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Are Christian testimonials sometimes elaborated or faked?

Stories about conversion, they tell about the life they led and how they eventually found Jesus. Now many of these testimonials have discrepencies that show a lack of understanding. I have especially seen this in testimonials having to do with the occult. Apparently these folks were involved in the occult or satanism. Yet they mention non-existent things and practices or confuse terminology etc. I can’t think of any specific example except Rebecca Brown (Irene Baily) and her “patient” Elaine (Edna Moses). Stories like these don’t fool anyone who actually know about the occult or other religions. I once said I was involved in high magick or ceremonial magick and one “ex-occultist” called it witchcraft!
No there are some definitive occult terms and groups. If you for instance say Wicca is Satanism than you show lack of understanding about these two faiths. The same with ceremonial magic and wicca. Every seasoned practitioner would know these differences very well.
Angeltress, I don’t agree. Since these same ex-occultists would then produce books and tapes to warn others about the “dangers of the occult” and keep spreading half-truths. Rebecca Brown attacks meditation, yoga, Catholisism and eastern religions and gets her facts wrong all the time. There is an agenda behind these things to subtly twist things around to appear utterly evil.

16 Comments

  • I would say that there are some individuals who profess to be a christian but use this as part of an elaborate ruse to “con” money away from individuals. So the possibility of a christian testimonial being potentially elaborated or faked is real.

    The many christian testimonies being shared here in Yahoo! Answers, however, seem fairly sincere, with some being more clumsy while others being more literary or artful. I don’t think most of the christian testimonies shared here are meant to cheat some reader of Yahoo out of his or her money.

    I would also expect someone who was “lightly” involved in the occult to also potentially mix up terminologies, so in your seemingly professional or experienced view, they should be saying a few errors about things that they are not expert in. That I find normal and therefore doesn’t alarm me.

    So in a sense, it sounds like you are asking christians to make themselves better in the verbal presentation of their testimonies. That does not sound like an un-reasonable request from you. In fact, to me, it sounds like something we christians should be doing: Making ourselves more understandable to all people.

    It also forces ourselves to further analyze how we each believe, so we can lay a proper foundation of what to share.

    I like this question! It’s gotten me thinking about how I present myself now. So I thank you for your insights. Keep them coming!

    Sincerely,
    Alvin R.

  • I’m sure that there are a great many such “testimonials” told for show…but to put all Christian testimonials under that banner would only be fooling yourself, I’m afraid.
    You might find this difficult to believe, but there are phony practitioners of Wicca and other “occult” religions as well.
    How does the layman know the difference? If someone says to me that they practice the high magick, or whatever, I would take their word for it. As I got involved in whatever it is that person does, I would only have his word for it…and if, in the meantime, I converted to Christianity, all I would have for my “testimonial” would be what that one person taught me. No doubt, some expert occultist would turn up and declare my testimonial to be untrue, because it doesn’t fit with what he knows.
    Does that mean it didn’t fit with what I learned?
    Let’s not be ridiculous, here…..

  • It’s sad, but yes, it does happen. Evangelical culture values “testimonies,” and the more exciting that it is, the more they like it. We all know where the process leads.

  • No, people tell the stories that they lived. The problem with judging a story when someone was once in the occult is that there is no definitive occult. One person’s experience can be very different from another’s because so many people get into it on their own. They rely on books from the bookstore and sometimes find it very difficult to find anyone else who is also into it.

  • I honestly believe that most christian testimonies are exaggerated, if not extremely exaggerated.

    I don’t always think it’s intentional… but I’m greatly skeptic of most.

    And I agree with Vicky, it’s the same in most 12 step testimonies.

  • Oh absolutely. These people want an impressive “Sin resume` ” so that they can say “Look, I used to do all these bad things!”, and so the list and the details get inflated.

    I don’t know if this is always deliberate. It might be a self-delusion caused by themselves. If you tell an old story for long enough, you start to believe it. I’ve even met people who, for example, claim to have been at the infamous “gross-out” contest with Alice Cooper and Frank Zappa, even though it was a complete urban legend.

  • You can bet they are very dramatized. All of them have the phrase, “I would be dead if not for…”, but so do all the 12 step testimonials too. It is tedious…

  • I would have to say that, at the very least, their experiences are viewed through God-colored glasses.

  • Yes. I’ve seen a certain amount of “one-upsmanship” in some charismatic circles that amounts to outright lies.

    The best clue is how the story makes the teller sound. If they’re ashamed of what they’ve done in the past, it’s probably a true testimony, if it makes them sound amazing for what they went through or for how much they’ve changed, it’s probably exaggerated or fabricated.

    I avoid giving my testimony. I’ve only told a handful of people in the 36 years since I’ve been a Christian. Heck, I’m ashamed of some stuff I’ve done SINCE I’ve been a Christian.

    Nothing really needs to be told beyond “I’m a sinner saved by grace”.
    .

  • I don’t know. I can’t see into the heart of others…but God can. I don’t know why anyone would feel a need to exaggerate. His saving us from hell is good enough I would think.

  • Read up on Mike Warnke to see just how far out of hand it can get.

    And how gullible the average church goer is.

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