Testifying of Christ—Are LDS Falling Short?

In my prior post, “She Informed Me that She was No Longer Attending the LDS Church”, we learn from a young LDS church member why she decided to attend another church. She said:

“When I attended my LDS ward, we talked about being honest, the importance of reading scriptures and getting married in the Temple, and the importance of a living prophet, but I never heard much about Jesus Christ. In this new church I attend, Jesus is the heart and soul of all their sermons.”

Her seminary teacher was stunned and decided to ask the students in her 5 other classes how they felt about the girl’s observation of her church experience. I quote what the teacher said she learned from her other classes:

“To my amazement, the great majority in every class agreed with her, concluding that we didn’t speak, teach, or mention much about the Savior other than in our hymns and at the end of prayers and talks.”

What do you think? Do the seminary students have a valid point?

Many who read this post attend church weekly. I hope you will conduct your own survey at church over the next few weeks and let us know what you find.

The following is from a talk give my Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

A few years ago I received a letter from a man who said he had attended an LDS testimony meeting and listened to seventeen testimonies without hearing the Savior mentioned or referred to in any way. He also wrote that the following Sunday he listened to a priesthood lesson, a Gospel Doctrine lesson, and seven sacrament meeting speakers without hearing any reference to Jesus Christ (see Ensign, Nov. 1990, p. 30). Some may have considered that report an exaggeration or an extreme case. The similar accounts I have received in subsequent letters persuade me that this was not an isolated experience. In too many of our classes, in too many of our worship services, we are not teaching of Christ and testifying of Christ in the way we should. This is one way we are failing to “remember the new covenant.”

To cite another example, I believe that for a time and until recently our public talks and our literature were deficient in the frequency and depth with which they explained and rejoiced in those doctrinal subjects most closely related to the atonement of the Savior. A prominent gospel scholar saw this deficiency in our Church periodicals published in a 23-year period ending in 1983 (see Daniel H. Ludlow, quoted in Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989, pp. 3–4). I saw this same deficiency when I reviewed the subjects of general conference addresses during the decade ending in the mid-1980s.

Another illustration is provided by some Latter-day Saint funerals. I attend some funerals and hear reports of many others. Worthy tributes to the deceased are appropriate, and so are family memories. But such matters must not dominate an LDS funeral service to the exclusion or neglect of those gospel truths that review the purpose of life and testify of our Creator and Redeemer. At a funeral service—of all places—we must not neglect to testify of him whose gospel gives meaning and purpose to life and whose resurrection and atonement give hope for the deceased and comfort to the bereaved. Yet, I know of some LDS funerals in which there was no mention of the resurrection and no mention of the Savior. Isn’t this an example of “treat[ing] lightly the things [we] have received”? Isn’t this another cause for some of us to “repent and remember the new covenant”?

Dallin H. Oaks, “‘Another Testament of Jesus Christ’,” Ensign, Mar 1994, 60

Click here for the full talk.

Highlighting is mine.




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