Over the weekend, I watched the Michigan/Purdue game. Michigan won big – 43 to 22. They are undefeated. After receiving the Big 10 trophy and thanking the team and the fans, Coach Jim Harbaugh ended his remarks by thanking “His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
In addition, Michigan running back Donovan Edwards was voted the MVP of the championship game. His first comment was thanking his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
I was impressed by their willingness to testify about Jesus Christ and His role in their life. In the days after, I shared this idea with Church friends. Some of them didn’t like it because it was the wrong place or time. They were “casting their pearls before swine.”
Maybe so. However, we are commanded to open our mouths and warn our neighbors. (D&C 88:81-85). I agree that we need to keep sacred things sacred, but I am not sure our testimony falls into that category. I think many of the Saints, me included, are fearful of offending, so we either keep our mouths shut or we hide our testimony behind other words.
Many years ago, I attended a face-to-face team meeting with my virtual team. We did an icebreaker at the beginning. We were given a picture of a blank shield and were asked to decorate the shield to describe ourselves. I went first, describing my shield. In one of the quadrants, I had drawn a block “V.” I explained that I was very value-driven. Two other teammates from North Carolina and Florida followed me. On their shields, they had drawn a cross and explained they were followers of Jesus Christ. I was trying to say the same thing but hide my discipleship using values rather than Jesus Christ. I was wrong.
I suggest we follow the counsel of Elder Uchtdorf, who said, “If someone asks about your weekend, don’t hesitate to talk about what you experienced at Church. Tell about the little children who stood in front of a congregation and sang with eagerness how they are trying to be like Jesus. Talk about the group of youth who spent time helping the elderly in rest homes to compile personal histories. Talk about the recent change in our Sunday meeting schedule and how it blesses your family. Or explain why we emphasize that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that we are Latter-day Saints, just as the members of the ancient Church were also called Saints.” (Missionary Work: Sharing What Is in Your Heart, April 2019)
We should never wish to offend but bearing testimony is offensive. The choice is theirs if a person is offended, and we shouldn’t worry about it. Now I am not indicating you should stand up on a table at work or while you are eating at Taco Bell and bear your testimony. I am encouraging us all to be bolder and share our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Such as, after being congratulated on passing a difficult test, we don’t just say thank you. We say, “Yep, God was with me.” Or we stand as a loving beacon of truth for our children and grandchildren. They know what we believe in, and if they have wandered, they know that you are there to help them find their way when they are ready to seek the truth.
The words to John Whitmer are also valid for us, “you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen.” (D&C 30:11)