Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Balloon With A Hole In It

All through out my Mormon career, I was always told that a witness of the spirit is a more powerful and lasting testimony than actually seeing god, Jesus, or an angel. Naturally, this is why so many LDS people continue believing in their faith despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Robert D. Hales, in his article "How You Can Know", states that a testimony "makes a deep and lasting impression on the soul." New Era, August 2002, page 40. To see the entire article, please click here.

Richard G. Scott states, "A testimony is fortified by spiritual impressions that confirm the validity of a teaching..." and he later goes on to say, "...a testimony is not emotion." Ensign, November 2001, page 87. To see the entire article, click here.

It is statements like these that the LDS take to heart and repeat to each other. I heard it countless times. According to these articles, and many others like them, a testimony is a powerful witness of the "truth" and is more potent than evidence or even an eye-witness.

However, I have to question this idea of "lasting impression" because while they trump up a testimony on one hand, saying how powerful it is, on the other hand, they warn that a testimony, in spite of the fact that it is so powerful, can easily crumble. Consider these statements:

"Testimony isn’t something you have today and you are going to have always. A testimony is fragile. It is as hard to hold as a moonbeam. It is something you have to recapture every day of your life.” (President Harold B. Lee, Church News, July 15, 1972, p. 4)

"When a testimony is not growing, it is in danger of becoming weaker." (O. Leslie Stone, “Testimony,” New Era, Jul 1979, 4)

So is a testimony strong or isn't it? If a witness of the spirit is capable of leaving a "lasting impression", then why is it "as hard to hold as a moonbeam"?

As I stated above, I was often told that a spiritual witness is more powerful than actually seeing a heavenly being. Now, if I saw a heavenly being, I'm pretty damn sure that I would never forget it. There are certain things that are forever burned into my memory and I am quite sure that such a heavenly visitation would be one of them.

Now, if a witness of the spirit is even stronger than the memory of this heavenly visitor, then that must be a pretty damn strong testimony.

So that is why I am left to question. If testimony is so strong, why do church leaders constantly warn about how easy it is to lose your testimony? If a testimony is the only reliable source of truth, then why is it so weak and shaky? Only by constantly emersing yourself into LDS propaganda does your testimony not fade.

I have certain events in my life that are forever engrained into my memory. Even if I don't think about them very often, when I do, I can recall them with perfect clarity. I don't have to constantly struggle to remember it. I just remember. There is no need to visualize it on a daily basis for fear of losing it. It's there permanantly and it ain't going anywhere, even if I don't think about it every day. In fact, if I only think about it once a month or even once a year, it can still be recalled as clearly as the day it happened.

So if the "spirit" is even more impressionable than an actual memory of a life-changing event, I again ask the question: "Why is a testimony so fragile?"

If it really was as strong as they say it is, then there would be absolutely no danger, whatsoever, of losing it. But an LDS testimony, is either growing or shrinking. If you stop engaging in LDS practice, your testimony fades. It almost seems that in order to keep believing, you have to constantly remind yourself that you believe.

If believing something requires so much effort to gain and maintain, can it really be the truth?

Truth is truth and does not need to be constantly reinforced. If a certain fact or statement is true, than it shouldn't have to be constantly rehearsed in order to stay true.

The only real evidence of the truthfulness of the LDS gospel is their testimony gaining process. If all reason, evidence, and experience suggests otherwise, then the testimony is the fallback. It is the one thing that can't be proven false. In the LDS mind, since it can't be proven false, then it must be true by default.

Obviously, this is extremely flawed logic. I can't actually prove that Santa Claus doesn't exist either, but does that make him real by default?

In the game of Sorry, once you're in the safe zone, nothing can send you back to start. An LDS testimony is the "safe zone". Once everything else has failed, you can fall back on your testimony and be infallable.

The idea of testimony is the one thing that keeps the LDS church together. It keeps the members inline and paying. It debunks any and all evidence that Joseph Smith was a lying fraud.

So, despite their claims that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of their religion, it is actually the concept of testimony.The Book of Mormon can be proven false and a member can still believe in the divine mission of Joseph Smith by means of their testimony. Therefore, remove the element of testimony and the church has lost it's safety net.

Since this is the case, if it can be demonstrated that a testimony is not reliable evidence for the truthfulness of the church, then they have nothing to fall back on. I have done this by showing how the church requires people to constantly brainwash themselves into a testimony by repeating it again and again. If this was the means by which truth is learned, then it would be easy to "forget" that the sky is blue unless we repeat it over and over and over.

A testimony is nothing more than self brainwashing. Read the articles I have provided above and see if that is not the case. In order to have a testimony, you need to completely immerse yourself in LDS lifestyle. If you don't, it won't come.

You would think that the creater of the universe would make it a little easier to learn the absolute truth about his restored gospel. Not only that, but you would think that this absolute truth would be easy to keep believing. But the mere fact that if you stop the inflow of "I know it's true, I know it's true, I know it's true," then it goes away, says something. Something powerful.

Anything you have to keep reminding yourself to believe, isn't really worth all the effort! As I stated above, truth is truth and needs no justification. But an LDS testimony requires a ton of justification and continual input in order to stay alive.

An LDS testimony is like a balloon with a hole in it. As long as you keep blowing into the balloon, it will stay inflated. But as soon as you stop blowing, it will automatically deflate. Does truth really require you to constantly blow? Or should it stand on it's own?

Answer that question honestly and you will find your truth.



Anonymous said...

Do you have nothing better to do than rat on other people's religions? It's cruel and mean and unnecessary. Don't be rude, it's extremely uncalled for.
All of the time you put into creating this blog could have been used in developing a useful talent or studying law school or something.
We're trying to live our lives in the best way that we can, and we believe that through the Mormon church we can.
What difference does it make if we, as human beings, are happy in our church? It shouldn't make a difference to you.
Don't devote your life to ruining others' lives, how can that possibly make you happy in the long run?

I'm sorry, but it really hurts to see these things.

Mormon411 said...

Were you actually going to reply to the message?

"Don't devote your life to ruining others' lives..."

Did you ever stop to consider the fact that Mormons do it? When they convert people to their "truth" it causes family friction between them and their non-member family.

You guys go around telling everyone that their religion is false, so why do you get so offended when someone else does it to you?

Everything you said in your comment could be said right back at you.

You rat on other people's religions.

Other people are happy in their religion.

Other people believe that their religion can help them live good lives.

Why is it so high and mighty of you to tear down other peoples religion and family, but you are so offended when someone does it to you?

Do you think LDS missionaries cause hurt when they divide families by converting some?

Everything I do on this blog to Mormons, Mormons do to every other religion. So stop being whiny and defensive.

Mormon411 said...

The reason that anonymous commenters attack me rather than the message is because they can't refute the message.

This post is chock full of arguments that make perfect sense. So, once this person is done attacking me, if they bother to come back, he will fall back on his precious testimony.

One last response to this guy. Bruce R. McConkie, in his book Mormon Doctrine, stated (in the original version) that the church of the devil is the Catholic church.

Your own leaders are busy "tearing down other people's religions". So why don't you write them anonymous letters telling them to get a life?

I know the difference! Because this is the true church and theirs is false, so theirs deserves to be torn down. Right? But Catholics are perfectly happy with their religion so who are the Mormons to come along and say that theirs is wrong? It shouldn't make a difference to you.

And by the way, how does blogging my personal feelings about a certain religion ruin other peoples lives? Do I go into their homes and shove it down their throats? No. But you do.

My readers are never forced to read or view anything they don't want to. I didn't make you come in here. I didn't make you read the article. I didn't make you leave a comment.

So again, stop being a whiny bitch!

Mormon411 said...

And by the way, I am in school and earning straight A's.

adamf said...

I know I'm not forced to read here, but it's just so over the top sometimes (posts AND your commenters) that I actually have a lot of fun! :)

Plus, I get a real kick out when we agree, which isn't often, but when it is I think that's neat.

Also, lol, "whiny bitch?" srsly? That one had me rolling...

Mormon411 said...

Yea, sometimes things get a little crazy around here. As far as this post is concerned, what about it (if anything) did you find over the top? Hopefully it got you thinking a little bit.

adamf said...

Re: over the top - I think it's your tone/style in general that comes across as beating people over the head sometimes. I don't mean that in a critical way, and you can totally do whatever you want on your own blog, but I wonder if some readers who you would like to think about your points are turned away by things like "F***ed up church" and etc. Despite that, you asked about this post specifically - I found it to be more toned down than some of your other posts. :)

Mormon411 said...

Thanks for the insite. I try not to swear too much but sometimes I just gotta let loose.

☼ Dayna said...

I <3 this blog. It's not over-the-top. It's thoughtful & logical & insightful, which is more than I can say for most Mormons. Good work Mormon411 the world needs you.

Mormon411 said...

Thank you! Much appreciated!