Ep 361 – The Mormon Testimony Bearing Phenomenon

Panel Discussion

Posted April 2nd, 2017

Join Randy, his brother Jimmy, and Heather as they have a Hamerless discussion about how bearing your testimony colors the entire Mormon experience from the innocent days of being a Sunbeam toddler to the greatest of us in the highest reaches of leadership in Zion.  I’d like to testify to you that I know you will enjoy this episode.  In the name of optimism and narcissism, Amen.



  • SP

    You can gain a testimony by bearing testimony. https://youtu.be/cebFWOlx848

  • Conversus

    Is the solemn recitation of the Nicean Creed at church each Sunday as experienced by Catholics, Orthodox, and some protestants, like the bearing of testimony anong Mormons?

    • As far as it’s a conventional part of the church service, sure. Interesting that Brother Joseph said he hated religious creeds, though the pillars of testimony we are taught to bear are essentially the same thing.

  • Tim

    I watched a TED talk yesterday on “The doubt essential to faith.” It’s by Lesley Hazleton, an agnostic Jew who does scholarly research on the life of Mohamed. When she talked equated certainty with fanaticism and intolerance, I immediately thought of the practice of saying “I know…” from the pulpit.

  • David

    The opener with the testimonies was really great. I have friends who I would like to share that with, but not the rest of the podcast. Will that be available on YouTube or somewhere?

  • Thomas Moore

    for the word “Foyer”, I’ve always have pronounced it as foy-yay?!?! Swedish Mormon ancestry??? It’s how I’ve always heard it pronounced. Yet on Webster’s they definitely pronounce it “foy-yer”. Learn something new I guess. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foyer

    • I can remember arguing about the pronunciation of “foyer” with Rob Myers in the foyer of Butler Junior High School when I was thirteen (no kidding). This is one of those existential conundra that aren’t going away any time soon.

  • Orrin Dayne

    For me on my mission, testimony bearing was affirmative statements of (alleged) fact, not affirmative statements of my knowledge. So as I was seeking to find my testimony via the “Candle in the Wind” method — I’m going with Elton John rather than Boyd Packer because Norma Jean would have wanted it that way — I would have said “The Book of Mormon is the word of God …” not “*I know* the Book of Mormon is the word of God.” Doing so made the “Candle” method more of a leap of faith and not a misrepresentation of my state of belief. Consequently, I didn’t have any angst about doing the “Candle” method at the time. I can’t remember if the Candle talk was quoted in the Missionary study guide we had, but the “Candle” talk was definitely circulated on my mission in the early 1990’s. I know I had a copy.

    As a side note, I love how Randy is still pissed he went to Mesa. I went state side too (fist bump), though not as densely populated with Mormons.

    • Randy_Snyder

      For me the pain will always be too near.

  • The TED Talk about nothing is about the most profound thing I’ve ever heard. Appropriate in the extreme.

    “The Church is just not really prime spiritual real estate.” I’ve never heard it put better. I basically feel the same about the Abrahamic religions in general, though I know there are patches of what I would think of as quaint comfy spiritual real estate here and there, like Sufism for example. Street level Abrahamism is arid and empty with occasional swamps. Think west Texas with bayous.

    What Randy brought up about Moroni’s promise is really enlightening. If you really read it, like read it till you really understood it, then go home and think about it, you’d never go there.

    All in all a very interesting episode.

  • Travis Gower

    Since my disaffection, I’ve always been amused/annoyed when Mormons are amused/annoyed at other Mormons expressing unorthodox or unofficial testimony. Someone bears testimony about Joseph Smith; someone else bears testimony that pets will be with us in heaven. The epistemology is the same; who is the former to scoff at the latter?

  • Matthew Derricott


  • windy_way8192

    Loved this. My new testimony:

    Epistemology: Gut as provisional knowledge, rationality to verify
    Cosmology: Kindness bonds people and forged healthier boundaries, skepticism leaves us open to more knowledge
    Theology: There are no prophets, if prophet is defined as divine authority. Claiming divine authority is spiritual violence. Let prophecy be the free sharing of spiritual feeling and wisdom and understanding, never restraining.

    This weekend I was at a reception celebrating a new batch of guide dogs, held by the non-profit that gathers the support and makes it all happen. Several recipients told of how their dogs transform their lives positively. I turned to my husband saying, “Now that’s a testimony.” Afterwards we all went our separate ways, having participated in a common goal, without committing our whole lives, nor our epistemologies, cosmologies, or theologies, but still making the world better.