.:OUR RESPONSE TO: “WHY DON’T YOU GET YOUR OWN TESTIMONY OF THE MORMON CHURCH?”
“Chuck, you had a problem from the start when you said, ‘We just did it because everyone else was doing it.’ You need to have your own testimony! As a recent convert to the Mormon Church, I understand where you are coming from with how different the LDS Church is from other Churches, but that is because the Church is blessed with the priesthood and a holy Prophet of God. As a convert, I had the opportunity to take Moroni’s promise. I know that some kids who grow up in the Church overlook Moroni’s promise as they grow up and just do things because their families have a testimony of the gospel. Remember that when you take Moroni’s challenge, you must do it with an absolute sincerity in your heart. As I was fortunate enough to be able to know of the gospel, unlike billions who have been or are one the earth today, I started the unwavering foundation of my testimony. I know the Church is True and is led by Christ through our beloved Prophet. I know that Joseph Smith restored the True Church which stands today as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with sincere fervent prayer. I hope you can find these things to be true for yourself. The testimonies of others can only take you so far.”
A REPLY FROM CHUCK:
Dear LDS friend,
You asserted that as a Mormon growing up in the Church, I did not have my “own testimony.” Well, what exactly is a testimony by LDS standards? Let’s discuss this term used so frequently within LDS circles. I want you to think about the following questions:
- Does a testimony ever get challenged? Should it?
- Should a testimony have any grounds for validity?
- Does a testimony give you divine rights to avoid looking any further at what the truth may actually be?
- Does a testimony allow you to blindly run without thought, as it becomes your “auto pilot” answer to any opposition to LDS Church history or LDS teachings?
- How is a testimony truly being exercised within the LDS Church?
Be truthful in your response. Often, LDS testimonies are bore under emotional conviction, supported by a story, a thought, a feeling. Mormon testimonies are grown from childhood. Look at the Fast and Testimony Sunday in the Sacrament meeting. Watch the little children “bearing their testimonies” which go like this: “I want to bear my testimony. I know the Church is true. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I know we have a living prophet today leading and directing the Church…” Does this sound familiar? You learn this as a child; then grow up defending your faith on what you’ve been saying for the last 10 years.
You mentioned that I “had a problem from the start.” No! There was no problem. An LDS testimony must be blind, and unquestionably obedient. It pulls the heart strings within the depths of one’s feelings which are sometimes emotional and very compelling, but once worn down to its core, is based on nothing but LDS blah, blah…
Be careful how you swing around the term “Testimony.” My testimony, if it was going to be strong and unwavering, must stand the test of historical truth, even from the earliest LDS foundations. My dear friend, before you take the bait, hook, line, and sinker, know the LDS history as it is, not as they want you to believe it was. There is more to the historical story than what you have been told.
Do you remember the game of baseball? Before you pick up a baseball bat named “testimony,” you need to know what your bat is made of. Since your LDS testimony bat is made of sawdust, it will certainly crumble at your first swing at opposition, no matter how flippant you get with the pitcher. There is much you obviously do not know about the truth of LDS beginnings, and its foundations. Perhaps this is a good time to challenge your testimony and test its fabric of strength.
DOES THE LDS CHURCH HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO ACT IN THE NAME OF GOD?
You said, “As a recent convert to the Church, I understand where you’re coming from with how different the Church is from other Churches, but that’s because the Church is blessed with the priesthood and a holy Prophet of God.” Yikes! You took the whole bait! If you are able to think openly, stand back and examine what you’ve just said.
First of all, what exactly is the priesthood as prescribed by LDS teachings? Is it not the “authority to act in the name of God” here upon the earth? 1. Wow! Do you realize the seriousness of this claim? What are the greatest commandments taught by Christ?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”—Matthew 22:37-40 2.
These commands alone need no power and authority. Yet, the “priesthood” as taught by the LDS Church is actually a power game. Don’t believe it! Think, for a minute. Isn’t the only reason anyone would need to claim ultimate power to act for God in religion is with the intent to establish their power and dominion over a congregation? I am still amazed at how many LDS people must become non-thinking, religious automatons (robots), who must do the will of those in higher authority in the order of the priesthood.
Christ taught what we must do to please God. Grabbing at the concept of “AUTHORITY” and swinging this term around with all kinds of promises and countless blessings is truly a weapon of religious destruction. God doesn’t need people walking around with “authority” to bless sacrament, pass sacrament, or even act for Him. These acts are open for all people who are following Christ. Remember, Scripture promises:
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power [authority] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”—John 1:12
The History of the Church with all of its documented false prophecies will help clarify this fallacy of “authority” being claimed by Joseph Smith to establish clout and position. “A Prophet of God?” This is a wonderful selling point, but again, it is of no value to God. A Prophet, or rather, “President of the Church,” is simply a position for the business of organized religion. I am not being a Mormon basher here. I am simply cutting through the frosting so you can see the cake as it is, not as it has been presented. Do you remember how the prophets were used by God to prophesy the coming of Christ? Once Christ had arrived, made himself known, died, and fulfilled his promise, prophets were no longer needed:
“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” —Luke 16:16
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…”—Hebrews 1:1-2
My dear LDS friend, an organized Church, as the Mormon corporation, needs a leader to direct it, as with any large business. He is the “President” of this large organization. Look at his title for yourself! It is clearly in black and white. As acting President, his charge is to direct the affairs of the Church business for growth and stability. Take the icing off the cake, and see it for what it is. Christ had no institution as this. His objective was to bring us closer to understanding God’s intent for us all, and our purposes for each other. Remember, Christ explained what the two greatest commandments are. Have you already forgotten? Grabbing at “authority,” and placing a King at the head of the Church is of man’s will, not Gods’. Jesus is to be our ONLY mediator between God and mankind:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”—1 Timothy 2:5
DID I HAVE MY OWN TESTIMONY?
With your story of being a “recent convert to the Mormon Church” who had the opportunity to take “Moroni’s challenge” to pray about the Book of Mormon, you challenged me to take the same promise. Yet, not only have I believed Moroni’s promise, I have offered Moroni’s challenge many, many times to investigators when proselytizing as a missionary in the field. Our goal was to reach your feelings. We were trying to pull out hope and offer an eternal solution for you and your family, with an assurance of a plan that would bring you back into the presence of God in the Celestial Kingdom.
My friend, I know this game. I played it well. The message is music to some, and ridiculous to others. Obviously, the chords rung true to the strings of your heart, but the Scriptures do offer caution and advice concerning the dictates of one’s heart (see Jeremiah 17:9). Hearts and feelings can be misdirected and mislead. As a missionary, we told you that the Holy Ghost would cause a “burning in your bosom” if what we have said is true. Then, comes the challenge to determine if we got you.
I will not tell you how to feel. Those feelings are personal. I would be a fool to interfere with one’s feelings on any matter. All I can say is that you need to use the mind that God has given you to reason out the truth of all things. If you follow your heart’s whims, you may one day find yourself scratching your head saying, “What was I thinking?” But even if that happens, have no worries, many of us have been down this road too. You are not alone!
WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNOW?
You bore your testimony with: “I know the Church is true and is lead by Christ through our beloved Prophet. I know that Joseph Smith restored the true Church which stands today as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with sincere fervent prayer.”
But here we go again; all you really “KNOW” is what you were told. Then, you add frosting with your feelings. What do you really know? A testimony by all Mormon descriptions! This is exactly what LDS people will do: Throw feelings out to the wind, in good faith and intentions, but there is no groundwork here for truth. Truth has been replaced with a testimony, which has been exchanged by some mind-trick. Go figure!
My friend, Christ has made it quite clear what is expected by all people on earth, in accordance to God’s wishes for all. It is my prayer that you reevaluate your basis of truth. Know where the story truly came from, know how it has evolved, and know where the eternal teachings in the temple ceremonies evolved from. The Masons will surprise you, and with a little more investigation on your part, even Joseph Smith will amaze you, but not in the way you have believed. Know the truth, and the “truth” will set you free (John 8:32). You should know this as it is taught in the LDS Church. Truth is NOT how you “feel things should be,” but as things truly are. Know the difference, before you gag on the worm.
You concluded with this statement: “I hope you can find these things to be true for yourself. The testimonies of others can only take you so far.” Once again, please don’t bother hoping I’ll see the light on your behalf. Hope and truth should walk hand in hand. You do not know the truth of the LDS Church’s beginnings. If you did, you would not hope I would believe your feelings, which is connected to the stories as taught by the missionaries to you.
Remember, I was a missionary, my friend. I know the game. The truth of all matter is that God wants us all to worship and honor Him, and honor each other as ourselves. In doing so, and in trusting what Jesus did to pay for our sins, we honor all that Christ has taught us to understand in preparation for eternity. Now that is truth!
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE:
This post is also available in: Spanish