Same Claims

CES Letter Core Question

Does every major religion have members who claim the same thing: God or God’s spirit bore witness to them that their religion, prophet/pope/leaders, book(s), and teachings are true?

Same Claims

Every major religion has members who claim the same thing: God or God’s spirit bore witness to them that their religion, prophet/pope/leaders, book(s), and teachings are true.


CES Letter, Page 75

Perhaps many faiths can find a member who feels God told them by the spirit that their faith is true. However, Abrahamic traditions usually emphasize the Holy Spirit and its role in guiding them, but even among those religions, the focus of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on personal revelation is unique.

All men and women may receive guidance from the Holy Ghost. Joseph Smith taught:  “A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him” (D&C 130:23).

The Holy Ghost will lead people to valid ordinances like baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost: “Every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father. And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you” (D&C 84:47-48).

False and deceiving spirits also influence mankind: “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). “There are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world” (D&C 50:2).

Revelation from a supernatural source plays a less important role in other religious traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Taoism.

Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism generally do not seek converts. Adherents do not encourage others to seek to learn their path to God is the only path through personal revelation.

The use of lay clergy in the LDS Church contrasts most organized religions and indicates that special education is not needed to serve as leaders, which further accentuates the need for personal revelation to fulfill callings.

While some Abrahamic religions do claim special authority for their religion or teachers many do not. For example, many Protestant religions believe in a “Priesthood of all believers,” which doesn’t necessarily exclude those in other sects from performing acts that would be considered valid in God’s eyes.


Additional Resources:

Spiritual Experiences as the Basis for Belief and Commitment by Blake Ostler

Can We Trust Our Feelings? by J. Cooper Johnson

Best of Fair 11: “Believest thou…?”: Faith, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Psychology of Religious Experience, Dr. Wendy Ulrich, 0:53:25

Is an LDS testimony based only on emotional “feelings”? — Fair Mormon Podcast

Tom Mould on Folklore and Personal Revelation- Fair Mormon Podcast

Keeping the Faith 5a: Don Bradley–Seeing with an eye of faith, pt 1, Don Bradley, 1:22:46

Keeping the Faith 5b: Don Bradley–Seeing with an eye of faith, pt 2, Don Bradley, 1:19:34

Keeping the Faith 5c: Don Bradley–Seeing with an eye of faith, pt 3, Don Bradley, 1:26:24

Keeping the Faith 5d: Don Bradley–Seeing with an eye of faith, pt 4, Don Bradley, 1:03:01

Keeping the Faith 12: Janet Eyring–Lost then Found, Janet Eyring, 0:48:15

RiseUp Podcast: Building a Testimony on a Sure Foundation – Part 1, J. Max Wilson, 0:22:24

RiseUp Podcast: Building a Testimony on a Sure Foundation – Part 2, J. Max Wilson, 0:16:11

Best of Fair 18 – Mike Parker: The Challenge and Choice of Faith, Mike Parker, 1:00:15

Testimony and Lifelong Conversion- Fair Mormon Podcast

4th Watch 2: Testimony and Lifelong Conversion, Ned Scarisbrick, 0:31:22

 pt 1, Spiritual Experiences As The Basis For Belief And Commitment

pt 2,Spiritual Experiences As The Basis For Belief And Commitment

pt 3,Spiritual Experiences As The Basis For Belief And Commitment

pt 4, Spiritual Experiences As The Basis For Belief And Commitment

pt 5, Spiritual Experiences As The Basis For Belief And Commitment

pt 6, Spiritual Experiences As The Basis For Belief And Commitment

pt 1, Seeing our Blindness: The Impact of Personal History on our Understanding of God

pt 2, Seeing our Blindness: The Impact of Personal History on our Understanding of God

pt 3, Seeing our Blindness: The Impact of Personal History on our Understanding of God

pt 4, Seeing our Blindness: The Impact of Personal History on our Understanding of God

pt 5, Seeing our Blindness: The Impact of Personal History on our Understanding of God

How to recieve answers to your prayers

I Don’t Have a Testimony of Church History by Davis Bitton

Obtaining Revelation for your Personal Life — Elder Richard G. Scott

The Power of Personal Experiences

The Spirit of Revelation — Elder David A. Bednar

Things Will get Better — Jeffrey R. Holland

“Believest thou…?”: Faith, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Psychology of Religious Experience (2005 FAIR Conference) by Wendy Ulrich

Can We Trust Our Feelings? by J. Cooper Johnson

Spiritual Experiences as the Basis for Belief and Commitment (2007 FAIR Conference) by Blake T. Ostler