Mormon’s say that feelings signify the Holy Ghost is telling you something is true. This is not biblical.
Proof-texting is the term used for “proving” something by supporting your stance with “authoritative” quotes; e.g., God loved the world for “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). This is a popular practice amongst the religious debaters of the world. The reason I mention it is to point out a flaw in it. Many people can be passionate about a certain aspect of the gospel and quote one or several scriptures to support their belief in it. The rub is that so can many others on the same subject, and reach a totally different conclusion. They think they are just as positive and sure as the other guy. See the problem?
So, how does one discover the real spiritual truth of a matter? Here’s something interesting to do: Ask a evangelical “Christian” why he believes in Jesus Christ. You will probably get one of two answers, and one of them, if you ask again, will probably end up being the same as the other answer. So really, you’ll usually get the same answer: “I just know it in my heart.” That sounds a lot like feelings, doesn’t it? It is incredibly ironic that other Christians claim that Mormons teach an unbiblical method of recognizing truth.
Let’s explore a couple New Testament examples, and keep it short so you don’t comatose with boredom. This is where one needs to quote sources that are commonly accepted as legitimate (at least in Christian circles).
1. How did the early disciples truly know that Jesus was the Promised Messiah/Christ? Was it through a cognitive process? That was definitely part of the picture for some, but let’s look closely at Simon Peter. Many others were with Peter when they witnessed Jesus performing mighty miracles, yet many stopped following him when they did not understand Jesus’ teachings (John 6:66). Why did Peter believe and know that Jesus was the Christ when others saw the same miracles? Jesus answered this question himself:
“Blessed are thou Simon Bar-jona [Peter]: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” –Matt 16:17
How does the Father “reveal” things to his children? Through the Holy Ghost:
“But the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things….” –John 14:26
The Holy Ghost is the great teacher and converter. His whisperings are usually not audible, but are recognized as thoughts, impressions, or feelings in the heart. The Bible is replete with examples of this concept. When impressions are made by the Holy Ghost, they do not soon leave. Before accusing Peter of Denying Christ three times, remember that earlier in the same night he proved that he would fight to the death for Jesus (Matt 26:51). I don’t think believe that Peter was scared to claim discipleship of Christ because he already proved he was not. I believe that he knew he was the leader of the fledgling Church and had to carry it forward. This strong “testimony” was born of the spirit and feeling that he felt in his heart.
2. Two disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus after the death of Christ discussing the recent events. Jesus appeared to them and they did not recognize him by sight. Christ taught them from the scriptures, and broke bread, at which time “their eyes were opened, and they knew him….” They recognized the savior at this point, but confirmed it when they said, “Did not our heart burn within us…?” –Luke 24:13-32
Remember, many hundred people saw Jesus perform miracles and yet turned away. Miracles and signs don’t convert. Can we say “Judas Iscariot?” It is a combination of mental learning and confirmation in the heart/feelings.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of scripture containing the revelations of the Lord to his prophets in recent history, we find this enlightening description of revelation:
“Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
‘Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation….” –D&C 8:2-3
I know that Jesus lives and is my savior not because I have seen him or have taken a recent trip to heaven, but because I have 1) read of him and pondered his life and teachings and 2) the Holy Ghost has born witness of the truthfulness of these things to my
heart and mind. By this same process I have come to know the Book of Mormon and Bible are true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Church established by Jesus Christ himself.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008