Posted by: Jay | April 4, 2008

Developing mature testimony

Several Mormon intellectuals (I know some find that term offensive) talk about how their testimony has “matured” with their increase of knowledge about the LDS Church. What does it mean to have a mature testimony? Is it something that you grow into as you get older? Does everyone experience it? I know many people that have become aware of the details of LDS Church history, as I have, and yet still maintain their child-like faith. They continue to hold fast to the testimony of their youth, strengthening their resolve to believe despite knowledge that seems to contradict in some ways what they were brought up to believe.

The most common explanation, I sympathize with, is that we just don’t have all the information. What looks like a great injustice could actually be a innocuous historical occurrence. Due to lack of the historical record we are left to interpret the events by our modern standards and personal preferences. This freedom of historical interpretation allows some to abandon their Mormon heritage and yet others continue to justify their beliefs. It gives the faithful just enough reason to “hold to the rod” when faced with the strong temptation to let go. Their testimony is saved by rejecting the negative interpretations of LDS history and accepting the faith promoting Church rendition. I offer no criticism of those that choose this path of faith.

However, there are others that are not satisfied with the every explanation offered by apologists. Instead they begin the long process of understanding and interpreting the past on their own, taking note of the discrepancies and biases on both sides of the issues. Evaluating where they feel one side has gone too far in justifying their claims. There is a danger to this approach (speaking from a faithful prospective). To evaluate history in an unprejudiced way the interpreter must be willing to accept the possibility of error regardless of religious affiliation or leadership status. Each historical event or doctrinal declaration is evaluated separately with the possibility of LDS leaders being wrong or right. Failure to apply this principle will distort reality and fall short of truth. Unfortunately, a side effect of this approach is that the questioner discovers just how wrong his leaders can be. This can cause disaffection and if not approached carefully can lead to abandonment of the LDS faith (or any faith).

At the risk of sounding arrogant it is my contention that most LDS members do not allow themselves to develop “mature” testimonies, accepting all things given to them from their leaders without question. They are content to believe, in a way, that their leaders are infallible. Holding tight to Wilford Woodruff’s statement that the Prophet will never lead the Church astray, they find confidence in their leaders’ words. I propose that a Prophet can be wrong, not only on pedestrian matters, but also in spiritual matters.

This is a difficult leap for many LDS to take because it requires them to take upon themselves personal responsibility for what they believe. No longer can they stand before God and say, “The Prophet told me so”. Members that take that frightening first step begin to realize that its okay to question leaders. It is alright to be troubled by certain parts of our history. Prophets can sometimes make major mistakes that may steer the Church in a wrong direction for awhile, but eventually through cultural or divine pressure, it will return to its predestined course.

Critics rightly point out the inconsistencies in some LDS “doctrine” and history, all the while ignoring the short comings of their own religious conviction and sadly, sometimes the honesty of their critics. The easily convinced are swept away with this tide of accusations leveled against the Church, without considering the validity of the religious claims of the accuser. Are their claims to the divine any more valid based on the empirical evidence? The honest must conclude that while they may have strong justification for their beliefs (As LDS do) in the end they are no more rational than those of the LDS faith. One could simply dismiss them all, denying God in the process, or try to live true to what they personally believe. When confidence is placed in our own relationship with God our testimony “matures”. Like a child growing to adulthood we no longer rely on the words of others, but instead find our own footing, the path to that eternal being (i.e. God) that you can honestly hold to without reservation.

What does it mean to have a mature testimony to you? Which type of testimony is more faithful? Is it possible to have a strong conviction of the “one true Church” and be aware of LDS history?



  1. In a court of law, a testimony is a statement given under oath that testifies of a fact. You must have first hand knowledge in such a case or your testimony is merely considered hearsay.

    The LDS definition of a testimony falls into the hearsay category. No one has ever met JS but claim he was a true prophet. No one has likely met GBH or TSM yet claim he was/is a true prophet. They claim the BoM is true (how can they know this?).

    In my mind, there is no such thing as a mature testimony. It seems to me that any LDS testimony would be immature at best. I group my past “testimony” in that category.

  2. I was told many times by fellow church members/missionaries that I needed to get a testimony like it was something you could just pull off a shelf somewhere ?

    I was told that I won’t get one looking at the history or facts etc ….. yet they gave me the tag of ‘Investigator’ ?

    How else does one investigate but to see if what I was being told was actually true and in most cases it wasn’t ! Even when there was an element of truth, it was cleansed of any impurities which might help give me a more informed choice of whether to join or not.

    A few times my missionaries admitted they didn’t have a testimony when they first entered the mission but gained one several months in. The problem with that is , they will have been asked to bare testimony at the first ward they were assigned to or any new ward transferred to , months before they got one ?

    They simply must have LIED under pressure.

  3. I posted this response on a different thread, but felt it is more pertinent here. Last year Blake Ostler gave a presentation that really hit home for me and helped me understand how I process “testimony” in my life. It is titled Spiritual Experiences as the Basis for Belief and Commitment
    and is a really analytical assessment on how we do and should interpret spiritual experiences. I’ll quote a little of it here:

    Now let me be up-front about what I won’t do, because I can’t, and because it trivializes what I want to focus on. I will not give some argument or evidence to try to persuade you or anybody else that your spiritual experiences are valid and trustworthy. If I were to attempt to argue with you to prove that to you, I would only show and prove (quite conclusively) that I believe that in reality there is something more basic and trustworthy than spiritual experiences; that is, the arguments I would give you. If I were to argue in that way, I would show conclusively that I really don’t believe what I am about to tell you. Now in saying this I’m not stating that I won’t give reasons, or that I won’t do my best to reason with you. I am saying, however, that at bottom, these arguments are not what is most trustworthy and basic in Mormonism. What is most basic in Mormonism is the individual experience of the Spirit.
    Now, I will also argue that it is a mistake to take spiritual experiences as evidence for anyone but the person who has the experience. The fact that I’ve had an experience doesn’t mean that you have some reason to believe. It only means that to the extent that you find that I might have something useful to say, that maybe you could do it too. I will, in fact, suggest that to see these experiences as evidence for other people misunderstands the role they play in our lives. In fact, I will argue that that would be like, well in a sense, idolatry, or trying to commit adultery, as bad as that is. However, I will also suggest that these spiritual experiences are so powerful that they reorient everything in our lives, they become the bases through which we see.

  4. Kent I had difficulty understanding you .I will assume I’m not intellectually capable.

    You said

    “I will not give some argument or evidence to try to persuade you or anybody else that your spiritual experiences are valid and trustworthy.”

    Why would anyone need or want you to persuade them their spiritual experiences are valid ? They already know they are valid ! lol

    I believe my LDS members spiritual experiences , I just happen to believe that they are mistaking it for something else .

    I’ve heard many times ‘I know the church is true’ ( because the spirit testified to them ) yet a few years on they are on very embarrased and angry at being duped .

    I have heard testimonies from women of how great their husbands are and how they know without a shadow of a doubt how wonderful he is .But that is before ( for some ) they find out information leading them to know of his Adultery during all that time .They soon re-testify ! ( In the divorce courts usually ) .

  5. Kent’s quote didn’t make a bit of sense to me either.

  6. I’m sorry Elder Joseph, I was quoting Blake Ostler. You can follow the link to read the full context. Let me offer this quote as a better idea on the content of the presentation Blake gave:

    Now I ask again, can humans really know anything? Does the experience come from God, or do we merely interpret it to be experienced as coming from God? I’m going to deal with the strongest arguments that I know.

  7. Kent:
    The experience must be verifiable by the truth of God. God is the God of truth, his Spirit therefore is truth. Being of truth it can be verifiable. For instance God said he created the Universe (the means or the how is not the issue)the universe is here, so it was created (keep in mind this isn’t an argument on God vs. no God). God in his book, describes certain nations, Israel, Babylon, Hittites, Assyrians, etc. which have been verified to have been in existant (some where thought to be untrue until discoveries were made). Cities are mentioned, and found just like the Bible mentioned. Rulers were mentioned, wars were mentioned, and thus proven. As one could see its verifiable by history. Then you have prophecies which have come true, some we are still awaiting, but none have failed to pass yet. So as of now another truth, that can be relied upon. Apply that to the Book of Mormon, which is claimed to be verified by the Spirit. There are no historical or archaeological finds for the book, and in my readings, I came upon a prophecy that did not happen like it said it should. So then my question is kent, would the God who is truth, lead one astray to follow something that is not true, and gives a different light on what is in his already established source book?

  8. brooks,

    You are making a huge assumption here…that God exists.

    I have been told all my life that God exists and that God is a God of truth, etc.

    The truth is, that these are just stories that no one can prove (or disprove to be fair).

    Why should I believe something just because someone teaches me something that someone taught them…all the way back through recorded history?

  9. Bishop Rick:

    This is not a discussion on whether or not God exists. Kent and I both believe that God exist’s (I’m assuming since it appears Kent is a Mormon), therefore there is no reason to prove God does or does not exist.

  10. Brooks

    Then BR could have just said that you can then do to the Bible as you are to the B of M … no evidence of a global flood for one, or no other mention of Jesus in all the other Histories written in the time period except the Bible. The Stories in the Bible are far from verified and there is some pretty compelling evidence to the contrary.

  11. PS

    I do think the B of M is an easier target I will along with that.

  12. Coventryrm:

    Then you haven’t read histories written in that time period. Perhaps you should check out writings from Tacitus, Flavious Josephus, Thallas, The Babylonian Talmud to name a few.

  13. I know there is more lengthy debate and detail but here is the most consise response to the histories/hearsay you mention

    Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, lived as the earliest non-Christian who mentions a Jesus. Although many scholars think that Josephus’ short accounts of Jesus (in Antiquities) came from interpolations perpetrated by a later Church father (most likely, Eusebius), Josephus’ birth in 37 C.E., well after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus, puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Moreover, he wrote Antiquities in 93 C.E., after the first gospels got written! Therefore, even if his accounts about Jesus came from his hand, his information could only serve as hearsay.

    Tacitus, the Roman historian’s birth year at 64 C.E., puts him well after the alleged life of Jesus. He gives a brief mention of a “Christus” in his Annals (Book XV, Sec. 44), which he wrote around 109 C.E. He gives no source for his material. Although many have disputed the authenticity of Tacitus’ mention of Jesus, the very fact that his birth happened after the alleged Jesus and wrote the Annals during the formation of Christianity, shows that his writing can only provide us with hearsay accounts.

    Talmud: Amazingly some Christians use brief portions of the Talmud, (a collection of Jewish civil a religious law, including commentaries on the Torah), as evidence for Jesus. They claim that Yeshu (a common name in Jewish literature) in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Jesus, according to Gerald Massey actually depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus. [Massey] Regardless of how one interprets this, the Palestinian Talmud got written between the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion! At best it can only serve as a controversial Christian and pagan legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.

    In a lost work referred to by Julius Africanus in the third century, the pagan writer Thallus reportedly claimed that Jesus’s death was accompanied by an earthquake and darkness. However, the original text is in fact lost, and we can confirm neither the contents of the text or its date. It is possible that Thallus was merely repeating what was told to him by Christians, or that the passage which Africanus cites is a later interpolation. Outside of the New Testament, no other references to earthquakes or unusual darkness occur in the contemporary literature. This is very surprising, given the effect these sorts of events would presumably have had on the populace.

  14. coventryrm:

    You should look more into Josephus instead of dismissing him right away, your argument would not hold. A. there is no proof that Christians did that B. Lets suppose they did, theres still an Arabic copy that was uncovered in 1000AD that essentially says the same thing.

    Your Argument against Tacitus is flawed, in the fact that your implying no one can write an accurate history of an event that happened before the authors birth. Alexander the Great’s first biography was written 400yrs after his death, yet it remains fairly accurate. The fairy tales of Alexander did not appear till after his biography.

    With the Talmud, I’ve heard that argument before. However theres still no consenses on who is who. Gerald Massey says hes a disciple where I’ve read a different critic saying its a different guy then Ben-Perachia’s disciple. Peter Schafer put out a book called Jesus in the Talmud, giving his argument on why it is.

    It is possible, but he not only quoted, but cited a source that would have been in existance when he lived.

    Your argument mostly consists of too much time has passed (when in reality only a hundred years or so did, for the early outside sources). Where as the B of Mormon we have no early sources for, and the only original is the 1830 copy translated from Joseph Smith 1400years after the events. Which in its short existance has had multiple editions with over 4000 non grammarical errors made to it.

  15. Like I said the B of M is just an easier target. Apply the same skepticism to the Bible and you will still have plenty of issues as well.

    Sam Harris put it into perspective check out this 21 second sound bite

  16. Coventryrm:

    If the Bible is so flawed, as you imply, why believe it?

  17. I don’t

  18. Coventryrm:

    I gathered that when I looked at your sight after I made that comment. I was under the impression you were a Mormon.

  19. My point is this; statistically it seems that most Mormons that leave the faith end up either being agnostic or atheist.

    I do not understand the point of someone who believes in Christ trying to get another Christian to switch congregations or to believe in another version of the same myth. To say Mormons are not Christian is just splitting hairs but regardless of what you think of Mormonism it is still Christianity. I have yet to meet a Faithful Mormon that does not have a deep rooted faith and love of Christ.

    Having said that I go back to the rationale behind why so many that leave Mormonism do not join another Christian Church or do but then slowly turn agnostic or Atheist. Once they learn to question and search and think with logic and common sense they will then apply that to ALL religious dogma and history.

    I know many LDS that have questioned and then looked at the whole picture and stay with the Church because they come to the conclusion that to believe in Christianity they have to accept and have faith in unsubstantiated claims as a Christian anyway, if you can believe that Christ was resurrected and rose from the dead, then you can certainly believe that God visited Joseph Smith. The majority however starts applying the same criteria used to debunk their LDS faith in their new search to redefine themselves and their options for a religious community and or a belief and value system and that path seems to take them away from Christian dogma and move them to other forms of enlightenment.

  20. I haven’t physically left the LDS church, but I have spiritually, and I tend to agree with coventryrm on his assessment. I wouldn’t call myself an athiest or agnostic at heart, but at best I am deist. I for sure do not believe in a personal God, and my progression was pretty much how crm described it. In fact, all the exmormon or damus that I know could be described in like manner.

  21. BR I think I remember you had wife and kids attending LDS church ?
    If so , How do you feel about your kids especially being taught to sing to ‘Follow The Prophet’ , ‘Hope They call me on A Mission’ and ‘Praise to the Man who communed with Jehovah’ and later on the many twisted and irrelevant talks given by GA’s and Apostles designed foremostly to keep people in the LDS church rather than educate them and dependant on it and them as Leaders guided by God .

  22. Jay,

    Having a mature testimony means to me something different than the discussion that has been had here. It means to me recognizing that the church (and possibly the doctrine) isn’t perfect. It also means that I don’t have to accept others honest attempts and mistakes (as well as their dishonest ones). Since I’m not married, it means I really only have to worry about my own attempts and mistakes.

    To some degree, I think Churchill’s comment about government can be applied to religion as well. I believe he said, “It [Democracy] is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

    Now, I’m not trying to say I hate the church, and that it is horrible. I’m trying to say, as I believe Mr. Churchill was saying regarding government, that the church makes all kinds of mistakes, but it does a lot of things right, too.

    So I have given up expecting myself or the church or the history to be perfect. I have given up wanting the whole world to be Mormon (which I think was never truly Jesus or Joseph Smith’s intent). It has made Sunday more complicated, but it helps bring a little peace into my life.

    That doesn’t seem to coherent. Probably because I’m still trying to figure it out myself.

  23. Peetie,

    That does make sense. I’ve had very similar thoughts myself. I don’t hate the Church either. Some aspects of it frustrate me, but taken as a whole I like the Church. I don’t worry so much about sharing the gospel with everyone I see. Maybe the Church is the best we can expect when it is run by men, even if God is directing it.

  24. Jay

    You said

    “Maybe the Church is the best we can expect when it is run by men, even if God is directing it.”

    Maybe God isn’t directing it , hence the great errors/injustices/abuses which would have continued if the Law had not stepped in (Polygamy) for one and then outside social pressures for the 150 years teaching on blacks being cursed for less valiancy etc

    To attribute this to as being under Gods direction is too risky ( for my conscience at least ).

    You also said

    ” I don’t worry so much about sharing the gospel with everyone I see ”

    Well thats ok if they don’t come back to you with hard questions on doctrine and history 🙂

  25. EJ,
    If you are trying to convince people that Mormonism is wrong at least give a viable alternative that doesn’t share its same faults of errors, injustices and abuses. I say there is no such church. Every church has been influenced by the society that surrounds it for better or for worse.

    Let’s not exaggerate EJ, I wasn’t quite 150 years. A small slip I agree but we must keep the facts straight for those that don’t know. Early 1840’s the ban began and continued until 1978. That would be about 130-140 years.

    I love discussing the history and “hard questions”. I’m talking about the missionary discussion type sharing. I will if someone wants to have that conversation but I don’t stress about seeking it out anymore.

  26. Jay

    I would agree with long established Religions most westerners are familiar with, especially if you group Christianity together as one outside of Mormonism.

    I would submit to you however that there are forms of enlightenment that do not share the sordid past of Christianity. Furthermore if a New Christian based Church formed and the pastor is isn’t claiming anything other than theological knowledge is that specific congregation considered sharing the sordid past just by Christian association? If not then there are plenty of Christian Churches out there plenty one could associate with, without all the bad baggage.

    Why does the alternative have to be found in an “Organized” church? I would agree if you are looking for or need an organization (Church) then quite possibly the LDS is just the SAME as any other choice. Then it seems it would make sense to belong to a Christian church that is at least is honest in its claim – None other than the Mormons claim to actually be “Gods” one true church. That is what comes into question and nothing else. Spirituality and enlightenment does not have to come at such a cost of living such contradictions can you truly find that inner peace when you are trying to make your version of Mormonism fit, listening to the comments posted by the LDS that have all come up with their way of dealing with something that is just not making sense anymore is a kin to trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole, not only is this self defeating and frustrating it just doesn’t work.

  27. I would submit to you however that there are forms of enlightenment that do not share the sordid past of Christianity.

    My comment focuses mainly on Christianity because that is my belief system. I understand that “New” Christian Churches would not have the baggage, but I submit that given time (say 150 years) they will. It’s easy to be squeaky clean for a while but it never lasts.

    None other than the Mormons claim to actually be “Gods” one true church.

    Catholics do. Look up the Pope’s recent comments (or read my post about it). And although they don’t claim to be the “one true” church, they all think that the others have it wrong in some way. Thus we see Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, etc.

  28. Jay

    You said

    “If you are trying to convince people that Mormonism is wrong at least give a viable alternative that doesn’t share its same faults of errors, injustices and abuses.”

    I don’t need to give an alternative to convince people Mormonism is ‘wrong’ or at least ‘not what it is claiming to be’ .

    Thats exactly how the JW’s respond when I’ve exposed their hidden history and outright lying.

    There are many people unfairly trapped in the LDS church due to lack of accurate information on matters .Thats the unfair part.When they find out ,some members try to give superficial if not outright bogus answers and responses to them.I experienced it myself.

    Mormonism has claimed it is the ONLY TRUE church on the face of the earth RESTORED ,when the facts show that it is no different from any other church .A more accurate claim should be we are ‘Yet another bogus outfit claiming to be the only true church’.

    And the implications of this are tragic as I believe the whole Polygamy thing to be simply at best a delusive man made error of the most despicable manner.

    Its ironic that the two most zeleous door to door missionary churches turn out not to be what they each claim.

    you said

    “I say there is no such church. Every church has been influenced by the society that surrounds it for better or for worse.”

    I agree with you 🙂 as far as my knowledge goes as I haven’t studied religions too deeply outside of Christianity . Maybe Buhddists would be able to challenge us both ?

    I say there is no such church. Every church has been influenced by the society that surrounds it for better or for worse.

  29. …some members try to give superficial if not outright bogus answers and responses to them.

    You don’t have to convince me of that. I think when people have sincere questions they should be given accurate answers, not rumors or opinions.

  30. Your last questions:

    What does it mean to have a mature testimony to you? Which type of testimony is more faithful? Is it possible to have a strong conviction of the “one true Church” and be aware of LDS history?

    My answers (and they really are *my* answers; others will have different ones):

    1) A mature testimony is an individual faith based on a theology that you have built yourself. –However, the word “testimony” as used in mainline fundamental Christianity (from which I can speak with experience, as an ex-fundamentalist Christian–I cannot and do not pretend to speak from a Mormon or ex-Mormon perspective) implies that you are “witnessing” in an attempt to proselytize. And I believe the evangel is something you DO, not something you SAY. So, I suppose for myself, a truly mature testimony relies not on words or sacred texts or dogma, but on the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, generosity, mercy, etc. Although Jesus talked a lot about Scripture, most of what He taught us lay in the way He acted, and the “new” teachings he promoted. (“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And perhaps equally important to this discussion: “The kingdom of God is within YOU.”–emphasis mine, of course.)

    2) “Which type of testimony is more faithful?” depends on what exactly is being testified to or about. If your goal is blind obedience because that’s what you believe faith is about, then adhering to church doctrine, beliefs, practices, and versions of history with little or no regard to contrary evidence is more faithful (“God said it; I believe it; that’s good enough for me.”) If your goal is to find a path of acceptance, tolerance, inclusiveness, love, mercy, and the joy of freely exercising your God-given powers of intellect, then blind obedience is decidedly unfaithful.

    3) For myself, the answer is No. For other people, the answer may vary. I DO believe that a person can find satisfying and joyful spiritual community within the confines of a religious institution with whom they do not agree on all points (including the LDS church), but I do NOT believe that any testimony of any spiritual path that hinges upon the phrase “one true church” promotes the growth of individual spirituality, human understanding, tolerance, peace, freedom, and justice for all, Amen.

    These are my *own* answers. I accept that there are other paths for other people. My responsibility is to walk my own path with love, not to force others to my will.

  31. Jay

    “…some members try to give superficial if not outright bogus answers and responses to them.

    You don’t have to convince me of that. I think when people have sincere questions they should be given accurate answers, not rumors or opinions.”

    Thank you for that .

    When I first started with the church I asked about Polygamy as I heard a little about it .

    The first few responses I recall was ‘Oh thats all in the past ‘ and ‘We don’t understand it , Abraham did it too’? and also ‘It was only to look after widows’,or Just pray about it etc etc

    Had I known that the church really believes that
    1 Its the order of Heaven .
    2 Its being practiced in the Temple spiritually in preparation( Mormon widowed men sealing a second or more earthly wife in marriage).
    3 That it had little or nothing to do with widows.
    4 That The lds leaders were marrying 16,17,18,19 year olds and even younger and similar when they were old enough to be their grandfathers and great grandfathers .
    5 That the girls were called with no choice after being conditioned and threatened with eternal damnation if they disobey.
    6 That the church believes it will be restored.
    7 That it was the weight of THE LAW which ended its literal practice.

    Then I would not have spent all that time I did investigating.I was being given answers and excuses designed to mislead and deceive me and done purposely by some members ,( milk before meat.)

    I could have spent more time with family who missed me while I was away in various church meetings,helping hands,socials,Firesides and sunday morning epics of 4 hours in total most times.

    This is what the church needs to come clean with .Just tell the real truth of things and let people decide if they can relate and accept it or not.
    A church claiming to be the only true restored church shouldn’t have anything to be embarrased or afraid about.

    Instead the church is effectively processing and manipulating peoples brains and thinking abilities by withholding and fudging information for its own selfish aim of simply getting a convert.
    This is why there are lots angry ex members and inactives.Some have given a whole lifetime of service too.

    If the church continues this , it will also have to continue hoping that Investigators not yet ‘conditioned’ or even seasoned church members will not see or learn the real version of things.

    Its a very serious thing to do this to people and with the ultimate goal of having them pay 10% and more to the Corporation for the rest of their lives or never be with their families after death ?

    I thought the ‘non tithe payers will be burned’ was a serious threat until I heard someone say they make sure they pay Tithe so they won’t be split from their families !

    I don’t have or want a testimony of these things.

  32. EJ,

    I can sympathize with your frustration. I think things are changing. As with most large organizations, it is painfully slow. Being open about our past is the best policy. I believe people will understand that mistakes can be made (even by the LDS Church), what’s important is that they learn from them and improve.

  33. No prophet of the church of Jesus christ can lead the saints astray.first of all it is the church of Jesus christ so he is the head and none can take his place or go against his will withot consequences.when moses failed to recognize the hands of God in providing water for his people ,by so doing indirectly glorifying on his strength,he was highly reproved and we all know the consequence of that only mistake.But as a member of the church I do not feel that I do all i am asked to do automatically.I recieve a personal convicton that what i am asked to do is benefic. I obey because I have disobeyed and I know that it is preferable to obey.
    Going against a commandment or counsel doesn’t prove one wiser but obeying by faith does.One thing that members of the church of Jesus christ have is the gift of revelation.A gift that enables us to receive personal answers to our if a prophet decides to lead God’s poeple astray, God would find a way to alert his poeple.our God is not a God of confusion nor contention and so is his church . A mature testimony comes from personal experiences and obedience.your testimony grows as you come to understand the plan of God in your life.when your relationship with the divinity is plain and sure then you know that your testimony is becoming mature.

  34. No prophet of the church of Jesus christ can lead the saints astray.

    I would challenge you on that statement. Brigham Young taught false doctrine and in many ways led the Church astray. It took us over 100 years to recover from his “policy” of denying blacks the priesthood. He misspoke on many occasions, many subjects and has caused many problems for the Church that continue to this day.

    Going against a commandment or counsel doesn’t prove one wiser but obeying by faith does.

    Blind obedience is not a good thing. I don’t believe that in general people pray about what the LDS prophet says. Most just follow out of faith, hoping that they have been taught truth. Many times that counsel has conflicted with scripture but this has been ignored because of the undo emphasis we place on “following the prophet”. I don’t mean to say that the LDS prophet is evil and doesn’t receive revelation from God, I’m merely saying that not all of his counsel is divinely inspired, as many members believe. It is our responsibility to determine what is of God and what is of man. I believe the history of the Church demonstrates what I am saying.

    our God is not a God of confusion nor contention and so is his church .

    True God is not contentious and does not create confusion, but man does. LDS prophets are not above mingling the philosophies of men with scripture. We have quite a long history of doing just that. Perhaps LDS prophets are divinely inspired, but God’s words and wishes still come through the filter of man. Occasionally, I believe, his wishes are distorted by the biases and thoughts of the prophets.

    A mature testimony comes from personal experiences and obedience.

    Agreed. As long as that obedience is based on what you know to be true and not just on what someone else tells you is true.

  35. Comfort,

    I admire your faith and your courage as an apologist. But your arguments are tautological. Your logic exists in a closed structure in which all arguments depend upon each other.

    Moreover, “It is the church of Jesus Christ” is a statement that has been uttered with absolute conviction by just about every single Christian denomination out there. Many a Catholic or Baptist or Episcopalian or Pentecostal has based their wildly different viewpoints of faith on the very same burning in the bosom that true believing Mormons feel. When these “truths” are wildly at odds with each other, who is right? I am not saying that you are not correct for yourself, but your argument does not give any space for discussion or a different point of view, or a different testimony, for that matter.

    I believe in God. But when it boils down to the nitty gritty, I have no proof. I just have a conviction (a testimony, if you will) based upon my experience in life, and also upon my hopes. And because I have no proof except my own burning bosom, I allow room in my belief system for the possibility that the Holy Spirit might speak to other people in different languages (read “religions”) than the one in which He talks to me.


  36. P.S. the snarky little “wink” face in the previous post is something that I didn’t do on purpose. Not sure what I did; some combination of keystrokes, and voila, a snide little happy-face appears! My apologies; it was unintentional. I’m not snarky. I’m lots of things, but not snarky.

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