WBMW

The Foundation of My Faith and Testimony

In response to an invitation to share my testimony of Jesus Christ today, online, and since I write, I've decided to use the ability I have here on WBMW to share it with as many as possible. 

In so doing, I want to distinguish my personal brand of Mormonism, if you will, so as not to misrepresent other members of my Mormon faith, who feel that what I believe, and how I express my beliefs, is not representative of their membership and affiliation with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


However, with that said, I firmly believe that my testimony, and what that does not include, as an active member of the LDS Church, strongly parallels the vast majority of believing Mormons and in fact, is what I believe constitutes a valiant testimony of Jesus Christ and His work of salvation.

I know there is a God, whom I address in prayer as my Father in Heaven. I know that I am His daughter, that He knows me and that I have a divine destiny. I love His Son Jesus Christ and I know that He lives. I love His gospel, and am deeply grateful for His Atonement. He is my Savior and Redeemer. I am so grateful for my membership in His Church, restored in these latter-days, and often referred to as the Mormon Church, by many not of my faith.

But I'm not just any kind of Mormon, as recent happenings have made that very clear. Rather, I'm finding over time that I am of a more particular kind. A kind, which is often overlooked, disregarded, and more and more perceived as a negative voice in a secular world as we move closer to the second coming of Jesus Christ, which I believe we are.

Just to be clear then, before I continue, I want to first extract from my testimony, what I am not, lest anyone feel that I represent their brand of Mormonism as I share my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as a Mormon - this Mormon.

I'm not a progressive or liberal Mormon. I'm not a Mormon who holds contrary positions to the doctrines of the LDS Church. I'm not a Mormon woman who experiences a lack of self-worth, because God has assigned male members to administer His gospel, with its saving ordinances. I'm not a Mormon who challenges the inspiration of God’s Prophet, because he is a man. I'm not a Mormon, who holds, or advocates, views contrary to the official position of the LDS Church. I'm not a Mormon, who feels the LDS Church has purposefully hidden parts of its history - for gain of any kind. I'm not a Mormon who doubts the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, or other holy scripture within the LDS canon. I'm not a Mormon woman who translates that not being ordained to the priesthood an abuse of gender inequality. I'm not a Mormon woman, who claims gender inequality inherent within the organization of the LDS Church. I am not the kind of Mormon who desires to change my faith, in order to match the values of a secular world. 

Rather, my testimony is borne of simple faith.

I have a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the reestablished Christian Church that Jesus Christ, Himself, organized when He was upon the earth. I believe that He stands at its head, today.

The witness of the Spirit, that the Book of Mormon is a true testament of Jesus Christ, His life; mission; atonement; and resurrection - and stands as another witness of the Bible founds my testimony of Joseph Smith Jr., as a true prophet of God, in the testimony I’ve received.

I have a testimony that the keys of the priesthood, given to Joseph Smith, to organize and administer the gospel of Jesus Christ, in succession, continue with Thomas S. Monson, whom members sustain as a prophet, seer and revelator – and is the power by which he guides and directs the affairs of the LDS Church, today, as inspired of God. I stand with Him, in all of these efforts.

Under girding this foundation, is my personal testimony of Jesus Christ, as a covenant member of His Church in the great work of salvation found therein; I feel it among the greatest of my life’s blessings to be actively engaged.

Because I know these things to be true, I confidently exercise faith in Jesus Christ, that the work of salvation, within His Church, is under His direction through a living prophet, and is the will of God.

I have faith that moral absolutes do not change.

I have faith that the plan of salvation is fixed and immovable.

I firmly believe know that there are two powers, which govern this earth: good and evil.

I believe that the gift of the Holy Ghost is real and that through this Divine guide we can discern between right and wrong, and come to know all truth.

I know that through Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, that God extends His Grace to all those who strive diligently to be true to their covenants and endure to the end.

I am grateful for the gift of testimony borne of my faith in Jesus Christ, and always feel it a privilege to be invited to share it.

I acknowledge my many weaknesses in my ability to measure up to what I believe, and yet I am committed, along with many others of my faith, to continue my journey to become more like the Savior as I learn to love better; to constantly seek forgiveness; and to strive to do good with my life.

Although I know my testimony isn't unique, as I share this faith with many, it is incredibly personal to me - and is what binds the children of God to Him and to each other. And for that, I am eternally grateful to be numbered among a vast multitude desirous to exercise willing obedience to God and His laws.


tDMg

Kathryn Skaggs

Photo: LDS.org

34 comments :

  1. I can whole heartedly add my "Amen" to what you have said. The word Amen can have the meaning of "agreement". I, like you, believe in the teachings of the church as they have so far been revealed. I don't know what new revelation lies ahead, and I wouldn't be so bold as to even guess. But I believe that Pres. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, and that he will receive revelation as God sees fit to give it. Religion is facing great attacks at present, so I would hope that we can stand united in supporting our faith. I think I will take your challenge myself, and find a way to share my testimony online as well.

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    1. Beautiful thoughts. Thank you. Our strength, as children of God, will be in our united efforts to follow His Son, without compromise.

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  2. I echo everything you posted, and I wish you were my neighbor! :)

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    1. As I have echoed the testimony of so many others...

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  3. I'll stand with you too, Kathryn. Amen and amen!

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  4. Thank you for your testimony . It is important always that we bee clear about what we mean.

    As a side note I read an article this weekend that I think adds some clarity to one of the murky issues of our time.
    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/03/against-heterosexuality

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  5. Faith is a commodity that is in short supply. The Gospel is disarmingly simple. The application of it is disarmingly difficult if you want to live a Christ-like life. Testimony/faith is the first step to applying the Gospel.

    People standing on the outside grapple doctrines and policies, but on the inside, it always comes back to faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is to say, that we accept Jesus Christ -- and all that it means. Even though following through by living in a Christ-like way is exceptionally difficult because the devil is in the details.

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  6. Kathryn:

    You rehearse your testimony, yet your actions of posting anti-gay hysteria are anything but Christ-like and have nothing to do with loving your neighbor as demonstrated by the Good Samaritan.

    You say that you follow the teachings of the Church yet your postings are contrary to those very teachings.

    For example: You adamantly oppose the normalization of homosexuality yet the Church explicitly teaches that homosexuality is not a sin and it's not a choice, which can only mean it's normal for those who are homosexual. These teachings are on the Church's website together with teachings of how to love gays "just as they are" as opposed to your discrimination and persecution filled rants.

    I suppose you've no idea where these teachings are, so I'll paste them here for you with a link. As I've said before, since you apparently have no idea where to find these teachings, (since you've never referred to them) you have no business writing about homosexuality and Mormons at all.

    Furthermore, since your beliefs about how to treat homosexuals are so far removed from the teachings of Christ and of our Church, you really have no business posting a testimony of Christ's Gospel. Please read the teachings below, re-read the Sermon on the Mount and the Parable of the Good Samaritan, do some soul searching and then go find a Gay person and show them some neighborly love without judgment. Judging is the Lord's job, not ours.

    You say that you only wish to defend the family, yet you do so by berating those who've done far less damage to the family than heterosexuals who've engaged in adultery, fornication, abuse, divorce etc. etc. and who all still enjoy our and your forgiveness and good company.

    Gays have been persecuted enough, suffered self loathing and thoughts of suicide for their entire lives. Please go find one to love just as the Good Samaritan did, before more of them actually commit suicide. Perhaps you could write a post about work in suicide prevention for Mormon youth (the highest in the country). I look forward to reading these kind of posts in the future.

    The following is from the Church's website:

    Love One Another: A Discussion on
    Same-Sex Attraction


    Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction. This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ.

    Where the Church stands:

    The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.


    source: mormonsandgays.org

    Sincerely,

    Joe Toronto

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    1. Joe,

      I have shared my testimony; it’s not an act. And in doing so, I have made sure to not represent your brand of Mormonism, which seems to ignore the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on the issue of the legalization of SSM, which I reject as judgmental, but rather sustaining of the plan of salvation intended to bless all of God’s children.

      Seeing as you’ve brought it up, let me remind you of the latest, bold position of the LDS Church, in relation to your comment.

      Mormon Newsroom: Official LDS Church Statement

      As we face this and other issues of our time, we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27–28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society. Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation.

      Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We urge you to review and teach Church members the doctrine contained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

      Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it. The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ constitutionally protected right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.

      Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.

      While these matters will continue to evolve, we affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree.

      As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite you to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths of the gospel, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.


      Please read the entire statement:
      Church Instructs Leaders on Same-Sex Marriage

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    2. Kathryn:

      I did not bring up same sex marriage, not once. not at all. When I say "normalization of homosexuality", I mean "acceptance of gays as equals". Why exactly do you feel the need equate homosexuality with same sex marriage? They're not the same. Our Church seems to be able to make the distinction as my comment and your reply demonstrate. Why can you not?

      When you berate same sex marriage when no marriage message is present (as it was not in Frozen), it appears you are denigrating homosexuality in general and in its entirety. Same sex marriage is not the agenda of all gays, especially of many in the Church. Besides, aren't all gays worthy of our love and acceptance as our equals regardless of their beliefs? You quoted this from the Brethren: "The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree."

      The Brethren go out of their way to kindly state that we love all of our gay brothers and sisters even though we oppose same sex marriage. I have to admit, I've seen no such caveat from you, not even a little.

      I read your reply in its entirety. I'm well familiar with it. Are you interested in another short read from me? Try this one: 1 Corinthians 13. In return, I'll gladly accept another reading assignment from you.

      Best Regards,

      Joe

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    3. Joe,

      In discussing the "normalization of homosexuality,” in a secular world, it indeed means making acceptable SSM in mainstream society.

      With that said, however, there is still no place, even in the Church, for the "normalization" of homosexuality, other than to acknowledge that those with SSA are no different than any other member who desires to make and keep sacred covenants. If it were so, then we create a foundation upon which if it is considered "normal" we are then hateful within the Church if we resist an allowance for its practice in all of its forms. Does that make sense?

      I am not aware of any statement, by Church leaders, which discusses the need or encourages the “normalization of homosexuality,” within the Church, but rather encouragement to embrace our brothers and sister who experience this challenge in their lives and show love and support within the gospel community.

      This post is intended to share my testimony of Jesus Christ, and not to defend the Frozen post. However, in that post I make a clear distinction between behavior and actions when it comes to homosexuality, which I stand by:

      Let me be very clear about one thing, I am not anti-gay nor am I here to judge homosexuals not worthy of their rightful and respectful place among society. However, I draw the line at the idea of redefining traditional marriage to include homosexual relationships, as equal. Meaning, that as a Christian, I believe that acting on same-sex attraction is contrary to God's will, and therefore SSM should not be legalized.

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    4. Thank You Kathryn:

      It has not been until now that I have fully understood your position. Where "normalization" in your world equates to an SSM agenda, it does not mean that in my layman's world where it equates to simply accepting them as full equals in our midst both in our Church and in our society.

      One final thought is that I don't understand why it is more important to resist homosexual practice in all of its forms, than to resist "ordinary sex" outside of marriage. To me it seems like many people wink and nod at heterosexual immorality even in our Faith while recoiling in horror at gay immorality when the truth is, they should be regarded as the same with the same consequences.

      Finally, we do in fact both differ on the need to be judgmental at all. I for one don't need to know what others do in the privacy of their own homes. I don't see it as a bigger cultural threat now that ever before and any more than heterosexual immorality. For this, I rely upon Matt. 7 (Judge not). Even Jesus wasn't so judgmental to the Woman brought to him in adultery despite it being his calling to do so. He was less than dogmatic on many other Mosaic rules stating that Man was not made to serve the Sabbath, but the other way around (healing, pig in the mire etc.). I suspect your interpretation of those rules are different than mine as well. I understand and respect your need and desire to be dogmatic and judgmental.

      On these points we'll just have to differ. I prefer kindness and acceptance over unbending resistance at all costs. Some of my gay friends were recently able to marry and I love them dearly and they are some of my closest friends. They're absolutely wonderful people and model citizens.

      Again, thank you again for clarifying your position. I believe I understand but prefer another equally justifiable approach. I think I'll be OK.

      Joe

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    5. Oh, that it could be the same, but it is not. Members are almost forced to learn two languages, when it comes to speaking about homosexuality and Mormonism, if we are to learn how to best communicate and create the bridge that needs to be built between the general membership of the Church, and our homosexual member community, who desire to be part of the whole – as they should.

      But sadly, when these distinctions collide with the secular world, it is perceived as hate, or inequality – and there is little we can do other than to share our beiefs and explain our doctrine – or, go silent and say nothing.

      You make a powerful point about the need to focus on sex outside of marriage as the sin to be of concern. However, it still requires resisting SSM because of the persistent advocacy, or hope, of those even within the Church to change the doctrine of marriage. As one who has spent a number of years in defense of traditional marriage, I am well versed in the circular reasoning of these pitfalls, and so naturally, I am often ahead of them when I write. I realize that can come across defensive at times, and I apologize for that. I will try to do better in the future as more outside of the Church read this blog.

      Lastly, I hold no ill will toward those who advocate for SSM, for whatever reasons, or are in a SSM. I, too, have family members and friends that fall into those categories and we have warm relations, which I value greatly, even with our differences. However, from a covenant perspective, I feel committed to standing strong with the official position and doctrine of the Church on these matters.

      Best,

      Kathryn

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    6. Kathryn, eloquently stated! I love your responses to this and it sits in line with everything we are taught and with everything the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have said. Brilliant. II am bookmarking this for future reference, you explained the Church's stance so well. - Angela

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    7. Kathryn,

      You are an amazingly strong individual blessed with the ability to distinguish the subtleties in the whirlwind of words.

      Thank you for your voice, thank you for sharing it with us. Thank you for not holding back and staying silent. Your perspective and ability to express it is invaluable.

      -Denise

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  7. Kathryn, thank you for sharing your strong and firm faith in your testimony. I love the conviction and strength you have in the gospel! It's wonderful to find those within the Church who have strong, unwavering testimonies of the doctrines of the gospel.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I am the sole author of this blog, therefore I write; I am a writer. However, I am happy to be referred to as either a "writer" or a "blogger".

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  9. Apparently, according to those who support gay dogma, testimony and leading a good life isn't enough. According to them, you also have to agree that the unnatural is natural, that good is evil, and that evil is good. Ah well. Keep the faith and never apologize for your testimony when it's based on truth.

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    1. It is a twisted world, indeed. Thank you.

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  10. I don't usually comment on blogs but I just have to say I agree with you 100 per cent. Thank you for sharing your bold testimony about what you believe in and what you don't. I will hold on to the "iron rod" and not fall into the muddy waters of the world. The iron rod is the Word of God whether by the Scriptures or modern day Prophets, it is the same. The Family Proclamation and the Plan of Salvation are scripture. The Brethren uphold and support and teach it as doctrine. And I sustain President Monson and the Apostles as Prophets, Seers and Revelator

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    1. Well, thank you, then. I appreciate your willingness to take a stand with me, as together, we stand with the Lord and His Prophet in support of the doctrine of the
      Church.

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  11. Kathryn, I am so happy you shared your testimony. You are a strong and faithful member of the Church and I look up to you. You have a wonderful way with words and so kindly explaining doctrine and truth. Thank you for giving the rest of us courage and conviction to be more vigilant on staying on the Lord's side. I know that I have learned a lot from you this past year of getting to know you (it's only been a year but gosh, seems longer!) Thank you for defending truth and righteousness and not one who tries to both live the gospel but also lean towards social trends in order to appear smart and savvy for their non-LDS friends and the world. Please keep blogging, you are needed and you are important:)
    Angela

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    1. Thank you, Angela. You inspire me, everyday!

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  12. This is beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

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  13. re: "Meaning, that as a Christian, I believe that acting on same-sex attraction is contrary to God's will, and therefore SSM should not be legalized."

    Sounds like you also respect other Christian views (Episcopal, Unitarian etc.) to advocate for their view of God's will in advocating for SSM in secular law.

    That is a position that I can indeed respect. Thank you for your clarification.

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    1. Assigning a religious view to be codified in secular law is sometimes, but not always problematic.

      The Supreme Court held that "intimate consensual sexual conduct" was part of the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. - Lawrence v. Texas.

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  14. If you expect others to respect your right to believe in traditional Mormonism, then you cannot make claims that those who are liberal or progressive Mormons have been deceived. I cannot and will not deny what you have felt. I hope that you can do the same for liberal/progressive Mormons.

    I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. I believe that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Parents have a perfect plan for us. I believe that we have inspired leaders, but they are far from perfect. We are all trying to understand God more and we are trying to understand eternal truths. I believe in a Church that values continuing revelation. We have to be flexible and understand that our understanding is limited. I hope to be able to keep an open-mind towards all Mormons. I do, however, expect that you extend me and the rest of liberal Mormonism the same courtesy. You have no right to call us out as apostates or to judge our personal relationship with Deity.

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  15. I love your testimony. I am proud to be called a Mormon with you. I love the simple, delicious principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I looked on my blog and found a few posts on testimony.

    http://richalger.blogspot.com/2012/04/why-is-jesus-important-to-me.html
    I love my Saviour Jesus Christ. It is the doctrine that has touched me deepest and longest.

    http://richalger.blogspot.com/2011/02/truth-will-prevail.html
    I have had some friends disassociate themselves with the church. It has rent my heart. I also have respect for a close friend in particular. He is following the dictates of his heart. I do not see a fault in that. Even though his decision is not the one I would have made. I have faith that all will work itself out in the end. That we must follow the good we recognize and that all good will lead us back to God.

    Thanks again for your testimony.

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  16. Thank you, Kathryn. You say the things I wish to say but sometimes have a hard time getting into coherent sentences! Amen to your testimony.

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