|Subject:||"No Testimony? -- So What's Wrong With You!"|
|Date:||Jun 03 2004|
|There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for your not having a
testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel - period.
Here's the reasoning:
(1) Moroni PROMISES it - it isn't just a "possibility", it's a PROMISE! And God's promises simply MUST happen! The LDS prophets have all reaffirmed it to be "Moroni's Promise" and God couldn't lie about such a thing, because...
(2) "When you do as I say, I am BOUND!" That's what God admits in Mormon scripture, so He has no choice; He HAS to deliver this revelation of certain truth, furthermore..
(3) God will give you no commandment without "preparing a way" for you to obey it. S0...
If you don't know (not just believe, but "know") that the church is true through "personal revelation" it is perfect evidence of your unworthiness, guilt, foolishness, sinfulness, yada yada yada -- and you can't escape this self-evident proof.
PROVIDED THE CHURCH IS TRUE, OF COURSE.
There's the rub. It's also why people who claim to have "testimonies" must necessarily be accusing those who admit they don't have testimonies of being spiritual failures. The church's extreme testimony doctrine creates an inescapable conflict for both souls:
Person one: "If I truly have a testimony and you DON'T, I MUST believe (no matter how tactful I may appear) that you are unworthy."
Person two: "If I truly believe that I AM a decent person in God's eyes but honestly know that I have NO testimony (having not received this "perfect knowledge" via revelation), then you must either be lying or be in a state of delusion."
But we both can't win.
This "knowledge conceit" that is perpetuated by the church ends up dividing nearly everyone: friends, family members, husbands, wives, parents, children, etc.. It amounts to a profound you-verse-me contest striking at the very soul of individual self esteem and inner spiritual security. That's why there's so much tension between members and non-members, actives and in-actives.
It's also why your TBM neighbors and relatives pester you the way they do. It's why the GAs complain that people "leave the church, but don't leave it alone."
Yet the church threw the first punch in this fight and it can't back down without calling God a liar...It's a superiority thing that THEY started, not the rest of us. Now we have a right to defend our spiritual decency!
How best can we do it?
|Date:||Jun 03 12:00|
|Author:||Lost and Found|
|You've perfectly summarized the battle I've been
witnessing with my family and friends. I can't get them to see that this
is an informed choice, not a mistaken, sinful or confused state. They
just can't comprehend this. That is, as you so eloquently pointed out,
because if they were to open their minds to the possibility that there
was a valid reason for me to feel the way I do, then they might be wrong
. . .
Yeah, it's in or out. There is no live and let live in the church . . .
|Subject:||Re: "No Testimony? -- So What's Wrong With You!"|
|Date:||Jun 03 12:16|
|Excellent summary of the dilemma that ex-mo's face.
I know that I walk on eggshells with my TBM wife in this area. I so much
want to talk about truth with her but she gets mad. I want to have a
real discussion with the HP quorum but know, from experience, that it
would go nowhere. Trying to have an open, non-judgmental discussion
about anything that contradicts the dogma creates real anger in morgbots.
I had an occasion to be with a group of young single adults recently. They were on the subject of missionary work. I mentioned that baptism were down and had fallen for the last 3 years. Of course, they were shocked. No one studies. No one wants to know anything beyond what the "brethren" want them to know. They seem very satisfied to be buried in their ignorance. Perhaps it makes them seem secure.
One girl said, "I thought they had shifted the emphasis to reactivation [presumably from conversion]." Again, trying to justify the trend. I told them that I predicted that baptisms would drop when they did away with stake missions and gave the burden to the bishops. Who is the busiest person in the ward? The bishop. I know because I was one a number of years ago. I told the group that I thought it was a wrong move.
So we have a situation where a major change in the organization resulted in the opposite effect that was desired. Seems very clear that it was a mistake. However, one girl ended the conversion by saying, "Well, it came from the prophet so it must be correct". I forgot how totally blind I use to be. It was a real eye-opener (no pun intended).
|Subject:||Great point! When my wife was at BYU...|
|Date:||Jun 03 12:25|
|her religion teacher told the class almost exactly the same thing. "if you haven't received a testimony then something is wrong in your life".|
|Subject:||It's guaranteed failure.|
|Date:||Jun 03 12:51|
|What are the real odds that anyone is going to get a
genuine revelation from God? Zip. You're bound to feel terrible and need
to come up with something, you either talk yourself into a delusion or
you flat out lie.
I don't think anyone has ever had a true testimony of the LDS church! But like you say, If they have, I'm dead.
What an idiot society. So many other things deserve all that time and money.
|Subject:||The trump card of faith!|
|Date:||Jun 03 12:55|
|No matter what type of answer you receive either
through prayer, common sense, study, etc...the answer always has to be
the church is true. In discussions with TBM's, my wife included, there
are usually 3 possible answers to any doctrinal question or issue a
non-believer may have.
1: You haven't prayed enough
2: You don't have enough faith
3: God is trying your faith by not answering your question
Those are the only three acceptable answers in theses discussions, it's really maddening as the 4th answer is never an option:
4: It's not true
So, the blame comes back to you and there is something you either are doing that is wrong, or not doing enough of the right things...#4 is NEVER an option.
|Subject:||It's like rolling dice...|
|Date:||Jun 03 12:55|
|If rolling a six makes the church true, and you roll a 3, well, you just need to roll it again until you get a six. Once you get the six, stop rolling because you have proven the church is true. Moroni's promise is so ... stupid.|
|Subject:||One shot at getting them to accept it without admitting they could be wrong...(Thoughts, please)|
|Date:||Jun 03 13:06|
|Excellent statement of the problem EOTC.
One of many things I have thought about saying to my family when I finally bring it up:
"Look, I was being worthy, I was on my mission, obeying every little rule, working constantly, praying constantly, fasting. I wasn't breaking any rules, I wasn't being immoral in ANY way, I was doing all I could. Much more than many converts would do, but would still claim a witness. I NEVER GOT AN ANSWER. It killed me, I felt terrible about it, I NEVER GOT AN ANSWER.
"Isn't it possible that some people won't get that answer in this life? Maybe you're right, and Mormonism is true, amd maybe many people have tried that and gotten a response. But maybe God has other ideas for me. God moves in mysterious ways. We can't understand everything in this life. I can't explain why it would work this way, but all I can do is follow what God has led me to."
Etc... This is sort of a last-ditch appeal to not have family members think I am some deranged lunatic or goat-pornographer, or whatever else they decide must be wrong with me. This approach means I'm not trying to convert them anymore (so probably not a lasting approach for a spouse, say), I'm just trying to get them to see a Mormon-compatible justification for the idea that God might have lead me in another direction.
If they say the promise seems to apply to everyone, you just go back to 'It does look that way; I don't understand why God works the way he does. I just know I can't deny what he has and hasn't told me..." Stuff like that.
What do you think, Any chance?
|Subject:||What you DO know is that you DON'T know...|
|Date:||Jun 03 13:16|
|that's valid knowledge. Nothing has happened. You're
a decent person, not perfect, but what would God expect, anyway?
It's their problem not yours, still you're out-numbered. Except here at RFM. Here they're out-numbered.
|Subject:||Ask them if they'd feel better if you just lied to them...|
|Date:||Jun 03 13:23|
|I can only imagine that they would want you to tell
the truth. God commanded that you not bear false witness, right? Which
is to say not bear a "false testimony".
They would have to respect you for your honesty. They might also feel a twinge of guilt, there's a good chance they've fibbed a bit about their own faith.
|Subject:||With my family, that question might backfire|
|Date:||Jun 03 14:02|
|My TBM mother once told my brother that she would rather hear a lie, than hear something that would hurt her.|
|Subject:||INTIMIDATION - INTIMIDATION - INTIMIDATION -|
|Date:||Jun 03 13:37|
|You know it's true don't you? Everyone else knows
it's true, why not you? You're a decent person so you must know it's
true - you are decent aren't you?
Read Breaking the Will of Members in short topics. They are trying to tell you what you know and what you don't know. They want to control how you think through social pressure. Eventually you won't know if it's your own mind or not.
|Date:||Jun 03 14:30|
|I experienced the same thing...I really, sincerely
tried to gain a testimony multiple times in my life, and never did. I
felt warm and emotional sometimes, but just like I did when I heard the
national anthem or something. So that wasn't enough for me.
When I recently told my parents my decision to leave the church, that was my main focus in the explanation. That I had never received any kind of undeniable witness that it was true. And that I had truly searched. I talked myself into believing I had one, just because I couldn't believe that God wouldn't answer my prayers, but deep down inside I knew that I hadn't received anything of note.
This really disturbed my parents, of course. It's not within their realm of logic that a faithful searcher will not find what she's looking for.
About a week later, my mom sat me down and told me that she had thought about it a lot, and that she thought I must have been molested as a child (by some male babysitter that she hired when I was two), and that that experience was so traumatic that somehow I shut myself off from the feelings of the Spirit. So that's why I couldn't hear the Lord's answer to my prayers. It made me sad to see that she would rather believe something so horrible and tragic than admit the possibility of something else going on.
I honestly didn't know what to say to that. I felt like it was a pretty big leap of logic just to avoid the idea that maybe, just maybe, I didn't get an answer because it wasn't true.
|Subject:||zen - that is an amazing construction from your mother|
|Date:||Jun 03 15:11|
|Is there something about the worry of raising children that warps ones sense of reality?|
|Subject:||Re: "No Testimony? -- So What's Wrong With You!"|
|Date:||Jun 03 15:43|
|I heard that quite a bit as well, the only time I ever got up was to totally fake it, but Mormons are so gullible, they bought it. My ex used to always say that I wasn't "worthy" enough or that I wasn't praying right. Then again, he blamed me for everything that went wrong anyway, so it wasn't too surprising that he would blame me for that as well.|
|Subject:||There's more than enough to go wrong...|
|Date:||Jun 03 16:01|
|...so that you never get your promised testimony. I
mean, do you really have your food supply up to date? What about the
home teaching you missed in January? Your daughter got three ear
piercings, not the allowed number. Remember that "one day" in
the mission field, did you ever really atone for it? Is your intent
really real? Is your heart truly pure?
With all the numerous church rules, there will always be an explanation for why God has withheld a testimony-type revelation from you.
You can't beat LDS thinking.
|Subject:||but worthiness is not a part of "Moroni's promise."|
|Date:||Jun 03 16:32|
|being worthy or without sin are not required. You
"only" need ask with a sincere heart, real intent and faith in
Believe me, I was sincere and had a real intent. I never thought my problem was some sin, but rather, a lack of faith. That was the Catch-22. How could I have faith when that was what I was look for in the first place? And if I had faith, there wouldn't be any need to ask? After quite some struggle, like many here, I convinced myself that I must have received some answer. But deep down, I knew that I had not.
So the bottom line, if there's any need to convince a tbm that your not a sinner, is that it's not on account of any sin, it's on account of a lack of faith. That's something I can live with.
|Date:||Jun 03 17:17|
|It always bothered me that Mormons said you had to
be living "right" to even be worthy of the Spirit, and
therefore worthy to receive answers.
Just another way to keep everyone in lock-step so they don't even think of questioning what they're hearing.