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 Post subject: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 10:57 am 
God
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Hello good people! :smile:

Let's talk testimony, shall we?

From my time invested in and around this fascinating thing called Mormonism, I have heard and read a ton about a testimony.

Gaining a testimony.
Retaining a testimony.
Sharing a testimony.
Listening to a testimony.
Loosing a testimony.
Strengthening a testimony.
Building a testimony.
Protecting a testimony.
Etc.

How does this all work?
How would you describe a testimony?
How does it manifest?
How does it begin?
How does/can it end?

If you are willing to share your personal experience/perspective with me/us, please do so by typing something then hit the submit button. :smile:

Thanks in advance and peace,
Ceeboo


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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 12:18 pm 
God
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Easy-peasy.

Not my personal experience!

My perspective:
This Ensign article tells you, in effect, to fake it until you make it - if you say often enough and earnestly enough that you have a testimony of the "truthfulness" of X, then voila, you end up convincing yourself that you do. </cynicism>

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 12:34 pm 
God
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Testimonies are cash flow generative.
They can be about anything.
They are self supporting.
They make you cry.
They feel a bit like heart burn, or when you've smoked great weed.
They are easily confused with confirmation bias.
If you haven't got one you are the odd one out.
They are only testimonies if they confirm the Church is true.
They can negate any and all facts.

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 2:59 pm 
God
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My conversion story

I link my conversion story to the experience I had when first reading the Book of Mormon at the age of 18. This was back in 1978.

I had already joined the LDS Church in June of 1978, in the midst of a number of intense spiritual experiences, but had not read the Book of Mormon through prior to my baptism.

Later in the year, my friend (who was instrumental in my conversion) began talking about his getting a patriarchal blessing. As he described to me what a patriarchal blessing was, I began to want to have one, too.

I went to my bishop and asked about it. He asked me if I could name for him the four standard works.

I thought that would be no problem, and enthusiastically began with the Old Testament, and the New Testament, counting them separately. It wasn’t long before I had tripped myself up and stopped in mid-sentence with a look of consternation.

My bishop smiled and asked if I had read the Book of Mormon. I told him no, and he suggested that I do so and after I was done, to come back to him and we would talk some more about my getting a patriarchal blessing.

I am thankful to my bishop for that suggestion, because that marked the beginning of the most extraordinary spiritual adventure of my life.

I was working at the time, and going to classes in the evening, but I made a point of coming home from class, getting ready for bed and then retiring to read for about an hour a night from the Book of Mormon.

Every night, before reading, I would get down on my knees by my bedside and ask God in the name of Jesus Christ to let me know if the Book of Mormon was true.

Additionally, one of the missionaries who had taught me the discussions had told me that it was a good idea to keep in the back of my mind while reading the Book of Mormon the question of whether any man could have written this book; so I did that, as well.

It took me several months to read the Book of Mormon through, and each and every time I read I had the same experience, which I would describe as the Holy Ghost descending on me in great power and testifying to me that every word was the Word of God.

It was not a “burning in the bosom” as many Mormons describe. It was rather the feeling of pure intelligence flowing into me. While reading, I felt as though the walls of my mind were taken away and I could see out to eternity in all directions.

This experience did not happen once or twice, but each and every time I read from the Book of Mormon; from the time I would open it up to the time I would close it at the end of reading.

When I had finished the Book of Mormon, I couldn’t remember a lot about specific events, and I couldn’t have given you names of many people or places, but one thing I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt—that every word of that book was inspired of God.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 2:59 pm 
God
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Ceeboo wrote:
Hello good people! :smile:

Let's talk testimony, shall we?

From my time invested in and around this fascinating thing called Mormonism, I have heard and read a ton about a testimony.

Gaining a testimony.
Retaining a testimony.
Sharing a testimony.
Listening to a testimony.
Loosing a testimony.
Strengthening a testimony.
Building a testimony.
Protecting a testimony.
Etc.

How does this all work?
How would you describe a testimony?
How does it manifest?
How does it begin?
How does/can it end?

If you are willing to share your personal experience/perspective with me/us, please do so by typing something then hit the submit button. :smile:

Thanks in advance and peace,
Ceeboo


Testimony bearing takes up a lot of a Mormon's time. I found those times terrifying because I didn't believe and dreaded the "lets go around the room and bear our testimonies to each other". One was at girl's camp, all of us sitting around the campfire. I was so scared when it got to be all eyes on me, that I just blurted out the standard, I know this church is true, etc., all the while crying, not because I was "full of the spirit", but because I was scared ****less. My mother, being one of the sisters at camp, otherwise, I would have said, "I pass", but didn't dare with her there. I was scared to death people would see through my faked testimony, but they can't. Just say the right words and "all is well".

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Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction -Pope Benedict XVI


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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 3:35 pm 
God
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Location: Bancroft Branch, Oshawa Stake, ON, Canada
madeleine wrote:
Ceeboo wrote:
Hello good people! :smile:

Let's talk testimony, shall we?

From my time invested in and around this fascinating thing called Mormonism, I have heard and read a ton about a testimony.

Gaining a testimony.
Retaining a testimony.
Sharing a testimony.
Listening to a testimony.
Loosing a testimony.
Strengthening a testimony.
Building a testimony.
Protecting a testimony.
Etc.

How does this all work?
How would you describe a testimony?
How does it manifest?
How does it begin?
How does/can it end?

If you are willing to share your personal experience/perspective with me/us, please do so by typing something then hit the submit button. :smile:

Thanks in advance and peace,
Ceeboo


Testimony bearing takes up a lot of a Mormon's time. I found those times terrifying because I didn't believe and dreaded the "lets go around the room and bear our testimonies to each other". One was at girl's camp, all of us sitting around the campfire. I was so scared when it got to be all eyes on me, that I just blurted out the standard, I know this church is true, etc., all the while crying, not because I was "full of the spirit", but because I was scared ****less. My mother, being one of the sisters at camp, otherwise, I would have said, "I pass", but didn't dare with her there. I was scared to death people would see through my faked testimony, but they can't. Just say the right words and "all is well".

I wonder how many of the people we hear bearing testimony in the church are doing so for reasons other than having a testimony - especially since, as you point out so nicely, those listening tend to accept whatever is said, and however it's said, as being OK.

I wonder how many of the people listening to the testimonies are saying to themselves "I wish I had a strong testimony like that brother/sister" without realizing that the person they are listening to has nothing that the listeners don't have except perhaps a willingness to follow the advice of BKP to fake it.

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IRL: Malcolm McLean
Bancroft Branch, Oshawa Stake, ON, Canada


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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 4:36 pm 
Dark Lord of the Sith
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Ceeboo wrote:
How does this all work?
How would you describe a testimony?
How does it manifest?
How does it begin?
How does/can it end?


Bellyfeel

The word bellyfeel means a blind, enthusiastic acceptance of an idea.
The word likely comes from the idea that any good Oceanian should be able to internalise Party doctrine to the extent that it becomes a gut instinct – a feeling in the belly.

"Consider, for example, such a typical sentence from a Times leading article as "Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Ingsoc." The shortest rendering one could make of this in Oldspeak would be: "Those whose ideas were formed before the Revolution cannot have a full emotional understanding of the principles of English Socialism." But this is not an adequate translation. ... Only a person thoroughly grounded in Ingsoc could appreciate the full force of the word bellyfeel, which implied a blind, enthusiastic, and casual acceptance difficult to imagine today.”
—Orwell, 1984 Appendix

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 5:21 pm 
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I'm not into the whole testimony thing. I don't see the use in it.

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 5:41 pm 
God
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Thanks to all for the responses. :smile:

Please know that I have read each one, carefully and that I continue to ponder them.

My dear friend, Consig - Thank you for sharing your contribution.
I really appreciate and have long admired your willingness to share yourself and your personal experiences with your internet friends here at the fabulous MDB!

Peace,
Ceeboo


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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 7:55 pm 
the very elect
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Mormon kids grow up seeing the praise that others get for expressing complete belief in the religion foisted upon them.

Soon many grow to desire this same praise and begin searching for confirmations of the trademarked biases; The Book of Mormon is true, Joe was a true prophet, Gordon B and Tommy talk to god, the church is true, et al., ad nauseam to the point of being accepted into the believers close circle.

A testimony is nothing more than how the unwitting describe what is simply a self induced emotional epiphany which is gained due to enough experiences of confirmation bias.

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 6:16 am 
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I call F & T Sundays "crying day". It's the Mormons' tiny little bit of charismatic/pentecostalish experience that's afforded in church. Is it inspiration? Stress from cognitive dissonance? Learned behavior? Yeah, sure. But the real intense emotions are reserved for BYU sporting events. :lol:

"Testimony" reminds me of the evangelicals' "witness". It's an emotional assertion that is supposed to have significance outside of subjective experience. Unfortunately, emotion is only evidence of emotion.


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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 6:44 am 
God
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consiglieri wrote:
My conversion story

I link my conversion story to the experience I had when first reading the Book of Mormon at the age of 18. This was back in 1978.

..........<snip>..........

When I had finished the Book of Mormon, I couldn’t remember a lot about specific events, and I couldn’t have given you names of many people or places, but one thing I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt—that every word of that book was inspired of God.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Consiglieri, thanks for sharing your experience with us; this was beautiful.

In my own personal experience, as a teenager I would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Each time I prayed about it I felt good, and thought that maybe that was the Holy Spirit telling me that the book was true, but it was nothing phenomenal or earth-shaking. Also, each time I realized that I had really wanted the book to be true, to be divinely inspired, so I knew that deep down I couldn't count on God answering my question, because I realized that God wouldn't answer my question until I really, honestly, got to the point where I was ready to receive either a yes or a no answer.

Autumn 1976 it hit me that maybe what I needed to do was ask God a question in a hurry, without giving myself time to decide I wanted either a yes or a no answer. No sooner did I think of that idea than I acted on it, and blurted out, in my mind, "Is it true?" By it I wasn't referring to the Book of Mormon; I was referring to the whole LDS Church. I was immediately overwhelmed by an intense feeling that I really don't know how to describe; sometimes I've called it a shivering sensation that overcame my entire body. I felt compelled to conclude that this was God telling me the LDS Church was true. And this is the reason I am an active Latter-day Saint today.

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 8:46 am 
God
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malkie wrote:
madeleine wrote:
Testimony bearing takes up a lot of a Mormon's time. I found those times terrifying because I didn't believe and dreaded the "lets go around the room and bear our testimonies to each other". One was at girl's camp, all of us sitting around the campfire. I was so scared when it got to be all eyes on me, that I just blurted out the standard, I know this church is true, etc., all the while crying, not because I was "full of the spirit", but because I was scared ****less. My mother, being one of the sisters at camp, otherwise, I would have said, "I pass", but didn't dare with her there. I was scared to death people would see through my faked testimony, but they can't. Just say the right words and "all is well".

I wonder how many of the people we hear bearing testimony in the church are doing so for reasons other than having a testimony - especially since, as you point out so nicely, those listening tend to accept whatever is said, and however it's said, as being OK.

I wonder how many of the people listening to the testimonies are saying to themselves "I wish I had a strong testimony like that brother/sister" without realizing that the person they are listening to has nothing that the listeners don't have except perhaps a willingness to follow the advice of BKP to fake it.


I didn't believe faking it was a good thing. I believed people said what they believed. Most of the time what people said wasn't substantial. "I know the church is true". I guess it was said so many times that it became meaningless, at least for me. In LDS culture, other's testimonies are supposed to have an effect on you. That's why they are always bearing their testimonies. Reinforcing belief in yourself and others. I could find no reason to believe, lots of reasons to not believe, and could not find any reason at all to say "I know". But the pressure in LDS culture is unbelievable to say, "I KNOW", even when you don't. Especially I think for youth. It got to the point where I avoided any LDS gathering where people were bearing their testimonies. It still gives me the all-overs, to this day.

The Creed in Catholicism is similar, though, since it is a list of doctrinal beliefs, I approached it in the way that I asked myself do I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, etc.? I can honestly answer 'yes' to belief of everything in the Creed. Though I'm sure there are people who say it for the sake of saying it.

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 8:48 am 
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Maksutov wrote:
I call F & T Sundays "crying day". It's the Mormons' tiny little bit of charismatic/pentecostalish experience that's afforded in church. Is it inspiration? Stress from cognitive dissonance? Learned behavior? Yeah, sure. But the real intense emotions are reserved for BYU sporting events. :lol:

"Testimony" reminds me of the evangelicals' "witness". It's an emotional assertion that is supposed to have significance outside of subjective experience. Unfortunately, emotion is only evidence of emotion.


A friend of mine, who has always been Catholic, accepted an invitation to attend RS with a LDS friend of hers. She said it was weird how the "sisters" were always crying. After a few times of attending RS, her friend started to ask her why she never cried! My friend has a funny sense of humor and found the entire experience to be amusing.

Crying is a learned behavior, peculiar to LDS, and I agree it resembles some charismatic movements.

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Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction -Pope Benedict XVI


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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 10:21 am 
God
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My thanks for the recent thread contributions as well! :smile:

So, what about those who once had a testimony (perhaps a rather strong one at one point) and now find that it is much weaker, or diminishing with each passing day, or completely gone.

How does that all play out?

Is it gradual process?
Is it a sudden event?

Or does it (like many other things in life) run the full spectrum and often depends on the individual, personal circumstances and/or outside influences.... etc?

Peace,
Ceeboo


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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 10:43 am 
God
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Ceeboo wrote:
Or does it (like many other things in life) run the full spectrum and often depends on the individual, personal circumstances and/or outside influences.... etc?

Peace,
Ceeboo


Yes, that's pretty much how it works. Testimony is supposed to be knowledge based on spiritual confirmation, but in practice, it has more to do with commitment and devotion, which vary in every life.

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 Post subject: Re: LDS Testimony!
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 12:43 pm 
God
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Hey Bob! :smile:

Bob Loblaw wrote:

Yes, that's pretty much how it works. Testimony is supposed to be knowledge based on spiritual confirmation, but in practice, it has more to do with commitment and devotion, which vary in every life.


Interesting!

I'd like to digest this a while.


Thanks for the reply!

Peace,
Ceeboo


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