Are Feelings a Good Source for Truth?
By Bill McKeever
Understanding how Mormons "know what they know" is vital for Christians to comprehend if they hope to have effective dialogue with members of the LDS Church. Those Christians who have spent a considerable amount of time discussing spiritual issues with Mormons soon come to learn that there are many differences in "epistemology," which means how we come to know and understand things. The Bible encourages the believer to use reason along with faith. For instance, Isaiah 1:18 tell us that the Lord invites us to "reason together" with Him. Mormons oftentimes see reason as a detriment to true faith. I don't think I can count how many times Mormons have told me that my difficulty in accepting Mormonism was due to the fact that I was using "man's reasoning."
Mormons often tell me how they "feel" that Mormonism is right; however, as a Christian I can respond with equal assurance that I "feel" my faith is right. But does that make it right? I recently read the story of a new convert who said, "Until the very second that I made my declaration, I wasn't entirely convinced that it was what I wanted to do. Would I wake up one day and want to change my mind? Would I feel like I had made a huge mistake? But already I feel as if my life has been transformed. I don't know how to describe it, but the moment I said those words, my heart filled with joy and love and it took about four days for me to come back down off the ceiling." Though this sounds very familiar to statements I've heard from both Mormons and Christians, it was actually a comment made by a woman who had recently recited the Shahada, a Muslim testimony that simply states, "La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah." Translated this phrase says, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." ("Why I took the hijab," The Guardian, June 20, 2002). What does this prove? Well, when it comes to establishing what is true, it proves absolutely nothing. It is just one opinion among millions.
I would be the first to admit that many of the things I believe involve a great amount of faith. However, I also maintain that my belief is based on objective facts and is therefore not an unreasonable and subjective faith. Letting your "conscience be your guide," can have its pitfalls because the conscience is really a reaction to the knowledge one already possesses. Consider cannibals whose culture dictates that there is nothing inherently wrong with killing and eating their perceived enemies. Because of their understanding of right and wrong, the cannibals' conscience would not cause them to have second thoughts about their acts that, according to the Western perspective, would cause us to question that culture's definition of truth.
We are all products of a fallen nature, and as such it becomes necessary to examine carefully what we perceive as truth. I believe this is why God gave us the written Word, the Bible. We need this divine, outside source to keep us in check. The Bible warns us about the danger in trusting our feelings. The author of the book of Proverbs twice tells us that there are ways that seem right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (14:12; 16:25). Proverbs 28:26 adds that only fools trust in their heart. [He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.] If we are wise, we must reasonably evaluate the facts that are found outside of ourselves. But wait, isn't that my opinion? It absolutely is. However, I'm not asking anybody to seek a similar feeling that I may have. I am merely echoing what I believe God's Word is saying with a challenge that those who may not share my view of the Bible will objectively evaluate its claims. The LDS Church does accept the Bible as one of its standard works and for that reason Mormons cannot so easily ignore what it says without exposing their duplicity.
Wisdom and James 1:5
Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. Because of this, I have a problem with how Joseph Smith used James 1:5. He claimed to be searching for wisdom; however, in doing so he disregarded the knowledge found in the same Bible from which he read James 1:5. If he had used wisdom, he would have known that he couldn't have possibly seen God and lived to tell about it (Exodus 33:20). If he were wise, he would have disregarded the voices in his head telling him about certain doctrines that definitely contradicted biblical truths.
Mormons often want prospective converts to pray about "feeling" truth, which is why I question Mormon epistemology. The 2004 handbook utilized by the Mormon missionaries confirms my conclusions. According to page 39 in Preach the Gospel, "In answer to our prayers, the Holy Ghost will teach us through our feelings and thoughts...Heavenly Father will answer their prayers, typically through feelings of their hearts and thoughts in their minds."
During one of many visits I've made to Temple Square, a young Mormon missionary asked me, "How do you feel when you are on Temple Square?" I paused, and speaking very deliberately, I said to her, "Quite honestly, I feel grieved." I am sure that was not the answer she was expecting, but considering the context of our discussion I have no doubt she understood the intent of my answer. Now, if "the Holy Ghost will teach us through our feelings and thoughts," why didn't she accept my feelings to be just as valid as her own? We were clearly at a "testimony stalemate." But yet, we both couldn't be right. This is why it is important to move from the level of the subjective to the level of reason when speaking to our LDS friends.
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See also ARE YOU A GOOD PERSON?
and CHURCH OF OPRAH EXPOSED
Oprah Winfrey "feels" the spirit, but doesn't believe the Bible!
Is the Jesus of the Book of Mormon (the Jesus that Joseph Smith preached) the same Jesus of the Holy Bible? Or is the Jesus of the Book of Mormon another Jesus? (II Cor. 11:,4). Does the identity of God, Jesus, and the nature of the gospel of salvation differ between the Mormon scriptures and the Bible? Speaking at the April 2002 General Conference, LDS President, Gordon B. Hinckley stated:
As a church, we have critics--many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say. Our faith, our knowledge, is not based on ancient tradition...Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation.
CLICK HERE or HERE TO LISTEN TO HINCKLEY's CONFESSION.
The late prophet of the Mormon church, Gordon B. Hinckley, stated that he did not believe in the Christian Christ, he believed in the Christ that Joseph Smith taught. By his own admission, Hinckley has conceded that the faith and the knowledge of the Mormon church is not based on ancient tradition, and therefore his church does not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. The apostle Paul commanded us to hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle, and to withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh... not after the tradition which he received of us. (II Thess. 2:15; 3:6).
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, exclaimed the apostle Paul, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel [another testament], which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.... For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:,4,13-15). I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:6-9). For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (II Tim. 4:3,4). The apostle Peter said, But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them (II Peter 2:1).
In an October 2007 interview Mormon Elder M. Russell Ballard stated that religious truth is always confirmed by what you feel....(Transcript of Interview). This is in direct contradiction to the scriptures. Acts chapter 17 says that when the apostle Paul came to Thessalonica he reasoned with them out of the scriptures (Acts 17:2). And verse 11 says that the noble Bereans searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 18:4 says, And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Acts 19:8 says, And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. Acts 28:23 says, And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. As the Ethiopian eunuch was returning home in his chariot, while reading the book of the prophet Esaias, the apostle Philip met him and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. (Acts 8:28-37). And when Jesus Christ himself confirmed the truth of the scriptures to his disciples he reasoned with them, And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27). To confirm the truth of his word God does not give his people a good feeling. God reasons with his people to confirm the truth of his word.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: (Isaiah 1:18)
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. the apostle Paul warned, For men shall be lovers of their own selves,... proud,... heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (II Tim. 3:1-5) (the gospel of Christ... is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Rom. 1:16)). Paul said that God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Rom. 2:16). The Lord Jesus Christ said, my words,.. the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:48). And this Jesus, exclaimed Paul, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. (Acts 17:3). And this is the word, said Peter, which by the gospel is preached unto you. (I Pet. 1:25). And this gospel(Matt. 24:14), the word which he commanded to a thousand generations(Psa. 105:8), the everlasting gospel(Rev. 14:6), this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; (Matt. 24:14).
The Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible, the traditional Christ of Christianity, is not the Christ in whom the Mormon church believes, as prophet and LDS President, Gordon B. Hinckley, stated in no uncertain terms. The apostle Paul said, Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (Rom. 16:17).
They all teach (taught) that they are (were) God's representative or anointed and that you cannot trust nor believe the Holy Bible; and that you must put your faith in their words, theologies, traditions, customs and rituals in order to please God and have everlasting life.
AntiChrist Detected, 1841
Mormonism In All Ages, 1842
The History of The Saints, 1842
Joseph Smith, The Great American Impostor, 1852
Mormonism Tried By Its Own Standards - Reason and Scripture, 1855
The Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism, 1870
Mormonism: Its Rise, Progress, and Present Condition, 1870
The Follies and Crimes of Bigamy Young, 1874
Tell It All: The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism, 1875
Mormonism Unveiled; Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, 1877
The Mormon Hell on Earth, 1884
Book of Mormon: Is It From God? 1885
Joseph Smith, The Prophet, His Family & Friends, 1886
The Golden Bible: Or, The Book of Mormon. Is it from God? 1887
Mormonism Exposed, 1902
The Mormon Waterloo, 1902
The Mormon Menace, 1905
Cumorah Revisited, 1910
The True Origin of The Book of Mormon, 1914
American Anthropology Disproving The Book of Mormon, 1916
In The Cult Kingdom : Mormonism, Eddyism, and Russellism, 1918
The Mormon Saints, 1919
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