It is such an ‘inspiring’ scene. The proud father walks up to the podium with his young son. He hoists him up to the microphone and whispers in the boy’s ear.

“I live my mother and father. I know the church is true. I know that Thomas Monson is a prophet just like Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I am thankful for my family and for my friends. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

They return to their seats where the mother beams with joy at the strength demonstrated by her child. The words tend to change slightly, but the pattern persists for the meeting, interrupted periodically by a rambling travel monologue. As the testimonies shift from the youth to the mature members of the ward, more often than not, the testimony contains expressions of gratitude for the church, for the gospel, for the restoration, for the prophets and apostles and other leaders. The list is fairly short.

As the next Fast and Testimony meeting approaches next week, I turn my attention to the scriptural basis for the expression of our testimonies.

If you ask an evangelical Christian about testimony, you will often be told their story of how they became a Christian. This typically describes the events around their personal ‘coming to Jesus.’ For Mormons, it is somewhat different. The testimony becomes more of a series of statements that has been more or less validated by their experience in the church. In the earlier example, our youth are taught that it is appropriate to stand before the congregation and recite a series of ‘knows’ even though there may not yet be a basis for the ‘knowledge.’ What should our personal testimony reference? Should it be based on a standard set of catechisms regarding the church, the gospel and the leadership?

I turn to the scriptures for examples of testimonies. In these first examples, we find the person accused of serious crimes and are called to defend themselves. Paul has been taken by the Jews and was brought before the Roman king for an audience. Here is what we read in Acts, chapter 26:

1  THEN Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself.  Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:

2  I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:

3  Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.

4  My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;

5  Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

6  And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:

7  Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.  For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.

8  Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

9  I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

10  Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.

11  And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

12  Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,

13  At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.

14  And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

15  And I said, Who art thou, Lord?  And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.

16  But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

17  Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,

18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

19  Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

20  But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judæa, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

21  For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.

22  Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:

23  That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

24  And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

25  But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

26  For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

27  King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?  I know that thou believest.

28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

29  And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

In this lengthy quote, Paul describes his early worldview and his diligent efforts to rout the Christians,  followed by his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. His mission was then to bring people to Christ so that they could receive a forgiveness of their sins and be sanctified. Is that not what we are called to do also? Are we not to bring people to Christ where they can be joined with those who have been sanctified? Join with the Saints?

What Paul presented to king Agrippa was the gospel. The path by which we can be sanctified and return to the presence of God. He preached of the resurrection of the dead, Christ being the first. This was the testimony of Paul.

Let’s consider Abnadi as another example of testimony. While the entire dialog between Abinadi and King Noah’s court is found in Mosiah, I will pick several excerpts.

1  AND now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

2  And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—

3  The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—

4  And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

5  And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

6  And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

7  Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

8  And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—

9  Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice. (Mosiah 15)

8  But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

9  He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

10  Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—

11  If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation—

12  Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.

13  And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?

14  Therefore, if ye teach the law of Moses, also teach that it is a shadow of those things which are to come—

15  Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father.  Amen. (Mosiah 16)

Abinadi also testified of the redemptive power of the gospel – that Christ would provide the means of salvation to those who seek Him. Yes, Abinadi was called to preach repentance to King Noah; he did it be expressing to these men his testimony of the gospel and of Jesus Christ. Should this be a model for our testimony? Are we to use our meeting time to praise ourselves and our fellow saints or are we to use our testimony to convict and recommit one another?

Another source for testimony comes from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 76.

22  And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

23  For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

24  That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

40  And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—

41  That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;

42  That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

43  Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.

44  Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment—

45  And the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows;

46  Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof;

These testimonies were all focused on Christ, His atonement, and the salvation that is afforded each and every one of us if we seek Him. Should this be used as an example of what a testimony includes?

There is one more example I wish to include from Alma, chapter 31.

12  Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;

13  For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person.

14  Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying:

15  Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever.

16  Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ.

17  But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.

18  And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people.  Amen.

19  Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure.

20  For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.

21  Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.

22  Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about.

23  Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner.

Here the Zoramites demonstrated what not to include in a testimony. As Alma notes, they thanked God that they were elected to be saved while all others would be damned. They thanked God that they were a chosen and holy people. Should we exercise care when we offer testimony that we don’t follow, even slightly, the pattern of the Zoramites? Should we take care that we don’t use our testimonies to express exceptionalism?

But that is not all, we find that the poor were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their dress. Have you ever wondered if the poor investigator felt out of place when they came to a church meeting? Do we unintentionally express exceptionalism by the way we dress? These poor among the Zoramites helped build the synagogues that they were not allowed to attend. Do we blindly bar the poor from our midst with our fine clothing and pomp?

I fear that we have come to align more closely with the Zoramites than we do with those who bear testimony of Christ and salvation.

To me, just as in a court of law, a testimony must be based on our own true experience. We are not called to testify about events that we know not of.  We must search our hearts and souls to understand explicitly what we have that rises to the level of a testament. We should avoid using testimony time to express how blessed we are and how were are a chosen people. We should testify only of those things which we have truly experienced.

And what of my testimony?

I can testify that the Book of Mormon is scripture because the Spirit bore an unquestionable confirmation to my heart and my mind.

I can testify that the Holy Ghost is real and can cleanse us of our sins for I have felt of this healing and sanctifying power.

I can testify that God does speak to men and women for I have heard His voice.

Amen.

22 Responses to “Testimony”

  • Jack:

    Yes, perhaps we can do better in how we bear testimony, generally speaking. But any recognition of any experience that edifies anyone to any degree is a witness that God is working in the lives of his people. And sometimes it might be better for us to put aside our “druthers” and allow someone to share something a little outside the testimony box if it will further edify them. We are to bear one another’s burdens and rejoice in each other’s edification.

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  • Lilli:

    I agree that testimony should be about things we know for sure are true. To encourage our children and youth or anyone to bare their testimony of things they don’t know yet are true, but have just been told all their life that they are true, is not right.

    Even those of us who are born in the Church must one day become an investigator and find out for ourselves if everything taught and done in the Church is true or not. We must all test for ourselves if the President of the Church and other G.A’s are true disciples of Christ or not, and whether they preach his same gospel or not, for many don’t.

    It seems to me that most LDS members and leaders today are like the Zoramites, they go to church on Sunday and pray, preach and testify of things they don’t even know for sure, things they have just believed cause it was taught to them. Few of them have ever questioned what they have been taught, they just assume their leaders can’t be wrong or lead them astray.

    Mostly though I see these members go home and not live the Gospel during the week that they profess to believe in on Sunday. I don’t think I know of anyone in the Church, member or leader, who I think is really righteous. For they do not live the teachings of Christ and they do not have Charity and they cast out the poor and needy, which is the reason the scriptures give for going to church in the 1st place, to learn how to take care of and protect the widows and the fatherless. But that does not seem to be happening in most wards.

    It appears that most members and leaders are good and honorable people who have been deceived by false doctrines and the philosophies of men, because they have not been taught to search, ponder and pray and most of all ‘question’ everything they hear from leaders, to make sure they are not being led astray. Most members believe that church leaders or the President of the Church can’t lead them astray, when they surely can, and many have fallen and led many astray. So members must awake and think for themselves if they don’t want to be deceived by falsehoods.

    We should not teach our children and youth to lie and to say they ‘know’ something is true when they don’t. For they have usually never searched and questioned what they have been told, to find out for themselves if it’s all true or not.

    The ancient prophets, including Joseph Smith, taught that it is vital to prove all things, and to not take their words for it (Moroni) but to read and study their words and test them to see if what they say is really true or not. Joseph Smith taught that we must even beware of Prophets and apostles who may teach us false things and lead us astray. He taught that we should never follow any leader who teaches ‘contrary’ to what Christ and the scriptures say, as most leaders of the Church today and yesterday have done and still do.

    As an adult I am finding that what I was told my whole life about the church and church history and the leaders of the Church, etc., is not true or what really happened.

    Thus we must study and pray and gain our own sure testimony about the truth of all things. We must prove all things and only hold fast to and testify of those things we have found to be really true. We must find out for ourselves if the Church is true and is teaching truth or not, or if our leaders are truly called of God and preaching and practicing Christ’s laws, for upon closer inspection I have found they are not, even doing the opposite of what Christ and his scriptures have taught.

    • Spektator:

      Lilli,
      I can agree with everything you have said here. I would add that it is important to determine what aspects of the church, the gospel, and other spiritual/religious aspects for which we have really received a testimony. For example, just because one receives a witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon does not translate into the church being true. I have quoted in a previous post about a GA who stated specifically that a testimony of the Book of Mormon means everything is true up to and past Thomas S. Monson as a prophet. This is patently false.

      I like what you said about each of needing to become an investigator. That is what I had to do to get where I am today. Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.

      Thanks, for your comments.

      • Lilli:

        Spektator,

        I agree with you. You mentioned one of the biggest problems in the Church, that most people think that just because one thing, like the BoM is true, means that everything else said and done is true too or that all leaders of the Church can never be wrong or fall.

        I believe in Christ and in his teachings, and that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, but I have a testimony that all the other leaders of the Church have not been true disciples of Christ or true prophets, but false ones. Some of them, like most members, have been good and honorable men, but who have been deceived by the craftiness of men and false doctrine and false prophets.

        Polygamy seemed to be the straw that broke the Church’s back after Joseph Smith died. Joseph always strongly fought and preached against polygamy his whole life and he never lived it, contrary to popular belief. He warned repeatedly that all those who fell for polygamy or who fell for any church leader or anyone, even prophets or apostles, who came preaching polygamy, would be damned. Those are pretty strong words, which he even put in the scriptures, the original D&C and the BoM, which BY later took out and replaced with 132, which everyone easily falls for because they do not ‘prove all things’ as we are commanded.

        Thus, the BoM is true while the Church is not anymore, for it has gone into a deep dark latter day apostasy that the BoM prophets saw & foretold of happening in these last days. Where everyone today in the Church, including all leaders, have become corrupted by false doctrines and false prophets, and they all support and do evil, except a rare few, who are the humble followers of Christ and his teachings.

      • Lilli:

        To be clearer, Brigham Young was the one that started polygamy in the Church, not Joseph Smith. BY wanted to live polygamy and thus he tried to justify his whoredoms by trying to pin it all on Joseph, saying that Joseph believed in it and lived it. Which according to Joseph, is not true. There is no proof that Joseph Smith ever lived or believed in polygamy, only tons of hearsay by polygamists.

        While we have tons of proven and published proof that Joseph warned and taught against it his whole life. So it comes down to believing either Joseph, ancient BoM prophets and Christ or believing Brigham Young, for BY taught completely different doctrines and religion than Joseph Smith, Christ and ancient prophets did.

  • Aron:

    You begin this with a father taking his son up to the podium and telling him what to say and then you drop that and move on. What is the point of this? Should we be taking our little children up to the podium and telling them what to say, or are testimonies supposed to be spontaneous outpourings of our hearts? Personally, I find parents who drag their kids up to the stand offensive. I can see how visitors might think we are brainwashing our children. No one should ever have to get up and bear testimony. No one should be called on to bear testimony. There should be no such thing as testimony on demand. Testimony, unless it is totally spontaneous, is not worth much, in my opinion.

    • Spektator:

      Aron,
      I used the father and son example to show what we are facing in the church. I think it is a solid example of what we are NOT supposed to be doing to our children as I outlined in my post. A testimony should be something that is based on our ability to truly testify. If we bear a testimony of things we have been taught but have not received our own witness, isn’t that a lie? What is even more disconcerting to me is that these so-called testimonies are closed in the name of Christ. I see that as worthy of a double dose of condemnation.

  • Spektator:

    Lilli,
    I posted an article called “All or Nothing” based on a Carlos Costa comment in general conference. He stated explicitlly that if the Book of Mormon was true, then everything else coming after it was true. You and I both disacree with him.

    As for polygamy, much of the evidence of Joseph’s involvement in polygamy was recorded when the Saints were in Utah to bolster BY claims. The only incident I am aware of that pre-dated the exodus was when Emma caught Joseph and Fanny Alger in the barn. Is it credible? I havent’ spent a lot of time researching it and it isn’t high on my list.

    Spek

  • Jack:

    I think it is looking beyond the mark to assume that the church must always be esoteric — hidden in the wilderness; forever on some sectarian flight away from the masses. But that is simply not the pattern in the scriptures. It is the exception. And after the exception — after the Joseph Smiths and the Lehis and the Abrahams and the Enochs comes the general rule of gathering and strengthening the stakes of Zion. Remember, Zion is not going to come in any other way but through the church. Thus is the prophecy set forth in Revelations as interpreted through Joseph Smith. The woman (with a crown of twelve stars on her head) gives birth to a man child, e.g., the kingdom.

    Friends, the church is true, warts and all.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      As I see it, much of this structure that you identify as the church is largely man made; build according the perception of man, not necessarily of God. As I have studied the ‘church’ as described in the Book of Mormon and in the scriptures generally, I don’t see anything that resembles what man has created in today’s restored church. Gathering yes, but this rigid autocratic structure with obeisance given to men, no.

      Have you ever stopped to think what your statement, ‘the church is true, warts and all’ means. From the perspective of logic, the choice is binary – true or false. Can something be true if there is error mixed with it? Can warts exist in what you call a true church? To me the statement is nonsensical.

      The question you should be concerned with is ‘does Jesus Christ claim this organization as His Church today?’ Fortunately, the Lord has given clear direction on what criteria He applies in the answer to this question.

      In third Nephi, chapter 27, the requirements are outlined as to what the Lord expects from an entity to bear His name and qualify as His church. To summarize, it must
      1. it must be called in His name
      Slam dunk, right? Perhaps, until you consider that the organization is really the Corporation Sole of the President. The temples, the stake centers, the ward buildings are all titled in the name of a man, typically the corporation of the Presiding Bishop. The CoJCoLDS is really only a brand, like Twinkies. The real organization is in the name of men, not Jesus Christ.
      2. The church has to be build on His gospel
      If one seeks to define the gospel strictly by the scriptures, what is found? Much of what I have posted on this blog deals with the perversion of the original gospel as defined by Christ in the scriptures. I don’t believe that today’s restored church adheres to the scriptural definition of the gospel.
      3. If the church is built on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it will show forth the works of the Father, not the works of men
      Not even close on this one. Jesus Christ demonstrated the works of the Father when He was among the Nephites. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk and raised the dead. He called down the fire of the Holy Spirit upon the children and provided the sacrament to the multitude in a miraculous manner. Do we see the works of the Father in the Church today? If so, show me where?

      The LDS church fails to meet the conditions defined by The Lord to qualify as His church. It has rejected the fulness of the gospel and based its temporary success on the works of men. They will enjoy the fruits of their works then they will be hewn down and cast into the fire. Those are the Lords words not mine.

  • Jack:

    Boy, that’s a capricious God you believe in. I don’t for a second believe that those many souls in the church who are striving to be faithful, repenting and serving others, striving to be virtuous, striving to follow the spirit, striving to heed the counsel of living oracles are going to be hewn down and cast into the fire. This smacks of the kind of christian fundamentalism that would view the death-bed repentance of a pedifile more salvific than a life-time of charitable service by an agnostic.

    As for the name of the church — c’mon. The name of the corporation is one thing. The name of the organization wherein the priesthood is operative is another.

    Come back, brother.

    Finally, I’ve seen miracles. Many in the church have. Most don’t talk about them very much.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      The capricious God I was quoting is Jesus Christ from 3 Nephi 27:11, I can clearly separate the pious work of members striving toward sanctification from the busy work of the church. According to the scripture cited, the ones that are hewn down are the ones who think the works of men are sufficient. Read it yourself and tell my why that isn’t correct.

      As far as miracles are concerned, here is what the disciples of Christ accomplished when the church was established among the Nephites.

      “5 And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus. (Book of Mormon, 4 Nephi, 4 Nephi 1)”

      Where is the proof of a similar set of works today? A few years ago, Elder Oaks gave a talk describing the ‘ miracles’ that were present today- these included the missionary program, temple building and the welfare program. Good luck convincing me these are any more than the works of men

  • Jack:

    Spek,

    Here’s a quote from Elder Oaks:

    “Many scriptures teach that the servants of the Lord “shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). Miracles happen when the authority of the priesthood is used to bless the sick. I have experienced these miracles. As a boy and as a man I have seen healings as miraculous as any recorded in the scriptures, and so have many of you.

    • Lilli:

      We must remember that Satan can perform miracles too and heal people. Also people of many other faiths have experiences with healing people by their prayers too, it isn’t just a LDS Priesthood thing.

      God hears the prayers of the righteous and can bless people with health and healing no matter what religion they are.

      To think that the Church is true just because of miracles or healings is to ignore that it might be because of the person’s personal righteousness and have nothing to do with the Church.

      Even still the person giving the blessing may be totally unrighteous, but I believe the Lord often still heals the sick person because they are righteous.

      I think most of the members of the Church are ‘good and honorable’ people who do alot of good, but who have been deceived to support evil because of the craftiness of men and false prophets.

      Thus unless they awake to the total apostasy of the Church and stop allowing themselves to be deceived, they will lose their Exaltation as Joseph Smith said deceived people do (D&C 45 & 76)

    • Spektator:

      After Peter and the apostles experienced their baptism of fire, the first event recorded in Acts chapter 3, is the healing of a man that was lame from birth. The 12 disciples of Christ among the Nephites are the ones who performed the miracles described in 4 Nephi, verse 5. I would suggest that the performance of the works of God by these men is a marker of the true church of Christ.

      When President Hinckley described the condition of the church in his address during the 2004 October conference, he proceeded to describe the building of meeting houses, temples, and the construction of the downtown shopping mall, City Creek. Do you need any more clear indication that he was describing the ‘condition’ of the church in terms of the works of men? “Suffice it to say that I believe the Church is in better condition than it has been at any time in its entire history.” President Hinckley, Oct, 2004.

      Which is more convincing, your reference of a comment by Oaks on the existance of faith invoked healing or the statement by the president of the Church on the church condition? Where are thes miracles that the twelve are supposed to perform? Why is the emphasis on the works of men rather than the works of God?

      • Lilli:

        I don’t believe that miracles are a testament that a Church is true, for many righteous people in probably all major religions have performed miracles and healings. I believe such healings are a testament that the particular person or person being healed is a true disciple of Christ, not necessarily the Church they belong to, though in the case of the 12 Apostles it was also true that the Church was true and that is why you had so many ‘righteous’ men together in one place that could perform healings.

        As far as the condition of the present LDS Church, I believe Pres. Hinckley told on himself when he said the Church was doing well. Maybe it’s doing well financially, but spiritually I don’t believe it is, in fact from what was recently revealed by a Church G.A, the Church is losing it’s members today more than any other time in it’s history, except for maybe the early Kirkland period.(Because members are finding out the truth about church history from the internet and because of general wickedness throughout the world) Also, missionaries from high baptizing missions are saying that most all new converts soon become inactive.

        Thus why I believe that the latest change in age and push for more missionaries is to hopefully gain more members cause they are losing so many, and to stop losing so many youths, thinking if they go on missions earlier they will retain them.

        But kids aren’t dumb, when they see their ‘active’ parents and leaders not living the gospel and keeping their marriage covenants (by jumping in & out of marriages) and they see that the Church allows such evil (‘adultery’ actually in Christ’s words), they lose faith in the religion and become inactive, for youth can tell right from wrong usually far greater than the ‘active’ but hardened parents and leaders can.

        Along with losing membership like never before, from what I see those members and leaders who are ‘active’ in the Church are supporting and doing evil like never before, totally blind to the evil they do and support.

        I believe the Church is in far worse shape then ever before and going down fast. That Pres. Hinckley would give the impression of the opposite only makes him look worse and reveals his true self, in my opinion.

  • Jack:

    Spektator: “Which is more convincing, your reference of a comment by Oaks on the existance of faith invoked healing or the statement by the president of the Church on the church condition?”

    Why must they be mutually exclusive? The former is an apostle’s witness of the reality of miracles in the church. The latter is a statement on the overall health of the organization — a statement that can be transmitted to a world-wide audience.

    Lilli,

    I agree that the trivializing of marriage among members of the church is a terrible evil. But this doesn’t mean that the church itself is the cause. If anything the church has done more good than just about any other organization out there with respect to marriage.

    Re: The church’s spiritual condition–

    Well, I think you are mistaking sweet condescension for a lack of spiritual vitality. Yes, the latter does exist, but we shouldn’t assume that because the miraculous is not as visible as we would like that there is no “enchantment” at all in the church. That’s just wrong. We must remember that — as per Alma 12 — those who have the mysteries revealed to them are to guard them carefully. And that’s what most LDS do who have experience with the sacred: they don’t talk about it much. And when they do it is usually by constraint of the spirit.

    • Lilli:

      Jack,

      I believe that when any church or person supports, encourages, allows and rewards evils like ‘divorce and remarriage’, like the LDS Church does, even in it’s temples, which Christ says is adultery, is trivilizing marriage and proves they don’t really have any respect for marriage vows or covenants or the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and they are causing members to disrespect marriage vows also, as we are seeing more and more, because the Church says it’s not a sin anymore, which of course is totally false doctrine.

      Joseph Smith taught that church leaders who allow people to abandon (divorce) their spouse will be damned along with those who do it. Not to mention that Joseph Smith also believed that remarriage after divorce was adultery too. Yet is appears most all Church leaders today allow, condone and reward such adultery today, from the top to the bottom.

  • Rob:

    Thanks for this post, I totally agree with what you said about testimony.

  • Molly:

    Now hold the phone a minute here folks.

    It is my understanding after attending church and Sunday school for many many years that one also needs to do many many many other things in order to qualify for the kingdom of God

    I think you may be over simplifying things a little

    Haven’t you forgotten about

    Temple Work!!!! you must be sealed and married in the temple!

    Also work for the dead

    home and visiting teaching

    tithing

    baking bread for neighbors

    fast offerings for the poor

    law of chastity

    lots of other good works when asked by inspired church leaders

    All of those things are probably found in the scriptures if you look hard enough but even if they are not, our modern leaders are more inspired than the old fashioned dead leaders.

    Please don’t forget all of those things.

    It seems to me that you should be paying more attention to the words of Pres Monson and the other apostles than to the dead prophets and apostles.. I think that is where you got of the track

    • EvenTheLeastSaint:

      Mollie, I’ve found a few scriptures.

      19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, RELYING WHOLLY UPON THE MERITS OF HIM WHO IS MIGHTY TO SAVE.
      2 Nephi 31:19

      Jesus had a few words for all those who thought their wonderful works would save them.

      9 And he spake this parable UNTO CERTAIN WHICH TRUSTED IN THEMSELVES THAT THEY WERE RIGHTEOUS, and despised others:
      10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
      11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
      12 I FAST TWICE IN THE WEEK, I GIVE TITHES OF ALL THAT I POSSESS.
      13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, SAYING, GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER.
      14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
      Luke 18:9-14

      The pharisee trusted in his works to save himself.
      The publican trusted in God, apparently in Christ’s example here, “relying wholly on Him who is mighty to save.”

      Isaiah saw the same “relying upon our own works” among us of whom he prophesied.
      “all your righteousnesses [works] are as filthy rags;” Isaiah 64:6

      Generally, we understand nothing of the atonement.

      This site is a good place to start your search.

  • Spektator:

    Molly,

    And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

    I would ask that you ponder the meaning of this verse. What is carnal security? Could it be the works of our own hands? Why would the devil need to ‘carefully’ lead them?

    You stated: “All of those things are probably found in the scriptures if you look hard enough but even if they are not, our modern leaders are more inspired than the old fashioned dead leaders.”

    How sorrowful I feel when I read such ‘lists’ of things we must do to qualify for the kingdom. Have you not considered that a large portion of the failure of the Jews at the time of Christ was that they had distilled their ‘qualification’ for the kingdom down to a set of activities and vain repetitions?

    The list of activities you suggested are the works of men. Go read Third Nephi, chapter 27, and tell me where any of that applies to your fitness for the kingdom.

    Christ stated in D and C, section 10:

    Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
    Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
    And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

    Are these the words of old fashioned dead leaders that you referred to? Are you declaring that His church is more than what is contained in His doctrine?

    Molly, I truly fear for your soul…

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