Declare Truth With Boldness—It Strengthens Your Conviction
“Mrs. O’Neal, it’s Opposite Day,” my fourth grade violin class said when they barreled into the room for lessons one day. I gave them a curious look. One student smiled back and explained, “Everything you say has to be the opposite of what you mean. Like, if I said, ‘I hate the violin,’ that would really mean I love it. Get it?”
I smiled. “Ok, I’ll play—no I mean, I won’t play.”
They laughed, probably over how quickly I picked up on the game. “Don’t get your instruments out and don’t hand them to me for tuning.” They did the opposite.
“Now, don’t play the D scale in half notes. Ready, stop.” They began to play, beautifully too, I might add. So I frowned and shook my head.
One student got a sad look on his face. “Time-out,” he said. Then he asked, “Mrs. O’Neal, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I said.” It’s Opposite Day. I frowned—isn’t that the opposite of a smile?”
He gave me a smirk. “Opposite Day is only for the things you say.”
“Oh, sorry.” I had so much to learn.
The game went on for a few minutes before we all got tired of trying to say the opposite of what we were thinking. To be honest, it got boring really fast. The next week, the same class came back and tried it again. I finally had to declare there would be no more Opposite Days. It was too much of a distraction. It took our focus away from learning. The initial fun and games couldn’t last—in fact, saying the opposite had a negative effect on their demeanor, one they hadn’t anticipated.
We live in a time where opposite-day seems to be the norm. It feels like Opposite-Day to me when I pick up the paper or read the news. But I can’t stand up and say “time-out” like my class did, or I can’t declare “No Opposite-Day today.” We’re surrounded by opposite thinking, and it’s trying to wipe out the truth.
“The truth and values we embrace are mocked at every hand.” (Hymn 256, As Zion’s Youth in Latter Days.)
We see it in entertainment, sports, education, religion, government—everywhere. I want to yell from the roof-tops, “Enough of this Opposite-Day!”
Isaiah predicted this would happen in the last days. He said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20.) We are fully engaged in this thinking right now. We negotiate with terrorists in the Middle East who kill their own LGBT members, yet we have people boycotting the state of Illinois because they support religious freedom. We let underage girls have abortions without informing their parents, but we can’t let children pray in school. People who support marriage between a man and a woman are automatically labeled as LGBT haters, when they are far from it. The worst consequence is, we are becoming afraid to speak for fear of what the “opposite-day-police” will do to us. This is no way to live.
Testifying of truth can combat opposite-day. On the first Sunday of each month, in an atmosphere void of discrimination and fear, Latter-day Saints are free to declare what it is true. It begins the night before with a preparatory prayer, dedicating our efforts to the Lord. Then we fast from two meals and donate the money we’ve saved from those two meals to the poor. The next day we partake of the sacrament, the sacred portion of our service. The time is turned over to members of the congregation to stand and bear testimony of what they know is true.
To testify is to bear witness by the power of the Holy Ghost—to make a solemn declaration of truth based on personal knowledge or belief. We’ve been told, and I’ve felt it personally many times, that bearing testimony of the truth is a strengthening power. I realize now more than ever why this is so—because truth will combat the opposite ideas and thinking of this world.
When we stand as witnesses to the truth we are empowered by the very truth we support. We are made strong by our willingness to declare the divinity inherent in Christ’s gospel. When we stand boldly by His values we proclaim to the world whose side we are on. His values were set from the foundation of the world, values that are rooted in divinity, integrity, common sense, and love. These values will transcend time rather than fall with the next passing fancy that society deems popular.
When we stand for the truth, our words can strengthen other like-minded people who may not have the strength to stand and speak the truth on their own.
Whose side are you on? Do you stand with the opposite in order to be popular with social norms, or do you align your thinking with what the Savior has laid out as foundational, sacred, timeless and life-giving? It can be scary to stand and bear testimony. It takes an act of faith to step through that fear. But once you do, the truth of your words will give strength to you—and to the others who need to hear it.
I testify that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I bear testimony that The Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God—each strengthens the other’s testimony of Christ. I know that the foundation of Christ’s church was built on prophets and apostles as written in Ephesians 2:20. I know that Christ’s true church was restored in the latter-days by a prophet named Joseph Smith, and that we have a living prophet today named Thomas S. Monson. I testify that sacred ordinances are necessary for our salvation. I know that God provided a way through his temples to allow family who’ve passed on to receive the same saving ordinances, as Paul mentions in First Corinthians 15:29. I testify that the family is ordained of God. I know the Holy Ghost can bear witness of these truths to anyone who has the solemn desire to know for themselves if they study, ponder their research and pray to Heavenly Father. There are many more things that I could testify of, but for now, this is my witness.
Speaking the truth is the beginning. Living the truth will come naturally from that, once we feel safe enough to speak truth. Let us speak God’s truth and have the faith to allow His truth to strengthen us so that we may strengthen others who might remember the same truth but are afraid to speak it themselves.
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.