A Simple Testimony

by Kelly Ann

Eyeing the Bishop and the Stake President on the stand, I slowly walked to the front of the chapel this morning in Sacrament meeting.  My heart was racing and I was physically shaking as I took the stand.  I stated that it had been awhile, that I was nervous, but I wanted to share a simple testimony, the same as I shared before last year’s election when I snapped.  I then said something like the following:

That I love God, that I am grateful for the community of faith in the church, but I don’t understand everything and that is ok.  That I doubt as much, if not more, than I believe and that that has made me a better person.  That I am grateful for the ability to learn from my experiences and mistakes.  That I am grateful for the friends and the community in this ward and elsewhere who have accepted me as I am and who have been patient with me as my faith continues to be reshaped since it collapsed last year.

While I still have a long ways to go, this public expression today brought me so much peace.  It was also nice that quite a few people thanked me for having the nerve to get up and that they appreciated my heart-filled testimony.  Most people in the family ward I am now attending do not know the back-story that I felt personally attacked after sharing a similar testimony that I believed in God but didn’t understand all things in another’s ward politically charged Prop8-infused fast and testimony last year.  I am honestly grateful that I am slowly reclaiming my imperfect faith.

As someone else shared today, it is in being vulnerable that we allow ourselves the most growth and I truly feel grateful for multiple communities in which I can be myself.  And I did it with out passing out or tripping up and down the stairs ;-p

It is a huge step for me and I wanted to share that with you all here.

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18 Responses

  1. Deborah says:

    Beautiful. I would have hugged you after, had I been in the audience. Expressions of emerging, healing, uncertain, hopeful, or humble faith build my faith in our community.

  2. marta says:

    Why can i sometimes see who posted here and sometimes not? whomever, this is lovely and sweet and honest. thank you for sharing it with your ward, and with us.

  3. Deborah says:

    Kelly Ann wrote it 🙂

  4. Kelly Ann says:

    Thank you for the cyber-hug Deborah. A few people gave me hugs which made me emotional afterwards. I most appreciated the comments that my testimony echoed their own. It gives me hope. My Bishop and Stake President’s kind words of support also give me great hope for the community.

    Marta, thank you as well. Being honest is about all I can be at the moment and has been so empowering. (Also note, I hopefully fixed the unclear authorship).

  5. EmilyCC says:

    How brave! Thank you for sharing your testimony with us here, Kelly Ann!

  6. Alisa says:

    Beautiful experience, Kelly Ann. I love the humility and honesty you brought with your testimony. I hope one day I have the courage to do the same.

  7. Petra says:

    I was there, so I can testify that it was as lovely as Kelly Ann makes it sound. Thanks, KA, for sharing.

  8. D'Arcy says:

    I have dreamed of doing this often, but I’m not to that point yet.

    However, my friend went to F&T meeting yesterday and was faced with this:

    “The testimonies, and more importantly, dialogue from the Bishop was a bit rough. Bishop said that we all needed to be Celestial ready right now because we never know when we’re going to die.

    Then, he went into a ten minute dialogue about all the young people he knows that have died suddenly and tragically and how he hopes they were ready to meet the Celestial Kingdom.

    Then, A young adult (this was a singles ward) bore her testimony about how out of five kids she is the only one that has stayed close to the church and is preparing for a Temple marriage. She noted how a couple of other siblings have gotten married, but weren’t worthy of the Temple so their weddings were very sad. Sad weddings, and very, very sad for her parents. She talked about how her Temple wedding is a great gift to her parents and about how she is proud to be the only child to give that gift to them.”

    I’ve been in FAR too many meetings like that one that it makes F&T meeting the LAST Sunday I’d ever choose to attend. And yet, and yet….with your testimony, can’t you just imagine the possibilites of what could happen in that sweet hour?

  9. Kelly Ann says:

    Emily, Alisa, and Petra, thank you.

    I still don’t know how I mustered the courage to get up. It didn’t come out perfectly but well enough I guess.

    D’Arcy, there is tremendous potential everywhere as people muster the strength to share their experiences. As much as I love my new ward, I don’t agree with everything that is said and I just hope that the good continues to outweigh the bad. I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s experience.

    I hope people will continue to be much braver than I actually was.

  10. Ziff says:

    I appreciate your testimony, Kelly Ann, and I admire the courage it took to share it. I wish people shared more heartfelt testimonies like yours in my F&T meetings. Certainly I don’t have the guts to say what I really feel there! 🙂

  11. Kelly Ann says:

    Ziff, while I did surprised myself with the ability to express what I did, I don’t think I’d ever have the courage to get up and enumerate all my doubts and state what I really do and do not believe (like I have started to in blogging, although I still restrain myself here to a certain extent). It is all relative, I guess.

    But yes, I wish all testimony meetings were filled with heartfelt expressions of either faith or doubt, rather than the story telling or proselytizing that I have often seen in my experience.

  12. Carol says:

    I love your honestly and your humility. How wonderful it would be if every comment in Church and every testimony was as sincere and pure as yours was. And, since all temple recommend holders vow to be honest in all their dealings, perhaps we need to work a little harder at that when we speak or testify in Church.

    Hugs from me, too. I definitely would have hugged you if I had been in your ward and would want to be your friend.

  13. AS says:

    What a beautiful, honest testimony.

  14. Racy says:

    My daughter got up one sunday for her first sacrament meeting testimony, she started with “sometimes I see other people who don’t believe in our church and I think they are doing wrong” oh no.”But then I remember hey, it’s none of my beeswax, and I know Heavenly Father loves all his children, Amen”
    I had women telling me for months how much they loved her testimony and how they needed to hear it. I think real testimonies are the best kind.

  15. Kelly Ann says:

    Thank you Carol, AS, and Racy. Like I said before, being honest is about all I can be and I have found a lot of peace in doing so.
    I hope people will always feel comfortable doing the same because more than any “loss of belief”, what frightens me is how afraid I was to share any kind of imperfection. It has taken me awhile but I have learned I’m not perfect and that’s ok.

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