Testimony Or Certainty

In October General Conference this year, Elder Carlos Godoy‘s talk was titled Testimony As A Process. I really loved it. It was important for me, because it highlighted the fact that powerful spiritual experiences are not necessary for a strong testimony.

I have had experiences, that have influenced me greatly, but no, I’m not Alma or Paul (nor a Laman or a Lemuel). For me it has been enough to experience the confirmation by the Spirit as I have followed what my conscience has told me to do.

I was reading Our Search for Happiness the other day, and Elder Ballard’s testimony impressed me. He said there were no angels there for him, when he received a measure of certainty that allowed him to testify of the truth of the Restoration. For me there have been powerful experiences, but what has made the biggest difference to me is the experience over time. It is not easy to always do what you believe is right. But as Moroni counsels in Ether 12:6, we will not receive a witness until the trial of our faith. Seeing is not believing – believing is seeing.

I have found that we can attain a certain amount of certainty, but there will always be serious limits to our certainties. It is an article of faith for us, that “we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” (Articles of Faith 9) So we will have to strive to be humble and not arrogant.

My personal experience is that by telling other people what I believe to be true my own faith in those things becomes stronger. I have thought there must be a reason why it works this way. Perhaps it is so in order that if we do what the Lord has asked us to do (stand as his witness), we become stronger.

Anyway, I referred to Laman and Lemuel above. Angels visited them and they had powerful experiences, and yet they apostatized. I wish for more people to experience the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. It is very real and he can heal us by the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ – we really are not alone. We can accept limited understanding for now, and we will get “line upon line” until we understand fully.

If you haven’t read/heard Elder Godoy’s testimony, go ahead and read it. His is a humble but powerful witness.

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12 comments on “Testimony Or Certainty
  1. drunkdreamer8 says:

    Hi,

    Just wondering around the blog world and want to say have a good thanksgiving, from my blog to yours. And posted a funny thanksgiving card to view for my fellow bloggers, so stop by at drunkdreamer8.com and enjoy

    Be blessed
    C. Apana

  2. catania says:

    This is a great post. I have had a similar experience that you descrbe. I have gained a testimony over time.

    I think that one of the ways that the spirit speaks to me is through quiet reassurance. Sometimes this does not seem like all that big of a deal. However, I was contemplating how the Spirit speaks to me, and I realized that this is a miracle – peace is a miracle. So many people search for peace and enlightenment in their lives. I didn’t have to go anywhere for it – just on my knees and in the Book of Mormon.

    Anther thing that has always helped my testimony grow is taking the time to write my spiritual impressions. For me, when I write, it is as if the word of God goes from my head to my hands – and through my heart. This is where the Lord speaks to me – in the quiet moments I take to ponder His word and write about it in my journal. Another blessing is that I have a record, and I have been able to reread my own testimony. This is always an experience that again testifies of whatever I have learned.

    Thanks for the post and helping us reflect on testimony and certainty.
    -Catania

  3. velska says:

    Thanks, I have been in a self-imposed exile for a while now, and your comment made me happy. I haven’t been a good journal-writer (my handwriting is terrible), but with computers I have been writing more stuff down. I just have to make sure it’ll keep.

    –velska

  4. Darrell says:

    How does this compare with Jesus’ words…

    “You will KNOW the truth and the truth shall set you free”?

    Christ does not tell us that we will have a “measure of certainty”… rather He tells us we can KNOW the truth.

    Darrell

  5. velska says:

    Yes, since you know the truth, tell us exactly how gravity works. While you’re at it, tell us why a quantum behaves differently when observed than when unobserved, or how to combine Genesis creation account and the fossil record.

    We only know things that we know…

  6. Darrell says:

    Velska,

    Are you saying that Christ was saying you will know the truth of GRAVITY and that the truth of GRAVITY is what will set you free?

    Come on!! You know what Christ was saying.

    Darrell

  7. velska says:

    Yes, I know about truth. I also know that I don’t know everything, and am suspicious of anyone who claims to…

  8. Darrell says:

    You said above…

    “I have found that we can attain a certain amount of certainty, but there will always be serious limits to our certainties.”

    This statement seems to be different from your statment in the previous post that you “know about the truth”. Are you uncertain of anything as it relates to your testimony of the LDS Church? Are there limits to it?

    Darrell

  9. velska says:

    As it is, I can say like Nephi, “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things”.

    I know that the Lord appeared to Joseph, but I don’t know the exact circumstances (when we say “vision”, what do we mean – how concrete is it?).

    I know that the Priesthood is a real power, because I have felt it. I don’t know why some others can not feel it the same way I do. This makes me reflect, and I just see the limits of my understanding.

    I have a testimony of universal Resurrection, but I am pretty far from understanding what it is exactly (every time I wake up, the first thing that hits my senses is pain – I can hardly imagine existence without pain). How much of our physical reality as we can see and measure it reflects the eternal nature of things? And that is a real question, not a rhetorical one.

    IMO, God is not a hypothesis that can be scientifically tested (repeatable under controlled environment). He can only be “experienced”, and there are always limits to that experience because we are limited indeed. The quotes around “experience” signify the individuality of our experience that often defies accurate description – our language becomes stilted when we approach infinity.

  10. Darrell says:

    Velska,

    Thank you for responding. The reason I am asking these questions is because of my history with the LDS Church. I was a member for 15 years. I served in the Bishopric, Stake High Council, etc., etc., etc. My family and I left the church early this year and became Christians. I came to the conclusion, through researching the evidence, that the LDS church is false.

    It is always interesting to me that when people (LDS) talk about their testimonies in the LDS Church, they are always speaking about SUBJECTIVE things (feelings). However, feelings cannot be proven and when it boils down to it feelings can be used to support the supposed truthfullness of ANY religion. For example…

    I have spoken with Muslims before who say that God has TOLD THEM that their faith is true.

    I have spoken with Christians before who say that God has TOLD THEM that their faith is true.

    Mormons will say that God has told them that their faith is true.

    Now, logically, they cannot ALL be right. Either ONE of them is right and the others are false OR ALL ARE FALSE. All three religions, which teach VERY DIFFERENT THINGS, cannot be right. So, which one is true? Are any of them true?

    Using something subjective to enable a person to say the “know” something is not a good way to go. I believe that you can have and God wants you have an “intelligent” faith… a faith that is strengthened the more you study. I could not do that as a Mormon. I don’t want to bore you with the details (if you want me to share I will be happy to) but the more I researched and studied the history of the Mormon church the more my faith in it diminished.

    On the reverse, the more I studied the bible, it origins, history, the proof for it’s accuracy, the GREATER my faith in it grew. It is amazing to me how God has held the bible up throughout history! As a mormon the more I studied the more I doubted… as a Christian the more I study the more my faith grows. Quite a difference!!

    I now have placed my faith in Christ and Him alone. And, as Christ said, I believe I can and do “Know the truth” and it has “set me free”.

    Anyway… that is a little about me. I was just curious about your story and you seemed to have some issues with being able to “know the truth” and I just wanted to ask about it.

    God Bless!!

    Darrell

    Darrell

  11. velska says:

    In other words, you have just bought a lottery ticket that you think gives you a better chance…

    I don’t mean to sound flippant, but are you saying there is solid archeology about Abraham, that is available to an inner circle of believing scholars?

    All religions basically are based on spiritual experience. They all are right about some things. When I became a Mormon, I didn’t give up what I had faith in (not much at all, but something), I got more understanding. The same has basically happened to many people.

    When you talk about intelligent faith I think of my own experience of how things make sense and feel right. And as I live the principles, my experience tells me they are true.

    Are you saying that God is empirically provable?

  12. Darrell says:

    Velska,

    I believe there is evidence to support the truthfullness and accuracy of the Bible. Can one imperically prove God… no. But, if one accepts that there is a God (which intelligent design has pretty much shown is really the only logical way to go IMO… the theory of evolution has taken a pretty bad shot from the bacterial flagellum) which faith story do you choose…

    So, let’s start with this…

    Proof for the New Testamant vs. proof for the BOM vs proof for the Korean…

    Using Historiography to look at the new testament is amazing. The Bibliographical Test shows we can recreate the original manuscript for the New Testamant to a 99.5% pure text minumum. We have 24,970 manuscripts for the New Testamant alone. It is #1 in Manuscript Authority of ALL LITERATURE OF ANTIQUITY. #2 is Homer’s Illiad with only 643 manuscripts!!

    #1 – New Testamant – 24,970
    #2 – Illiad – 643

    Tell me that is not God!

    How about the time period from the original to the oldest surviving manuscript. Thucydides is considered by scholars to be one of the most accurate of all historians of antiquity. How many of his manuscripts do we have and what is the time period between the original and the oldest surviving??? We have 8 manuscripts and a 1300 year gap between the original and the oldest surviving copy!! Yet, by scholars, he is considered one of the most accurate in antiquity!! Let’s look at the New Testamant… we have 24,970 copies and the oldest goes back to 50 years from the original…

    Thucydides – Accurate Historian – 1300 years and only 8 copies
    New Testamant – questioned by Mormon Church – 24,970 copies and only 50 years!!

    Wow!! Tell me that is not God!!

    What proof or support do we have for the BOM? Js’s word and NO COPIES OF ANYTHING!

    What proof do we have to support the Korean? Muhammed’s word and NO COPIES OF ANYTHING!

    Does this PROVE anything? No, but it does show me that God has His hand over the bible. It also shows me I can place my faith in it and have an INTELLIGENT FAITH… a faith that is supported by facts. I do not have to trust a “feeling” alone and shelve a bunch of concerns… which any mormon who researches the history of their church is forced to do.

    Darrell

    Darrell

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