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Posted by: CA girl ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:00PM

At some point in a discussion with a Mormon about Mormonism, the member is going to resort to "I just KNOW...I feel...In my heart...the spirit bore witness..." Do you find this irritating? Do you realize it means they ran out of intellectual answers and figure you won? Do you want to roll your eyes because it's so predictable? Do you feel patiently tolerant because it's just who Mormons are?

Because increasingly, I just feel sorry for the person bearing their testimony. Not in a patronizing way but in a "Geez, I remember when that was me and I'm so glad to be free while I'm so sorry you are stuck in that mindset." Like the missionary who wanted me to translate into Spanish his testimony of Patriarchal blessings. Or my FIL, who feels in his advanced age he should take every opportunity to bear his testimony before it's too late. I can see how a belief in a PB, believing it was actually a personal message from God, is now sad. Sad that I was so deceived and felt so unimportant to God because the patriarch didn't know me at all and the blessing was sooo uninspired. And sad for my FIL who had so many challenges due to trying to be a good Mormon that just weren't necessary. Like trying to manage on a school teacher's salary with 4 kids and a chronically sick wife. Paying tithing made his life just 10 percent harder than it had to be. So when he bears his testimony, I think of how much harder my life was...what a struggle it was, when I was strapped to the tithing beast.

When a Mormon bears their testimony at you, they want to help you feel the spirit and be touched and impressed with what they are saying. I wonder how shocked they'd be if they knew some of us were thinking "I'm so sorry you feel that way - I wish you knew what I knew."

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Posted by: Lost Mystic ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:07PM

My internal reaction is thinking "so that's all you got? Spouting of bullshit you just believe but lie to yourself that you know? How do you think that will do anything but aggravate me?"

I don't actually say that.

I just reply with "well, I have a different perspective."

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Posted by: checker of minor facts ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:10PM

Its just so boring when they do that. Yes, I roll my eyes and want to yawn. I wonder if that's why they do that? To bore you and make you go away?

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Posted by: nowI'mfound ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:24PM

I guess for me, it depends on the reasons behind the testimony bearing. If it is some condescending TBM sharing it during a love bomb, it just makes me want to roll my eyes. It feels so manipulative and phony to me. If it is someone I know genuinely cares about me, then I feel guilty knowing how much they hope their words will make a difference, and how much I know they won't.

Sometimes I'm sad for my in-laws--that their lives have been unnecessarily difficult because of their lack of education and their excessive TBM-ness. I know they claim to see god's hand helping them through struggles, but, really, they wouldn't have those struggles if they'd just get off the TSCC hamster wheel. They'd have more time. They'd have more money. I'd like to think they'd be more open minded.

Sometimes, as people bear their testimonies, it's almost like they're trying to convince themselves it's true. It kinda reminds me of our youngest son and Santa Claus. When he was 9 or 10, he came to me one night before Christmas and said, "Mom, I think there HAS to be more than one Santa. It's the only thing that makes sense!" And then he gave me this desperate please-tell-me-it's-true look. He still wanted to believe. I thought about that a lot after I realized the church wasn't true. I felt like a kid learning the truth about Santa--sad, that no matter what I did, I'd never be able to believe the same again. I'm over that now. Now I feel sad for those people who are still stuck.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2012 09:26PM by nowI'mfound.

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Posted by: sam ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:30PM

My initial reaction is remembering when I was one of them and just shaking my head about how ridiculous a Mormon testimony is--feelings, emotions, etc., and no reasoning.

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Posted by: omreven ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:31PM

I'm trying to think of my exact reaction the first time I heard it from my husband. I think it was a mixture of irritating and dumbfounded at how stupid it sounded. Nobody KNOWS anything and the only time I'd ever dealt with religiousness like that in the past are the "praise Jesus" crazy Christians, and they annoy the hell out of me. I think think now, depending on the situation, it might result in an eyeroll or a blank stare, "yeah, that was weird," I don't know. It's annoying. I guess one can find some humor in it too.

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Posted by: spaghetti oh ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:38PM

I was in my late 30s before I ever witnessed a mormon bear their testimony (I'm nevermo).

I thought the mormon was mocking religious fanatics and almost burst out laughing until I realised he was being sincere. Then I thought, 'FFS, get a grip, man!' and then I thought, 'This is so childish. He sounds like an eight year old child trying to convince himself that Santa has actually received his Xmas Wish List and *just knows* that Santa will give him a Tanka dumptruck'.

I didn't say anything that time because I was stunned. Later, I confronted him more with epistemological questions.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:46PM

...oh great. She's going into trance mode.

I just want to say, "Snap out of it. You're acting like some kind of Moonie and you just lost all credibility. Further more, you 'know' no such thing."

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2012 09:48PM by dagny.

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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:51PM

Instead, they pretty much just tried to remind me of things I said, or of my temple covenants, or to argue and to proclaim their love for me. They tried to insist that I was wrong, and they told me I was throwing it all away, but nobody except a couple sissie mishies actually bore an actual test monkey of the truthfulness of the church.

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Posted by: atheist&happy:-) ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 09:51PM

That is how I react. I interrupt them while they are talking. It is something I cannot be polite about, because I cannot stand to hear it.

I told one sister missionary that I understood how she felt about TSCC, because I used to be just like her, but now I know it is a fraud.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2012 10:23PM by atheist&happy:-).

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Posted by: josephsmyth ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:00PM

and i can back it up!
That usually shuts them up.
They have no answer to that charge, other than to deny it.
When I ask them if

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Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:05PM

I haven't had to endure this, but like your terminology.....AT you vs. TO you.

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Posted by: darth jesus ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:07PM

i tell them that i heard that same thing from the catholics, jews, jehovah witnesses, etc.

then i tell them i bored. yawn.

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Posted by: TheIrrationalShark ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:17PM

It's so irritating to me. Whenever someone asks them a difficult question that they're unable to answer, they start bearing their testimony. The whole time I'm thinking: WHY? Do you actually think this is going to make a difference in how I feel? Even when I was a TBM, I never responded to a difficult question that way, because it's pointless. We already know what you believe, why are you trying to remind us?

And I do think it has something to do with convincing themselves. Check out this series:

It dicusses testimony bearing, and even samples a talk from Elder Oaks

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2012 10:20PM by theirrationalshark.

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Posted by: Rebeckah ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:20PM

As in; "So that's what you think but why should I care or be convinced?"

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Posted by: MJ ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:25PM

I simply say "I call that a bad case of gas".

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Posted by: Ex-CultMember ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:25PM

It reminds me of Stewart Smalley on the SNL skit where he's doing his daily affirmations to himself in the mirror saying "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

It makes me think they are trying to convince themselves.

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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:29PM

I smile and think "I won that exchange, he just defaulted to organ music and a commercial break."

Then I say, "Sure you do--tell me, what do you think of Zelph?"

They usually say, "Who? Never heard of him."

And I answer, "Many Mormons based their faith on Zelph and his role in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith himself was the source of the information. You should check it out--on church approved sites and then we'll talk again."

If they tell me I made it up, I say, "Then check it out yourself. Maybe I know some things about the church that you don't...after all."

Fair Warning, I usually don't hear back.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/21/2012 12:45AM by anagrammy.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:36PM

I was not raised in a bear your testimony household and so I wasn't around people who did it on a regular basis even in Utah. My dad's side didn't do it--and my mom's side lived out of state (they do do it).

My one good friend--and she is a good friend--has tried that technique on me and it only makes me irritated. The last time she said something she said, 'When you die, I know you'll know I'm right" and I said right back to her, "I can say the same thing--that I know you'll know I'M right." Since then, we've called a truce.

But even as a TBM, it irritated the hell out of me any time anyone did this to me.

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:55PM

I haven't had it happen for a long time. Depending on the circumstances I can think of two ways to deal with it.

(1) Point out that many people have had similarly strong testimonies that contradict theirs--that their testimony applies only to them--it's a statement about them and not about the church. Point out that it's a statement similar to "I prefer mint-chocolate-chip ice cream," and not a statement about objective truth.

(2) Interrupt them with something mundane in the middle of their testimony, treating it like something unimportant.

I usually do (1) but I think I'd like to try (2)

Mormon: "I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that . . .

Me: "Gee, it looks like it might snow."

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Posted by: alex71ut ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:58PM

It's a temptation from Satan for me to break that covenant I made to avoid loud laughter whenever some Morgbot decides to unload their testimony on me. Lately though due to the fact that I'm now a follower of the Mormonism sect led by Elder Randolph S. Parker III I've noticed that I'm much more jovial in how I view Mormonism :) I personally wish that Brother Parker would open up a bunch of McTemples for his special endowment of joy and knowledge on Mormonism to more places around the globe so more of us can attend one of his live worship services. There is only one place right now in the world for his live endowment service and its beyond the reach of many to get there :(

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Posted by: Greyfort ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 11:02PM

The one I have more problems addressing is when they say, "I've seen too many things ... I've experienced too many things ..."

Short of calling them deluded or a liar, you can't really argue with personal experiences. What you consider to be a coincidence is a miracle to them, and it's next to impossible to argue with them about that.

One friend I have, whenever I talk about truth, she states quite firmly, "That's YOUR truth." She demands that I respect her truth. So really, we never can get very far.

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Posted by: scarecrowfromoz ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 11:14PM

And so have many people of all other religions, and people with no religion. That doesn't make Mormonism the "One True Religion."

Greyfort Wrote:
> The one I have more problems addressing is when
> they say, "I've seen too many things ... I've
> experienced too many things ..."

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 11:43PM

Greyfort Wrote:

Mormon: "I've seen too many things ... I've experienced too many things ..."

Baura: "like what?"

Mormon: "Oh, they are too sacred to mention."

Baura: Then don't bring them up, keep them to yourself.

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Posted by: derrida ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 11:55PM

I think I just start walking away. I'm not going to listen to the programmed trembling testifying and tears. I could give them tears and anger about their damnable church and they wouldn't understand or listen because they are too limited and brainwashed into being creatures of the LDS church.

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Posted by: smorg ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 12:15AM

I guess it also makes a difference which missionary does that. I only ever got the sister missionaries.

The first one that bore testimony was a bit of an overbearing personality and I was tempted to roll my eyes out of sheer exasperation. It didn't help that she clearly did that because she couldn't come up with anything that she thought might better persuade me (come to think of it that was a bit offensive... Nobody likes to be so intellectually underestimated, I think!). Just before that she was trying to convince me that I would want to join the church because it would 'make me happy'. I told her I was already happy (which both she and her companion grudgingly agree... I'm rather cheery and smiley in real life)... To which she retorted that I would be 'happier' if I joined. That, of course, told me that she hadn't a clue what 'being happy' is about at all. If one is happy then what would one care about being happier? Seeing that I wasn't sold on it, she launched into the 'I know with all my heart that the BoM is true and that JS was a prophet' spiel. I found it really unimpressive... especially considering that she had told me earlier in our discussion that she was studying to be a chemist before taking off on the mission. I'm pretty forgiving to lay people when they are stuck on mistaking feelings for real evidence, but I do hold scientists and scientists-to-be to a higher standard of objectivity. :oP

The overbearing sister got transferred elsewhere a bit after, and the remaining sister became much more relaxed and reasonable with the new companion (a really really caring nice gal... despite of her religion). These two occasionally lapsed into testimony-bearing, too, but they were sincere and I felt quite sorry for them. The new sister, in particular, because she is still bothered by some integrity-eroding tactics she was instructed to use (they tried to nag me into saying a closing prayer. I refused and just sat there imposing an uncomfy silence on them because they wouldn't quit. She finally gave in and I think they were convinced they'd never be invited back... They never did that or tried to pressure me into making any commitment again after that).

I still run into sisters sometimes since I have to pass by the Mormon Battalion a lot. Some of them still try to bear testimony (sometimes they even try to bear 'my' testimony for me, saying that 'I' know the BoM to be true and should start talking to missionaries again... Dunno what gave them the idea. I was never a Mormon!). The bottom line is that whoever it is that is instructing these missionaries to bear testimony as if reasonable non-believers would mistake it for any real evidence is quite misguided. The moment I hear people testifying to know something they can't possibly know their credibility is shot in my book. :oP

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Posted by: imaworkinonit ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 12:32AM

. . .but just a strongly as you KNOW it's true, I know it's NOT true. I hope you will understand that I base my life on my own knowledge and experience, not what other people experience."

Basically, I try to tell them that they are entitled to their "knowledge", but it's hearsay to me because I've experienced something completely different. Their experiences don't count as mine.

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Posted by: notinthislifetime ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 12:40AM

There is only one person left in my life who does this. He is aging now and won't feel like his life is successful unless he does all he can to "bare witness" to us. Thankfully it usually only happens twice a year when the whole family is together so we can just fade into the scenery. It's annoying and sad at the same time. I just listen, never say a word and think to myself he'd probably drop dead if he knew how I really felt about the whole fraud.

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Posted by: peregrine ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 06:29AM

I’ve found that most members think it’s a conversation stopper. It’s as if once they have made the spirit known to me that they no longer have to discuss the issue. It flusters them to no end if you keep asking questions after their testimony.

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Posted by: matt ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 07:00AM

And then I think: "Bloody Hell! That used to be me!"

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Posted by: apricot ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 07:34AM

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 07:53AM

In the MTC, this is exactly what they tell you to do. They know that 19 year olds with at best one year of college cannot debate theology, so they tell them to bear their testimony. It shuts people up, not because they won the argument, but because the listener realizes that this has become emotional and the facts are irrelevant.

I've never once seen the testimony tactic convince anyone, but it does effectively shut down debate. The TBM is saying he won't hear any more logic, so the best response is "I'm glad it is working for you." Indicate that your experience is the opposite of theirs, so their subjective experience has no universal appeal.

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Posted by: ronas ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 08:07AM

Yeah it's ironic that TBMs think their testimony is so convincing that the other person can't respond, when the other person is thinking "that is so inance, I don't even know how to respond to that."

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Posted by: Makurosu ( )
Date: February 21, 2012 07:59AM

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