely sat on the bench next to us (he was always gone, visiting other wards or branches, or sitting on the stand). I’m not sure if my dad was actually sitting next to me or if my memory has placed him there–perhaps as a sort of symbolic gesture on the part of my subconscious because my dad has so often been a part of my spiritual growth and understanding.
But I remember sitting in the old Bend chapel where we first went to church after we moved to Oregon from the Bay Area. I believe I was about four years old, although, again, I’m not sure how accurate my memory is. But I remember this desire to go up and say something about God too. I believed in Him too and I wanted to say it too.
I told my dad this, who then encouraged me to go up. So I did.
“I like to bury my testimony,” is what I said. And I can’t remember the rest. All I remember is feeling relieved, like I finally said what I’d been trying to say all my little life.
When I finished, I came down and sat by my dad and told him, or at least told myself, “I am going to bury my testimony every fast and testimony meeting.” My dad said that I didn’t have to, but that he thought that was a good idea and to go ahead.
I remember it took me a long time to understand that everyone was saying bear and not bury (was there any little kid who did understand that the same word to describe Winnie the Pooh was the same word used to describe the process of declaring?) But that doesn’t really matter since I was doing it, with or without the correct term.
I bore (/buried) my testimony every fast Sunday for like three or four years.
I think about that time when I was little often, even this month, somewhere around 18 years later, on a Fast Sunday.
I don’t go up to the pulpit every month anymore like I used to–somewhere in the years that followed my first testimony, I learned that maybe it was annoying for me to always go up, maybe it didn’t mean as much to God or others (always others) if I always went up. But still, I always wanted to.
Even now, I have this strong desire to say what I believe, what I am learning that I believe, whether on Fast Sunday or on any other day of the week, or month. I can’t determine whether because of pride or embarrassment or fear of what others think of my redundancy (which, too, is pride), I don’t. And though I still speak up when my whole body is about to burst, always, there is so much more I want to say, wish I could say.
So I’ve decided to dedicate Sunday blogging to the Sabbath, a day which I believe is holy. I don’t want to bear my testimony in the traditional way each Sunday, to make up for any deficiency at the pulpit or in the Sunday School classroom. But I do want to explore what I believe, or something I am learning to believe each week. I have found that when I look for something more to believe in, I always find it. The process is always enlightening and purifying.
Perhaps this endeavor will push me toward the ever-goal of becoming who I want to be.
As always, I learn more with and through others. In the upcoming weeks, I invite any readers to share their own thoughts or experiences.