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Posted by: Concerned ( )
Date: September 05, 2022 05:19PM

Back when I was a kid in the late 50's to 80's I would go to testimony meetings and hear all sorts of weird things plus what I thought were spiritual uplifting events people had. I would hear how people really studied the gospel to seek answers to questions and they would share that journey with us.
Fast forward to today. Testimony meeting is more an "Open Mike" experience these days. I never hear of any great spiritual experiences but I hear a lot of "I am beating myself because I struggle to live the gospel principles." I do not hear any grand spiritual insights from things people are studying but I do hear "I know we have a prophet to guide us." My question is why the difference over the years. I think it has to do with dumbing things down.
Yesterday a boy of about 10 bore his testimony that the night before Sunday he prayed to know Jesus. The next day the lesson at Church was on Jesus. I am not sure if that the depth I would want to to have to know Jesus, nor is that an answer to prayer since the focus of the Church is on Jesus.
I never here very much, "I know the Church is true anymore." I hear "I know we have a prophet." I never hear how people know the BOM is true. Nor "the Pearl of Great Price is True." Not much on "I know JS was a prophet," But they do know the temple stuff is true and families are forever. Tell us how you know that. The world is not flocking to the Church because we know Families are forever. There are many good people out there that are not members. You would think they would be breaking done the doors to set sealed, etc.
One last observation. Why are the missionaries not bring families into the Church like they did in the late 60's to the 80's.
I notice when Sacrament meeting is over people are very distant to each other. Its like they have been drugged. Just my thoughts.

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Posted by: loislane ( )
Date: September 05, 2022 05:30PM

Yesterday I went to an LDS singles ward for the first time in MANY years.

I sat thru two sacrament meetings of Young Adults bearing their testimony.

The thing that stood out more than anything else was that not once during any of the meetings did anyone utter the words "Joseph Smith." No pictures, no reference, nothing. It was like they all belonged to a church that had nothing to do with Joseph Smith.

On the other hand I heard the words "Jesus Christ" and "Atonement" a LOT.

I didn't hear of any outstanding spiritual experiences, but I did hear a lot about people yearning for such an experience.

I heard a lot about depression, sadness, and feeling down, but a firm belief that Jesus would make it all okay. It's like they were telling each other that it was okay to be depressed sometimes, which, of course it is.

Most strange moment of the meeting was right before the sacrament was passed, the bishop reassuring everyone in the room that there was no gluten in the bread. None. Not even a little bit. He said it in the reassuring, but calm tone of voice that a doctor would use telling a patient he did not have cancer.

All in all, I got a sense of fine young people striving to live as good a life as possible, and trying to figure out how to do that.

Whether these fine young people stay in or out of the LDS Church, I wish them the best, and I am glad they are a part of this new generation.

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 01:31AM

The amount of gluten in a tiny nibble of bread is not going to cause anyone any issues. Not only that it has been blessed by the holy priesthood. It's sanctified gluten, the body of christ. I find their lack of faith disturbing.

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Posted by: anon for this one ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 12:30PM

It takes the intestine 6 weeks to heal. Get some every couple of weeks, and I am in real trouble.

I am totally responsible for my gluten intake. I don't rely on what people say - but I do rely on labels.

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Posted by: loislane ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 02:20PM

You don't know how delicate and refined these YSA young ladies are.

I remember when baking gluten-saturated bread was a Mormon mother's badge of honor.

Now, they won't even use it in the sacrament.

How times have changed.


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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 02:50PM

loislane Wrote:

> I remember when baking gluten-saturated bread was
> a Mormon mother's badge of honor.
> Now, they won't even use it in the sacrament.

> How times have changed.

Exactly, Lois; My first nibbles were at a small branch in Northern Minnesota,mid 60s, one of the women baked bread that was baked with bacon fat instead of butter; investigator me remarked that it was quite different tasting…

I seem to recall the bread was the same every Sunday…

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: September 05, 2022 08:43PM

"Its like they have been drugged."

LDS is a cultural hallucinogen. The previous chemist must have "gone away" because the new one isn't any good.

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Posted by: gemini ( )
Date: September 05, 2022 10:47PM

A relative noted in her online journal that 6 people bore their testimony yesterday. That seemed like a very small number. So I wondered if there was a lot of uncomfortable silence or if the members are more verbose at the microphone now days. Not that I care, but just wondered. Also, I never really counted how many on any given fast Sunday went up to bear their testimony.

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Posted by: BoydKKK ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 01:42AM

Try living in an area with a small branch and severe winters. At times meetings cancelled due to blowing snow and -40(f) temperatures. "No one needs to die trying to get to a church meeting" - Branch President.

Then at times meetings where 2-6 total in attendance. Summer record was 23 at one time.

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Posted by: Rubicon ( )
Date: September 05, 2022 10:56PM

It’s all going to be Jesus now. The members just parrot the leaders. Russ is a big Jesus freak.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 02:54PM

Are Kindness, Honesty, & Respect for others part of Russ’ Jesus Theme these Ladder Days?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2022 03:10PM by GNPE.

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Posted by: cheezus ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 02:45PM

Back in the 70's - 90's I remember hearing the phrase "beyond a shadow of a doubt" alot. It sort of drove me crazy hearing that. It lost all meaning for me even at such a young age. Remember when the deacons would pass around the microphone too? It was not always go to the podium for the testification. As bad as those were in yester-year, the open mic meetings today are lacking in creativity. It is an exercise in mindless repetition for the most part. I just cannot go to those meetings anymore. They are not even entertaining for the possibility of what might be said. I'm sure they help people out more that stay in at this stage of the game.

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Posted by: Bite Me ( )
Date: September 28, 2022 01:46AM


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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 02:56PM

Was I was attending there was a definite Herd Mentality; there would be silence until- unless certain key members got up…

just me?

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 03:03PM

The highlight of the week might be seeing a ward member in the Costco gas line and getting a break to save a dime while filling up the Mormon-mobile. Good times indeed!

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 03:09PM

Chevy Suburban: MAV-

Mormon Assault Vehicle

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Posted by: want2bx ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 03:14PM

Testimony meeting is and has always been a very strange practice. No matter how many times leaders tell members what the "rules" of testimony bearing are and what they should and shouldn't share, there are always a few who share whatever they want. The Mormon church is desperate to make itself seem more mainstream, so it actually wouldn't surprise me if the church did away with monthly testimony bearing in sacrament meeting in the near future. Or maybe change it so that those who give testimonies are assigned like talks are. Or only have testimony bearing in Relief Society and Priesthood meeting one week a month.

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Posted by: dot matrix printer ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 04:37PM

So what changed?

A lot- Jesus disappeared from 2000 and the world continued on

Hinkley admitted that $hit happens to explain away terrorism.

Uhm, TSM wasn't much of a profit.

I think all of the top leaders are bigots and homophobes, but I think the threw TSM under the bus as I think his dementia made him the lame profit. He became the scapegoat of the church's flip-flop gay children policies.

Nelson has rebranded the church.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 04:57PM

dot matrix printer Wrote:
> I think all of the top leaders are bigots and
> homophobes, but I think the threw TSM under the
> bus as I think his dementia made him the lame
> profit. He became the scapegoat of the church's
> flip-flop gay children policies.

Their leadership selection criteria virtually guarantees this is a treasured continuity feature of Mormonism

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Posted by: Shinehah ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 06:38PM

Last ward I attended, the bishop or bishopric person conducting would give the standard admonition that members should bear short heartfelt testimonies of Jesus. Then there would be about 40 minutes of health reports, travelogues & with the occasional lost key or wayward family member returning to the church story thrown in.

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Posted by: Third of Five ( )
Date: September 06, 2022 07:35PM

In the 90s and 00s I would always hear:

I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of god
I know that the Book of Mormon is true
I know that the church is true

Without fail I would hear at least one of these phrases in any of the ‘real’ testimonies (i.e. not in stories about finding keys or not getting murdered, etc).

So it is very interesting if this is no longer a thing.

Also, back then it was really a big thing to show that you were happy, even when you weren’t. Because otherwise the implication was that you were not being righteous enough (wickedness never was happiness, if you live the gospel you will be blessed and happy etc). So is it generational thing that has just defied the church, or what?

I loved the crazy testimonies and wish I could remember more of them. I hated the virtue signalling stuff, and let’s be honest, a lot of it was that. Is that still the case?

Also common back then: certain people saying the same stuff each time, like the sister who talked about her “tribulations” and how the Lord was helping her to not kick the bucket or fall into the hands of Satan. Is crazy stuff still tolerated?
I just imagine an organisation becoming increasingly soulless, and it was that way already to some extent. “It’s like they have been drugged”. I feel guilty for finding this phrase hilarious. But it’s not too hard to imagine. The church takes itself so seriously. The bread thing would only be a huge issue for coeliac disease; im gluten intolerance and a tiny piece of bread wouldn’t affect me. So I guess it’s nice they’d do that, but I just get the sense the mormon corp is becoming more anxious and more serious?

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Posted by: Slowly Unravelling the Faith ( )
Date: September 07, 2022 03:31PM

I absolutely agree with many observations on this thread---I have noticed over the past few years, that most of the returned missionary talks and even the outtakes that are included on the Stake Missionary Recaps, say NOTHING about the Book of Mormon, historicity of the BoM, evidence or even stories or translations from God, older prophets (JS or BY or any other previous ones), Pearl of Great Price, peopling of the Americas, etc., but all say the following. I believe in:
Current Prophet
we need to be more Christlike
etc etc. You could literally take their responses and put them with almost ANY Christian church, and you would not know that these were remarks coming from the Mormons. It's very interesting, but I think it is because of a few things:
1. They don't really have "testimonies" of the same things we learned as kids growing up in the church. Namely Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, etc., because they know it was all lies, and made-up crap. Translations, historicity, problems with all of that. They don't believe it anymore, and are practicing some serious cognitive dissonance in order to give a testimony of the "safe" things that haven't been debunked yet by DNA or actual documents
2. Dumbing down of current-day Mormon church, to fit the mold and be more acceptable by other people and other religions. I.e., mormons aren't weird, and we're just like you

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Posted by: subeamnotlogedin ( )
Date: September 07, 2022 03:47PM

In the 90s and 00s I would always hear:

I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of god
I know that the Book of Mormon is true
I know that the church is true"

I went to church in Germany and I remember people saying those things over and over again during testimony meeting.

I have not been to church in years except for cousins baptism or for family support. A German active member has said to me that last fast Sunday nobody sais Joseph Smith during testimony meeting. So I asked him directly how many times Joseph Smith was mentioned and he said not even once.

Interesting? What made the shift?

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 07, 2022 09:55PM

subeamnotlogedin Wrote:

> I have not been to church in years except for
> cousins baptism or for family support. A German
> active member has said to me that last fast Sunday
> nobody sais Joseph Smith during testimony meeting.
> So I asked him directly how many times Joseph
> Smith was mentioned and he said not even once.
> Interesting? What made the shift?

Nelson made the shift.

I attended my former home ward in 2019. I felt like a stranger there. Sure same order of sacrament meeting, same lousy whiny hymns.

-BUT no speaking of past prophets, JS the BoM, Mormonism or even Nelson himself. It was all about Jesus. All the talks were about getting to know Jesus, loving him and serving him.

It was very strange to this 50+ year old. Definitely not the church that I was reared in.

The only similar feeling that I experienced was wanting to get out of Dodge after Sacrament meeting finished. A lot of others left too! The parking lot was jammed with vehicles trying to get out of the lot as quickly as p[ossible.

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Posted by: laperla not logged in ( )
Date: September 09, 2022 04:59PM

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Posted by: Chicken N. Backpacks ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 01:07PM

I was just thinking about this yesterday (no, I will not go back to Church™ because of the coincidence); I don't know if I'm successfully paying leess attention to GC, but "I know the Church is true™" doesn't seem to play as much these days. Maybe it's filtering down from RMN. The "correct name of the of the church is non-negotiable" thing amuses me, because at the same time, it seems like "latter-day saints" is routinely scrubbed from websites until you really look closely; a lot of people would assume it's called 'The Church of Jesus Christ' or even 'The Church of Christ'.
So which is it? The Prophet pushing the full name of TSCC, or corporate re-branding?
In any case, yeah, the church is true....ain't...

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 10, 2022 02:11PM

Anything we used to say in F&T back in the fifties and sixties would seem like a comedy routine now, like, "I'm looking forward to the day when the world knows what we know---that Central America was the land of Father Lehi's descendents and those stone ruins are the remnants of those ancient Jews--the Nephites and Lamanites. Oh, and that world finally realizes that coffee is pure poison. So glad I know that."

So what is there left left to say at the pulpit?

"My Dear Brothers and Sisters. I bear witness to you this day that in the afterlife this current mess will all be cleared up by our loving Heavenly Father. . . . I hope."

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Posted by: Lord Admiral Russell M. Nelson ( )
Date: September 11, 2022 01:34PM

I did not grow up in the Mormon Church (yes...Rusty), but I converted to it at 18. Active for more or less a decade (80s). I never heard ANY testimony of Jesus during Testimony Meeting, except one girl, one time. All the other testimonies were:

"I know the Church is true. I know the Book of MOrmon is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God. I know that ___(fill in the blank)_____ is a true Prophet of God, and I say this in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Often, women would give Thankfulmonies: "I am so thankful for my parents/children/husband/friends in the Ward/Church".

If Testimonies today are about "Jesus" that is a complete 180 from what they were when I was active LDS. Even though every prayer ended "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen" Jesus was otherwise forgotten and not discussed. The atonement of Jesus was never discussed in Sacrament Meeting of priesthood meetings, to my recollection. It did come up in Sunday School, where the emphasis was on the Atonement was NOT on the Cross but actually in the Garden of Gethsemane, and that Jesus' atonement saves all men and women from death, but Celestial Glory comes not from Jesus' atonement, but from "completely obedience to the laws or ordinances of the Gospel" and to Church leaders. It will drilled into our heads every Sunday, for three agonizing hours, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. "Tithing" was discussed all the time. We we also commanded to store "A Year's Supply" of food and water, to that we would survive the "Judgments" (i.e. Jesus destroying all nations and peoples save the Mormons and the Lost Tribes). Well, all that stored food and water, millions of tons of it, stored by Mormons starting in 1975, went to nothing, and went bad and was thrown out long ago. Nobody benefited from all that food, because it was kept until it expired and not even pigs would eat it. All one big WASTE. Like my years in the Church.

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Posted by: Mr. Roboto ( )
Date: September 14, 2022 06:09PM

The church has a huge PR program. Such included the change of their logo, where the word "Jesus Christ" became larger. Such in order to be accepted as a Christian church.

In the 70s, giving priesthood to blacks was also a PR stunt.

With the Internet and online education, not many sane people would say that "The Mormon church is the only true church on the face of the earth". The level of education of people and their entourage has changed.

I always looked at the LDS church as an exclusive club and a corporation that sought to control members through various means, including the BoM mantra reading, social pressure, family pressure, mission righteousness and rights, etc. Education and Internet has changed. So their discourse has to be different... actually no different that the one of an exclusive club.

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: September 15, 2022 08:37PM

"Giving priesthood to blacks was also a PR stunt." Maybe, but my sense when it happened was to correct a lot of difficulties that were arising. In places like Brazil the church was baptizing thousands and thousands of new members in 1978, some were made priesthood holders and leaders only to discover they had African ancestors when they started doing Geneology. In the US lots of organizations were beginning to push back against LDS racism. Black Panthers attending meetings in LA, but more importantly college football teams were beginning to refuse to play BYU! I think Kimball realized that the Church ultimately would not survive being a blatantly racist organization.

I was on my mission in a very white and homogeneous country when the announcement was made. About 70 percent of the dear members were shocked, angry and and shaken with cognitive dissonance.

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Posted by: midwestanon ( )
Date: September 21, 2022 01:03AM

How does a testimony meeting that is absent Joseph Smith, his succeeding prophets, his doctrines and specific Mormon teachings (temple worship, the celestial kingdom, the ‘baptism and redemption of the dead’, Man’s ascent into Godhood, conferring priesthood authority on boys, etc.) remotely resemble a Mormon testimony meeting? I understand the churches desire to seem less alien and strange from other Christian faiths (which to me seems a basically inconsistent and at heart a cynical and faithless effort). After all, Mormons are God’s ‘peculiar people’, saved for the latter days that have seemed to persist for several generations now without any evidence of a second coming, evidence of end times or any gathering of Zion or whatever the hell is supposed to happen before the great events that supposedly define the end of all mortal existence.

I think these issues, in addition to the utter disgusting perversions Joseph Smith undeniably participated in, has lead to local Mormons, including Stake Presidents, Bishops, and all adults to follow the lead of the big 15 and slowly begin to be move away from strange and alienating teachings that could detract from potential converts, or maybe just as important, help retain members. No emphasizing the ‘martyrdom’ of Joseph Smith -a gun battle where he shot several people with a little pepperbox pistol. What an example to martyrdom, to violently protect your life to the last second with every hope of avoiding having to die for your faith, but dying anyway in the false notion that those after you will write a selective history, omit certain details (a destroyed printing press, a combative movement within Mormonism they vehemently disagreed and resented polygamy, and those that probably did not appreciate Joseph’s iron grip on the town of Nuavoo and his megalomaniacal aspirations to run for president.)

It’s past hoping that the average run of the mill Mormon (in the Us or Europe) is not aware of these facts. All one can do now is devalue them, and create a bland, Christ centered church based on the atonement and Christ and all sorts of more or less normal Protestant ideals. Of course, the doctrine of Mormonism is rife within even these Christian ideals- that one cannot atone for sins without a total reconciliation with the church’s beliefs including their steadfastness in the testimony of JS Jr. as a prophet, a belief in tithing, that one must be worthy to and eventually attend a bizarre temple ceremony pantomiming various disquieting acts (or maybe that’s discontinued), and afterward demonstrate faithfulness by wearing a hideous garment that shames many men and women into making choices in clothing that are essentially foisted upon them- and disobedience or inconsistency with the temple garb considered an act to jeopardize your salvation. A firm testimony is required of the 15 serving even if it’s not broadcast at a testimony meeting at much, because ultimately nothing is different. All must testify of the churches current retinue of men living into their 80’s and 90’s (mostly), and despite wits failing them or poor health, they are sworn as mouthpieces for God on this earth, regardless of their mental acuity, Reading about Ezra Taft Benson near the end did as much to disillusion me as anything else, spending his last months out of touch with reality

So yea, nothing is different. Emphasis is placed on Christ, and that could only be an improvement, since he sought to expose hypocrisies, ensure that the law of Moses was fulfilled and arbitrary measure were no longer required to demonstrate faithfulness, and mostly that the greatest commandment was love one another. He had (if he did exist) some other things I didn’t get on board with, but a man who tended to the lowest, scorned the highest, and and made clear that loving your neighbor was the expression of Gods love is something I can pretty much get on board with, since those things are important to me, regardless of the reality of God and Christ. So Mormons coming to the pulpit to send these messages home over the past 10 years or so instead of asinine horseshit about mens earrings, Talks about the temple and temple marriage, talk after talk about the Evils of pornography, and a hagiographic and completely flattering (to the omission of any fault) of Joseph Smith- like his 34 wives and affairs and sending men away and his failed bank and his treasure digging, stone-looking,and his in-laws more or less revulsion of him as a slacker…

I guess my point is the church can emphasize Christ, the atonement, more generic church topics but the real Mormon doctrines will always flow to through or even supersede these messages. I haven’t listened to much by the way of church talks, local or otherwise in the past decade, but it seems that the church can put on a public face only so much before it becomes obvious that this is not a typical Christian religion. It’s extremely rule oriented, domineering, holds the threat of wrath and salvation over peoples head when they’ve done wrong or don’t pay tithing (this was done to me as a small teenager…) and in many other ways acts with secret, self-important groups of adults to determine anything from ward activities and budgets to intimate discussions of the sins of ‘wayward’ members. I can’t think of anything more counterproductive than
having your private mistake or issue or predilection with 12 people at a church discipline hearing. Maybe that’s the point, to scare, browbeat, and intimidate into submission.

Testimonies ring false today. They just seem scripted and repetitive. At the they use to be spontaneous and sometimes had an interesting story. It’s all just a prop show. It’s all been about Joseph and his church, now they just use subtle bywords to say so. Maybe in 50 years if the church has divested its 100 billion dollars into a tithing rebate or a charity truly devoted to helping those they’ve hurt through abuses in the ecclesiastical interview system or maybe just giving the money away to good causes! (Profoundly unlikely) it could turn into just a regular church. I’m all for that, but a Mormon church has a massive financial windfall that probably self-perpetuates through interest in tithing and private donations.

The best I can hope for is my generations and younger generations en-masse disinterest and lack of attendance. Of course if that happens it’ll just be a super wealthy religious group with a fraction of the members it had in the last 90’s- at least real active ones.

Sorry, that was long, but I had a lot to say about it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/21/2022 01:11AM by midwestanon.

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Posted by: Eric3 ( )
Date: September 26, 2022 05:53PM

"The church has a huge PR program. Such included the change of their logo, where the word "Jesus Christ" became larger. Such in order to be accepted as a Christian church"

"the church can put on a public face only so much before it becomes obvious that this is not a typical Christian religion."

Both of these are true. Which sets up inherent conflict. How do they handle it?

From what I've seen: the public messages never mention certain things, but never outright deny what any insider would know. That worked better before the Internet.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 26, 2022 07:23PM

Eric3 Wrote:
> That worked better before the Internet.

True of virtually the whole LDS church and LDS life.

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Posted by: Rubicon ( )
Date: September 26, 2022 10:55PM

Open mic Sunday usually was spent listening to the same gaggle of attention whores then if they didn't take up all the time there would be long awkward moments of silence and then someone would come up to the mic and cry and talk about how Jesus loved them.

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Posted by: Rubicon ( )
Date: September 26, 2022 11:09PM

People bored out of their skull often look drugged. If they were putting drugs in the sacrament that might lure more people back to church.

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