Question: Did Elder Boyd K. Packer suggest that we should "lie our way" into obtaining a testimony?

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Question: Did Elder Boyd K. Packer suggest that we should "lie our way" into obtaining a testimony?

Elder Packer said "a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it"

Elder Boyd K. Packer spoke of how to gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ:

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![1]

Critics of the Church claim that Elder Packer is advising that Church members claim to know the truth of the gospel even before they actually do, and that this is simply "lying their way" into gaining a testimony.

Elder Packer is talking about having faith, which one must exercise before receiving a witness

Elder Packer is not suggesting that a person much "lie their way" into having a testimony. Elder Packer is talking about having faith.

Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

One exercises faith before one has the evidence to prove it. Elder Packer is simply restating the scriptural definition of "faith" in terms of "testimony."

When one exercises faith, results follow which strengthen that 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 by addressing this particular concern:

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.[1]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Boyd K. Packer, "The Candle of the Lord", Ensign (Jan. 1983) off-site).