Thursday, May 28, 2009

The basis of testimony

Cousin Cory echoed a thought I had fairly often back in my 20s (which seems like a very long time ago):

I often wonder what I would do if those around me who claim to know who I am suddenly disappeared and I was free to act without judgement.

Basically what this is asking is do you act the way you do because of expectations of friends/family or do you act that way because that's how you want to act? And if you suddenly found yourself completely separated from said contacts and were 'free to act' however you wanted, how would you act?

I've found myself in that situation a few times in my life. The first time was when I moved to SLC in 1997 and got my own apartment. I still had loved ones and friends but not physically living with me or seeing me on a regular basis. This was a very important time in my life where I really confronted that question-now that 'no one' is looking, how will you live?

Fortunately I feel I made the right choice and stuck with church and actually really dug into it and strengthened my testimony far greater than it ever had been before. This made it much easier to weather the next two times I was in this position which was when I moved to Phoenix for a few months and when I moved to Wisconsin for a few years.

It's a pretty interesting question and it's one that I think everyone needs to answer. Are you going along with the church because you think your family would freak out if you lived otherwise? Or are you living the gospel because you actually believe it's the best course for your life? Finding this out is really the time in your life when you take the training wheels off and see if you can remain standing. That's why I feel confronting this question is potentially of much greater impact on a person's spiritual foundation than a mission. Because on a mission you're constantly surrounded by extremely strict restrictions. It's pretty difficult to not choose the right on a mission, even if you want to. Weird, huh?

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