Whence Cometh a Testimony?

Note: I’ve used footnotes in this post (26 to be exact). To view a footnote click the number. After reading the footnote click the number again to return.

The word “testimony” looms large in the vocabulary of Latter-Day-Saints. We are frequently reminded by our leaders that having, and maintaining a vibrant testimony is essential to our salvation. The importance of a testimony is highlighted by the fact that each month, one Sunday meeting is set apart for the “bearing” of testimonies.

At these monthly Fast and Testimony Meetings members stand and bear witness that they have a testimony of the truthfulness of the church.

Whence cometh a testimony? Continue reading

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“Among All the Workmanship of Mine Hands…”

I’ve been interested in the Savior’s teachings about this earth when He compared it to His other creations saying,

35 Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.
36 Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren. Pearl of Great Price | Moses 7:35 – 36

I wonder if this is what Brigham Young had in mind when he said:

We are inhabitants of a world of sin and sorrow; pain and anguish, every ill that can be heaped upon intelligent beings in a probation we are heirs to. I suppose that God never organized an earth and peopled it that was ever reduced to a lower state of darkness, sin and ignorance than this. I suppose this is one of the lowest kingdoms that ever the Lord Almighty created, and on that account is capable of becoming exalted to be one of the highest kingdoms that has ever had an exaltation in all the eternities. In proportion as it has been reduced so it will be exalted, with that portion of its inhabitants who in their humiliation have cleaved to righteousness and acknowledged God in all things. In proportion as it has been reduced so it will be exalted, with that portion of its inhabitants who in their humiliation have cleaved to righteousness and acknowledged God in all things. In proportion to our fall through sin, so shall we be exalted in the presence of our Father and God, through Jesus Christ and by living the righteousness of his Gospel. All this the people will understand in due time through their faithfulness, and learn to rejoice even in the midst of afflictions.

Brigham Young, May 1863, JD 10:175 Continue reading

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“Power in the Priesthood”—Source of Revealed in Manhattan Miracle

The following experience gives those who have faith in the priesthood an idea of how priesthood power is accomplished.

Sister Veda Mortimer was present in her Manhattan Ward, in New York Stake, in September 1959 when Elder Harold B. Lee set apart and ordained members to new callings. They were in the bishop’s office which was located in the basement.

She writes, “As it is not a large room, the twenty people in it filled it almost completely. A chair was set in the center of the bishop’s office. Brother DeWitt Paul took a seat on the chair in the of the center room, his back toward the door. Elder Lee took his place behind Brother Paul to give him the ordination and blessing as the newly called stake partiarch. Just as Elder Lee lifted his hands to place them on Brother Paul’s head, I both saw and felt a shaft of bright light come onto the back and top of Elder Lee’s head. It was like bright sunshine suddenly coming through a square window, eight to ten inches square, and shining down on a 45-degree angle on the back and top of his head. It was as if a shade had suddenly been drawn to let in the bright sun.

As I bowed my head, I saw the light and thought, ‘What a coincidence that that shaft of bright sunlight should shine on Elder Lee just at the particular instant that he was putting his hands on Brother Paul’s head’.

Just as quickly as I thought this , I realized there was no window in the office, and therefore it could not be sunlight. The only opening in the room was the door, which was closed…in that same instance I understood that it was a stream of light from heaven, a light that needed no physical window to enter the room. Continue reading

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Dealing with Mormonism’s Thorns, Thistles, Briars, and Noxious Weeds

Nearly everyone has experience with weeds (thorns, thistles, briars, and noxious weeds). They come in many varieties. Basically, weeds are a wild plant that grows where it is not wanted in competition with other desirable plants. The scriptures teach that weeds torment humankind for a purpose, the Lord told Adam “cursed shall be the ground for thy sake” (Moses 4:23).

How are weeds helpful: “for thy sake“? A fundamental doctrine of Mormonism is that there must be opposition in all things. Without opposition there is no growth. Weeds are opposition.

To Joseph Smith in the afflictions of Liberty Jail, the Lord said, “Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7), and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 122:8). To Alma and his people who were brought into slavery to the Lamanites we learn that “the Lord seeth fit to chasen his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day” (Mosiah 23:21).

Opposition in the Internet Era Continue reading

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Example of Faith: Mission President Withers in Pain and is Healed

I read, Yearning for the Living God, by F. Enzio Busche a few years ago. He is a convert to the church from Germany and was called to be a General Authority and served as a Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He also served as president of Germany Munich Mission and president of the Frankfurt Germany Temple.The following account is taken from his book on pages 202-05.

The reason I selected it is because of a recent event in my life where I had a similar experience with a health problem that has dogged me for years. I know the Lord can be near and intervene to help us in time of need when we suffer physical, mental, and emotional pain. I hope that all who read this account will be lifted in their faith and will be inspired to call upon God with increased faith when their need is great. Regarding prayer, Elder Busche said: “Whenever a person is very sincere, willing to listen, and ready to obey, dedicate himself, and surrender, the Lord is willing to do anything to help that person.” (P 196)


“…when I was in Munich as a mission president…I was plagued with frailty of body-a condition called deep-vein phlebitis…As I established my new life in Munich, the rhythm of my routine was interrupted with a change of pace and movement. Somehow, this started an inflammation of my deep leg veins. The difference between this form of the disease and normal phlebitis was that I had deep pain, pain in places where there is normally no pain, according to medical professionals. Continue reading

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“…Ye Ask Not, Neither Do Ye Knock; Wherefore Ye are Not Brought into the Light…”

Years ago, I attended a series of lectures at BYU where the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon were discussed. I later learned that some of the scholars who lectured were agnostic. This surprised me. I was hard pressed to understand how someone could spend their life studying the Bible, the Book of Mormon and other religious text and yet be agnostic: neither believing nor disbelieving. 

Since then, I’ve come to understand that the gospel net really does “gathereth of every kind.” Apparently, Mormonism can be attractive on many levels. Some individuals are born and raised in the church and therefore are “Mormon”, while some individuals are drawn to the message of the restoration, others by those who proclaim the gospel—their missionary, some are intrigued by the doctrine and or history, and still others are drawn to the culture, and some find the moral and ethical principles to their liking—and yet all of them can ultimately be agnostic—never being “brought into the light”.

The scriptures explain it this way:

And he said: Go and tell this people—Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not. 2 Nephi 16:9 Continue reading

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Feasting on Intellectual “Mammon” Vs Feasting on the Words of Christ

Regarding revealed knowledge the Lord said:

As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints( D&C 121:33).

That’s powerful. However, not all revealed knowledge is of equal value! Some knowledge is more valuable because it is knowledge that “saves”. The Book of Mormon contains knowledge that when properly applied opens up the heavens and allows us to be recipients of the things of the Spirit.

For example, Nephi teaches the Doctrine of Christ in just nine verses (2 Nephi 31:13-21). If we’re interested in being true followers of Christ these nine verses have the potential to open the path to our exaltation should if we focus our attention and faith thereon.

As I’ve mingled with church members for the last fifty plus years, one of the great ironies I’ve encountered is that some of the most capable thinkers I’ve known were focused on knowledge that doesn’t save. Continue reading

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Hearken to the Words of My Servants the Prophets, Whom I Sent Unto You

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Office of the First Presidency
47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

June 28, 2014

In God’s plan for the happiness and eternal progression of His children, the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women. Only men are ordained to serve in priesthood offices. All service in the Church has equal merit in the eyes of God. We express profound gratitude for the millions of Latter-day Saint women and men who willingly and effectively serve God and His children. Because of their faith and service, they have discovered that the Church is a place of spiritual nourishment and growth.

We understand that from time to time Church members will have questions about Church doctrine, history, or practice. Members are always free to ask such questions and earnestly seek greater understanding. We feel special concern, however, for members who distance themselves from Church doctrine or practice and, by advocacy, encourage others to follow them. Continue reading

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Mormon Bloggers—How Long Halt Ye Between Two Opinions?

The apostles and prophets have decided it’s time to let Mormon Bloggers know there are limits to what they can do and still remain church members. It can be likened to marriage. Divorce is a viable option for infidelity. 

I hope that all Mormon Bloggers will recall the message of the vision of the tree of life and the implication it has for them. I hope all of them will choose to grasp the iron rod and move towards the tree of life. Its not reasonable to attempt to have one hand on the iron rod and the other hand reaching for the great and spacious building. Sooner or later a decision will need to be made.

Church members who are devotees of ordain women movements and/or of blogs that persist in destroying faith are halting between two opinions. I hope they will choose the path of faith and follow Jesus Christ.

Years ago, in  June 1966, I made a decision to follow the Savior. Since then, for nearly 50 years, I have studied the doctrines and history of the church. I’m aware of the challenges and difficulties bloggers are dealing with that cause them to be drawn to alternate voices. I could easily be in the same camp, sharing many of the same feelings and thoughts, if it wasn’t for one thing—answers to prayer. Continue reading

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What the Book of Mormon Teaches About Excommunication

In recent days there has been news that several church members have been notified of disciplinary councils due to their public opposition to church policy and doctrine.

This is a sad time, especially for family members of those summoned. It also creates unfavorable press for the church, as the church is usually portrayed in the press as censuring freedom of thought and speech when members are disciplined.

The Book of Mormon provides the following account of a revelation Alma received explaining how the Lord deals with dissidents in His church.

I highlighted a few key phrases for emphasis and broke the account into sections. Continue reading

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