Thursday, February 20, 2014


The dictionary defines testimony as:

1. a declaration of truth or fact
2. (Law) law evidence given by a witness, esp orally in court under oath or

We in the LDS church often are told we ought to bear our testimonies. Most of the time, you probably hear something like “I’d like to bear my testimony. I know this church is true. I know that [insert current church president] is a prophet of God. I know that Jesus died for us. I love my family and I’m so grateful for all the tender mercies the Lord has shown me.” This is occasionally emphasized with the shedding of tears and a quavering voice.

While such testimonies can lift us up when we are down and remind us that God loves us, they don’t really increase our faith. Why not? Something is missing - Evidence. Where are the faith-promoting experiences? How do you know that “the church is true?” How do you know Jesus died for you? How do you know that so and so is a prophet? What is your evidence?

We learn from Hebrews 11:1 that “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And what is that evidence? It is your own experiences. It is the fruits of your labors coupled with the grace of Jesus Christ.

More than three years ago, while I knelt in prayer, begging the Lord for a remission of my sins, He answered me in a most miraculous way. The Holy Ghost came upon me with a power and glory that defy all description. I KNEW with all my soul that the Lord had heard my prayer and had forgiven me of all my sins. The love I felt was indescribably glorious and powerful. I never wanted the experience to end. And the Lord spoke to me and told me that I had been baptized with fire.

I relate this experience only because I believe that if you ponder it and ask God if I’m telling the truth, and if you seek such an experience for yourself, that you may taste of the goodness and love of God, from the Tree of Life.

This is my testimony. Our God, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, forgives repentant sinners. He lives! I know it, for no power on earth could have given me such an experience. No man, by virtue of laying his hands on my head, could have given me the Holy Ghost in such a manner. This is evidence indeed.

The purpose of testimony is to convince others of truth. That’s it. It is not a recitation of one’s beliefs, or a travelogue, or a declaration of gratitude. It is EVIDENCE, from one’s own life. I invite you to consider the evidence you have to offer the next time you feel inclined to bear your testimony.  So the question for you to ponder is this – if evidence is required for one to bear testimony, how do you obtain a testimony of Jesus?


  1. Hi Jake, I just found your blog and am enjoying it. I live in Layton, we should get together some time to chat, maybe you know of more people up this way who feel the same way, but honestly I feel quite alone.

    I have been pondering much about this very subject. Maybe it is my sensitivity to words in the english language, but we certainly abuse the verb "to know". In portuguese or spanish, the verb "to know" is divided into two words. The one means you know a person because you have been in their presence, the other indicates an understanding or a knowledge of some thing.

    So I have a question. When is it ok to say we "know" something?

    "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I would say that until we see something, and have a perfect knowledge of it, we remain in the faith stage. I have faith in the things I am learning and I am "experimenting upon the word", but until the day my eyes have seen, I am still reliant on faith. I am willing to admit that it doesn't have to be my physical eyes, because visions are often seen through the minds eye, but they are still seen none the less.

    I think in the church the culture and lack of understanding of the meaning of words has caused many to leap from belief and go straight to thinking they posses a knowledge so they sound like they have progressed to a point they really haven't reached. Mostly it is ignorance and tradition. But I see it as critical. If we feel we have gained a perfect knowledge when we haven't, we then abandon our search and thus damn our faith.

    Anyway, this comment has gone on way too long but I wanted to just add to what you have said here, and thank you for your testimony.

  2. Bryce, thanks for taking the time to look around. My blog isn't much, but it's my way of sharing my uncorrelated views of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    There are others who are like-minded heretics. Shoot me an email and we'll talk. My email is jakemahan74 @ without the spaces.

    If you haven't already checked out my blog post about belief, faith, and knowledge, try looking at that. I think you can say you "know" any time you want. But to be consistent with scripture, I think you have to differentiate between belief, faith, and knowledge.

    For example, we hear that so-and-so "knows" that Jesus lives. Well, they probably mean that they really, really believe it. They have faith that Jesus lives when they act upon their belief and obtain a manifestation, a dream, a vision, an angelic visitation. They have true knowledge when Christ visits them. Then they have actual knowledge.

    Thanks for the rest of your comments. I totally agree with you about lack of understanding of the meaning of words. I'm watching for that email.