Subject: The myth of losing one's testimony
Date: Oct 14 08:39
Author: T-bone

I always get a kick out of the way Mormons describe it when somebody leaves the Mormon church.

* He fell away.
* She's struggling.
* They lost their testimony.

I've probably missed a few hundred, but the point is the way they word it makes it look like an accident. It's not like I was rock-climbing and fell. Once I figured out Joseph Smith had lied, there was no more struggle. The only struggle that might have occurred was all the bad information trying to fight back all the undeniable evidence that this church was not what it claimed to be.

Finally, I did not lose my testimony. A testimony of the truthfulness of the LDS church is an exercise in self-deception. Sure, some of us have experienced deeply moving events in our lives that we had no explanation for.

Here's what I've found. I have had deeply moving experiences when I'm in nature more than any other time in my life. I get the feeling that everything is going to be ok. I call it serenity. But I certainly don't want to be so arrogant as to say I get inspired because of what book I've read or because I'm following a certain set of dietary rules. I have had great inspiration when drinking coffee, for example.

The truth is, any testimony I had of the LDS church was fabricated. I didn't know it at the time. I really wanted to have a testimony because it validated my decision to keep going to church. I learned to romanticize any good feelings I had about family, my ward, and other Mormons.

But in my life I try to be rigorously honest with myself. I've found through trial, error, and my own pain that life is much better that way. The consequences of self-deception are devestating. Thus, I have a very low threshold of pain and a very low tolerance for self-deception. I cannot be around people who are engaging in self-deception, whether it's about religion, relationships, or addictions.

In Mormonism, I see people who are saying things that really do not make sense. They are ignoring the big elephant in the room. They are doing things to enslave themselves to the LDS church, and they are telling themselves that it's the best thing. I see people in Mormonism make poor choices, justifying those poor choices to themselves and everybody else around them. I see young people rush in to marriages when divorce is not an option, and thus sentence themselves to a long, unhappy life. I see young people having children way before they are ready. And I see co-dependence between family members.

I cannot be with people who speak with absolute authority on subjects they are completely ignorant about, and sometimes completely wrong about. I heard talks on raising children, finances, marriage, gays, politics (but not really), and various subjects that are completely inconsistent with my life experience. I saw young people being told to breed as early and as often as possible.

I have to be honest with myself. I cannot give a talk to young people and tell them not to put off starting a famiily. I know the benefits of waiting. I cannot tell them to write a check for tithing when they can't pay their rent. I cannot tell them to have another child when they are receiving assistance to feed the children they have. I can't be a party to all the self-deception. I cannot tell people to ignore everything they see and follow a group of old men who are completely out of touch with their followers.

I did not "lose" my testimony. I made a choice. I made a conscious decision to no longer be part of a system of self-deception, and deception of others on a mass scale. I stopped letting people tell me what to think and started learning how to think. I made a decision to leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I didn't lose anything. But I did get back my dignity, my privacy, and my self-respect.



Subject: Re: The myth of losing one's testimony
Date: Oct 14 08:48
Author: lightfingerlouie

I liked your post.

I struggled for years, trying to generate a "testimony." I heard the "testimonies" of others, but could not come up with one for myself.
It just did not happen.

I tried the required methods---reading the "Book of Mormon," fasting, prayer, and dealing with all my guilt. I had a lot of guilt.

I finally had my moment of enlightenment on my mission. I had a companion who did not really fit the mold---but he kept going, and kept trying.

One night, out of the blue, he said what I had not allowed myself to think: "We call our belief knowledge." There it was, as plain and simple as it could be . Mormons call their belief knowledge. It is not real at all. Its a mind fuck.


Subject: Re: The myth of losing one's testimony
Date: Oct 14 11:03
Author: The Detestifier

Excellent thoughts and insights by T-Bone and lightfingerlouie. Thank you for taking time to develop your ideas and feelings and sharing them.

These kind of expressions I feel help others of us who feel the same way but have had difficulty verbalizing them in a way that makes sense.

I applaud the regular contributors and enjoy your comments. Keep them coming.


Subject: Re: The myth of losing one's testimony
Date: Oct 14 08:48
Author: wisedup

Excellent post.

Just what does the cult give to its members?


Subject: Re: The myth of losing one's testimony
Date: Oct 14 09:27
Author: Baura

a "testimony" is an INTERPRETATION one gives to some experience, usually subjective, that one had.

Now when one has had an experience, subjective or not, it is hard to say that one didn't have the experience. This is a point emphasized by Mormons. They confuse the experience with its interpretation. There is a big difference between re-interpreting a previous experience in view of further information and denying that an experience happened.


Subject: testimony
Date: Oct 14 16:04
Author: 3X

I'm not sure I have ever heard, or read on a blog, an authentic interpretation of some 'spiritual' experience by a MoMan. What I do hear and see is a robotic replay of formulaic church-approved affirmation.

They are simply fabricating a faithful orientation out of thin air and making it permanent through repetitious droning.

It clearly works - but it would work for any subject matter:
"I know that David Koresh is a prophet of the Lord, and in his martyrdom he has saved Mankind." Repeat it often enough, and you may become a true believer.


Subject: Your last paragraph
Date: Oct 14 09:54
Author: Nebularry

says it best. There was nothing to "lose", it was a conscious choice. Regardless of the reason one comes to that choice (and there are many different reasons) it is one of liberation and freedom.

Good post! Thanks.


Subject: Very wise thoughts, T-bone. Thank-you for sharing them.
Date: Oct 14 10:12
Author: brian-the-christ

I followed the adivce of my LDS leaders and had 6 children before I was 30. I did not know how to be a father. I was overwhelmed trying to support 8 people on a military salary.

I did all that because I wanted to be obedient and not put off starting a family. I have a friend who just found out his wife is pregnant with their 7th and he earns less than $40k per year.

I gave up my life as a helicopter pilot and went back to school at 26 because I was determined to earn more money. I had to essentially ignore my wife and children to push my income up to a level that would support us.

The Mormon leaders give their advice very freely and it is worth even less than we pay for it.


Subject: For the same expressions I use: "He woke up", "She got her senses back" or "They found out" n/t


Subject: Re: The myth of losing one's testimony
Date: Oct 14 10:41
Author: maeve

There is also the idea that you have to work everyday to keep your testimony so that you won't lose your "knowledge of the truth." You would think that if it were known in "every fiber of your being" it would be like knowing the sun would be rising every morning; i.e. something you wouldn't have to constantly be talking yourself into "knowing".


Subject: I was told I was having a 'crisis of faith'.....
Date: Oct 14 10:45
Author: finding my way out

Excellent post. I made a choice, as you stated, and have been much happier. My experience in the lds church after more than 50 years has given me the right to give myself permission to THINK and question.

What a relief for my brain. Thanks T-Bone. I always enjoy your thoughts.


Subject: I once put an APB out for my testimony.
Date: Oct 14 10:57
Author: notamomo

I thought maybe it had been kidnapped or had run away. I checked everywhere, under the couch cushions, in the lint trap of the dryer, but it was nowhere to be found.

Come to find out the little bastard ran away with my naivete and gullability. They were last seen being carried off by Big Foot/Big Brother Cain.

Losing one's "testimony" in the LDSCult = Getting a clue! :-)


Subject: Re: I once put an APB out for my testimony.
Date: Oct 14 16:45
Author: Moroni's Wings

Well put, notamomo. Personally I didn't lose my testimony so much as I lost my patience. Why would the truth require suspension of disbelief? Suspension of disbelief is the ideology of fiction!


Subject: Re: The myth of losing one's testimony
Date: Oct 14 18:01
Author: C22

Losing a testimony.... giving up on irrational warm fuzzy feelings that are a dime a dozen and that can apply to any myth or belief system, and replaced by research, evaluation, and decision.


Subject: Thanks for your replies, everybody
Date: Oct 14 18:08
Author: T-bone

I enjoy so much of what you guys write as well. I am glad I am sometimes able to contribute.

If I had more time, I'd really like to expand on the idea. Saying we have lost something is really poor wording. I've heard supporters of the LDS church say that those who leave are bitter because they have lost the source of their happiness.

That doesn't make sense at all. If Mormonism was the source of my happiness, and if leaving made me bitter, wouldn't going back make me happy? It makes sense, right? If you are miserable because you are hungry, eat something. If you are grumpy because you're tired, get some sleep. But if you're bitter because you've stopped going to church, going to church should make you happy, right?

Once I started to figure out that the LDS church was not what it claimed to be, I could no longer stand being there. It was like a bad case of senioritis. Going back to church after a few weeks off was like seeing an old flame. I could romanticize the good times, but that doesn't make the Mormon church true. Holding on to the few deeply movig experiences I had while I was a member is not going to make the LDS truth any more true. It's not going to make the things that Joseph Smith said true.

It was too late. The genie was out of the bottle. If there was any struggle, it was because I did not want to admit I had made a bad choice. The only thing that would be worse is to continue to make bad choices. But continuing to make bad choices is only going to waste more time.

I decided it was time to cut and run.



Subject: My response
Date: Oct 14 19:40
Author: Richard Packham

Here's my response to Mormons who use the "you've lost your testimony" vocabulary (from my collection at , "Questions from Mormons to Exmormons")

Q: It's sad that you have lost your testimony.
A: Actually I have GAINED a testimony: I know, with every fiber of my being, and beyond any shadow of doubt, that Joseph Smith was a fraud, a womanizer and a liar, and that the church he founded is a man-made organization, and that the Book of Mormon is a 19th century work of imaginary fiction. I have gained this testimony through careful prayer and study, and the Spirit of Truth has confirmed it to me. This knowledge has brought me great joy and peace of mind. Would you like to know more?

Q: Obviously you never really had a testimony of the Gospel.
A: If I didn't, it wasn't for lack of trying. Actually I really did believe it all. Otherwise I would never have paid all that tithing or busted my butt trying to fulfill all those callings.


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