If you think a faithful life sounds great—but not right now—here are some ways to procrastinate developing your testimony.
You’re young. You’re free. This is the time to live for the moment—no commitments, no restrictions. Of course, there’s that lingering feeling that the gospel is in fact true, but you don’t want to think about that now. One day, maybe, you’ll fit “living faithfully” into your plans.
For now, you can follow Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s plan to hide from testimony. Yep, in his general conference address “Why Not Now?,” Elder Maxwell outlines a sixteen-step plan to delay commitment.
But the plan would require that we stop thinking about being loved by our Heavenly Father; so if we get lonely, well, we’ll just have to accept it. And we must listen only to liars, for truth tends to direct us toward that inconvenient road to a lasting testimony. We also run the risk of losing the spark of testimony forever, and “one day, maybe” easily turns into “yeah, never.”
Or we could just take the leap of faith now and find joy, strength, and peace. Elder Maxwell says we should do so now rather than pursuing his doomed procrastination plan. So think about making today your someday: “Choose you this day” (Joshua 24:15) and commit “straightway” (Matthew 4:20). Don’t delay.
Elder Maxwell adds: “If you sense that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, why not do so now? For in the coming of that collective confession, it will mean much less to kneel down when it is no longer possible to stand up!”
Read Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s conference address “Why Not Now?”
—Alyssa Nielsen, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
Read or watch “This Day” by President Henry B. Eyring to learn more about the importance of not procrastinating.
Watch a short excerpt of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explaining the benefits of following Jesus Christ in his talk “Christ Is the Way.”
Read or watch “Straightway” by Elder Marvin J. Ashton to learn more about the urgency of the gospel.
Sometimes complacency feels so tempting! But I’m beginning to think there are not many more joyous, merciful words in the human vocabulary than the word “NOW.” Thank you for this article. It kicks me into gear! I had never read Elder Maxwell’s talk before, but I think it is just as pertinent to us today as it was when he gave it–perhaps even more.
Because it’s easy to feel like there will always be more time later, I find that I often neglect spiritual things that are important but may not feel urgent. I think we also forget that when we do that, we are also delaying blessings that we need now. It will never feel convenient, so we might as well claim the blessings now.
The tone of this article is very effective for the message. I love how it mirrors Elder Maxwell. Procrastination is not much more than having different priorities. I know that when we make God our first priority and decide to have faith on him, everything else works out, and there is still plenty of time to enjoy life. So we might as well get blessings along the way.
I really enjoyed reading this. I consider myself a major procrastinator but I am going to read this talk and try my best to improve!
I love the way this article recognizes how deliberate a person must be to set aside a testimony: doing so is not merely a matter of finding something more enjoyable in the moment, but of severing (or at least ignoring) a deep emotional, intellectual, and spiritual history of our interactions with God and his children. It’s sometimes tempting for me to think of lapses in Church activity as more of a social phenomenon than anything, one that involves distance from a community, but it reflects something still more troubling—that heart-wrenching choice to value something more than an abiding knowledge of the right. Recognizing this makes me want not just to reinforce my own commitment, but to encourage others to do the same.
For me, the difference between complacency and improvement is always in my mind. My thoughts affect whether or not I feel the Spirit, and abiding in the Spirit is what makes me feel prepared for either death or Christ’s coming, whichever comes first. OR the Spirit lets me know whether or not I am prepared, so I know what to do (or I know to humble myself). Complacency can be fun for a little bit, but it always leaves me in a spiritual and emotional dead-end. I am eternally grateful for prayer–it is the lifeline between us and Heavenly Father.
This article is a great reminder to me. It is so easy to get caught up in the notion that there is so much time. I can improve my scripture study next semester, or I can attend the temple more regularly once I’m not a full-time student. However, that can be a dangerous mindset! Why not, now? Thanks for the reminder!
To me, this talk was a really good reminder not to be content in my testimony. Sometimes, it’s not so much about procrastinating attaining one; it’s more remembering that a testimony is something that needs to be nurtured. It’s easy for me to say, “I can read my scriptures tomorrow, I already know they’re true.” But by remembering to do those simple things, I can safeguard what I already have.
This is so great! Complacency often creeps into life when life is busy and full of work, school, social, and other such obligations. But the gospel of Christ is the most important (or should be the most important) thing in our lives. Learning about it and living it fully can be an immense task to consider, but oh so worth it in the long run.
A quote I really love is from Rent the musical, which is “no day but today.” How true that is! I don’t like spreading bad mojo around, but we really never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. So why not do what you know you should do today? There could be infinite tomorrows, but why wait for blessings? I love Elder Maxwell’s advice and will definitely be taking it to heart.
When you look at what the reverse of gospel living is, it seems so obvious that living the gospel is the way to go. It becomes as obvious as “would you rather be happy or sad?”
I don’t know if I’ve ever neglected the gospel because I don’t want to think about it, but I definitely am guilty of saying ONE DAY. I work hard to convince myself everyday that I’m not going to hell, but part of that is the self-indulgent justification that the bad I do today I can make up for tomorrow. I hadn’t read this article in print before, but I hope one day I can kill the habit of ONE DAY and find the resolve to always answer RIGHT NOW.