(find the talk here)
I have to admit that I was a little distracted while reading Elder Jay E. Jensen’s talk. I’ll share my thoughts on this talk, and then I’ll probably have to write later about the thoughts that distracted me.
I liked that Elder Jensen talked about “trees of testimony.” I like having visual representations of abstract ideas. Elder Jensen said:
… I witnessed the results of Alma’s counsel to “awake and arouse [my] faculties … to [conduct] an experiment upon [His] words.” These words or seeds have grown into trees, indeed giant trees of testimony. The process continues with more experiments upon the word, resulting in additional trees of testimony, now a veritable forest based on revelation through and by the Holy Ghost.
I would like to say that I have a “veritable forest” of testimony trees, but it’s probably more like a small grove. Maybe a dozen trees. What would it be like to have a forest of testimony trees? Each time I experiment on the word and let a little tree grow, it makes it easier to grow other trees. It’s much like developing any other skill – we work and work at it until we are professional foresters.
One thing that Elder Jensen mentioned struck me probably the first time I listened to it after Conference. We had moved in to a new home and we started attending a Portuguese ward about 10 minutes from our home. The boundaries for our neighborhood ward are quite small and the ward building is nearly in our backyard. Because we weren’t attending that ward, we didn’t get to know very many of our neighbors – and we usually get to know people really quickly. I was going through some tough times, feeling pretty lonely and pretty alone. I was so used to a close-knit ward family with people who would just drop by to say hi and chat for a bit. I felt like no one was around to “minister” to my needs. But Elder Jensen reminded me that “sometimes there is no one … available to minister in time of need. In those situations I have come to find solace and direction from the Comforter, another role of the Holy Ghost.” This was something I really needed to hear. It didn’t matter if there was no one around to “take care of me” – I could find the comfort and peace and ministration in the gift of the Holy Ghost which I received at baptism.
Have you ever felt alone, only to realize that the Holy Ghost was there all along? Do you have a forest of testimony trees? Or are yours more like a few saplings?