Skip to comments.What critics don't understand about testimony (REAL Mormon / LDS)
Posted on 03/28/2011 7:12:57 PM PDT by Paragon Defender
Author: Michael R. Ash
Source: For Mormon Times
28 March 2011 6:00am
In last weeks issue, I argued that secular evidences alone can never offer the power to convert anyone to the restored gospel. Undeniable secular evidences for Joseph Smiths prophetic status would frustrate the necessity of agency and would still likely not change the hearts of those who adamantly reject the Prophet.
Critics typically claim that Latter-day Saints rely on feelings in lieu of evidence thereby implying that there is no rational thought that factors into their spiritual testimonies. This is unmitigated nonsense and contains at least three errors the first two of which will be discussed in this installment.
The first error is that all Latter-day Saint testimonies are void of reason and rationale. This is not, however, the way many member testimonies are formed and maintained. While a testimony must be grounded on a spiritual confirmation, the mind is an integral part of gaining our testimony. We are expected to use our minds to study the scriptures and learn what God wants.
When Oliver Cowdery made his failed attempt at translating the plates the Lord told him: Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. (Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-8).
Moroni (Moroni 10:3) and other prophets (2 Nephi 32:1) have counseled us to ponder things in our hearts which sounds like an emotional rather than intellectual approach. Most people in ancient times, however, generally didnt understand that the brain was the source for thoughts and reasoning. They typically believed that the heart was home for both the soul as well as the origination of thoughts.
While the Egyptians experimented with brain surgery, for instance, they nevertheless believed that the heart not the brain was the source for thoughts. To ponder things in our hearts means to include our brains in our spiritual quest.
As Latter-day Saints who believe that the glory of God is intelligence (D&C 93:36), we are told to seek wisdom from the best books (D&C 88:118) and learn more than just what we hear in Sunday School. We are encouraged to learn about astronomy, geology, history, current and foreign events, and much more (D&C 88: 79).
Each of us, said President Boyd K. Packer, must accommodate the mixture of reason and revelation in our lives. The gospel not only permits but requires it.
In 2007, the church published a statement about LDS doctrine which read in part:
"The church exhorts all people to approach the gospel not only intellectually but with the intellect and the spirit, a process in which reason and faith work together.
Latter-day Saints (like most other people who believe in a spiritual realm) believe that some evidence such as a spiritual witness can only come through faith, but they also maintain that faith and reason are not typically in conflict and that reason can support faith (more on this later).
The second error made by critics is the implication that a testimony is nothing more than feelings or emotions. They sometimes profane the burning in the bosom into something like what you could get from eating too much pizza. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:
What does a burning in the bosom mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom. Surely, the word 'burning' in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity. That is the witness many receive. That is the way revelation works.
As noted above, a testimony should be grounded both in the heart and mind. Dr. Wendy Ulrich, speaking at the 2005 FAIR conference, explained:
How do the goosebumps and tearfulness I experience when someone speaks in a testimony meeting differ from the goosebumps and tearfulness I experience when the 4:00 parade begins at Disneyland? ...
Fortunately, we are not left with emotion alone to discern God's hand in our lives. Reason, experience, counsel from others and other forms of revelation may all assist us. In fact, I notice that emotion plays into only some of my spiritual experiences, and often only in a secondary way. More often the spiritual promptings and confirmations I receive come very quietly as something simply occurs to me with a kind of rightness that has no real emotion attached to it at all. Others have come as a pure love beyond my previous capacity to imagine. I expect that people from many religious backgrounds may have such experiences, and I am comfortable imagining God in many of them, but they are not easily explained away as a self-produced warm feeling.
Whats ironic about the feelings/emotions charge made by critics is that they often base their rejection of the restored gospel on emotions or non-intellectual reasons (as we will see in next weeks installment).
The article references a previous article. I’ll post that one the next time I post if I remember.
It’s here though if anyone wants to peruse it. It is a good article also.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves ... For such are FALSE apostles,
DECEITFUL workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
(Matthew 7:15; 2nd Corinthians 11:13).
You are truly without class.
And you are truly without Jesus. I advise that you seriously seek Him. Your mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible.
Thank you for warning FReepers that this is yet one more Mormon cult spam post. They should know it is cultic and not Christian.
It’s not spam.
It’s not cultic.
It’s very Christian.
You have followed a version of Jesus that is NOT of the Bible. You are following a false Christ. You have no basis for any of your beliefs. There is no proof, archeological or otherwise of any of the mormon teachings. Mormonism relies so heavily on feelings because of this. And saying I have no class simply because you cannot take the heat is just lame. But then, what is new, really?
I went to an evening young people’s get together dinner at a Mormon church many years ago. As the program progressed the hosts, some of the elders in the church asked the young people (late teens and early 20s) for a testimony.
Each stood up and gave a testimony as to why they had joined the Mormon church.
Good fellowship, friendship, good get togethers, social programs.
After all were done, I noticed that NONE had joined because they needed a saviour or even believed J Smith, but considered the church to be more of a social club.
Lol. It fits the Bible's warnings about false prophets and prophecies perfectly.
Its very Christian.
Only if you change the meaning of the word 'Christian' from the Bible's original meaning. But then, you change the meanings of a lot of words and concepts just to make them fit your heretical beliefs.
The irony of you, OF ALL PEOPLE, complaining about this is utterly breath-taking.
Please go and try to convert some Muslims. The history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre would positively entrall them.
“Death to Infidels!”
And saying I have no class simply because you cannot take the heat
lol too funny. I said you have no class because of your propaganda attack cartoon you slap up.
Disagreeing is one thing. What you and your anti-Mormon gang do goes well beyond disagreement.
Reason! Lol! Everything about Mormonism is unreasonable, illogical, unprovable, and totally unsupported by archeology. Take Smith's Book of Abraham for instance. He bought an old papyrus scroll and claimed he translated it and was all about Abraham. But any fool who studied Ancient Egypt can easily tell that the scroll a piece of the Book of the Dead. I studied Ancient Egypt in elementary school and I could tell that easy as pie. It shows the embalming process and the judgment of the soul before Osiris.
And if J. Smith couldn't be trusted in his 'translations' in that account, why should anybody trust anything he ever said? This is not even to mention Smith's false prophecies (example: his claim that the second coming would be in 1891). Everything is against Smith. The evidence indicates that he was a conman.
Its not cultic.
Lol. It fits the Bible’s warnings about false prophets and prophecies perfectly.
Except for the false prophet and prophecies part. Unless you believe the anti-Mormon regurgitated propaganda that is.
Its very Christian.
Only if you change the meaning of the word ‘Christian’ from the Bible’s original meaning.
We are in Christ’s only fully true Church. That would make us as Christian as can be.
Have a great night!
You need to look here. You are being misled as is obvious by your worn out propaganda.
Heres a few links to get your started from a different viewpoint. I have found that the vast majority of the issues brought up in the anti-Mormon propaganda can be found and addressed at http://www.fairlds.org/ but heres more:
Have a great night! Study and pray!
Your comebacks are lame. Can’t you even argue in support of your beliefs? Or is it too hard? I suppose you would rather post your list-o-links instead, because it is easier to not have to answer for yourself. All you do is sit in la-la land and make ‘comebacks’ that are not real combacks and then slap yourself on the back for scoring a ‘hit’. ROFL.