My Testimony

October 13, 2010 | 61 comments
By

I thought I would ape this post.

I know that God lives because I have felt God’s guiding hand, gentle rebuke, and loving arms on more occasions than I can count.

I know that the temple is sacred space because every time I go there, the air is thick with the Spirit of God.

I know that the scriptures amaze and amuse me when I study them seriously.

I know that Family Home Evening and family prayer and gospel discussions can be holy.

I believe–but I do not know–that other things (like visiting teaching and fasting) can be holy. I haven’t experienced the holiness myself, but the same voices that taught me about FHE and family prayer have taught these, so I’m willing to be obedient and have hope that someday I will know for myself.

I suspect that the Church has been and is wrong about several matters historical, doctrinal, political, theological, and cultural. But if I’m willing to think that, I also need to acknowledge that I’m even more likely than the Church is to be wrong about those things. So I try not to take my doubts too seriously. I frequently fail at this.

I have, on several major occasions, thought that God wanted me to take the hard path of suffering but instead have been told in no uncertain terms that I didn’t need to drink from that cup. I’m still processing this.

I don’t understand why some people have to suffer so much in this life.

I envy pieces of other traditions: the traditions of Catholics, the social justice emphasis of liberal Christians, the surety of fundamentalist Christians, the exegesis of Presbyterians, the openness of Unitarians, the history of Jews, and the relaxed time of people who don’t go to church on Sundays.

I have been blessed beyond reason with husband, children, extended family, opportunities for education, leisure time, and the resources with which to meet all of my needs and most of my wants. For that I am truly grateful.

61 Responses to My Testimony

  1. oudenos on October 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Again, Julie, another excellent post.

  2. wondering on October 13, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    This is a great testimony, thanks.

  3. nardariyanti on October 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    This is wonderful testimony, thank you…. I know that God lives…

  4. Course Correction on October 13, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Love your honesty about sometimes envying the relaxed time of those who don’t spend 3 hours in church every Sunday!

  5. Jared on October 13, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. Knowing and believing as you do is a gift from God that is truly remarkable–a pearl of great price.

  6. Chris H. on October 13, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    “I envy…the social justice emphasis of liberal Christians…”

    Me, too. :)

    Thanks for sharing your testimony.

  7. Carine on October 13, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you so much, Julie. Your testimony truly touched me.

  8. Guy Murray on October 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Well said, Julie

  9. Margaret on October 13, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I shared this with my daughter and she said that it was time for her to write a brutally honest testimony just for herself. I hope she will share it with me. We both loved your faith and hope and appreciation of God’s hand in so any things you know to be sacred and holy. We too are working to find our way.

  10. chris on October 14, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Amen.

    President Marion Romney really opened my eyes to the importance and power of fasting and I’ve never been able to look back. He spoke a lot on it. Here’s one message I can find off hand…
    http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=14e4aeca0ea6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1
    But I followed a lot of his talks and the messages in that link given in 1982 were pretty much the same ones he was giving 40 years earlier. I’d highly recommend reading that as a starting point and then digging into the scriptures he cites. That above link doesn’t go into it as deeply as he does elsewhere (but I can’t find a good link right now), but it is a great start.

  11. meems on October 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Thanks, Julie.

  12. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I read President Packard’s talk last night and found nothing out of the ordinary, I hope that this post is not directed at his talk. As for tradition…We have one of the richest traditions.

    “I suspect that the Church has been and is wrong about several matters historical, doctrinal, political, theological, and cultural. But if I’m willing to think that, I also need to acknowledge that I’m even more likely than the Church is to be wrong about those things. So I try not to take my doubts too seriously. I frequently fail at this.”

    and “I envy pieces of other traditions: the traditions of Catholics, the social justice emphasis of liberal Christians, the surety of fundamentalist Christians, the exegesis of Presbyterians, the openness of Unitarians, the history of Jews, and the relaxed time of people who don’t go to church on Sundays.”

  13. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 10:58 am

    M. Godek,

    Really? You had to bring up the talk?

    To say that other have cool traditions does not mean that we can not value other traditions. Of course, we usually just pretend that they do not exist. It helps make ours seem more interesting and original than it really is.

  14. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Isn’t that what those two quotes in my comment are referring to, (THE TALK)? Thats what I got out of it. The “openness of the Unitarians?”. Lets call a spade a spade.

  15. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    How about u Julie M…am I on point with my interpretation of your quotes?

  16. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    It you look at the post that Julie link to, it appear that you are off (Julie can speak for her self).

    I have praised the Unitarians and the liberal social justice traditions for a long time. I do not think anyone needs President Packer to encourage such and appreciation, though he does help. :)

  17. Julie M. Smith on October 14, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    M. Godek, you are way, way, way off.

    As I explained in the post, I had seen a statement of personal testimony on another blog, thought it was a nice idea, and therefore decided to do my own.

  18. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    It is a nice idea, Julie. Thanks.

    I am trying to write about transcendence for a periodical. This has gotten me thinking about transcending the particular as we seek faith.

  19. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    So you didn’t write this? But you did post it and like it so…..what do you like about it? Do you like this part

    “I suspect that the Church has been and is wrong about several matters historical, doctrinal, political, theological, and cultural. But if I’m willing to think that, I also need to acknowledge that I’m even more likely than the Church is to be wrong about those things. So I try not to take my doubts too seriously. I frequently fail at this.”

    Personally I think its kinda apostate.

  20. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    “Personally I think its kinda apostate.”

    Wow, you are rude.

  21. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    It is or it isn’t. Its not a matter of being rude. Im not being rude, just curious what people are thinking…

  22. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Your funny C H.

  23. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Julie is taking ownership of the quote by posting it. Just wanted to see how she really thought about this quote…

    I suspect that the Church has been and is wrong about several matters historical, doctrinal, political, theological, and cultural. But if I’m willing to think that, I also need to acknowledge that I’m even more likely than the Church is to be wrong about those things. So I try not to take my doubts too seriously. I frequently fail at this.

    Is this an accurate statement about how your feel about General Authorities, like President Packer, or President Monson?

    How do you feel?

  24. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    In that case (#21), it is not apostate. My reason for saying that your comment it rude is that you are free to state your disagreement, but to label somebody else as apostate is to question there standing in the Church. I am convinced that Julie’s standing is sound. Either way, not my call, and sure as hell not yours.

  25. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Dear C.H :)

    I was referring to the quote, furthermore is this the way Julie feels since she posted it. I do have to say though that the quote is apostate. I mean… just read it.

    I suspect that the Church has been and is wrong about several matters historical, doctrinal, political, theological, and cultural. But if I’m willing to think that, I also need to acknowledge that I’m even more likely than the Church is to be wrong about those things. So I try not to take my doubts too seriously. I frequently fail at this.

    Theological and Doctrinal and cultural? Julie, what are these three words referring to in the context of why you posted the post?

  26. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    But Im still confused is this Julies Testimony? or is this some thing she just borrowed and posted?

  27. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I read it. I am pretty sure you do not understand it. There is nothing wrong with asking questions, but you appear to be on a witchhunt.

    It is Julie’s testimony…hence the title…”My Testimony.”

  28. Alison Moore Smith on October 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Wondrous.

    suspect that the Church has been and is wrong about several matters historical, doctrinal, political, theological, and cultural. But if I’m willing to think that, I also need to acknowledge that I’m even more likely than the Church is to be wrong about those things. So I try not to take my doubts too seriously. I frequently fail at this.

    Actually this was my favorite part :) because it’s a *faithful* presentation of real doubt. If you don’t doubt anything in the church, it’s probably because you don’t know enough (or you’re lying). But doubt can be real barrier to testimony and growth. Julie shows a beautiful attitude that helps me in that area.

    As for “social justice” — ack — at least as it’s applied today. I’m just waiting for the progressive tithing to kick in. Mostly I’m waiting for all social justice advocates who makes more than the world average to give all that “overage” to the less fortunate. Then I’ll believe it.

    Really, though, I think the political talk is an unnecessary tangent here. Julie’s testimony isn’t about politics. I’d sure love to hear more testimonies like this on fast Sunday. Good on you, Julie.

  29. Rameumptom on October 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I agree with Julie that sometimes the Church IS wrong on things. Church historian Davis Bitton gave a talk a few years ago at FAIR entitled “I do not have a testimony of the history of the Church.” (http://tinyurl.com/q8e6r) He explains what his testimony is about, and just like Julie’s, does not mean he has a testimony of everything Church leaders have said or done.

    I think the Church has been wrong on occasion, on things such as: Adam-God, Polygamy required for exaltation, God’s foreknowledge, and the curse of Cain. Later revelations have changed our corporate views on these over the years.

    Yet those do not impact my overall testimony. Just like Julie, I realize that often when my own viewpoint does not match that of the Church, it can equally mean that my views need refinement or adjusting, and not just the Church’s. It keeps me humble to know that the prophets and Church are not perfect, but require continual revelation and spiritual tinkering to eventually get it to perfection. And I require the same tinkering, as I learn and repent, learn and repent, repeat as necessary.

    An apostate is one who actively seeks for flaws in the Church and then prides him/herself in any efforts to steady the ark and change the Church into his/her own likeness. However, Julie has shown great wisdom and humility in acknowledging that she needs to realize that disagreements may mean that she may be wrong as well. She focuses on the things she does have a testimony of, and trusts those who have taught her from her youth in the things she has yet to receive a testimony. Isn’t one of the gifts of the Spirit to be able to believe on the words of others?

    Julie, thanks for your testimony. As mine, it is still developing and growing. Some parts are strong, others are still lurking in the shadows of uncertainty. Yet, the strong portions are enough to keep me hanging onto the iron rod, hoping to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life.

  30. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    “ack”

    Alison, you are great.

  31. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    No one needs to be “burned at the stake” no pun intended. I think that I do understand, Julie is stating there are some things that she needs to reconcile, perfectly fine. I just don’t see the value in stating some of those things. Are we here trying to be controversial? Or are we trying to build faith, in those very leaders that hold the line of revelation to our GOD.

  32. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    “Are we here trying to be controversial?”

    Ummm, you are the jerk running around calling the testimonies of others apostate.

  33. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    nice C.H!

  34. Ardis E. Parshall on October 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    “Are we here trying to be controversial? Or are we trying to build faith?”

    You sure as hell aren’t succeeding at the latter, M. Godek. Who invited you to be here at all?

  35. Chris H. on October 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Ardis,

    I was waiting for you.

  36. Ardis E. Parshall on October 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Well, I’m finally here, Chris. Trolls, beware: Nobody calls our Julie “apostate” without being called on his/her/its false witness.

  37. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Someone get the sword!! Watch out there be trolls lurkin’

  38. Ardis E. Parshall on October 14, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Not only lurkin, spewin’.

  39. Ardis E. Parshall on October 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    M. Godek, you are a stranger here, an intruder, an interloper, a trespasser. You could have been a guest, but guests don’t behave as you do, so you forfeit that role. You don’t get to grill Julie on her testimony, you don’t get to call her apostate. You get to sit in the corner, and listen, and learn, and find out how visitors behave.

  40. Chino Blanco on October 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    @21: I’m thinking that I resent how Julie M. damns all her atheist readers with her faint praise: the Catholics are all about “traditions” … liberal Christians are freedom fighters … fundies know what they’re all about … Presbyterians aren’t to be taken lightly … Unitarians are feeling the love … the Jews have got “history” … but when it comes to us non-believers, her tepid attempt at expressing envy is attached as almost an afterthought, in the form of a nod to our skill at chillin’ on the seventh day.

    You’ve mocked us once, Julie M. Never do it again. ;-)

    Otherwise, for the record, even real life apostates like me have enough sense to respect sincere testimonies from obviously sane and thoughtful believers like Julie M. Pity how some of her own co-religionists seem so eager to turn sincere expressions of belief into some kind of litmus test.

  41. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I love this place, its great! Say one thing that is misconstrued and the whole community comes out with pitch forks and trolls spittin who knows what. For the record: I do appreciate heart felt testimony. But part of the record states as not a testimony, more of a confession of how she feels, which is fine. I just don’t feel good about people suspecting that that the church is wrong theologically. As for Times and Season, its a mixed bag here I guess. Have a great day! I wish you guys the best. Ill stop in from time to time

  42. Steve on October 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Any meaningful discussion about the merits of the statement “I suspect that the Church has been and is wrong about several matters” requires a definition of “The Church” and a reliable, objective system for determining what the Church’s “position” is on a given issue.

    These dead horses have already been beaten beyond recognition.

    Anyway, Julie, I love the spirit of humility expressed in that paragraph. It’s amazing to me how often my objections to this or that teaching turn out to have been rooted in my own misunderstanding about what was being taught. This seldom becomes apparent to me until my reservations have aged on the shelf for a while.

  43. chris on October 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    29,

    “Adam-God, Polygamy required for exaltation, God’s foreknowledge, and the curse of Cain.”

    I’ll jump into the fray since I see these things often being raised as teachings which were supposedly proven “wrong” by the direction of later prophets.

    - Polygamy required for exaltation – yes, my belief is that it was required for exaltation of those who were asked to participate in it. I’m not sure how it could be otherwise… If God specifically asked someone to do X, and they refused, it would be strange for you to become one in power/glory/purpose with God if you refuse to do what he asked (and did not repent). I’m not being asked, neither are you. Therefore it has no bearing.
    Broader point, just because God’s will is unchanging in all generations (and that will is to bring to pass immortality and eternal life of man) does not mean his methods of bringing that will to pass are unchanging. This is precisely why we have Prophets, to deliver the methods to each generation for how God’s will is brought to pass. Since we are all humans, those methods have a lot of similarities in all generations. Since we are also all a product of culture/history those methods need to be adapted in bringing about God’s purpose.

    Adam God? Brigham Young isn’t here, or I’d ask him to elaborate. It’s not being taught, it wasn’t clearly taught. I’m somewhat interested by the concept as related to Eve being the “Mother of all Living” (if you asked me who the “Father of all Living people on the Earth” my first thought would probably not be to say Adam). There’s something there, but like I said it doesn’t seem to be what most people accuse BY of saying. I’m also interested in the words of the hymn if you could hie to kolob which says, “Do you think that you could ever, through all eternity, Find out the generation where Gods began to be.” If the answer to that question is just as simple as saying, “Ya, go back to the first one.” it’s really not so tricky. I think what BY said is more complicated than what some people reduce it to. Which was perhaps why it wasn’t taught and because it was so easy to misunderstand it. I certainly don’t grasp all of it, but I wonder if there is more too it. Since he is not here to explain, and since this is not necessary to my progression at the moment it’s not an issue for me.

    Curse cain – Well, Cain was cursed. Were Black people cursed? I think this is hardly worth discussing it is hurtful and the Lord has ushered forth a new day. All I’d say on the matter is withholding blessings can be considered a curse, can it not? The Lord also says in several instances that he will turn our blessings into a curse and also says he will make our curse into a blessing. So there could be more here, but it’s somewhat useless to talk about as it pertains to our situation.

    God’s foreknowledge or lack thereof? This one I hadn’t heard some controversy over, so I googled and came up with a wiki page that didn’t really make a credible case and only relied on some form of the “how many angels can dance on a pin” or “can God make a rock so big he can’t lift it” argument.

    Generally, I think it interesting that some of the “liberal” members who like to look for nuance when it suits them are unable to muster the nuance to approach some of the more controversial so-called conservative topics, so they just dismiss it. And then nuance the hell out of those things they like. On the other hand some of the “conservative” members hold too tightly to everything, when there is certainly a time for flexibility when it comes to so-called liberal topics, as was evidenced by Bruce R. McConkie, the modern proto-conservative LDS position who was very pliable when the Lord needed him to be.

    Total deviation I know, but I didn’t bring it up, and it’s

  44. Apame on October 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Julie, I loved your testimony and I think we both had the same basic intentions–to honestly state our positive beliefs and not be afraid to recognize the complicated nature that testimonies often have. Thanks for your honesty, it makes me more brave and “okay” about the testimony I have myself.

    I also feel as if testimonies should more often show that we all have strong convictions about some things and weaker convictions about others. Perhaps even no convictions in certain aspects. But, that is what it means to be a seeker of truth and faith–to be human, I think. Those are the testimonies that speak the most to me, at least.

  45. Chino Blanco on October 14, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    @12: Please don’t leave before bearing your testimony of President Packard (whoever that is).

    Oh, wait, my bad. You figured out who you were talking about later in #23.

    Hopefully, someday soon, KSL will reopen comments, and you’ll have your old clubhouse back.

  46. oudenos on October 14, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Is M. Godek Charles of FPR fame?

  47. oudenos on October 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I mean, is M. Godek the Charles of FPR fame?

  48. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    back from lunch what did I miss…..Nice action! All these words just for me. I love it! Who else wants to pontificate or adjulate?

  49. M. Godek on October 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    KSL? Charles? Trolls? Im confused….. Can some on help me back out of the rabbit hole.

  50. Hunter on October 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Julie, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Another beautiful post — I enjoyed it.

    Someday, I would love to read more of what you mean by the intriguing question whether “God wanted [you] to take the hard path of suffering” or not. It seems that this thought could be a post in and of itself.

    Anyhow, thanks again.

  51. Julie M. Smith on October 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I have nothing more to say to M Godek, except to clarify that I wrote this post.

    Chino, a little background. (Although I think your comment may have been tongue-in-cheek?) I grew up in a non-religious household. Sunday morning was jazz, relaxing, newspapers, sailing. It was lovely, peaceful, restorative, family-focused. I really do envy it and think it has real value.

    Hunter, several experiences way too personal for a blog, but in two particular cases, I assumed that I was supposed to pick the hard, painful thing. Later, the Spirit revealed to me that I wasn’t–the easy road was just fine. Still trying to think through that.

  52. Chino Blanco on October 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Julie – re my #40: The first graf was totally tongue-in-cheek, the second was a gratuitous paraphrasing of a line from Princess Bride that I threw out there in the hopes of currying favor with the Mormon crowd here, and the third was totally sincere. I miss Family Home Evening and my dad reading a scripture passage before every meal. We do Sunday brunch and the kids get to hear me read the latest Economist obituary, but it’s not the same.

  53. WMP on October 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Very nice, Julie. Thank you.

  54. Aaron T. on October 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Loved it Julie, you rock!

  55. Idahospud on October 15, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you for this, Julie. I adore you.

  56. Laura on October 15, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Thanks Julie. Your honest testimony is the kind I’m inspired and moved by.

  57. Cynthia L. on October 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    This is lovely, Julie. Unfortunate that some felt the need to crash the party. Hope you are having a lovely Sabbath.

  58. Ellis on October 17, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    A testimony is an intensely personal thing. I’m am moderately curious about the reasons for “aping” the other testimony.

    If a testimony is a declaration of truth then they are both statements of the true beliefs of the persons who wrote them. If a testimony is a statement of a truth revealed by the spirit which pertains to the restored gospel and the divinity of the savior then they are a bit off the mark.

    I will say however, they are each specific about what they believe. No generalizations or code words. I like that. As for the content some of it I liked and some of it I made me feel uneasy.

  59. M. G. on October 18, 2010 at 9:52 am

    (58) Thank you Ellis for your words, I would like to echo them!

  60. palerobber on October 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I’m even more likely than the Church is to be wrong about those things.

    Julie, if you don’t mind sharing, can you think of an example where applying your own moral reasoning yielded an ultimately less correct answer than “the Church” produced?

  61. Ken on October 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Is it OK If I say I’m mostly on the same page with Julie, except with the proviso that while I don’t have “doubts,” I do have “questions”? (Or will that get me run outta town??? ;D)

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