Is the church really true?

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Today was Fast and Testimony Meeting, and of course among all the testimonies borne in our ward , there were many statements along the lines of “I know the church is true,” “I know the Book of Mormon,” and the like.

It seems to me though that people making these statements do so thinking the statements mean something they don’t or they are trying to convey a message that isn’t actually covered by such statements.

When you look up the word “true” in the dictionary, the definitions you get back are such as “not false; real; accurate; authentic.”

Consider the rewriting of the statement “I know the church is true” with those definitions:

  • I know the church is not false
  • I know the church is real
  • I know the church is accurate
  • I know the church is authentic

None of these statements are that meaningful. The church is not false. Whoop-de-doo. The church is real; every church is real. The church is accurate; accurate about what? The church is authentic; Christians around the world have authentic spiritual experiences.

Why then use a statement that has no clear meaning and seems so empty? What are some alternative you might ask?

How about “I know the church is lead by authority and revelation”? Or “I know the church has all the ordinances necessary for exaltation”? Or “I know the church is personally led by the Saviour”?

I believe if members of the Church sincerely pondered what the church means to them, they would find statements of affirmation that would actually resonate with others, and perhaps fast and testimony meetings wouldn’t seem so empty and superficial.

7 thoughts on “Is the church really true?

  1. The words “the church is true” brings forth the connotation that it is a divinely instituted organization by Jesus Christ to carry out His purposes here on this earth, which is to bring about the immortality and eternal life. of man.

    We do not have to get bogged down by semantics and dictionary meanings.


  2. So then why not just say that? Why not just say, “I know the church is a divinely instituted organization by Jesus Christ to carry out His purposes here on this earth, which is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man”? Why substitute it for something that means very little?

    What you said has so much more meaning. I would have loved to hear something like that in our meeting today.

  3. I agree with the sentiment of your post and #2 that phrase always stops me I think of the church as organization buildings and materials the gospel can stand on it’s own without that stuff. It seems to be repeated without thinking and reads a little like a pledge of allegiance. I prefer to substitute gospel for church such as I have a testimony of the gospel or if moved by the Spirit I know the gospel is true.

  4. I like your train of thought. I had an institute teacher that would stop us when we used commonly repeated phrases in the church and ask what that means. I rarely use those phrases anymore as a result. I think now to me it’s kind of like using fillers when cooking….not really necessary, but makes things go further :)

  5. I try to be more specific when I bear my testimony, but I try to be understanding and forgiving of people’s awkward testimonies. Perhaps I am used to being “book smart” so I consciously lower the standard when random other people are speaking. When we have people who bear their testimony who are over 80, or who have had a stroke and have relearned to speak, or someone who is new, or someone who is nervous, I try really hard not to pick apart their testimony. I try to understand what they mean and learn something from their experience.
    Of course there are certain things that are my pet peeves, but I actually like “the church is true” as a statement. It means something to me.

  6. Not all members have the same command of their home language. Many do not speak English, hence the dictionary accuracy you wrote about may not apply as the language spoken may not have such precise words. But, you know and understand those things.

    I try to listen to testimonies with my ears and my heart. If I listen with my technical writing classes filters Dr. Smith taught, testimonies never affect my heart, provide spiritual nourshiment, or enlighten my day. (BTW part of Dr. Smith’s instructions included presentation skills as well as written skills, so in my case the example does apply.)

  7. I do listen to all testimonies but have to admit that I do to wander away when the travelogues come out or all the problems a person is facing comes in long stretches of time even when there are quite a few people sitting on the stands waiting for their turn. Good point Kim it will be food for thought at our next meeting.

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