Subject: Fast & Testimony meetings
Date: Oct 20 02:45
Author: J.

i just saw a snippet on another thread where someone (not
mentioning names, just follow my eyes) said they lied when they
were at the meetings.
i expect many did.
but what did you lie about, exactly? what stories came to mind?

Subject: Fake it til you make it
Date: Oct 20 03:27
Author: Nightingale
Mail Address:

That's what the missionaries told me when encouraging me to give my "testimony" at F&T. That's the first I ever heard of people not truly believing what they were testifying to. Members/missionaries in my ward told me that if you don't have a testimony, you can get one by bearing one. But that would mean you would be lying on the Sabbath, in sacrament meeting, influencing others who wouldn't know you were lying. Another example of extreme cognitive dissonance in the Mormon church. I know for a fact that the fake testimonies influenced investigators, new converts, missionaries and other members. If you were having problems in the church, you'd look around at all the people with "strong testimonies" and wonder what in the heck was wrong with you because you didn't know what they knew or feel what they felt. New members have no way of knowing that people are lying, as that is just not required or done in non-Mormon churches, regarding bearing false witness on command.

We were often instructed to give a "pure testimony" only, as in "I know the church is true. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon is true." You could throw in mention that "Heavenly Father lives and loves us" and every once in a while, someone would mention "my elder brother, Jesus" (grammatically incorrect, BTW, it should be "older brother").

So, J., is that what you mean by lying in church?

As others have often noted on this board, "lying for the Lord" is a major Mormon doctrine. But it's not one they teach investigators about (among many others). It's truly shocking when you find out. Because telling the truth is a pretty basic moral value, no?

Subject: Re: Fake it til you make it
Date: Oct 20 03:47
Author: Victoria

It is not even lying. I would say it is self-hypnosis. Many times I have heard people saying at FT meetings: "My testimony gets strengthened when I bear it."

Mormon testimony is something that has to be repeated if you want to have it. Otherwise, it is gone... What kind of truth is it?

Subject: When is it lying?
Date: Oct 20 05:00
Author: Nightingale
Mail Address:

I hesitate to make such a strong statement, that Mormons are lying if they give "fake it til you make it" testimonies. But if they know they don't know it or even believe it and they still testify to it, is that not a lie? Many told me that they do not have a testimony but they stand up and swear to it anyway. That is giving false testimony, a grave offence spiritually and temporally, even in non-religious circles.

To give them the extreme benefit of the doubt, I would say that perhaps they really believe the counsel of church leaders who apparently do say that you can get a testimony by bearing one. By extension, at least the first "fake it" testimony requires the testimony-bearer to be less than truthful. I never met a Mormon who considered this strange.

So, if you truly believe the skewed counsel to give a testimony you don't have so that you will obtain a testimony, maybe you're not guilty of "lying". But at the very least, it screams against reason, does it not?

On a related note, the only time I gave my testimony, all I said was that I know God lives and Jesus is the Saviour. As my Christian faith was firm in those two areas at the time, I thought that testimony was perfectly acceptable. Very strangely, members insisted afterwards that I had said I know the church is true and that JS is a prophet of God. That's when things started getting scary for me in the church - when people quoted me as saying things I know I didn't say. When I challenged one elder on it, he finally acknowledged what my limited testimony had been but told me, it's the same thing as saying you know the church is true. OK, that part, I would consider calling major group-think, which could be considered a form of mass hypnosis - the effect is certainly the same.

Subject: Why on earth would you "hesitate to make such a strong statement?"
Date: Oct 20 20:10
Author: Zoe

Speak right up! Mormons teach this nonsense, including the concept that one can "know" that "the Church is true," so and so (whom they've never met) "is a true prophet...'" etc., because they don't teach faith. Think about it: when did you ever hear a coherent statement from a Mormon regarding what faith is? I'm willing to bet the answer is NEVER.

Faith and knowledge are not the same - something that would seem to the unindoctrinated to be self-evident. Ask them to explain the difference. Ask them why the New Testament places such a strong emphasis on faith, and not knowledge; is it an unfortunate series of purely coincidental typos? The only place in the Bible I'm aware of where God insists that anyone know anything about God, God prefaces this with an instruction to shut up about it as in "Be still and know that I am God." Ask a Mormon to explain this scripture, and what it says about the absurd (and blasphemous) practice of fast and testimony meetings.

Subject: Re: Why on earth would you "hesitate to make such a strong statement?"
Date: Oct 20 21:16
Author: Nightingale

My hesitation comes from feeling that I don't positively know that someone is lying, as I don't really know what they're thinking. So I just meant I hesitate to assert they are lying when I can't confirm that. As someone else said, is it "lying" if they do it because they've been taught it's the right thing to do?

I don't have any hesitation, though, in saying it is very strange, far more strange than Mormons realize, I think. I agree that hearing testimonies in non-Mormon churches is very different. In my church people usually only give their testimony before they get baptized, so that would be once, unless there's a special reason to mention it subsequently in a class or a talk. And it's more in the form of relating a brief bio and how you came to decide to be baptized. Definitely, there's no "knowing", no pressure and no focus other than Jesus.

As I've mentioned before, Protestants view the church as the worldwide body of believers; that is, the believers are the church (as I've seen TLC assert). That negates any need for allegiance to a specific church denomination, group, building or leader. Your denomination likely does give you a sense of identity within that body, though.

It's difficult to explain how different non-mo churches are - unless they have gone off the rails into an abusive sort of environment, there is no pressure, no thought of compelling members to conform or perform. People are treated like adults who are capable of charting their own course. As a matter of fact, in my church, the only requirement is that you must be baptized as an adult in order to formally join the church and that you're expected to give your public testimony before baptism. Even for that one requirement, they are sensitive about pushing it. For me, I can participate in any way I choose, without formally becoming a member, as I choose not to be re-baptized. Mostly because I am not willing to submit to even that one bit of pressure to conform. If I want to do it at some time in the future, that would be different - my choice, not due to pressure from anyone.

Anyway, to get back on topic here, I guess I don't like to impute motives to someone when I can't tell what's going on with them - that's why I don't like to make strong statements such as "You are lying". But it's interesting to hear from other exmos as to what they were thinking and doing and why. All I can say is it was hugely shocking to me to find out that people do the fake-it testimony thing. Their words would influence people to get baptized, for Pete's sake!!!! Words are important! Testimony is, by definition, the truth! That's my expectation, at least.

Subject: You're far more judicious and thoughtful than I am. Guess...
Date: Oct 21 11:26
Author: Zoe

I've still not recovered from my outrage completely - not so much over the lies I was taught, but over the truth that was deliberately and systematically concealed by Mormonism. I suppose that's why I continue to hang out here - to me there is such a huge difference between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity - just can't help pointing it out at every opportunity.

Subject: Re: You're far more judicious and thoughtful than I am. Guess...
Date: Oct 21 12:05
Author: Nightingale

I feel the outrage too. But it is directed at "the church" and its leaders, not at individual members or missionaries. At first I did think the mishies had lied to me, then I realized they didn't know the truth about the doctrine either and they really did believe the fake-it testimony technique, having been taught that by their families and church leaders.

It sounds like we feel the same way, anger on two fronts, because of the deception about doctrine and history and because of the better way that is withheld. It makes me very angry, for instance, that the church demands perfection from its members - I feel the huge (and unnecessary) burden that lays on people. What especially angers me about the Corp is that many exmos (likely mostly BICs) continue to suffer the ill-effects of connection with the church, due to family ties, work situation or geographic location. At least for many of us converts, we can get away, back into a healthier environment.

So, church stuff can make me angry, but not as a constant way of being and I'm not angry at individuals, just the leadership. I still have TBM friends, although we don't see each other much any more. They were a big influence in getting me into the church, but I don't hold it against them - they think it's the greatest. Before, we used to talk about the church all the time. Since I left, it's never been mentioned. So, it's a big elephant messing up our comfort zones with each other. That makes me sad, not angry.

As far as the anger goes, I'm trying to direct it in a positive way. I don't see any need to persuade every member they're in a cult, but I'll definitely talk to and help those who ask questions or express unhappiness (if I ever run into them - I kind of avoid church and everything connected). I'm also trying to help out a bit with the anti-polygamy activism - that is very satisfying. Not only can you point out problems with the church, past and present, but you can make a huge difference in somebody's life, if they ask for help and you can provide it. In that way, I think anger can be a very positive thing, if it's well directed - it gives me the incentive and the energy to get involved in countering something very negative.

Zoe, if you don't mind me asking, are you BIC? I don't recall you mentioning...

Subject: I'm not angry with individuals either, though I expect I often ...
Date: Oct 21 13:09
Author: Zoe

sound that way. I just wasn't born a cool-headed intellectual, despite my professional degree. I like to think of myself as more of a hot-headed intellectual, but that's open to debate.

Am I BIC? Sort of. My mother was a member when I was born - married to a non- or inactive member - not sure which - since he deserted immediately - and - I finally found him - and he's dead. Enter mother's husband no. 2. He was a member, though he didn't go on a mission (only one of his parents was a member, and the other stated unequivocally that they would not support him on a mission; also, didn't want to give up his scholarship to an Ivy-league school). He adopted me; they moved to Utah with me in tow, married in the Salt Lake Temple (I think) and I was sealed to them there - in my stocking feet (my mother forgot my white shoes). Spent most of my childhood in Provo. Moved overseas entire teenager-hood. Did my undergraduate work at BYU (out of laziness - really) - in the face of adoptive Ivy-league father's derision over the quality of BYU "education."

Despite their TBMness, my parents, particularly the father unit, raised us to be skeptics: no getting away with blanket statements about anything at our house - probably saved me from some of my hot-headedness. However, since I was never really a "convert," I think I'm a bit insensitive to the feelings of some of those here who really were comitted.

I went to grad school non-BYU, with adoptive father's heart-felt blessing. Still don't understand why he's TBM, resent the misery it continues to cause my mother, have three brothers, two of whom have been to the temple, only one of whom went on a mission, and he's a bit of a mess emotionally, but who am I to talk?

I appreciate your judiciousness, and devotion to positive causes, although I don't know what I can do for the anti-pligs from here in Texas. I vote Democrat for the most part; also am pro-equal rights for gays, but this support is pretty lame really.

Subject: Re: Fake it til you make it
Date: Oct 20 12:36
Author: anonymous
Mail Address:

I remember being told the same thing - Now I knew I didn't believe it & I knew God knew I didn't believe it - So what I need to do to convince this God that knows every thought I will ever have before I even think it, that I am worthy to return & be close to him,is to pretend that I believe something that I don't. That should make him happy.

Subject: mass hypnosis is a basic of any cult's indocrination....
Date: Oct 20 13:57
Author: abc

say anything enought times and you'll start to believe it.

Subject: To get a testimony, you have to bear one
Date: Oct 20 03:59
Author: Adrienne
Mail Address:

I tried to get my own testimony, but right after I was
baptized was F&T. I felt a pressure to get up and state what
everyone wanted to hear since previously I saw recent
converts doing the same. What they never figured out was
that I made the whole thing up. I said the basic things such
as "I know the church is true" etc. pretty much the same
phrases everyone else says. I would consider it more of a
mass hypnosis thing than a real "testimony." Nobody would
have believed me if I got up and said I wasn't sure if the
BOM was true. Lying for the Lard is truly accepted in the
church, especially when talking with bishops.

Subject: this "mass hypnosis" thing gets more interesting!
Date: Oct 20 04:01
Author: J.

two of you have now used it!

Subject: Re: this "mass hypnosis" thing gets more interesting!
Date: Oct 20 04:07
Author: Victoria

Well. It is a hypnosis. And I am sure it works if you are tuned in. I think there is also a reason why such meetings are held once a month and not say once in three-four months. You need to be brainwashed frequently or it loses its power. Some people say sometimes: Oh, I have missed FT meeting and I feel something is missing, my life is not going as smoothly as it should. What is missing is the normal dose of hypnosis, in my opinion.

All of these stuff greatly reminds me of the communist times in Russia. I am from Russia and I remember some of it. Communism collapsed when I was 12-13 y.o. I find great parallels between the Church and the Communist party: being in the leadership until you die; unanimous voting for the leaders and large doses of hypnosis... the list goes on.

Subject: cognitive dissonance - saying is believing
Date: Oct 20 06:10
Author: blabber

One of the major research paradigms in social psychology is still cognitive dissonance. this is usually associated with trying to justify two thoughts that don't fit together, like "I am a mormon" and "I smoke".

One of the other major contributions of lab experimentation on cog. dissonance is that saying is believing. When people think they are freely choosing to say something that is either neutral or that they just plain don't agree with, they will come to believe it.

When leaders say, "you have to bear your testimony to get one" they are very right in a very twisted way, because the proposition that "saying is believing" is an established empirical fact, as long as free choice is perceived.

too bad believing something doesn't make it true.

Subject: I even venture to say...
Date: Oct 20 19:48
Author: exmo
Mail Address:

.... that some of those who stand up and say "I love my wife/husband/kids" etc. really don't. But it helps convince themselves that they do (or should)!

It always irritated me to see people stand up and say this. It's so much more appropriate and meaningful to say this to one's family in private....and I think has no place in a group gathering.

I wonder how many Mormons aactually say I love you to their family members ..... I'll bet it's said more often in non-Morg families....In our case, it's said often now as opposed to when we were Morgites!

Subject: And it's really a damned selfish practice, come to think of it:
Date: Oct 20 20:13
Author: Zoe

I'm telling you this for my own benefit, not for yours. How disgusting is that?

Subject: Testimony at the Evangelical Church
Date: Oct 20 20:23
Author: Strangerer
Mail Address:

Recently I started attending an evangelical church in my neighborhood. The first time I went I was terribly depressed and got yanked inside by this older woman. I cried the whole time, it was so sureal. I grew up with "Jesus" in the LDS church and though I consider myself an agnostic I recognize the "power" and the "strength" that the mystery and magic and perfection of Jesus - even just the thought of something that magnificently perfect - can bring to a person's life.

Anyway, back to my story. That first time at the church (small congregation maybe 16 people - poor - truely humble people) I was amazed at the conviction of the people who stood up to share their testimonies. I've gone back now about 5 times (in fact going for the second time today in a haft an hour) and each time the most touching and sincere words are spoken by the congregants.

Last week I took my young neice (19 years) who has been feeling a bit blue. She has never been a church attender and she cried all the way home asking why I never took her before. She cried because me and her Mom were taken to church every week as a child and she wasn't. It was no use explaining that the church we were DRAGGED to was different.

In the testimonies that the people in the church share, it is always to speak of what Jesus has done for them. Each and every one is dead center on Jesus's gift and their gratitude for Jesus Christ. I have never heard one single "I know" statement. I have never heard one testimony there that discusses what THE CHURCH has given them, the church gets absolutely no credit, Jesus Christ gets it all.

Anyway, that is my observation. My neice will be here in about 5 minutes, so I better get ready.

Subject: Yep: this is exactly the same thing I noticed when I ...
Date: Oct 20 20:43
Author: Zoe

did a systematic comparison of Mormonism to mainstream Christian churches - attending the local Mormon church alternately with a Christian Church (several different denominations) on a rotating basis for nearly a year.

I did this out of a sense of obligation to my TBM parents and a desire to be sure of myself. What I noticed in the Christian congregations were a complete absense of "I knows" about anything, as well as relevant and uplifting sermons, week after week. Also, there were no bizarre, inappropriately invasive experiences, like being informed by my assigned home teacher that he was a "private banker," so I should feel free to discuss my financial situation with him, or having messages left at my office from another one stating that he was an old friend of mine (I'd never met him in this life or any other), then being urged by this same one that I must be in need his special priesthood blessing. In the Christian Churches, all of them, I uniformly found general friendliness within appropriate bounderies.

At the local Mormon branch: "I knows" in testimony meetings that had nothing to do with Christ, only two mentions for Jesus in testimony meeting all year, and never up front; he was always at the end of the list after "The Church," and Joe Smith. In addition, entirely irrelevant "talks" about the importance of being worthy to go to the temple and be dunked for every human being that ever lived on the face of the earth, the miracle of managing to have ones mother's temple clothes properly arranged for burial, whether the Holy Ghost is male or female, and that this is somehow important information. Yikes!

It's still mind-boggling to contemplate how any of my own family can possibly be members of this organization.

Subject: i *stretched* the truth a few times...
Date: Oct 20 20:36
Author: red pill
Mail Address:

i told the bishop that i had a testimony of the prophet.. but i didn't elaborate on just what that testimony was :P.

i was just trying to get my little recommend to the palmyra temple dedication for temple card holders only. so i was curious and uh.. did the interview and uh.. got my card and experienced the weirdness. :P

and another time... this was the worst of my moments in the church...

this was a missionary farewell.. where the missionary that converted me wuz goin home.. and he really really really wanted me to get up and speak. and let me say that i much prefer almost anything to public speaking.. anyways...

i was so fugging nervous that i forgot everything that i had prearranged in my mind that i was going to say. during the 2 hour drive to the farewell i devised all sorts of ways to not say that the church was true.. or anything faith promoting.. BUT i KNEW that was exactly what they were dying to hear...

so i get up there.. and i look out at the sea of people.. and i blurted out something to the effect.. "the church is true.. president hinckley is a prophet of god.. blah blah blah.. inthenameofjesuschristamen.. and scurried off to hide in my seat. :/

so immediately after the ceremony, the first words outta the missionary's mouth were.. "so when you goin to the temple?" since i had just fulfilled my obligation of bearing one's testimony in church. bleh

not to mention my "testimonies" i was supposed to have to get baptized.. a testimony of the prophet joseph smith.. of tithing.. WOFW.. etc. i did NOT have a legitimate testimony of these things.. but again.. they didn't specify what type of testimony.. :D

Subject: Here's an interesting thought from Goethe.
Date: Oct 21 11:53
Author: TLC

"The phrases that men hear or repeat continually end by becoming convictions and ossify the organs of intelligence.

(Ossify means to harden or to become like bone. Osso from Latin/Italian.)

Subject: Re: Well that explains " testimony" in a nutshell
Date: Oct 21 11:59
Author: Saucie