As I was packing and going through all of my papers yesterday I came across a quote by Marion G. Romney:
“Testimony is an abiding, living, moving conviction of the truth revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
And I started thinking about the three different adjectives he uses:
1. Abiding, which seems to connote permanence. That a testimony is persistently present, which actually makes sense to me. It’s hard to draw a distinct line between something that is fleeting (not abiding) vs. the way testimonies seem to ebb and flow. But maybe the ebb of a testimony just never fades to the point of nonexistence, or ebbs as much as it flows with the right amount of attention. At minimum, it seems that Romney believes it is not a fleeting thing.
2. Living, which could tie into the ebb and flow concept, but is more heavily focused on the flow. The word living seems to imply growth, and certainly in the natural world when I think of living things I think of growing things. In the church our concept of growth is line upon line, precept upon precept. which never really resonated with me, but recently, really in last week’s testimony, I realized what a blessing that is. We don’t have to jump in and know or believe everything at once. I certainly don’t, and I’m not so worried about knowing everything, but believing everything at once is overwhelming. It’s nice to be able to move at my own speed and build slowly.
3. Moving, which is the most interesting adjective I think. Moving could be seen as relating to the emotional element, which testimonies absolutely have of course. We see people “moved to tears” all the time when bearing their testimonies. And that’s an important component because I know, from my own experience, that a lot of thinking or an intellectual approach is not what makes a testimony. The other way to look at “moving” is that a testimony moves us to action. It ought to create change, motivate us to do good, and help us avoid sin. This aspect, I think, is my area of struggle. Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m an imperfect, lazy person with a testimony or a more imperfect person without much of a testimony.
I have felt more moved by my belief of late, which is progress, line upon line…my testimony is definitely living. And abiding…I suppose there is a case to be made that it is, since here I am after years and years of ignoring, destroying, or avoiding it and yet I find that it still matters to me. So I guess this is another thing I’ve discovered I believe. I believe testimonies are abiding, living and moving. I’m grateful that they are, because it means people like me are never without hope. Testimonies don’t just disappear and even though they might shrivel up, they don’t die and can always be brought back – living waters!