The Testimonies of Mormonism

19 October

Many new ideas stemmed from the visions of Joseph Smith.  As we begin our foundation series I felt it was better to begin here with testimonies.

If it weren’t for the testimony of Smith, everything in Mormonism is all for naught.

No testimony is more significant to us in our time than the witness of Joseph Smith.” – Robert Hales, Ensign, Nov. 2009, pg. 30.

When I was a Mormon I had the Mormon testimony down pat.  I knew every single thing required of me to “bear my testimony”.  It didn’t matter if I told someone I loved Jesus and it didn’t matter if I couldn’t tell people why I was a “Christian”.  For the Mormon, bearing your testimony is sharing your latest experience as a Mormon and closing it by reciting a predetermined, memorized snippet of your devotion to the LDS Church.

Mormon testimonies are shared by members at their “Fast and Testimony Meetings” held once a month.  Not everyone will stand up to share with the congregation, but they do feel compelled to do so if they’ve been to the temple recently.

The parents of children will strongly encourage their toddlers to stand up during the meeting to bear their testimonies as well.  They consider this to be good practice for them.  Most Mormon testimonies will go something like this:

Today I did…and…I want to say how grateful I am for my family and the temple….and I would like to close my testimony by stating that I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God.  I know the Mormon Church is the only true church on the face of the earth.  I bear you my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

At the end of this section in our foundations series, I’ve listed another side by side comparison chart I use when teaching on Mormonism.

I’ve also included a chapter from our Mentoring Handbook.  We give the handbooks out to our mentors and Mormons who’ve come out of the Church to help them clear the fog from their minds.

If you’re a Mormon and would like a free copy of our handbook, call or e-mail and I’d be more than happy to send you one.

Know that we’re praying for you daily and we also hope you know how much God loves you.  You are precious in His eyes and He wants nothing more than to have a relationship with you!

With Love in Christ;

Michelle

1 Cor. 1:18  …

17 – BEARING YOUR TESTIMONY

From the LDS series of books entitled “Answers to Gospel Questions”, there is a question asked by a member of the Church, (vol. 3:28) which says:

Question: “Will you kindly tell me what is a testimony of the gospel, and what must one do to obtain one?”

Sometimes when I pray for the Mormons, the only thing I pray is for the Holy Spirit to reveal it is okay to be an individual and have personal experiences with the Lord which doesn’t include the Church or one of the prophets.  This is how Joseph F. Smith defined a testimony:

…In relation to the gospel, a testimony is a revelation to the individual who earnestly seeks one by prayer, study, and faith. It is the impression or speaking of the Holy Ghost to the soul in a convincing, positive manner. It is something which is far more penetrating than impressions from any other source, but it cannot fully be described.”

After this, he quotes Moroni 10:4-5 that says if you ask with a sincere heart the Lord will reveal truth to you with a sign of a “burning in the bosom”.  And then the prophet says;

However it should be kept in mind that the person seeking for this knowledge will not have the privilege of repeated manifestations. He is not entitled to the continual guidance of the Holy Ghost. The Lord will reveal the truth once; then when this testimony has been given, the person should accept the truth and receive the gospel by baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 1472 says this about testimonies;

The essence of a testimony is a personal inward assurance of Jesus Christ’s divinity, and it provides the fundamental basis for a Christian life. One becomes a disciple of Christ in the fullest spiritual sense only when a personal testimony of Jesus is receivedTo have such a testimony is to be conscious that God has borne witness within one’s soul by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ (D&C 46:13).

This almost sounds “Christian” doesn’t it?  If you were to see just that part of their definition you’d be wondering why there’s a problem.  That is why I included “rest of the story”.

As I was participating in a debate with a stake president recently, someone asked him if he knew for sure that he was saved.  After a very pregnant pause, he answered “Oh, now you’re testing my humility.  I would hope that I’m doing all right, I mean I certainly do try hard but I am hoping that I have another thirty or so years to try and perfect it.”

After he said all that he let out a big breath and continued on to say he believes the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the face of the earth, he knows Joseph Smith is a prophet of God as is Gordon Hinckley, he also knows that nothing would come between him and the Church.  My heart breaks for the man who sat in that chair with his shoulders slumping over and looking very tired.

Make sure you’re generous with your time when sharing your testimony with the Mormons and ex-Mormons!  Hearing that someone actually has a personal relationship with God and His Son Jesus is an eye opener for many lost in the dark of Mormonism.

Lesson Plan for Chapter 17

1.  Using an English dictionary, describe the word “testimony”.

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2.  What is necessary to “gain a testimony” according to the LDS Church?  What about Christianity?  ________________________________________

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3.  What did Jesus say in John 14:23 and how does this disagree with the LDS prophet’s answer?  _________________________________________

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4.  What is necessary to truly become a disciple of Christ?  See Romans 10:9.  _______________________________________________

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Testimonies                                                                                                                                        

Christian Mormon
Romans 4:18, 23;“Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, So shall thy seed be.  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was reckoned unto him. Gospel Standards, pg. 22; THE MISSION OF JESUS CHRIST. We are not dependent upon the testimony of men who lived many hundreds of years ago. We have the testimony that is given to us from the Prophet Joseph Smith, and from Sidney Rigdon that they saw the Son, that they heard the voice declare from the heavens that He was the Only Begotten of the Father, that by Him and of Him the worlds were created, and that He lives, for they saw Him.
Hebrews 11:6;“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Gospel Standards, pg. 26; HOW TESTIMONY IS GAINED. Wherever the gospel of Christ has gone, men and women by the hundreds and thousands have embraced it and have been able to bear individual testimony that they received a witness of the divinity of the work in which we as Latter-day Saints are engaged after supplicating God for a testimony. This testimony has not come through their own study, nor through the natural intelligence with which God has endowed them, but in answer to earnest and sincere prayer, uttered in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, for light and knowledge regarding the divinity of this work.—70th Birthday Pamphlet, November, 1926, pp. 14-15.
2 Timothy 1:12;“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Living the Gospel, pg. 51; There is nothing in this world for which I am so grateful as an absolute knowledge that we, the Latter-day Saints, have the true gospel of Jesus Christ”.  This testimony, borne by President Heber J. Grant, is typical of those from the lips of thousands…
Hebrews 10:15;“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Ensign, November 2009, pg. 30; No testimony is more significant to us in our time than the witness of Joseph Smith. He was the prophet chosen to restore the ancient Church of Christ in this, the last time when the gospel will be on the earth before the return of Jesus Christ. Like all the prophets who opened the work of God in their dispensations, Joseph was given especially clear and powerful prophetic experiences to prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming.” – Robert D. Hales
Matthew 6:24;“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”2 Cor. 4:13-14; “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. www.lds.org; “For a testimony of the restored gospel to be complete, it must include a testimony of Joseph Smith’s divine mission. The truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the truthfulness of the First Vision and the other revelations the Lord gave to the Prophet Joseph. President John Taylor, the third President of the Church, wrote, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (D&C 135:3). 
Romans 8:38-39; “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. www.lds.org; “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the sacred opportunity and responsibility to obtain their own testimonies. Having obtained a testimony, each member has a duty to nurture it throughout life… Testimony comes through the quiet influence of the Holy Ghost. The results of a testimony can be miraculous and life changing, but the gift of testimony usually comes as a quiet assurance, without spectacular displays of God’s power… Testimony grows gradually through experiences. No one receives a complete testimony all at once. It grows as individuals show willingness to serve in the Church and to study, pray, and learn. It increases as individuals obey God’s commandments.

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