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Fast and testimony meeting provides a snapshot of an LDS ward’s diversity
Ogden Standard-Examiner ^ | Sept. 23, 2010 | Doug Gibson

Posted on 10/09/2010 7:53:37 PM PDT by Colofornian

Anyone who says Mormons are all the same obviously hasn’t attended a ward fast and testimony meeting. For the uninitiated, a F&T meeting is the main church gathering on the first Sunday of the month. Since many of the attendees are finishing a 24-hour monthly fast during the meeting, if you listen closely during intervals of silence, you can hear stomachs chattering in protest.

After the amenities, the final 40 minutes or so are devoted to members coming to the podium — or standing and being given mics by teenage males situated in the front for that purpose — and bearing their testimonies as to the truth of the LDS Church, Jesus Christ’s divinity, the Gospel, The Book of Mormon, the Bible, Joseph Smith, Thomas S. Monson, the importance of the family … and so on. The first speaker is always the Bishop or one of his ward counselors. They speak for a few minutes, and generally are like “rabbits” in a foot race who are expected to get things going at a fast pace and provide momentum for another to pass them and keep things going.

This doesn’t always work. I have sometimes sat in a F&T meeting where minutes and minutes pass by before someone gets up and bears their testimony. An unspoken tension builds during these intervals. Ward members keep their eyes directed to the floor or thumb through scriptures with great interest. The Bishopric paste smiles on their faces that don’t reach the eyes. When someone finally gets up and walks slowly to the podium, there are no audible sighs of relief but five pounds of pressure leaves the air.

Decades ago, a bishop in my ward delivered a speech on the “proper testimony.” It didn’t occur to me at the time how ridiculous it was to set rules for what is defined to be a spontaneous outpouring of the spirit so for a long time most of my testimonies were rote recitations of the veracity of The Book of Mormon, the LDS Church, the living prophet with references to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

I hope people don’t think I’m mocking the F&T meeting, because nothing could be more wrong. In fact, for the past several years I’ve come to regard it as the most creative and individualistic part of church-going. This once-monthly ritual provides a snapshot of a ward’s diversity that remains hidden through most of the other Sunday activities. Most members — and I’m among this group — bear only one or two testimonies a year. We also reserve testimonies for events such as baby blessings, baptism confirmations, or church callings. It’s not uncommon for a spouse to mock-grudgingly rise and bear his or her testimony after the spouse has borne theirs.

The most interesting ward members are the regulars, those who never miss a chance to speak at a testimony meeting. There are several species, and all provide the most interest to the careful F&T observer:

The ward elder: This is a senior citizen — at least 70 years old, and mostly, but not always, male — Often he or she is the first one to the podium after the “rabbit.” The are two types — the serene, smiling ward elder, who will mention how wonderful the children are, and the stern, intense ward elder, who includes an intense confirmation or repudiation of a belief.

The challenged: These are sometimes first up, but they generally lack the speed of the ward elder. These are mentally challenged adults. Their testimonies are something they look forward to all month and if one takes the time to listen to them, the simplicity, wandering ideas and rambling, mixed with a conscious effort to muster a determined belief in the Gospel, Thomas Monson, and Joseph Smith, are quite poignant. I listen carefully to these members, and sometimes wonder why I can’t muster that consistent belief.

The children: Between the ages of 8 and mid-teens, there are enthusiastic kids with rambling testimonies who enjoy the attention and approval from their parents and other adults. One characteristic of these kids is their attempt to begin the testimony with anecdotes. No doubt they have learned that from careful listening to other testimonies.

The toddler: Sometimes accompanied by a parent, these wee ward kids — 7 and below — usually utter a few sentences and sit down. They are unbelievably cute and often described as such by the next testimony bearer.

The weeper: When I was a youngster, there were certain members — 99 percent female — who were reduced to tears every time they approached the podium. On F&T day, some of us used to wager a dime on whether Sister So and So …would start bawling within 10 seconds. I often wondered, within the tears, if the Sister ever wondered why some boys were counting their fingers as she began talking.

The survivor: This is my favorite testimony bearer to listen to. Not always active, they are people who have endured much, whether poverty, illness, personal abuse or other dysfunctions, yet they still maintain a survivor’s strength and belief in Christ’s love and the Gospel. There’s no bitterness, only steely resolve, and I often wonder why we don’t have more of these folks as assigned speakers in other meetings.

The visitor: This is somebody’s dad or mom from out of town. They are usually more prevalent when grandkids are blessed or confirmed. Their sole purpose for being at the podium is to revel in the day and let you know they are here.

The nut: This is a rare occurrence at a F&T meeting, to be honest, and we usually never see this person bearing their testimony again. The last nut in our ward who bore his testimony was several years ago. He told us that he could see our thoughts, and grieved for inner anguish we were all suffering. He also bawled. Soon after he left his wife, shaved his head and became a Buddhist.

Depending on the success of the F&T meeting, there is either relief when a member of the bishopric stands to end the testimonies, or disappointment that the spontaneity is over.

I’m usually disappointed; both that it’s over for the month, and that I am too hung up and intimidated to join in the displays of personality.


TOPICS: Other Christian; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: inman; lds; mormon; testimony
From the column: ...the final 40 minutes or so are devoted to members coming to the podium — or standing and being given mics by teenage males situated in the front for that purpose — and bearing their testimonies as to the truth of the LDS Church, Jesus Christ’s divinity, the Gospel, The Book of Mormon, the Bible, Joseph Smith, Thomas S. Monson, the importance of the family … and so on.

("Nice" to see, Jesus has to compete with Joseph Smith and Thomas Monson)

From the column: This doesn’t always work. I have sometimes sat in a F&T meeting where minutes and minutes pass by before someone gets up and bears their testimony. An unspoken tension builds during these intervals. Ward members keep their eyes directed to the floor or thumb through scriptures with great interest. The Bishopric paste smiles on their faces that don’t reach the eyes. When someone finally gets up and walks slowly to the podium, there are no audible sighs of relief but five pounds of pressure leaves the air.

All: These are tense places to be. Not fun. (You don't want to be here)

From the column: Decades ago, a bishop in my ward delivered a speech on the “proper testimony.” It didn’t occur to me at the time how ridiculous it was to set rules for what is defined to be a spontaneous outpouring of the spirit so for a long time most of my testimonies were rote recitations of the veracity of The Book of Mormon, the LDS Church, the living prophet with references to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

Yup. The Mormon church is just one big "testimony" wrapped around its various "prophets" and their distinctive BoM. (And how "nice" it is that "proper" testimonies have been drilled into their heads, brainwash-wise...wouldn't want the Spirit to quench anything and gush forth something "improper")

From the column: ...mixed with a conscious effort to muster a determined belief in the Gospel, Thomas Monson, and Joseph Smith, are quite poignant.

Even the challenged among them, to whom the columnist is referencing here, have learned by rote from others that their "beliefs" center around their "prophets" like Monson & Smith, ones who continually usurp the focus of Jesus/God.

1 posted on 10/09/2010 7:53:41 PM PDT by Colofornian
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To: Colofornian

“and bearing their testimonies as to the truth of the LDS
Church, Jesus Christ’s divinity, the Gospel, The Book of
Mormon, the Bible, Joseph Smith...”

I’m going to step forward, quietly, and testify that the
LDS Church is really a collection of every heresy condemned
by the Christian Church over the past 2,000 years. It is a
henotheistic religion (believes in thousands, millions,
billions or trillions of gods, but claims to worship the 4
mormon earth gods).

The mormon gospel is the opposite of Christ’s Gospel of
Grace. Following the mormon path to becoming a god
guarantees you will not follow the Gospel of Grace.

Jesus is God, has always been God and is neither created
nor made - unlike the mormon jesus, who is a created spirit
being.

Finally, a brief testimony of the mormonic verses and the
purported author, Joseph Smith...

The mormonic verses are a demonic manifestation that
perverts everything about Christianity. Joseph Smith, con
man, horndog and vile person is not only not a prophet, he
is as far from a Biblical prophet as can be.

This is my true testimony. Thank you.

ampu


2 posted on 10/09/2010 8:03:25 PM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
I’m going to step forward, quietly, and testify that the LDS Church is really a collection of every heresy condemned by the Christian Church over the past 2,000 years. It is a henotheistic religion (believes in thousands, millions, billions or trillions of gods, but claims to worship the 4 mormon earth gods).

And don't forget heresies that Mormons are guilty of like modalism and tri-theism.

Almost 1,000 years ago, French philosopher/theologian Roscellinus was accused of treating the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three gods (tri-theism) and only recanted when he realized the penalty would be at least ex-communication and possibly stoning.

He went on to oppose Abelard's teaching on the Trinity.

So Mormonism has just taken
henotheism,
polytheism,
tri-theism,
modalism (the father is the son...see various Book of Mormon passages on this),
Solomonism (Smith would have broke Solomon's wife & concubine record given a long enough life),
and heavenly Luciferianism ("I will be like the most high"...Isaiah 14:13-16)
...along with other aspects (like elevating its "prophet" Smith to grandstandian levels rivaling Jesus)...
...and has dubbed itself "Zion" and deemed the rest of us all "Gentiles" who are "apostates" and are members of the "church of Satan" (1 Nephi 14:9-10, Book of Mormon).

Why how convenient.

3 posted on 10/09/2010 8:35:42 PM PDT by Colofornian
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Agreed


4 posted on 10/09/2010 9:26:07 PM PDT by svcw (Just in case you ever wondered: As of May 2010, it costs ~ $0.0167 US Dollars to mint a penny.)
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To: Colofornian
There is a small contingent of Mormon “Apologist” here on FreeRepublic bent on using confusion and deceit in representing LDS beliefs. They will only answer questions they choose, if at all, and even then only in a way that they are allowed by training and their own desire to obfuscate and confound which is common practice.

If anyone is really curious and/or desires to know the truth of these matters, to know what the Mormons REALLY believe, don't take the word of the Apologist OR those of us exposing the lies and heretical doctrine of the LDS, read it for yourself, see who is being honest and forthright.

These are MORMON web sites, not the sites of those exposing the LDS, though ironically these tend to be the BEST sites for such purposes...

http://scriptures.lds.org/
http://www.lds.org
http://www.fairlds.org/
http://www.mormonwiki.com/Main_Page
http://www.lightplanet.com/response/index.html
http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDS_Intro.shtml
http://www.answeringantimormons.com/index.htm
http://promormon.blogspot.com/

5 posted on 10/10/2010 5:43:24 AM PDT by ejonesie22 (8/30/10, the day Truth won.)
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To: ejonesie22

“Head ‘em off at the pass!”


6 posted on 10/10/2010 6:02:03 AM PDT by Elsie ( Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Elsie

You got it.

And why not, we have nothing to hide and the LDS own work are our best material...


7 posted on 10/10/2010 6:10:13 AM PDT by ejonesie22 (8/30/10, the day Truth won.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Amen, Brother AMPU!


8 posted on 10/10/2010 7:09:46 AM PDT by greyfoxx39 (Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Thank you for this testimony. Clear and precise. Good post.


9 posted on 10/10/2010 9:01:01 AM PDT by caww
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To: All

More Hateful Mormon bashing yay!

Undecided readers,

If you peruse the Free Republic religion forums you will notice a pattern. There’s an anti-Mormon group of people here that spends a great deal of their time attacking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They post regurgitated propaganda on an almost daily basis.

They have a misguided obsession. You can witness many different tactics employed that you might find quite interesting. The straw man argument is a big favorite and is frequently preceded by cherry-picking quotes or other material. After the “quotation” the attacker will misrepresent what has been said or what was meant and then attack their own interpretation. You’ll likely see perfect examples of just this shortly after I post.

Sometimes they cruise the headlines of the day seeking any story that might be twisted into making the Church look bad. Anything will do, just watch the progression of posts following it and see what I mean.

After reading their posts, I invite you to seek the truth about whatever “issue” they seem to be “revealing” or “exposing”. I promise that if you do so with honest intent, the “ahah” moments you will have will be many and frequent. You will start to recognize the tactics employed to cleverly twist and attack and will likely chuckle the more you see. In actuality, there’s nothing new here. It’s all been addressed many times before.

Here’s a few links to get your started from a different viewpoint. I have found that the vast majority of the “issues” brought up can be found and addressed at http://www.fairlds.org/ but here’s more:

http://scriptures.lds.org/
http://www.lds.org
http://www.fairlds.org/
http://www.mormonwiki.com/Main_Page
http://www.lightplanet.com/response/index.html
http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDS_Intro.shtml
http://www.answeringantimormons.com/index.htm
http://promormon.blogspot.com/

Now you will likely notice the “you never address our points” posts pop up as usual. All after providing the answers just as you have here. Will you wear blinders too? Seek truth. Find out for yourself.


10 posted on 10/10/2010 2:16:42 PM PDT by Paragon Defender
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To: Paragon Defender
If you peruse the Free Republic religion forums you will notice a pattern"

PD shows up late, and delivers his haystack of material; which has already been posted!

the answers out there

11 posted on 10/10/2010 2:23:09 PM PDT by Elsie ( Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Paragon Defender

^
|
|
|

You’ll likely see perfect examples of just this shortly after I post.

It’s right up there!!


12 posted on 10/10/2010 2:24:19 PM PDT by Elsie ( Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Paragon Defender

http://blogs.standard.net/?s=fast+and+testimony

(The top link doewsn’t work)

Check out the comments!


13 posted on 10/10/2010 2:28:07 PM PDT by Elsie ( Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Paragon Defender
There’s an anti-Mormon group of people here that spends a great deal of their time attacking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They post regurgitated propaganda on an almost daily basis. They have an obsession. You can witness many different tactics employed that you might find quite interesting. The strawman argument is a big favorite and is frequently preceded by cherry-picked quotes or other material. After the “quotation” the attacker will misrepresent what has been said or what was meant and then attack their own interpretation.

yeah sure

Link

As of December 31, 2009, there were 51,736 LDS missionaries serving in 344 church missions throughout the world. Their work, often in cooperation with local members, resulted in 280,106 convert baptisms in 2009.[12] Author David Stewart points out that the number of convert baptisms per missionary per year has fallen from a high of 8.03 in 1989 to just 4.67 in 2005.[13] He argues that the number of converts would increase if Mormon missionaries made greater efforts in meeting new people; he points out that the average companionship spends only four or five hours per week attempting to meet new people.[13]

How terrible it is that a handful of Christians post a handful of threads per week on FreeRepublic to counter the proselytizing efforts of the missionaries and public relations campaign of the mormon church. Don't you just feel SO sorry that the poor, persecuted mormons aren't able to have their message heard?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJqhFm2Zpck


14 posted on 10/10/2010 3:09:04 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8)
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To: greyfoxx39

bttt


15 posted on 10/11/2010 5:02:55 AM PDT by Elsie ( Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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