Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nibley on Testimonies

"A testimony is a gift and a talent (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)....It functions like any of the senses; for example, like hearing, it is an "absolute" thing--you either have it or you don't; but like hearing, it may be strong at one time and weak at another; it is never in ailing mortals in perfect operating condition...and may vanish altogether at times, be nonoperative at times, and at times return with astonishing force and vigor. But it does not produce the things it hears. It would be hard to explain to one devoid of those senses that seeing and hearing are not functions of the imagination and are only in part self-induced--that there would be no seeing and hearing at all if some sort of stimulus did not come from the outside....All this is commonplace enough but I am trying to say that when I "bear my testimony" I am really talking about something, whether you get it or not.

"We are here to use our brains, but the most important impressions that come to us do so directly and without any conscious cerebration. We may work over the data of such experiences in our minds, but we do not produce the impressions in the first place....It is surprising how many people have thought me to be merely spoofing--just having a little fun, like Joseph Smith when he got up the Book of Mormon. I wonder if they realize what a price one must pay for that kind of fun. I say to hell with careers and the things of the world...I am stuck with the gospel. I know perfectly well that it is true; there may be things about the Church that I find perfectly appalling--but that has nothing to do with it. I know the gospel is true."

Hugh Nibley, “Dear Sterling,” Eloquent Witness: Nibley on Himself, Others, and the Temple, ed. Stephen D. Ricks, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 19 Vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 2008), 19:144-147

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