“Quite simply, you can’t have a testimony until you bear it to someone. At the moment that you tell someone that you know X is true – even if you don’t know it yet – the Spirit will testify to you that it is indeed true. It may sound a little iffy, but I can tell you that it’s true. I had the same issue as you did at one point. I wasn’t sure that the Church was true, but I wanted a testimony. I got up in testimony meeting (the same time that I described earlier, in fact) and told everyone that I ‘believed’ the Church was true. I prefaced it by telling everyone that I didn’t know for sure yet, but I had heard that this was the way to find out for sure, so I was going to give it a shot. Sure enough, it worked. The Spirit told me that the Church was indeed true. In fact, the Spirit is telling me again that the Church is true as I’m writing this response. It’s really cool. I suggest that you try it for yourself. If you want to know for sure that the Church is true, tell someone else.” (“The Board”, 9/14/2005)
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Ugh. I had a goal of bearing my testimony every fast and testimony meeting. I did this for two years (missing a month here and there) because of the quote, “a testimony is found in the bearing of one.” Basically I was lieing to everyone and perpetuating the Mormon lie. Now I didn’t really know I was lieing. But what goes on with people (in my experience nice) that tell they have a testimony to get a testimony is as those words come out of their mouths publicly, they NEED for what they are saying to be true. Because thaey are usually, for the most part, good people that don’t believe in lying. But they have been told to lie publically by the people they trust. So they lie and I think the body has some kinda of reaction like a happy adrenaline rush as you stand before your congregation and announce something you do not “know” and that adrenaline rush gets interpreted as a testimony. So now you think you really do know because you were told you would feel something and you did. And then you go out with more confidence than before. The Church has grabbed you as public advertising for free. You claimed you knew something before you knew something, so that you could know something and experience a feeling. You get a feeling, any kind of feeling (because even a negative feeling would be said to be Satan trying to stop your testimony) and now that you have had a feeling you think you “know” and you are free advertising for the corporation. And to the onlookers, all they hear is “I know.” Which reienforces their beliefs even if they are struggling with doubts. Mind Control at its best. That’s why they do it once a month.
I think another way of saying this is, “Fake it till you make it!”
It’s used a lot in PMA (positive mental attitude) literature. You just assume/pretend you have xyz and pretty soon it will become a reality in your life. I think it’s also the basis of the “name it claim it” techniques used in the Word of Faith churches. A person just “claims” what they think is a promise in the Bible, find a Bible verse that reinforces what it is you’re claiming and you keep repeating it despite what the reality is. Your dominant thoughts plus your positive confession changes reality.
With the Mormon testimony, the feeling is the thing. If you can work up an emotion then that’s God telling you that what you are feeling is true. What nonsense!
Again, this is the basis for utilizing the PMA techniques. Picture in your mind, as clear as you can, what it is you want to have or accomplish. Then “feel” what it will be like when you reach that goal. The clarity of the goal, plus desire for the thing plus the emotion, sets a person on track to meet that goal. The emotions/desire is the key. I think Napoleon Hill describes this technique in his book “Think and Grow Rich”.
I was really into this deal a couple of decades ago. Guess what? It works as a technique quite a bit of the time. It’s just the fact that we are continually moving toward our dominant thoughts.
The other part of the technique is, “What are you going to speak out of your mouth?” It’s all part of the same thing that we get what we think about and say.
So if a Mormon just keeps repeating the points of the Mormon testimony over and over again and keeps it in their dominant thoughts and if they are getting emotional support and reinforcement from the group, they’ll end up with a testimony despite the fact that it’s all a manufactured reality.
It’s all phoney manipulation.
Revelation 19:10- And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
It’s all about you, Jesus. And all this is for you, for your glory and your fame.
The really sad thing for me is the children. Children as young as 3 get up there and KNOW this church is true, Joseph Smith or the current prophet is a true prophet. Rarely have I heard these little ones mention Jesus. These children can’t even read yet. They all say the exact same thing. Indoctrination anyone? Their parents just beam when they do this. So proud of them.
I never did get up and share my testimony. I struggled with a testimony of Joseph Smith. I never put it together that for Mormonism to be true, I had to have a testimony of Joseph. I sort of skirted around his story. It’s hard to explain.
I think a lot of us that are born into Mormonism just never give it a second thought. It’s what we are taught from birth and when you already belong to the only true church, why would you look elsewhere?
I like the “Fake it til you make it!” I wonder how many Mormons are doing this??
Think about what an LDS testimony is. It’s basically a testimony of a religious system that, if followed, will allow a Mormon male to become a god. It’s about pledging allegiance to a religion. It’s all about Joseph Smith, the BoM, the LDS church and the current prophet. As an add on they include Jesus. As to the last point, this is not the Jesus revealed in the Bible. The LDS Jesus is some sort of hybrid that Smith, over time, developed.
The LDS religion is basically a religious lodge. It’s a hybrid, just like the LDS Jesus, of the Methodist religion of Smith’s era and Free Masonry. People have to be manipulated into joining up and then indoctrinated into the sect with its rituals, beliefs and practices.
How many Mormons, having anticipating a deeply spiritual experience in the temple, come away confused and often freaked out. The LDS church have cleaned up their act with the temple rituals but what people are promised is not what they get. It’s just more indoctrination.
Lynn Wilder testifies about putting things “on the shelf” that troubled her about the LDS church and Mormonism. She says that pretty soon the shelf gets so much stuff on it that it collapses. There’s just so much rationalization that can be done to up hold a testimony; especially one that a person has been manipulated into developing.
The LDS church is desperate to get people “in” and make sure they “stay in”. The way to do that is to love bomb them and then get them to repeat the canned testimony over-and-over again. Not only is the LDS church desperate to get the people “in” and “staying” they go apoplectic if people leave.
Are these people still banging on your door? This is the experience of many former LDS members. The formers are often accused of “leaving the church but they can’t leave the church alone” because they often speak out against the LDS flim flam. Then, as it turns out, the LDS church can’t leave them alone. There is no understanding of personal space.
So what’s the deal? Are these LDS folks really that concerned about the eternal destiny of those who no longer have a “testimony” or does the leaving serve as too much of a challenge to their own testimony.
At my mother’s funeral a couple of years ago, my cousins wife was curious about my no longer being a practicing Catholic. I found it a great opportunity to give a short “testimony” of where I was at spiritually. Catholics generally accept this when I tell them. That’s pretty good, I think, for folks who really belong to the one true church.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist that!
I see two ways for someone to appropriately respond to this teaching: ethically and prudently (or skeptically or street-wisely).
You would think moral people like mormons would hear this and respond with the ethical or moral response – that’s lying! That’s wrong.
I don’t hear almost ever anything close to what i would call street-wise from LDS, certainly bit in relation to their religion. But shouldn’t everyone have enough street-smarts to respond to this teaching? – That’s just fooling yourself, saying it until you believe it. That’s not real!
So i have no idea why otherwise moral people can condone lying (sure, in this speaker’s case he was open about saying soothing that was not true)
But i can sure wish LDS investigators and members had more street-sense, common sense, our how Jesus put it “be wise as serpents”.
“So i have no idea why otherwise moral people can condone lying (sure, in this speaker’s case he was open about saying soothing that was not true)”
“But i can sure wish LDS investigators and members had more street-sense, common sense, our how Jesus put it “be wise as serpents”.”
Yes, this seems clear to an outsider. And maybe even some insiders like Kate. But to someone that the mind control has a hold of, someone like me, you have given up your thinking in regards to religion. I was actually a very street smart Mormon, when it came to things outside of Mormonism. There was this disconnect to how I related to the world and how I related to things in my religious community. What finally got me to think clearly was when I left Utah and tried to reconcile how I saw the world with my Mormon world. There was a definite explosion in my brain, a falling shelf, whatever you want to call it.
The people that follow this teaching, I was one of them, don’t think they are lying, they really don’t get it. They are following the men that they think talk to God. The people that many of their best friends and loved ones put all their trust into. It’s like the weirdness of the temple ceremony. I knew it was weird. But when I looked at all my smiling family going, “Isn’t this great.” I was like. “Yeah.” But remove the peer pressure and the trust in Mormon authority and everything seems clear. I’m appalled at some of my thought processes when I was LDS, but I wasn’t me in there, I was just part of the system. I was shutting down my common sense and other parts of me that Mormonism was suppressing so I could be part of the system.
I wouldn’t say that Mormons are unintelligent or lack common sense in every aspect of their life, but when the mind control sets in, those things show.
I read the book last year called, “Combating Cult Mind Control,” by Steven Hassan. It’s not even about Mormonism. It’s about him coming out of the Moonies and now helping people out of cults. Mormonism isn’t even mentioned in the book. He merely speaks on cult tactics and how mind control happens. I read it and could answer yes, yes, yes to every question. Fast and testimony meeting and getting people to say things before they believe it is all part of it.
You just confirmed something Walter Martin said: “Mormons can think rationally in every area of their life except when it comes to their religion”. I take it you were born a Mormon and went through the indoctrination process. Within what’s called the “Mormon Bubble” everything appears normal because in the context of Mormonism it is. But as you pointed out, once you got outside the “Bubble”, life didn’t make sense to you.
That’s the point of this “fake it till you make it” testimony riff. Inside the “Bubble” it really doesn’t make any difference. There’s a reason why Mormonism as promoted by the LDS seems so totally dishonest to folks like me. It’s the first thing I noticed when I started studying the religion. We aren’t in the “Bubble”. We don’t think Mormon.
Joseph Smith was a liar and a reprobate, but not to a faithful LDS member. He’s a great prophet. It’s total myth making through dishonest means. When the LDS member gives his/her testimony, it’s based on the myths molded for mass consumption.
It takes a lot to start asking questions when the reality doesn’t match the myth.
This is pretty good. Woman talks about giving her testimony at a Fast and Testimony meeting. Very informative.
I think the “emotional/spiritual” experiences people have are real – scary real – and they keep people staying for fear of turning their back on the “experience” they had, which is the same thing as turning their back on god. The power of an experience trumps logic and reason.
I hesitate sharing this because it might validate all the TBM’s that will say I should have listened to the spirit telling me the truth. When I was in the process of coming out of the church, I spent so much time on my knees praying that God would show me the TRUTH. I really didn’t want Mormonism to be true, but I told God I would follow Him no matter what He told me to do. There were two distinct experiences when my mind was literally filled with the words- “You know this is true; don’t leave it,” accompanied by a warm and sad feeling. The source was most surely from outside myself and came very unexpectedly. I immediately started to cry and landed on my knees – pleading with God that I only wanted to hear His voice and no other. (At that point in my journey I thought my ancestors were trying to intercede for me from the other side by persuading me to stay in the church. That is a perfectly acceptable thing to believe as a Mormon because when they die, they become missionaries and intercede for their families down here.)
That “spiritual” experience was so hard to overcome. But how could God be telling me to stay in a church that honored man and not Him? Was I supposed to go to church every Sunday and be miserable because all my “doing” was never good enough? I knew the Jesus I believed in was sufficient and the Mormon church was doing a lot of adding and subtracting. I can finally trust the Bible as the word – the only word – the last word.
Praise God that he answered my prayer that night and I trust His voice now. I am on fire for God and have never been more sure of His presence in my life. However, I know how very real the experiences are that people are having and they are banking on them.
Pretty impressive story. I believe it. I was just reading in Luke chapter four regarding the temptation of Jesus by Satan. The devil has his ways and he hasn’t changed them over the centuries. One of his favorite tactics is confusion. The Bible tells us to test the spirits. The best way to do that is by the Word of God. The Book of Ephesians tells us about the spiritual battles that go on in the heavenlies. We read in the Book of Daniel about the same thing when Gabriel talks of being restrained and how Michael comes to his assistance.
I often wonder why the devil bothers tempting and trying to confuse me. He likes to mess with our minds. I figure I must be worth something to God if the devil is shooting his fiery darts at me. Putting on the full armor of God is more than just a metaphor. It’s real and it’s effective. Notice that all of the armor is defensive in nature except for the Sword of the Spirit which is, of course, the Word of God.
You made the right choice as has been confirmed by the Spirit of God.
Has really brought to the discussion a very important aspect of spiritual life and that is the idea of hearing from God. I think it’s the most abused concept in religion. It’s a manipulators dream. It’s also one of those things that when in the hands of a well meaning but mis-informed individual, a thing that can cause a lot of emotional damage.
There’s no doubt in my mind that we are in a spiritual battle. Like I mentioned previously, the apostle Paul talks about the spiritual battle that takes place in the heavenlies (Ephesians 6:12). We also know that Satan is described as a roaring lion, going about looking for someone to devour.
The Chinese mystic Watchman Nee discussed much of this in his book “The Latent Power of the Soul”. Quite honestly, I don’t know how spot-on he was but he definitely was on to something when talking about “soul power”.
I think some would describe the soul in different terms perhaps calling it our “psyche”. The NT tells us that we are a composite of body, soul and spirit. In simple terms, I think we do have something within our make up (call it soul) that can mimic or cause people to think that something is coming out of the spirit when it’s really their soul.
A lot of it has to do with emotional manipulation, I think. A person can go to a PMA seminar with a fabulous motivational speaker presenting and have a carnally produced burning in the bosom. From what I’ve heard (not experienced) in the Mormon world especially with the “power of the priesthood” there’s a lot of “soul power” and emotional manipulation going on. Just the practice of laying hands on someone can have a powerful “soul” result.
Getting back to the experience merrick describes, what was happening in her case could very well have been a case of the enemy shooting darts at her. It could also have been that the years of emotional manipulation and indoctrination in Mormonism caused a “soul” reaction.
Whatever the case it’s important that a Christian pray for the gift of discernment, be well grounded in the Word and develop a healthy skepticism about spiritual phenomenon.
From Richard Packhan
Testimony” has a slightly different meaning in religion from what it means in a legal setting. In the law, a testimony is a statement of what the testifying witness has seen or heard personally. It cannot be what he learned from a third party, nor can it be mere opinion. The witness’s feelings are generally irrelevant. That is, a testimony must be based on facts.2
The testimony of an “expert witness” has different rules. First, the expert witness must be qualified as an expert in the field of learning about which he is testifying. The qualifications may be academic degrees, publications, professional experience in the field, or anything that makes the witness unusually knowledgeable about the field. The expert may be asked to express an opinion about a hypothetical situation similar to the situation at issue in the trial, and he may also testify as to his opinion of the facts before the court as they relate to his field of expertise. 3
In religion, a testimony is often something quite different. Sometimes it is the believer’s statement of justification for his belief, often a “spiritual” experience such as a vision, an unusually strong feeling, a seeming miracle. In Mormonism, the term has come to be applied also to a mere statement of belief, stated strongly, without any justifying facts included: “I KNOW that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God!” The watering-down of testimonies in Mormonism is perhaps best illustrated by the common practice of teaching little children to “bear testimony” in public testimony meetings, often prompted by a parent whispering the words into the child’s ear. The child dutifully repeats: “I know the church is twoo and Joseph Smiff was a pwoffet. Namajesuschristamen!”
Another indication of the distortion of Mormon testimonies is that every young Mormon missionary is expected to “have a testimony.” Many young Mormons have simply grown up in the church and never thought about their testimony, or exactly why they believe what they believe, other than simply having been taught and trained to believe it, and when faced with a missionary call realize that they really don’t have one. The advice they often receive from Mormon leaders is simply to say the words (like the little child) often enough, and pretty soon they will indeed have a testimony. Some have received the generous offer from an older Mormon: “You can borrow my testimony until you have one of your own.”
In other words, many Mormon “testimonies” are not valid testimonies at all, since they do not represent at all what the testifier actually knows. They are based on feelings, “warm fuzzies,” and supposed miracles or supernatural manifestations that are essentially no different from the feelings, miracles and manifestations that believers of all religions use to buttress their convictions that their religion and their god is true and correct. My testimony is based on facts – facts that everyone can check and verify to their own satisfaction.
” I know the church is true ” . While I don’t blame a Mormon for saying that to me , and while I
won’t judge their heart or sincerity , still given what is at stake here it is vital that I evaluate the
teachings of Mormon leaders in like of what the Bible reveals about God /salvation etc , because
that is more in keeping with what Jesus’ apostles advised their flock . It is still wise to follow that
counsel today . People can claim /testify many things , and religious leaders who claim that
Jesus is directing them to preach are to be tested . The claims of Mormon leaders are impressive ,
one such claim is that the church which they serve as officers in is the very same church that
Jesus established through His apostles , it is His one true church restored to earth in exactly
the same form as it existed when Jesus established it 2000 years ago . That is the claim .
So it;s imperative that anyone who takes Jesus’ warning in Matt 24:11 seriously be wise and
take time to compare what the New Testament reveals about the church /gospel and then
compare what any latter days prophets teach with it . Spiritual safety is at stake .
The Mormon people have a testimony that their church is true ? Their feelings confirm to them
such , but the scriptures —Bible — might have something to say on this . May they take the
time to check it out .
What I see here is a good confidence builder. This can be used by anybody. It is not a bad thing. The person who studies the scriptures and conveys the knowledge in a proper manner can do wonders.
A confidence builder? Being told to repeat a mantra until you believe it? I suppose so, but just the same, perhaps you are familiar with the saying, “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes truth”?
The critique here centers around the theme that the LDS church does practice some sort of manipulation by means of forcing people to state something they do not believe. Its dishonest and it is manipulative.
I understand you buy into it, and probably see no problem there. That’s irrelevant, though, given that it does not change our perspective. Stating that it builds confidence does not offer any counter argument, even if it applies to others. That people study scripture do wonders is absolutely irrelevant.
“Are these people still banging on your door?”
They send every new set of missionaries to my door. We still have the same missionaries that were here last. It does bother me. The other night the ward clerk called and I answered, he asked for my husband and I told him he was out and could I take a message. He said no he would call back later. My husband answered when he called back and he was looking for our kids. They do this every year or two. All 3 of our kids are over 18 now and they want to know where they are. Our oldest is living and working in another town here in Utah. He bugged my husband for his address and my husband told him none of our boys are interested in the church contacting them, the ward clerk said the church wasn’t going to contact them they just need to know where they all are. Creepy, just creepy. My husband wouldn’t give out our son’s address. I guess resignation letters are going out this weekend.
I was just as brainwashed as most LDS while I was LDS. I just struggled with Joseph Smith. When I started questioning the BoA I was still a true believer in Mormonism. It took me a year to look at anything not church approved. I followed the prophet no questions asked because I had it pounded in my head all of my life that when the prophet speaks the thinking has been done for you. I am ashamed to say this now but I loved Brigham Young and I thought he was a true prophet of God. I had no idea the atrocities this man taught and practiced. Once I started reading the Journal of Discourses I knew Mormonism was false and I knew Brigham Young was the most evil of all LDS prophets. I started studying six years ago and I have been formally out for three. I would love to say I am free of Mormonism but it’s all around me. You are lucky to be out of the State. I love this State, it’s beautiful! I just wish I didn’t have to deal with Mormonism.
I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about!