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Three-part standard christian “testimony” July 2, 2020

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Rants, Responses.
Tags: , , , , ,

While I’m at it, there’s one more gem from Roll to Disbelieve that I want to preserve.  Also from last month, Captain Cassidy did an article on MLM hunbots.  Now back when I was in high school in the 70’s, my Dad got recruited into Amway, and really tried hard to build himself a business, so I know a few things about MLMs.  And since then, I’ve been hunzoned a couple of times.

(“Hunzoned” is when an old friend contacts you out of the blue, wanting to renew the friendship and catch up on old times.  But it turns out that what they really want is to recruit you into this “incredible new business opportunity” they have found.  And usually that recruitment attempt ends whatever was left of the friendship.)

Anyway,  the subject of Cassidy’s article was how MLM hunbots are using the christian testimony model to craft their own sales pitches.  Several times in recent months I have found myself writing about how some christian that was supposedly relating their real story wasn’t doing anything of the sort; what they were doing was TESTIFYING.  They were using a standard three-part model, that christians are coached on, and given great wads of praise by their flockmates and pastors for perfecting.  And Cassidy outlined the structure of the three-part testimony so well that I want to share her version of it (and have it for easy reference later).

It looks like this:

  1. A pre-conversion past that will sadden, horrify, or titillate tribemates. Hopefully, it accomplishes all three. Oh, this person’s life was just awful before conversion! They were soooo far gone! Maybe they were rich and high-rollin’ or dejected and lonely, but whatever the case, they were completely the opposite of the tribal ideal.
  2. OMG CONVERSION MOMENT! The convert sees the light! Hooray Team Jesus! Often, this stage involves a miracle claim.
  3. Life after deconversionAfter conversion, the tale-bearer does a 180. Life now looks completely opposite from the first stage. Now, they fit completely into the tribe’s ideal for members.

Often, when I’m listening to a show like Talk Heathen or The Atheist Experience, they will get a caller who is following their well-coached testimony script.  Often the hosts don’t seem to realize this is what’s happening, and try to engage with the elements of the caller’s story, unaware that it’s not really about the caller’s  actual life. And I’m wishing that the hosts would catch the callers at it more often, and try to get them off their script, because allowing them to TESTIFY accomplishes nothing useful. 

The more that this formulaic testimony routine gets talked about, the better.  So if you are a non-believer, and you have a christian trying this nonsense on you, call them out!  Don’t let them just run through their practiced speech, ask them tough questions and get them off-script, because off-script where the interesting conversations and actual thinking about things happens.

(Cassidy’s original article on MLM Testimonies is here.  Go read it if you want to know what a “hunbot” is.)


1. makagutu - July 3, 2020

Rarely is a pre-conversion testimony a normal life story. It’s always for dramatic effect.

Liked by 3 people

2. Liberated - July 3, 2020

Heh, I had a ‘friend’ at uni who ‘hunzoned’ me. I didn’t realise there was a word for that. In this case, they were trying to get me into this Amway affiliate Network TwentyOne. So they invited me along to this ‘seminar’, which ‘I could go to for free!’. It wasn’t a charismatic church service but it might have well been. After multiple attempts from him to recruit me, I told him I wasn’t interested. After that he was an a$$hole and I never saw him again, except for once on a bus. I just smiled at him.

Liked by 4 people

3. shelldigger - July 3, 2020

I suppose I could have a few pre conversion stories, but fuck that. I was able to deal with lifes issues without invoking any invisible friends.

Great post pointing out the testimony tactics, and how they are a useful part of the scam.

Amway is a scam too. I’ve also dealt with a hunbot or two in my day. But when I was a kid my mom fell for the Amway B.S. So I had some firsthand observational experience. I remember we had a lot of freaking detergent when I was a kid, but it’s harder to rope other people in, that it seemed like it might be when you got roped in. So it didn’t work out. I was paying attention 😉

Liked by 1 person

Ubi Dubium - July 3, 2020

Yes, we had shelves full of leftover unsold stuff for years afterwards, that we tried to use up ourselves. So much soap!


4. Quixie - August 26, 2020

Ubi, I somehow missed several of your posts (don’t know how the heck that happened!) so I’m going to be binging. So if you see an uptick in your stats in the next couple days it’s likely me! 😁

Liked by 2 people

Ubi Dubium - August 26, 2020

I don’t write very often, so it shouldn’t take long to binge it all! (Unless you read the whole series about the Mormon missionary book.)


Quixie - August 26, 2020

I did miss a few of those as well (thought I’d read them all, but noo.) I’m a little annoyed that I didn’t see your posts in my reader as you’re one of my top peeps!

Liked by 2 people

Ubi Dubium - August 26, 2020


I have yours set up so I get an email whenever you post. I check my email a lot more often than I check my reader.

Liked by 2 people

5. SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️ - October 23, 2020

Nice blog

Liked by 1 person

6. Martine Stoker - June 20, 2021

I have yours set up so I get an email whenever you post. I check my email a lot more often than I check my reader.

Liked by 1 person

7. Headless Unicorn Guy - May 30, 2022

1) A pre-conversion past that will sadden, horrify, or titillate tribemates.

In Christian Testimony Night, this is called “Pornography for the Pious”, lets the Church Ladies get titillated with (and vicariously participate) in all that JUICY Sin! Sin! Sin! while staying Respectable.

Sure they like to listen to it, but there’s a reason such JUICY testimonies are normally given by itinerant/transient Witnesses.

And there’s the danger of the testimony backfiring by “making it seem like Jesus wrecked a really exciting life — ‘I lived a life immersed in Sin and Depravity and Boy Was It Fun! But I tell you this only so you don’t make the same Fun-Filled mistakes.'”

Liked by 1 person

Headless Unicorn Guy - June 1, 2022

And it gets worse, Ubi.
In Left Behind: Volume 16 (end of the prequel trilogy) we accompany the Raptured into Heaven. And discover all they do in Heaven is constantly tell each other about Jesus. Never-ending Testimony Night.

Jerry “Buck” Jenkins, Greatest Christian Author of All Time (GCAAT), actually succeeded in writing a worse Heaven than the Never-Ending Compulsory Bible Study I encountered during my time in-country.

Liked by 1 person

Ubi Dubium - June 1, 2022

Ew. If people are living in heaven with Jesus, why would they still need to be convincing themselves of how great Jesus is? Hitch had it right in calling it “Celestial North Korea”.



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