Debunking FairMormon
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Testimony & Spiritual Witness



Brief Summary

Testimony & Spiritual Witness

FairMormon claims that spiritual feelings can come from three sources: (1) Your own feelings; (2) Satan; or (3) the Holy Ghost. However, FairMormon advances no reliable method for distinguishing between those three. Indeed, there is no reliable method, based upon the billions of people in other religions who rely upon spiritual feelings to confirm the truthfulness of their own religions and based upon instances of faithful LDS Church members (including Joseph Smith) being unable to distinguish between the three sources.

FairMormon claims there is more to spiritual experiences than feelings, but FairMormon doesn’t say what specifically is required. FairMormon does claim that the spiritual feelings must be “confirmed,” but the methods FairMormon suggests for confirming them (e.g., asking for a confirmation or comparing our feelings with the scriptures) either likewise rely on feelings (asking for a confirmation) themselves or rely upon some historical LDS Church narrative, such as the narrative of the First Vision or the Book of Mormon. The problems with these narratives and others are addressed on this website in their respective sections.

If LDS Church narratives alone are unbelievable, and emotions alone are unreliable (as conceded by FairMormon), then how can an LDS Church member, combining the two, know what is true? The answer, in my mind, is that an LDS Church member cannot know the truthfulness of Mormonism any more than a member of another religion can know the truthfulness of their own religion.

Donut Chart

Testimony & Spiritual Witness


The above donut chart shows percentages of the Testimony & Spiritual Witness section of Letter to a CES Director that FairMormon is in agreement, disagreement, and neutral on.

If one assumes that FairMormon's undisputed silence is acceptance of the facts, FairMormon agrees with 83.3% of the CES Letter's Testimony & Spiritual Witness section.

Breakdown can be found here.



Detailed Response

Testimony & Spiritual Witness

Every major religion…claim the same thing: God or God’s spirit bore witness to them

CES Letter says...

"Every major religion has members who claim the same thing: God or God’s spirit bore witness to them that their religion, prophet/pope/leaders, book(s), and teachings are true."

FairMormon Disagrees
  • FairMormon claims while other religions have goodness they do not have the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • FairMormon ignores the fundamental dilemma and problem of pointing to god and spiritual experiences/witnesses as evidence of one’s faith and truth claims while ironically claiming one can know Mormonism is true through the same faulty method used by other religions and their followers.

FairMormon says...
  • Correct:
    We acknowledge that the good in every religion is inspired of God. Moroni 7:13 states:

    But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Sure. I too was taught this in Church and Seminary. This is what I told investigators of other faiths on my mission. “Keep the good you have and let us add to it” only to later put them on the spot by directly asking them, “Will you commit to being baptized in two weeks?”

The Mormon reality is that while other religions may have some goodness, they are not the “one and only true Church upon the face of the earth.” They do not have the Priesthood. They do not have a “living prophet."

The Church is not dotting 140+ Temples on the planet for decorative purposes. They’re not sending out a sales force of 80,000 full-time missionaries with iPads to hand out nice books and a smile to the Gentiles.

The Church claims to be the only true religion that really matters as it’s the one and only true Church with authority from God. When Mormons acknowledge that other religions have some goodness, what they really believe is: “Your goodness is great and all...but it’s a just a stepping stone to us. When you’re serious about finding 'the truth' so that you can be 'together forever' with your family? Give the missionaries a call.”

The Book of Mormon also says that there are only two Churches:

  1. And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.
  2. And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

In the LDS endowment ceremony prior to 1990, the LDS Church considered the ministers/preachers of other Churches to be led by the devil and that they were teaching Satan’s doctrine.

This correlates with Joseph Smith History 1:19 where Joseph claims God called the ministers of other Churches corrupt and that they were teaching a creed that was an abomination in his sight.

All this is hardly the language of a friendly Church that sees good in other faiths and religions.

In any event, FairMormon’s comment about the good in other religions misses the point. My point was not about what good might or might not exist in other religions, it was that there is no method for discerning the difference between the spirit that purportedly bears witness to Mormons and the spirit that purportedly bears witness to members of other religions.

For example, we know that FLDS (although not a “major” religion) church members bear testimonies in a virtually identical manner as do LDS members. What are we to make of these FLDS testimonies? Obviously an FLDS testimony about the truthfulness of the FLDS Church cannot be from the “Spirit,” yet thousands are just as sure as the most devout LDS members. This same argument goes for all other offshoots of the LDS Church and of course for other religions in general.

FairMormon says...
  • Latter-day Saints do not claim that a spiritual manifestation to another Mormon is evidence for the truthfulness of the church, nor are we impressed with someone's claim to a spiritual witness in favor of another church. The LDS message is that each person must receive the witness for himself and that only that person can judge the truth of what he has experienced.

Note: FairMormon removed the following FairMormon statement on October 4, 2013:

  • People both inside and outside the church may be telling the truth, or they may be confused, or they may even be lying about what they have experienced. Fortunately, we do not have to judge. We know the truth of our own sincerity and our own answer, and no one else's experience will ever substitute for our own personal answers to prayer.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"Latter-day Saints do not claim that a spiritual manifestation to another Mormon is evidence for the truthfulness of the church..."

FairMormon is obfuscating the issues once again. I am not claiming that Mormons teach that a spiritual manifestation to “another Mormon” is evidence (i.e., a manifestation from person A to person B). I have claimed only that Mormons teach that an individual spiritual manifestation (from the “Spirit” to person B) is evidence for the truthfulness of the Church. There is no disagreement on the latter point.

FairMormon says...
  • The author is projecting his Latter-day Saint upbringing onto "every major religion." The claim is, in fact, false, and is an over-simplification of "every major religion." For example, a FairMormon number of Evangelical Christians have spent a great deal of time trying to prove to the Mormons that a spiritual witness should NOT be relied on to establish truth. Most major religions and sects rely on claims of authority (the Pope in Catholicism and the Bible in Protestantism) or simply tradition and majority and obviousness (Islam, Hinduism, etc.).
  • Latter-day Saints accept that God and God's Spirit will witness Truth whatever its source. (D&C 109:7) As a member of the Church we are encouraged to find truth in many places. Nowhere in our beliefs do we claim that there is no truth in other religions.

Quotes to consider:

  • DC 109:7:
    And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;
  • Westminster Confession of Faith 1.5, reads in part as follows:
    “’our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority [of the scriptures], is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.’”
  • John Calvin wrote:
    “’We must regard the authority of Scripture as higher than human reasons, factors or conjectures. This is because we base that authority on the inner witness borne by the Holy Spirit,’” Institutes, 1539 edition. The doctrine, particularly stressed by Calvinism, that the Holy Spirit provides an ‘internal witness’ to the authority of Scripture…..”
  • Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604), according to Robert Markus, taught that:
    “The scriptures contain what the reader finds in them; and the reader’s mind is shaped by his inner disposition: ‘unless the readers’ minds extend to the heights, the divine words lie low, as it were, uncomprehended…. It often happens that a scriptural text is felt to be heavenly, if one is kindled by the grace of contemplation to rise to heavenly things. And then we recognize the wonderful and ineffable power of the sacred text, when the reader’s mind is permeated with heavenly love…. For according to the direction that the reader’s spirit takes, so the sacred text rises with him…’”
  • Pope John Paul II stated the following, regarding the possibility of the Holy Spirit inspiring non-Catholics:
    “Every quest of the human spirit for truth and goodness, and in the last analysis for God, is inspired by the Holy Spirit….. At their origins we often find founders who, with the help of God’s Spirit, achieved a deeper religious experience…. In every authentic religious experience, the most characteristic expression is prayer…. We can hold that ‘every authentic prayer is called forth by the Holy Spirit, who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person’”.
  • Church Answer (Preach my Gospel, Lesson 1):

    Just as the Christian world was blessed by the courage and vision of the reformers, many other nations and cultures have been blessed by those who were given that portion “that [God] seeth fit that they should have” (Alma 29:8). Teachings of other religious leaders have helped many people become more civil and ethical.

    Buddha (Gotama): Born in 563 B.C. of a Hindu chieftain in Nepal. Concerned with the suffering he saw around him. Fled from his father’s luxurious palace, renounced the world, and lived in poverty. Seeking enlightenment, he discovered what he called the “path of deliverance.” Claimed to reach Nirvana, a state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality. Became a teacher for a community of monks. Confucius: Born in 551 B.C. Orphaned as a child. China’s first professional teacher. China’s greatest moral and social thinker. Said little about spiritual beings or divine powers. Believed that heaven had entrusted him with a sacred mission as champion of the good and true.

    Mohammed: Born in 570 A.D. in Mecca. Orphaned in childhood. Lived a life of poverty. Gained reputation as a trusted peacemaker. Married at age 25. In 610 prayed and meditated on Mount Hira. Said the angel Gabriel appeared to him and delivered a message from Allah (God). Claimed to receive communication from God through Gabriel from 620 to 632. These communications, which he recited to his disciples, were later written in the Koran, the sacred book of Islam.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Let’s play a game! Try to match Atheism and these 8 religions to the following 21 quotes. The answer key is below the last quote:

  • Atheist
  • Buddhist
  • Catholic
  • Hindu
  • Islam
  • Mormon
  • New Age
  • Protestant
  • Universal Unitarian
  1. “I felt a burning in my heart, and a great burden seemed to have left me.”

  2. “But what can I say? How can I describe an experience so profound and so beautiful? Shall I say that it was the most blessed experience of my life? Shall I say that [God] touched my heart and gave me a feeling of peace I had not known before? Shall I describe the tears that flowed freely from my eyes, affirming my...faith, as I...beg[ed] [God's] blessings for myself and for those I love?”

  3. “The sense I had of divine things, would often of a sudden kindle up, as it were, a sweet burning in my heart; an ardor of soul, that I know not how to express.”

  4. “As I read these books in a...bookstore,...I felt a burning in my heart that I should come and investigate.”

  5. “[Even as a child], [w]ithout understanding much about the complex [doctrine]...he was attracted to [church]. There he often felt a strong feeling of peace flowing through his body.”

  6. “I was praying...when I felt a burning shaft of...love come through my head and into my heart.”

  7. “I truly [sic] wanted to know [the truth]. After a few weeks, I stumbled onto [texts] which… answered my questions in a way that I had not heard of before. I read everything...and I even tried the experiment of asking [God] for...his divine love. After about 6 weeks, I felt a burning in my chest and a sensation that was unlike anything I had ever felt. It was pure happiness and peace. I knew then that [God] had sent His love to me.”

  8. “A feeling of peace and certitude would tell me when I had found the answers and often after people would help me by pointing in the right direction.”

  9. “We gave up a lot of things. What did I get in return? I received a feeling of peace, hope and security. I no longer lay awake at night worrying. I stopped cussing. I became much more honest in all aspects of my life. [God] has changed my heart and my life. My husband’s heart is changing also. We pray all the time and really feel [God’s] presence in our marriage. My perspective has changed. My view of life has changed about what is truly important.”

  10. “Many women described a feeling of euphoria after they committed to following [God]...One woman described a feeling of peace; she said: ‘It is like you are born again and you can start all over again, free from sin.’”

  11. “A feeling of peace seemed to flow into me with a sense of togetherness...I felt very peaceful from inside and also felt [warmth]...”

  12. “I felt a burning sensation in my heart.”

  13. “That inner light, that we all have or had at some time in our existence, was nearly burnt out for me. But in the [church]...I found a feeling of peace, inner solitude and quietness that I’d also found in reading the [text] and pondering over its meaning and trying to practice what it tells us.”

  14. “For the first time I not only felt accountable for my past sins but I had to fight back tears. I knew that I had let down [God] [and] my family...However, I also knew I was forgiven! [It] gave me a feeling of peace that I have never felt it in my whole life. I felt like I had a huge weight lifted off of me and that I was finally home and free...I felt like a new person.”

  15. “Every time I am there [at the church building], a feeling of peace overcomes me.”

  16. “Every time I was with the [church members], I felt this warm feeling, a feeling of peace and for the first time in my life since my church-going days, I wanted to follow [God]...”

  17. “About 10 years ago, when Jenny and I decided to start a family, we began looking for a spiritual community for our kids. During my first service at [the church]...I was hooked. I recall the feeling of peace that I felt when I was attending [services].”

  18. “The power of [God] came into me then. I had this warm and overwhelming feeling of peace and security. It’s hard to explain. I had to...stop myself from falling backward.”

  19. “[The religious leader] looked into my eyes deeply for a moment, and I experienced a feeling of peace and love unlike anything I had ever experienced before.”

  20. “[After praying,] [i]mmediately I was flooded with a deep feeling of peace, comfort, and hope.”

  21. “I recently spent an afternoon on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, atop the mount where Jesus is believed to have preached his most famous sermon...As I sat and gazed upon the surrounding hills gently sloping to an inland sea, a feeling of peace came over me. It soon grew to a blissful stillness that silenced my thoughts. In an instant, the sense of being a separate self—an “I” or a “me”—vanished...The experience lasted just a few moments, but returned many times as I gazed out over the land where Jesus is believed to have walked, gathered his apostles, and worked many of his miracles.”

Answers: 1) Protestant; 2) Islam; 3) Protestant; 4) Catholic; 5) Hindu; 6) Catholic; 7) New Age; 8) Islam; 9) Protestant; 10) Islam; 11) Hindu; 12) Protestant; 13) Islam; 14) Catholic; 15) Buddhist; 16) Mormon; 17) Universal Unitarian; 18) Catholic; 19) Hindu; 20) Protestant; 21) Atheist; (Sources)

The following excellent clip demonstrates how what Mormons identify as the "Spirit" or "Holy Ghost" or "testimony" are completely unreliable and untrustworthy in a world where other religions and religious people claim the same experiences and testimonies.

If you're going to read/watch anything on this page, let it be the following video:


FairMormon: "Most major religions and sects rely on claims of authority (the Pope in Catholicism and the Bible in Protestantism) or simply tradition and majority and obviousness (Islam, Hinduism, etc.)

And Mormonism doesn’t? Take away Mormonism’s claim of Prophets, Priesthood (divine authority), and the "divinely inspired" Book of Mormon and it ceases to exist. Mormonism thrives on claims of authority.

In a world of diverse religions and conflicting teachings – each with spiritual experiences – we can conclude:

  • All religions may be false, but all cannot be equally true.
  • Spiritual experiences are not all from the same source.
  • Spiritual experiences do not always guarantee true teaching.

Since the spiritual can be experienced in many religions, what makes the Mormon witness the true spiritual witness?

Dear Believer nicely sums up the big picture on this issue.


It would likewise be arrogant of a Latter-day Saint to
deny…others’ spiritual experiences and truth

CES Letter says...

"It would likewise be arrogant of a Latter-day Saint to deny their spiritual experiences and testimonies of the truthfulness of their own religion"

FairMormon Agrees

FairMormon says...
  • Correct:
    It would indeed be arrogant for a Latter-day Saint to deny the spiritual experiences of those who belong to other religions. We should never try to tear down what someone believes. We should, however, present the Gospel in its fullness and encourage those who are so inclined to accept it.

Quotes to consider:

  • Gordon B. Hinckley talks of some of the comments left at Temple Square by visitors ("An Ensign to the Nations," October 1989 General Conference:
  • From a Protestant from New Jersey: “I have often heard the word Mormon and associated it with a fanatic religious group. I couldn’t have been more wrong!”
  • From a Congregationalist from Massachusetts: “I have always felt that religion should be a joy, and you certainly show it!”
  • From a Christian from Maine: “This is beautiful; it is the first time in my life I have wondered if my religion is the right one.”
  • From a Catholic from Pennsylvania: “I envy your way of life.”
  • A Presbyterian from Canada: “God is in this place; we see him everywhere.”
  • A Christian from Germany: “I enjoyed myself very much here. I cannot believe such a place exists that offers so much and asks for no money.”
  • Joseph Smith, in 1843 (History of the Church, 5:498.):

    The Saints can testify whether I am willing to lay down my life for my brethren. If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon.’ I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.”

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Once again, FairMormon misses or ignores the point.

Billions of people – past and present – of numerous religions – current and defunct – claim that their religion/book(s)/leaders/dogma are God’s truth because of the spiritual witness they’ve received from god.

Yet, their gods, books, leaders, and dogma fundamentally conflict with one another. They all cannot all be right and true together. So, how are we supposed to know which one, if any, is true? How is one supposed to resolve such a dilemma? Again, there is no method for discerning the difference between the spiritual witnesses purportedly affirming the truthfulness of other religions and the spiritual witness purportedly affirming the truthfulness of the Mormon faith.

As I state in Letter to a CES Director:

“Every major religion has members who claim the same thing: God or God’s spirit bore witness to them that their religion, prophet/pope/leaders, book(s), and teachings are true.

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


If God’s method to revealing truth is through feelings, it’s a pretty ineffective method

CES Letter says...

"If God’s method to revealing truth is through feelings, it’s a pretty ineffective method," "how can they be sure of the reliability of this same exact process in telling them that Mormonism is true?" and "Why did I feel the Spirit as I listened to the stories of apostates sharing how they discovered for themselves that Mormonism is not true?"

FairMormon Neutral
  • FairMormon does not agree or disagree. FairMormon provides a 2005 FairMormon talk on this subject that ultimately agrees with CES Letter in that feelings are not a reliable method to discerning reality or truth.

FairMormon says...
  • FairMormon quotes a lengthy excerpt from Dr. Wendy Ulrich’s 2005 FairMormon Conference talk. The excerpt can be read directly here. I will respond to a few parts of her talk below. Ulrich’s talk is in red and my response is in black.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

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? Critics may conclude that there is no real difference, that feelings are not trustworthy or related to the spirit, and that Church members are being misled by missionaries who teach them that such experiences are the Holy Ghost testifying to them of truth. I have seen this argument used to discredit “spiritual” experiences as nothing more than subjectively produced emotions with no supernatural significance. In many cases I might agree. Because I feel certain emotions in response to a film – even a Church film – may say more about the credibility of the actors’ performance or the director’s talent than the presence of God or the historical accuracy of the message, for example."

I agree. This alone casts real doubt on the idea that one can rely on the “Spirit” to discerning and discovering truth. Paul Dunn is an excellent example of this.

This was in a Church setting and Paul Dunn was a General Authority. Dunn completely made stuff up. He was a great story teller who told and testified of completely fictitious stories to the members. Members who listened to his talks testified that they felt the Spirit testify to them that what he was saying was true. But it wasn’t true. He later was forced to admit and apologize for lying through his teeth all those years. So, what was the “Spirit” testifying of to these members who testified that they felt the Spirit tell them that Dunn’s words and stories were true when they in reality were lies? Were their “emotions in response” to Dunn’s credibility as a lying actor in a suit and tie with “General Authority” as his title and role? How could these members have known which was which?

"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.

The “reason” FairMormon refers to also tells us that this method is not only extremely subjective and unreliable but that it’s impossible. It’s impossible because there are numerous religions – current and defunct – as well as billions of humans – living and dead – who have testified of their own religious beliefs and gods and traditions based on this same method alone. It’s impossible because these gods and religions and beliefs fundamentally differ, conflict, and contradict one another. Further, “experience” and “counsel from others” are subjective and unreliable methods as well as they are extremely prone to error and confirmation bias. Other human beings suffer from the same problems and flaws inherently ingrained in this flawed method or yardstick for discerning reality.

Ulrich’s article ultimately agrees with my point: relying on emotions and feelings is not an effective method to learning truth. There is nowhere where Ulrich contradicts the following statement: “If God’s method to revealing truth is through feelings, it’s a pretty ineffective method.” In fact, Ulrich acknowledges that these types of witnesses are often subjective and unreliable.

Ulrich does not address the questions or issues I raise in the “Testimony/Spiritual Witness” section of my letter. The article does not address the fundamental problem that pertains to relying on feelings or emotions or “the spirit” as a reliable yardstick to observing, evaluating, and analyzing objective reality. It does not reasonably explain how one can really discern and discover truth from this “spirit” that is also owned by billions of other religious followers on this planet who believe in conflicting and contradictory gods, beliefs, and traditions.

Ulrich’s article, and FairMormon’s reliance upon it, amount to a key concession by FairMormon. FairMormon is conceding that emotion (or feelings) alone are unreliable and insufficient to establish truth. Once we know that, we must look to some other source to establish truth.


Joseph Smith received a revelation, through a
peep stone in his hat…to sell copyright of BOM

CES Letter says...

"Joseph Smith received a revelation, through the peep stone in his hat, to send Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery to Toronto, Canada for the sole purpose of selling the copyright of the Book of Mormon. . . . The mission failed and the prophet was asked why his revelation was wrong. Joseph decided to inquire of the Lord regarding the question. The following is a quote from Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer’s testimony:

“…and behold the following revelation came through the stone: ‘Some revelations are of God; and some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.’ So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man.” – David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, p.3.

How are we supposed to know what revelations are from God, from the devil, or from the heart of man if even the Prophet Joseph Smith couldn’t tell? What kind of a god and method is this if Heavenly Father allows Satan to interfere with our direct line of communication to Him?”

FairMormon Disagrees
  • FairMormon disagrees but provides a counter argument that completely ignores the evidence. FairMormon’s counter also completely misses point made in the CES Letter.

FairMormon says...
  • Joseph Smith had been told there were people in Canada willing to buy the copyrights to useful books. Due to the dire financial position of the Church, he decided this could be an opportunity to relieve some of the financial pressure associated with publishing the Book of Mormon. Four men went to Canada. Before leaving, Joseph Smith received a revelation directing them to go to Kingston, Canada, with some conditions placed upon their success.

    ...it Pleaseth me that Oliver Cowderey Joseph Knight Hyram Pagee & Josiah Stowel shall do my work in this thing yea even in securing the Copyright & they shall do it with an eye single to my Glory that it may be the means of bringing souls unto me Salvation through mine only Be{t\gotten} Behold I am God I have spoken it & it is expedient in me Wherefor I say unto you that ye shall go to Kingston seeking me continually through mine only Be{t\gotten} & if ye do this ye shall have my spirit to go with you & ye shall have an addition of all things which is expedient in me. amen & I grant unto my servent a privelige that he may sell a copyright through you speaking after the manner of men for the four Provinces if the People harden not their hearts against the enticeings of my spirit & my word for Behold it lieth in themselves to their condemnation &{\or} th{er\eir} salvation. (Revelation Book 1, p. 15)
  • The text of the revelation was published in The Joseph Smith Papers: The Revelations and Translations Series. According to Marlin K. Jensen, Church Historian and Recorder:

    Another interesting development from work on the Revelations and Translations Series has been the identification of a previously unpublished revelation on securing a copyright for the Book of Mormon in Canada. David Whitmer, after he left the Church, recalled that the revelation promised success in selling the copyright, but upon return of the men charged with the duty, Joseph Smith and others were disappointed by what seemed like failure. Historians have relied upon statements of David Whitmer, Hiram Page, and William McLellin for decades but have not had the actual text of the revelation. Revelation Book 1 will provide that.

    Although we still do not know the whole story, particularly Joseph Smith’s own view of the situation, we do know that calling the divine communication a “failed revelation” is not warranted. The Lord’s directive clearly conditions the successful sale of the copyright on the worthiness of those seeking to make the sale as well as on the spiritual receptivity of the potential purchasers.
  • Hiram Page, who was one of the individuals sent to Canada, laid out the event in a letter in 1848.[2] Page wrote that the revelation Joseph Smith received conditioned success upon whether those individuals in Canada capable of buying the Book of Mormon copyright would have their hearts softened. When unable to sell the copyright, the four men returned to Palmyra. Hiram Page stated he for the first time understood how some revelations given to people were not necessarily for their direct benefit—in fact, Hiram Page believed that the revelation was actually fulfilled.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"…we do know that calling the divine communication a ‘failed revelation’ is not warranted. The Lord’s directive clearly conditions the successful sale of the copyright on the worthiness of those seeking to make the sale as well as on the spiritual receptivity of the potential purchasers."

Book of Mormon Witness David Whitmer rejects FairMormon’s mischaracterization of the event:

…and behold the following revelation came through the stone: ‘Some revelations are of God; and some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.’ So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man.An Address to All Believers in Christ, p.31

Not only does FairMormon completely ignore the point I was making in this section of Letter to a CES Director, they also fail to provide any sort of relevant response. Again, the point I made in the CES Letter:

How are we supposed to know what revelations are from God, from the devil, or from the heart of man if even the Prophet Joseph Smith couldn’t tell? What kind of a god and method is this if Heavenly Father allows Satan to interfere with our direct line of communication to Him? Sincerely asking for answers?

Aside from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and other leaders clearly have had problems distinguishing between the Holy Ghost and other sources of inspiration. Brigham Young proved this point when he taught his now-defunct teachings regarding race, Adam-God, and Blood Atonement. In fact, every time apologists rely on the “he was acting as a man” defense, that is an instance of some LDS leader failing to properly discern between the Holy Ghost and other sources. The “truth” is no one can rely upon feelings or emotions alone; they must look to some other source to establish truth.


I saw a testimony as more than just spiritual experiences and feelings…

CES Letter says...

"I saw a testimony as more than just spiritual experiences and feelings. I saw that we had evidence and logic on our side based on the correlated narrative I was fed by the Church about its origins."

FairMormon Agrees

FairMormon says...
  • Correct:
    The author's first sentence is completely correct: A testimony is more than just spiritual experiences and feelings.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Again, this is a key concession by FairMormon. They are admitting that feelings and emotions alone are insufficient to establish truth. Truth is also about what one has a testimony of (First Vision, Book of Mormon translation, Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a true prophet, the Church is the one and only true Church on the earth, etc.).

Here’s the complete paragraph from Letter to a CES Director I wrote:

As a believing Mormon, I saw a testimony as more than just spiritual experiences and feelings. I saw that we had evidence and logic on our side based on the correlated narrative I was fed by the Church about its origins. I lost this confidence at 31-years-old when I discovered that the gap between what the Church teaches about its origins versus what the primary historical documents actually show happened, what history shows what happened, what science shows what happened...couldn’t be further apart.

The point I was making (which FairMormon attempts to obfuscate) is: My testimony was based on the Chapel Mormon story sold to me by the Church (Book of Mormon translated with gold plates, First Vision account (singular and no contradictions), just Joseph and Emma, nothing about 34 wives, nothing about teen brides, nothing about polyandry, nothing about Kinderhook Plates, rediscovered papyri disproving Book of Abraham, etc.)

When I discovered that the so-called “evidence” and “logic” that I partly based my testimony on were all carefully scaffolded lies and myths perpetuated by LDS correlation, my testimony began collapsing.

FairMormon says...
  • Incorrect:
    Contrary to the author's claim, gaining a testimony requires more than having "spiritual experiences and feelings," and it requires more than simply listening to "the correlated narrative" provided by the Church. We are not taught to base our testimony on historical narratives.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"We are not taught to base our testimony on historical narratives."

Really? This response is surprising, given FairMormon’s statement in the preceding sections that a testimony is “more than just spiritual experience and feelings.”

Mormonism is absolutely based on historical narratives. Without historical narratives, there is no Mormonism. There are no events or doctrines or books for a Mormon to base their testimony on. The First Vision is a historical narrative. The Book of Mormon is a historical narrative. How the Book of Mormon was translated is a historical narrative. The Priesthood restoration is a historical narrative. The Book of Abraham and its translation are historical narratives. Temples and the Sealing power are historical narratives. Polygamy is a historical narrative. Just imagine the missionaries trying to teach without relying on historical narratives – their teachings would be unrecognizable as Mormonism.

Without the historical narrative of the Book of Mormon, there is no Moroni’s promise. Without Moroni’s promise, how are people going to know what to pray about and what to ask for a testimony in? How are missionaries going to ask their investigators to learn the "truth" without these historical narratives?

Without historical narratives, there is no ground to plant testimony in, there is nothing for missionaries to preach, CES teachers to teach, Sunday School lessons to give, Sacrament talks to speak, modern scriptures to read, doctrine to differentiate, and General Conference addresses to deliver.

Consider the following quote from Gordon B. Hinckley on this subject:

Our whole strength rests on the validity of that [First] vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens…I knew a so-called intellectual who said the Church was trapped by its own history. My response was that without that history we have nothing.

– Gordon B. Hinckley, A Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith


Paul H. Dunn

CES Letter says...

"Dunn was a General Authority of the Church for many years. He was a very popular speaker who told incredible faith-promoting war and baseball stories. Many times Dunn shared these stories in the presence of the prophet, apostles, and seventies. Stories like how God protected him as enemy machine-gun bullets ripped away his clothing, gear, and helmet without ever touching his skin and how he was preserved by the Lord. Members of the Church shared how they really felt the Spirit as they listened to Dunn’s testimony and stories. Unfortunately, Dunn was later caught lying about all his war and baseball stories and was forced to apologize to the members. He became the first General Authority to gain “emeritus” status and was removed from public Church life. What about the members who felt the Spirit from Dunn’s fabricated and false stories? What does this say about the Spirit and what the Spirit really is?"

FairMormon Agrees
  • FairMormon agrees but does not offer any real way to “confirm.” FairMormon further confuses the issue by sharing Packer’s point that a spiritual event can come from 1) Your own feelings, 2) Satan, or 3) Holy Ghost. FairMormon misses and ignores point in CES Letter regarding the flaws and problems of this method.

FairMormon says...
  • Correct:
    The author is correct that simply receiving a warm feeling about a speech or article is not enough to call it revelation or a confirmation of the spirit. One would need to properly study the issue, get an idea of what is correct, then ask for confirmation. The witness has to be consistent with other revelation and can be compared with others witness of similar events. In the case of Elder Dunn's stories, we felt good when we heard them. Boyd Packer pointed out that feelings and “spiritual” events can come from three sources: 1) your own feelings, 2) Satan, or 3) the Holy Ghost. You must use methods to properly confirm which is occurring in a particular event.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

According to Book of Mormon Witness David Whitmer, not even the Prophet Joseph Smith could figure out whether revelation came from his own feelings, Satan, or the Holy Ghost:

...and behold the following revelation came through the stone: ‘Some revelations are of God; and some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.’ So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man.” – An Address to All Believers in Christ, p.31

How are we supposed to know what revelations are from God, from the devil, or from the heart of man if even the Prophet Joseph Smith couldn’t tell? What kind of a god and method is this if Heavenly Father allows Satan to interfere with our direct line of communication to Him? Sincerely asking for answers?

FairMormon says we must “ask for confirmation” of what is correct. However, that too would obviously require us to rely solely upon emotions or feelings to actually receive a confirmation. But we have already established, and FairMormon has already conceded, that emotions alone are insufficient to establish truth.

FairMormon says...
  • Regarding Elder Dunn's stories: he was human, just like the rest of us. He can speak for himself on this issue: "Elder Dunn Offers Apology for Errors, Admits Censure", Deseret News, Oct. 27 1991.

    In an open letter to LDS Church members, Elder Paul H. Dunn apologized Saturday for not having "always been accurate" in telling his popular war and baseball stories, and he acknowledged being disciplined for it by church authorities.

    Elder Dunn, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asked the church's First Presidency and Council of the Twelve for the opportunity to send an open letter to church members. The letter was published in Saturday's issue of the Church News."I confess that I have not always been accurate in my public talks and writings," Elder Dunn wrote. "Furthermore, I have indulged in other activities inconsistent with the high and sacred office which I have held.

    "For all of these I feel a deep sense of remorse, and ask forgiveness of any whom I may have offended."

    A former Army private and minor-league baseball player, Elder Dunn told riveting accounts of his war and baseball experiences that made him one of the most popular speakers in the church. According to the Associated Press, he was author or co-author of 28 books and is featured on 23 inspirational tapes. He served in the presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy from 1976 to 1980.

    In 1989, Elder Dunn was placed on emeritus status for "reasons of age and health," the church said. In February 1991, the Arizona Republic reported that Elder Dunn had made up or combined elements of many of his war and baseball stories.

    In his open letter, Elder Dunn, 67, said general authorities of the church have conducted in-depth investigations of charges that he had engaged in activities unbecoming of a church member.

    "They have weighed the evidence," he said. "They have censured me and placed a heavy penalty upon me.

    "I accept their censure and the imposed penalty, and pledge to conduct my life in such a way as to merit their confidence and full fellowship."

    Church spokesman Don LeFevre said Saturday that the nature of the penalty is "an internal matter, and we don't discuss such matters" publicly.

    Elder Dunn has an unlisted phone number and could not be reached for comment. He concluded his letter by pleading for the understanding of church members and assured them of his "determination so to live as to bring added respect to the cause I deeply love, and honor to the Lord who is my Redeemer."

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

The issue here is not Paul H. Dunn’s humanity and decades-long deception and dishonesty.

The issue here is the millions of Mormons who listened to Elder Dunn’s many General Conferences, Stake Conferences, Sacrament meetings, and firesides in which members testified that they felt the Spirit witness to them that the unwittingly false stories and lies told and testified by Elder Dunn were true.

What about the members who felt the Spirit from Elder Dunn’s fabricated and false stories? What does this say about the Spirit and what the Spirit really is? What does this say about our ability to rely upon the Spirit as evidence of truthfulness?


A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it

CES Letter says...

"How can I bear testimony until I get one? How can I testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the gospel is true? If I do not have such a testimony, would that not be dishonest?’ Oh, if I could teach you this one principle: a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!” – Boyd K. Packer, The Quest for Spiritual Knowledge.

"How is this honest? How is this ethical? What kind of advice are these Apostles giving when they’re telling you that if you don’t have a testimony, bear one anyway? How is this not lying? There’s a difference between saying you know something and you believe something. What about members and investigators who are on the other side listening to your 'testimony'? How are they supposed to know whether you actually do have a testimony of Mormonism or if you’re just following Packer and Oaks’ advice and you’re lying your way into one?"

FairMormon Disagrees
  • FairMormon disagrees by stating that Packer is talking about “leap of faith” while completely ignoring the obvious problem of testifying of Mormonism to others when you do not have a testimony. Rather than a “lie”, it’s called “leap of faith”.
  • FairMormon completely ignores Oaks’ statement, which also encourages lying your way into a testimony.

FairMormon says...
  • Incorrect:
    Elder Packer is not suggesting that a person much "lie their way" into having a testimony. Elder Packer is talking about having faith. When one exercises faith, results follow which strengthen that faith, but one has to take that first "leap of faith." One does not take a "leap of faith," unless they already have a seed of faith to begin with. Elder Packer is not suggesting that you should be "lying your way into" having a testimony. Attempting to "lie" your way into having a testimony would be ineffective: your testimony would not grow, and you would become increasingly frustrated.
  • Elder Packer makes this clear:

“It is not unusual to have a missionary say, ‘How can I bear testimony until I get one? How can I testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the gospel is true? If I do not have such a testimony, would that not be dishonest?

Oh, if I could teach you this one principle: a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!

Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that ‘leap of faith,’ as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and stepped into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two. ‘The spirit of man is,’ as the scripture says, indeed ‘the candle of the Lord’ (Proverbs 20:27).

It is one thing to receive a witness from what you have read or what another has said; and that is a necessary beginning. It is quite another to have the Spirit confirm to you in your bosom that what you have testified is true. Can you not see that it will be supplied as you share it? As you give that which you have, there is a replacement, with increase!”

To speak out is the test of your faith.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

In FairMormon universe, it’s not called “lying.” Instead, it’s called “a leap of faith.”

Let's say Nate doesn’t have a testimony. Nate doesn’t know whether or not Mormonism is true. As a missionary, Nate is really concerned about telling investigators that he knows something is true when in fact he really does not. He’s concerned about lying. Apostle Packer’s advice? Nate has to take a “leap of faith” by bearing false testimony to others that he knows something when he really does not in order to be able to get his testimony that Mormonism is true.

Moroni’s promise? Nope. Asking god in prayer for confirmation? Nope. According to Packer and Oaks, you’ve got to take a “leap of faith” by telling others (including investigators) that you know something that you really do not in order to get your Mormon testimony. Doesn’t work the first try? Keep lying to others that you “know.” Still doesn’t work? Keep "leaping" until you get one.

As one returned missionary stated:

I spent two years trying to get it. I read through all the required reading twice, and memorized all the scriptures and discussions. I confided in my mission president that I was uncomfortable saying “I know,” even though it was expected of me. His advice to me was Elder Packer’s quote, “A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it.” I tried this once or twice, but it felt dirty to me. Such a testimony was a lie. I did not know, and saying that I did was dishonest to the person I was teaching, and was dishonest to myself.

FairMormon can try to spin this however they want. The fact remains that Packer’s advice to the missionary, whose legitimate concern is bearing false witness to others that he knows something which he really does not, is to go ahead and “leap” by bearing false witness anyway until he gets his Mormon testimony.

Is FairMormon suggesting that, by bearing a testimony once, a person who takes that leap of faith will automatically have a testimony? Unless a testimony is gained by bearing it on the first time, all other instances of bearing testimony will be false testimony until the testimony is actually gained.

Imagine a lawyer instructing a witness to bear testimony to something the witness doesn’t actually know. This is not only unethical and illegal (the lawyer would be disbarred and the witness would be jailed for perjury) but also nonsensical. If a witness doesn’t know a fact, testifying that she does know it isn’t going to confer knowledge of that fact upon her.

Except, of course, if by repeating something often enough, the witness does actually begin to think that the fact occurred. But how is that ethical? How is that different from brainwashing? How is that compatible with the principle that people are supposed to obtain knowledge for themselves by study and observation?

Also note that FairMormon is silent on Oaks’ following counsel, which confirms my point in that “we gain…a testimony by bearing it”:

Another way to seek a testimony seems astonishing when compared with the methods of obtaining other knowledge. We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it. Someone even suggested that some testimonies are better gained on the feet bearing them than on the knees praying for them.



How can they be sure of the reliability of this same
process in telling them Mormonism is true?

CES Letter says...

"…if individuals can be so convinced that they’re being led by the Spirit but yet be so wrong about what the Spirit tells them, how can they be sure of the reliability of this same exact process in telling them that Mormonism is true?"

FairMormon Agrees
  • FairMormon agrees that relying on feelings is not enough and that we should “confirm them” while ignoring the problems. For example, scriptures and prophets conflict with each other.

FairMormon says...
  • We are taught that feelings alone are not enough, and that we should confirm them. From Preach My Gospel

    A Word of Caution

    As you pray for inspiration, you should also confirm your feelings. For example, compare your decisions with the scriptures and the teachings of the living prophets. Be certain that the feelings are consistent with the assignment you have; for example, you will not receive revelation to tell a local bishop how he should perform in his calling. Discuss your decisions and conclusions with your companion, your district leader, or your mission president when appropriate.

    President Howard W. Hunter offered this counsel: “Let me offer a word of caution. … I think if we are not careful … , we may begin to try to counterfeit the true influence of the Spirit of the Lord by unworthy and manipulative means. I get concerned when it appears that strong emotion or free-flowing tears are equated with the presence of the Spirit. Certainly the Spirit of the Lord can bring strong emotional feelings, including tears, but that outward manifestation ought not to be confused with the presence of the Spirit itself” (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 184). The Spirit of the Lord always edifies.

    Revelation and spiritual experiences are sacred. They should be kept private and discussed only in appropriate situations. As a missionary, you may be more aware of spiritual experiences than you have been earlier in your life. Resist the temptation to talk freely about these experiences.

    President Boyd K. Packer counseled: “I have learned that strong, impressive spiritual experiences do not come to us very frequently. And when they do, they are generally for our own edification, instruction, or correction. Unless we are called by proper authority to do so, they do not position us to counsel or to correct others.

    “I have come to believe also that it is not wise to continually talk of unusual spiritual experiences. They are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others” (Ensign, Jan. 1983, 53).

    “If worthy, we are entitled to receive revelations for ourselves, parents for their children, and members of the Church in their callings. But the right of revelation for others does not extend beyond our own stewardship.”

    –President James E. Faust

    “Communion with the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 2002, 4

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"We are taught that feelings alone are not enough, and that we should confirm them."

This is correct and establishes my point that feelings and emotions alone are insufficient to establishing truth. It’s worth posting again what I wrote in the CES Letter:

There are many members who share their testimonies that the Spirit told them that they were to marry this person or go to this school or move to this location or start up this business or invest in this investment. They rely on this Spirit in making critical life decisions. When the decision turns out to be not only incorrect but disastrous, the fault lies on the individual and never on the Spirit. The individual didn’t have the discernment or it was the individual’s hormones talking or it was the individual’s greed that was talking or the individual wasn’t worthy at the time. This poses a profound flaw and dilemma: if individuals can be so convinced that they’re being led by the Spirit but yet be so wrong about what the Spirit tells them, how can they be sure of the reliability of this same exact process in telling them that Mormonism is true?

FairMormon’s answer is basically to “confirm the feelings.” What does that even mean? The only “elaboration” is found further down in the “A Word of Caution” part of this section: “…you should also confirm your feelings. For example, compare your decisions with the scriptures and the teachings of the living prophets” or, as FairMormon states above, ask for a confirmation.

Why does one have to “confirm their feelings”? Why isn’t the whisperings of the Spirit enough? If this method to discerning truth and reality is glitchy and unreliable enough to where we have to “confirm our feelings,” what does this say about what this “Spirit” is and its reliability if we’re having to second guess or make double sure or confirm each time we think we’ve received an answer from the Spirit? And per Boyd Packer, Joseph Smith, and David Whitmer, how can we know whether this “inspiration” is from god, Satan, or ourselves? Why would anyone trust such a crazy method or system in basing life’s most critical decisions upon?

And, in any event, confirming our feelings by searching scriptures or listening to the words of prophets inevitably requires reliance upon some sort of LDS Church narrative, such as the Book of Mormon narrative, or, as explained above by Gordon B. Hinckley, by the First Vision narrative.

Even prophets are often wrong. Brigham Young, for example, taught now-repudiated doctrines of racism, Adam-God, and Blood-Atonement. Moreover, prophets and scriptures sometimes conflict with one another. Not only do Prophets sometimes conflict with scripture, they conflict with each other. Yesterday’s doctrine is today’s false doctrine and yesterday’s prophet is today’s heretic, remember? Pointing to prophets and scriptures as a standard of “confirming” your feelings again not only does not answer the question, it creates more questions than answers.

Here’s Oaks’ definition of how one receives a witness through revelation:

What does a “burning in the bosom” mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom. Surely, the word “burning” in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity. That is the witness many receive. That is the way revelation works.
- Teaching and Learning by the Spirit, March 1997 Ensign

In the above quote, Oaks states: “Surely, the word “burning” in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity. That is the witness many receive. That is the way revelation works.” In other words, trust your feelings; if you feel comfort or serenity? Surely, it must be true. After all, that’s “the way revelation works.”

What could possibly go wrong? Never mind that billions of other religious people – past and present – in most of the world’s religions – existing or defunct – also claim the same thing. They point to feelings of peace, comfort, and serenity as evidence that god or god’s spirit bore witness and revealed to them that their god(s), religious faith, beliefs, book(s), and Prophet/Pope/Pastor/leaders is the only way. Yet, they cannot all be true together as their gods, dogma, and positions fundamentally differ from and conflict with one another.

Dustin illustrates the problems and unreliability of a Mormon testimony and teaching of how to find and discern truth:



I felt the Spirit watching ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Schindler’s List’, ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Lion King’

CES Letter says...

"I felt the Spirit watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and the 'Schindler’s List'. Both R-rated and horribly violent movies. I also felt the Spirit watching 'Forrest Gump' and the 'Lion King'."

FairMormon Disagrees
  • FairMormon doesn’t like what the Spirit told me so FairMormon says I didn’t really feel the Spirit™.
  • FairMormon arrogantly interprets my spiritual experiences while telling me what I did or did not feel and experience despite contradictorily stating a minute ago “that only that person can judge the truth of what he has experienced.

FairMormon says...
  • Incorrect:
    The author is equating the witness of the spirit with emotion. The author seems to equate everything that generates a pleasant emotional response with "feeling the spirit." Just because one can "feel the spirit" regarding religious matters does not mean that one is unable to feel good or inspired about anything else.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

FairMormon is again stating only that spirit and emotion differ without describing a reliable way to distinguish between the two. Indeed, even the scriptures and leaders of the Church state that the Spirit communicates through feelings:

...and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought…” – D&C 9:8-9

"The teachings of the Spirit often come as feelings. That fact is of the utmost importance, yet some misunderstand what it means. I have met persons who told me they have never had a witness from the Holy Ghost because they have never felt their bosom “burn within” them. What does a “burning in the bosom” mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom. Surely, the word “burning” in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity. That is the witness many receive. That is the way revelation works."
– Dallin H. Oaks, Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

“…his word will come into my mind through my thoughts, accompanied by a feeling in the region of my bosom. It is a feeling which cannot be described, but the nearest word we have is ‘burn’ or ‘burning.’ Accompanying this always is a feeling of peace, a further witness that what one heard is right. Once one recognizes this burning, this feeling, this peace, one need never be drawn astray in his daily life or in the guidance he may receive.” – Elder S. Dilworth Young, The Still Small Voice

I was thoroughly programmed as a missionary to teach investigators that the good feelings they felt was the Spirit testifying to them that we were God’s messengers teaching God’s only truth. I was thoroughly trained as a missionary to pay attention to feelings as it was how the Spirit communicated its “still small voice” to us.

I was taught as a believing Mormon that the Holy Ghost was a constant companion who would comfort, teach, and testify in my daily life by teaching me the truth of all things: not just Mormonism and religion.

Is FairMormon now suggesting that what I felt on my mission wasn’t really the Spirit after all?

FairMormon is forgetting a key principle they outlined previously:

The LDS message is that each person must receive the witness for himself and that only that person can judge the truth of what he has experienced.FairMormon a few comments ago

According to FairMormon’s very own conclusion, FairMormon cannot determine or judge the truth of what I experienced – only I can.

I find FairMormon’s interpretation and declaration of what my own personal spiritual experiences were and were not to be presumptuous arrogance.

FairMormon says...
  • The movies Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List are very accurate and profound dramas that depict certain important historical events: In this case, the D-day invasion and the Holocaust. Yes, they are, out of necessity, "R-rated and horribly violent movies," nevertheless they are still deeply moving. We are moved by these portrayals because we empathize with the sacrifice and suffering of those depicted. Just because we seek "confirmation of the spirit" in religious matters in order to receive confirmation of their truthfulness does not require us to be "dead in feeling" to the rest of life.
  • The Spirit testifies of all truth. The Spirit can testify of true principles taught or portrayed in fiction as well as in real life. For example, why would one feel so compelled by the story of Les Miserables? After all, the movie portrays prostitutes, thieves, and blasphemers. However, the message is of the importance of mercy over justice, of self-sacrifice, and of forgiveness. Why wouldn't the Holy Ghost tell us these are true principles? The same can be said of the movies in the author's list, even The Lion King.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

In the previous section, FairMormon presumptuously tells me that I’m confusing the spirit with emotion from watching these films.

In this section, FairMormon flip flops by stating that the spirit testifies of truth and principles from these films.

Regardless, FairMormon completely misses the point. If one can feel the spirit from watching fiction and even from listening to lies told by a General Authority, how is this spirit then a reliable, effective, and consistent yardstick for discerning truth and reality? Even more, how does a Mormon differentiate as to whether it’s from God, Satan, or emotion?

If this spirit testifies of things that are fake and even not true, how are we supposed to trust and rely on this same source for determining the truthfulness of Mormonism?

FairMormon mentioned earlier, “Boyd Packer pointed out that feelings and ‘spiritual’ events can come from three sources: 1) your own feelings, 2) Satan, or 3) the Holy Ghost.” Even the prophet Joseph Smith couldn’t figure it out or get it right as demonstrated by Book of Mormon Witness David Whitmer:

Some revelations are of God; and some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil. So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man.

If these aren’t clear examples of the ineffectiveness, unreliability, inconsistency, and danger of relying on such a glitchy and flawed method for determining truth, I don’t know what is.


Why did I feel the Spirit as I listened to the stories
of apostates sharing how Mormonism is false?

CES Letter says...

"Why did I feel the Spirit as I listened to the stories of apostates sharing how they discovered for themselves that Mormonism is not true?"

FairMormon Disagrees
  • FairMormon doesn’t like what the Spirit told me so FairMormon says I didn’t really feel the Spirit™.
  • FairMormon arrogantly interprets my spiritual experiences while telling me what I did or did not feel and experience despite contradictorily stating a minute ago “that only that person can judge the truth of what he has experienced.

FairMormon says...
  • The author did not feel the “Spirit” upon hearing such stories, since he does not believe in the “Spirit”. A more accurate way to phrase this would be: "Why did I feel good as I listened to the stories of apostates sharing how they discovered for themselves that Mormonism is not true?" After all, the author's point is that the "spirit" is "unreliable and inconsistent." The answer, of course, is that the stories that he was hearing supported the conclusion that he had formed.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"The author did not feel the ‘Spirit’ upon hearing such stories, since he does not believe in the ‘Spirit’." (Note: FairMormon removed the previous sentence on October 4, 2013).

Again…FairMormon presumptuously and arrogantly interprets my own personal spiritual experiences while contradictorily claiming “...only that person can judge the truth of what he has experienced.

How can FairMormon possibly know that I did “not believe in the ‘Spirit’”? The above experience I refer to in my letter was in a time where, despite losing my testimony in Mormonism, I still believed in Christ and the Spirit and I still at that time interpreted the feelings I felt to be the Holy Ghost testifying of truth – just as I did as a believing Mormon. So, FairMormon again continues with their stellar track record of incorrect assumptions.

FairMormon fails to the answer the fundamental problem and dilemma: why did I feel the same Spirit and feelings listening to the testimonies of apostates that I felt in previous spiritual experiences and feelings testifying of Mormonism’s truthfulness? How am I to differentiate and resolve the glaringly obvious conflict?

FairMormon doesn’t like what the Spirit told me so FairMormon says I didn’t really feel the Spirit.

FairMormon says...
  • The author, understandably, wishes to equate the experiences of believers who "feel the spirit" during testimony meeting with how he feels when hearing the stories of those who have left the Church, thereby proving that "feeling the spirit" is meaningless. However, while the spirit communicates with us through feelings, such as love, joy, or peace, (Gal. 5:22-23), the mere fact one experiences such feelings does not mean that person is "feeling the spirit." Correctly identifying when such feelings represent the presence of the Holy Ghost can take practice and depends upon study, prayer and experience. (See FairMormon Questions 2: Recognizing the Voice of the Spirit).

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

FairMormon states that I’m showing confirmation bias while ignoring their own bias along with the fact that everyone has bias.

Elder Gerald N. Lund said this regarding distinguishing truth from falsehood:

If something is counterfeit, it means it resembles the original so closely that it is difficult to distinguish which is true and which is false. We must ever be on guard against being deceived by our emotions or by revelation from an unworthy source.

The above counsel from this General Authority is a wonderful case study of circular logic:

How do you know these emotions are worth listening to? They tell you we’re right. How do you know we’re right? Your feelings from the Holy Ghost will tell you…

FairMormon admits that it’s difficult to distinguish the Spirit from God, Satan, or emotion but they provide no clear method for telling them apart. Even more, FairMormon unintentionally exposes the flawed system’s complications and unreliability further by stating that “correctly identifying when such feelings represent the presence of the Holy Ghost can take practice and depends upon study, prayer and experience."

In other words? We have to first figure out whether we’re hearing from God, Satan, or ourselves. Then we have to “confirm our feelings” (since the process is so reliable). Then we have to “practice” to make sure that we’re actually “correctly identifying” the Holy Ghost to begin with.

Got it? Neither did the Prophet Joseph Smith with his Book of Mormon copyright revelation.

FairMormon says...
  • We reject the idea that the author felt the "Spirit" upon hearing such stories. The Spirit does not confirm apostasy. This is simply an attempt to diminish the experience of those who have truly had the Spirit testify of Christ.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

FairMormon’s overall counter argument in their Testimony & Spiritual Witness response can basically be summed up as follows:

FairMormon doesn’t like what the Spirit told me so FairMormon says I didn’t really feel the Spirit.



Dear Believer


I conclude this section with an amazing and thought-provoking work that illustrates and conveys the bigger picture better than I ever could:





"Debunking" Table of Contents




Important Note

Testimony & Spiritual Witness Last Updated: 6.24.14

My above response is based on FairMormon's 12.27.2013 Testimony & Spiritual Witness answers.



A native of Southern California, Jeremy was born in the covenant. A 6th generation Mormon of Pioneer heritage, Jeremy reached every Mormon youth milestone. An Eagle Scout, Returned Missionary, and BYU alumnus, Jeremy was married in the San Diego Temple with expectations and plans of living Mormonism for the rest of his life.

In February 2012, Jeremy experienced a crisis of faith, which subsequently led to a faith transition in the summer of 2012. In the spring of 2013, Jeremy was approached and asked by a CES Director to share his concerns and questions about the LDS Church's origins, history, and current practices. In response, Jeremy wrote what later became publicly known as Letter to a CES Director.

Letter to a CES Director very quickly went viral on the internet. The CES Director responded that he read the "very well written" letter and that he would provide Jeremy with a response. No response ever came.

In the fall of 2013, unofficial LDS apologetic group FairMormon publicly released an analysis of Letter to a CES Director. In response, Jeremy wrote Debunking FAIR's Debunking.

"I believe that members and investigators deserve all of the information on the table to be able to make a fully informed and balanced decision as to whether or not they want to commit their hearts, minds, time, talents, income, and lives to Mormonism."

Watch Jeremy's Mormon Stories Interview

Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:



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