Outsider Test For Faith

CES Letter Core Question

How do church members reconcile these testimonies of other faiths?

Just as it would be arrogant for a FLDS member, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Catholic, a Seventh-day Adventist, or a Muslim to deny a Latter-day Saint’s spiritual experience and testimony of the truthfulness of Mormonism, it would likewise be arrogant for a Latter- day Saint to deny others’ spiritual experiences and testimonies of the truthfulness of their own religion. Yet, every religion cannot be right and true together.

LDS MEMBER IN 2017

I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one and only true Church. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s true Prophet today.

FLDS MEMBER IN 2017

I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the one and only true Church. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Warren Jeffs is the Lord’s true Prophet today.

RLDS MEMBER IN 1975

I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the one and only true Church. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that W. Wallace Smith is the Lord’s true Prophet today.

LDCJC MEMBER IN 2017

I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christis the one and only true Church. I know the Book of Mormon and the Book of Jeraneck are true. I know that Matthew P. Gill is the Lord’s true Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator today.

Same method: read, ponder, and pray. Different testimonies. All four testimonies cannot simultaneously be true. Is this the best God can come up with in revealing His truth to His children? Only .2% of the world’s population are members of God’s one true Church. This is God’s model and standard of efficiency?

Praying about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon does not follow that the LDS Church is true. The FLDS also believe in the Book of Mormon. So do dozens of Mormon splinter groups. They all believe in the divinity of the Book of Mormon as well. Praying about the first vision: Which account is true? They can’t all be correct together as they conflict with one another.


CES Letter, Page 75

This is a manifestation of all-or-nothing thinking. People routinely embrace some truth and some false beliefs. As they exercise faith, God teaches them "line upon line."

The CES Letter is correct that “all testimonies cannot be simultaneously true” regarding the identity of “the Lord’s true Prophet.” There is only “one” man who holds the priesthood keys and serves as Moses to God’s people on earth (D&C 28:2).

People can be deceived. Joseph Smith explained:  “Nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God.” 

If a person will continue seeking by asking God with a sincere heart, with real intent, and having faith in Christ, they will be led to genuine priesthood authority and valid ordinances: “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).

The contradictory testimonies published in The CES Letter do not justify discarding the instructions to “Read, ponder, and pray.” The Lord described the true Spirit to Hyrum Smith: “Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good--yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit” (D&C 11:12). Individuals who follow it will eventually be guided “into all truth” (John 16:13).

God requires us to “study it out in our minds” (D&C 9:8). We must do more than simply ask in prayer. The Lord chastised Oliver Cowdery: “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me” (D&C 9:7). For example, a basic inquiry into the history of the line of priesthood authority professed by leaders of the FLDS Church demonstrates they do not hold genuine sealing authority—their claimed priesthood keys cannot be traced back to Joseph Smith. Click Here


Additional Resources:

FAIR Questions 2: Recognizing the Voice of the Spirit 0:10:55

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

RiseUp Podcast: Small and Simple Truths Blog Interview, Blake, 0:18:45

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

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

Interview with Terryl and Fiona Givens: Crucible of Doubt

Building a Testimony on a Sure Foundation

Finding Answers to Your Prayers pdcast

Keeping the Faith 10: Reconverted.Org

A Household of Partial Faith, pt 2–Keeping the Faith 6b

A Household of Partial Faith, pt 1–Keeping the Faith 6a

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

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

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

Seeing with an eye of faith-pt 4-Keeping the Faith 5d: Don Bradley

Navigating difficult doctrinal, historical or political issues–Keeping the Faith 4: Mike Parker

Keeping the Faith 3b: Cody Anderson–Cultivating the seeds of faith, pt 2

Keeping the Faith 2b Michael Ash and Shaken Faith Syndrome, pt 2 — Fair Mormon Podcast

Keeping the Faith 2a Michael Ash and Shaken Faith Syndrome, pt 1 — Fair Mormon Podcast

Keeping the Faith 1: Letter to a Doubter by Terryl Givens– Fair Mormon Podcast

The Cure for an Intellectual Apostasy — Fair Mormon Podcast

Can Imperfect Scriptures Lead us to God? Part 2 Fair Mormon

Can Imperfect Scriptures Lead us to God? part 1 Fair Mormon Podcast

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

Tom Mould on Folklore and Personal Revelation- Fair Mormon Podcast

Testimony and Lifelong Conversion- Fair Mormon Podcast

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

pt 1, Enlarging Ones Testimony with Answers and Evidences

pt 2, Enlarging Ones Testimony with Answers and Evidences

pt 3, Enlarging Ones Testimony with Answers and Evidences

Pt. 1, How to receive answers to your prayers

Pt. 2, How to receive answers to your prayers

pt 1, I Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church

pt 2, I Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church

pt 3, Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church

pt 4, Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church

pt 5, I Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church

pt 6, I Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church

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

How to Recieve Revelation

Autobiographical Notes of my Testimony by Daniel C. Peterson

Finding Your Purpose in Life Does Faith Matter – His Grace

How to recieve answers to your prayers

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

I Have Kept the Faith

My Story – Finding Hope & Strength Through Trials

No Other Gods

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

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

Strengthening Faith and Testimony — Elder Robert D. Hales

The Power of Personal Experiences

The Spirit of Revelation — Elder David A. Bednar

Autobiographical Notes on My Testimony (2004 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson

“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

Education, Scholarship, and Mormonism by Scott Gordon

Hard Questions and Keeping the Faith (PDF) by Michael Ash

I Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church (2004 FAIR Conference) by Davis Bitton

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

Take Heed That Ye Be Not Deceived (online book) by Richard I. Winwood

The Loss and Rekindling of Faith (2013 FAIR Conference) Panel Discussion