Testimony from a Nonexperience
August 1974

“Testimony from a Nonexperience,” Ensign, Aug. 1974, 65–66

Testimony from a Nonexperience

Sometimes I think the things that don’t happen in the temple can be just as helpful to the growth of a testimony as the things that do happen.

In 1965, missionaries in the French East Mission were privileged to go through the Swiss Temple. Having worked hard since my arrival a year earlier, I guess I went feeling it was about time for the Lord to grant me some tremendous spiritual manifestation. (For a long time I had been waiting for such a “clincher,” thinking it would be the capstone of my testimony.) I was sincere in preparing myself in every way I knew how, and I had thoroughly worked myself into what I considered an appropriate spiritual attitude.

No manifestation occurred. Nothing—except the usual quiet, peaceful, information-packed temple ceremonies.

Afterward, in response to the questions in my prayers, I realized why the Lord kept the veil drawn that day for me. I’ve had to learn, and I’m still learning, how the Lord’s communication differs from my own subjective mental and emotional states. Had any manifestation been given that day in the temple, I probably would have ended up questioning it, because I had been expecting it so much.

By saying “no” to my sign-seeking, and later by manifesting his power through priesthood authority on many other occasions when it was necessary for purposes other than my own desires, and by sending the Holy Spirit’s prompting, often unsolicited and unexpected, the Lord has proven to me that he is an entity outside my mind; that this is his work and he directs it as he wishes; and that he loves us enough and is merciful enough not to let us misuse his house.

  • Lynn Packham, information officer in the U.S. Air Force, serves as executive secretary in the Panama District, Central America Mission.