Outsider Test For Faith
CES Letter Core Question
How do church members reconcile these testimonies of other faiths?
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.
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.
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.
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