Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: What critics don't understand about testimony

Published: Monday, March 28 2011 6:00 a.m. MDT

As noted above, a testimony should be grounded both in the heart and mind. Dr. Wendy Ulrich, speaking at the 2005 FAIR conference, explained:

“How do the goosebumps and tearfulness I experience when someone speaks in a testimony meeting differ from the goosebumps and tearfulness I experience when the 4:00 parade begins at Disneyland? ...

“Fortunately, we are not left with emotion alone to discern God's hand in our lives. Reason, experience, counsel from others and other forms of revelation may all assist us. In fact, I notice that emotion plays into only some of my spiritual experiences, and often only in a secondary way. More often the spiritual promptings and confirmations I receive come very quietly as something simply occurs to me with a kind of rightness that has no real emotion attached to it at all. … Others have come as a pure love beyond my previous capacity to imagine. … I expect that people from many religious backgrounds may have such experiences, and I am comfortable imagining God in many of them, but they are not easily explained away as a self-produced warm feeling.”

What’s ironic about the “feelings/emotions” charge made by critics is that they often base their rejection of the restored gospel on emotions or non-intellectual reasons (as we will see in next week’s installment).

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