You’ve strengthened my testimony

By Bill McKeever

The following was originally printed in the Nov-Dec 2010 edition of Mormonism Researched. To request a free subscription, please visit here

If you’ve ever spoken with Mormons for any length of time, you soon learn that they have an arsenal of quick comebacks. For example, over the years I’ve heard several variations of, “When you kick the Church, you only kick it upward,” or, “People can leave the Church, but they can’t leave it alone,” or, “We’re Christians just like you,” or, “We don’t persecute other churches, why do you persecute ours?” Then there is the mother of all retorts, “I feel a spirit of contention when you speak.” Of course, none of the above really adds anything of significance to an intelligent dialogue. They are purposely meant to be more accusatory than informational and are often spoken with the hope of a subject diversion or an end to the conversation entirely.

There is one LDS comeback that I’ll never understand. Oftentimes, when presenting strong evidence against certain Mormon truth claims, I have had Mormons respond by saying something, “What you’ve said only serves to strengthen my testimony that Mormonism is true.” Huh? How can having a truth claim refuted possibly strengthen a testimony?

Can an honest Mormon really find comfort in knowing there is no historical or archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon? Or that Joseph Smith was married to at least ten wives who had living husbands? Or that their Book of Abraham is nothing more than an Egyptian funeral text? Or that no matter how hard they try, their religion prevents them from ever knowing if they have done enough to achieve their desired exaltation?

I freely admit that I am far from omniscient and there are naturally times when I have read an objection to my Christian faith that I have never heard before. When that happens I certainly don’t think to myself, “Wow, I’m glad I don’t have an answer to that one because this proves all the more that my faith is correct!” Such a thought is of course, absurd.

When I first began studying Mormonism, my LDS friends peppered me with many perplexing questions that I, as a new believer, couldn’t answer. I never considered responding to them by insisting my Christian testimony was “strengthened” by their questions. Instead, I freely admitted to being challenged, but rather than offer them a trite and meaningless cliché, I immediately sought for answers. The more answers I found, the more concerned I became for my Mormon friends.

We are told in Hebrews 11:6 that, without faith, it is impossible to please God, but there is a major difference between believing in things without proof (faith) and believing things in spite of proof (foolishness). Authentic Christianity has, as its foundation, enough solid evidence to allow a person to reasonably believe in the unprovable. Thus, we can find strength in knowing we don’t have to enter the realm of irrational fideism that prevents us from thinking logically about things we believe. Unlike the Mormons who have to base their faith on fallible feelings or believe in things opposite to reality, we have a reasonable faith!