I remember when I was a part of the church being counciled to (and following the council, at least earlier in my life) when discussing the church with a non-member and the discussion seems be going nowhere or is becoming more contentious than is pleasant, for the member to then bare their testimony. This would then change the tone of the discussion, cause the spirit to be felt and pursuade the non-member by spiritual means and because of the strength of the members belief.
Not until getting to be on the other side did I realize how truly bizzarre it feels to have someone do this to you.
Imagine debating an issue with someone, when suddenly stops debating, then declares with gentle eyes and a soft tone 'I KNOW that I am right, and you are wrong' . I imagine most people would feel confused and probably a bit frustrated.
Somehow I got into a big discussion about the church yesterday. It didn't think it was in anyway contentious & it didn't seem anyone else did either (the issue was basically this: most people I speak w seem to agree that the church outside of utah is preferrable. That when church members become a majority the results are negative. My point: this reflects negatively on an institution that dreams of a world where everyone is a believer).
Towards what felt to be the natural ending of the conversation (because my party was about to leave) the girl essentially bore her testimony. I remember thinking something like 'I can hardly imagine anything less effective she could possibly be saying at this moment'.
I realize I was coming from a very different point of view than most non-members, having once been a member myself, having served a mission, & being intimately familiar with the method. However, having it used on me (not for the first time) helped me see how bizzarre and innefective it is. To suddenly stop the rational discussion and declare yourself correct is unlikely to win many debates. When it happens to me I can't help but for my brain to automatically shut off once I hear their voice change to that testimony tone: 'from this point forward no new information will be said. I may not be able to justify my position but despite that I know I am 100%' correct."
To be sure, I imagine testimony baring has at times been effective. As well, it allows a way to end what may be a heated debate in a peaceful (but bizzarre and often frustrating) way. But I can't imagine what must go through non-members mind's when experiencing the testimony shift mindfuck for the first time. (philospher collin mginn or is it mcgill? just published a book called 'mindfuck' so its been on my mind lately. i didn't mean to sound intense)
an old picture:
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- ▼ July (11)