.: DOES THE HOLY GHOST ANSWER PRAYER FOR THE BOOK OF MORMON TESTIMONY?
“I was browsing the Internet when I came across your site. Sounds informative, but I have a question on this statement you made. In your article on Mormon Splinter Groups, the following question was asked: ‘Since all of these movements base their authority on the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith, how can a ‘testimony’ gained through praying about the Book of Mormon be sufficient to prove which church of all of these movements one should join?’ I am curious to know whether you believe in prayers being answered by God. I don’t know if it would prove anything, but I believe God answers prayers, and if He said it was true then it must be true, and if He said it wasn’t then it is not true. One thing I do believe in also is the Holy Ghost. He is known as the Comforter, a Testifier. If I can’t feel comfort, I don’t know how the Holy Ghost can get to me in helping to comfort me. So, in this way, I do believe that the Spirit of God can communicate with our spirits through a feeling since we cannot see Him. What do you believe?”
You asked a great question. We agree with you in regard to the Holy Ghost being our testifier and comforter. We personally take comfort and guidance from Him on a daily basis, but one thing that can be confusing for people is how to determine what truth is.
Maybe you’ve experienced a time when you weren’t sure which course of action was the best to take. In addition to prayer and the guidance sought from the Holy Ghost/Comforter, Scripture makes it clear that God expects us to use the mind He has given us to determine the best course based upon facts the Holy Ghost has revealed through His Word the Bible.
Using God’s revelation in the Bible is just like using a map when navigating to a certain location. God has given us the Bible to be our spiritual map to determine religious truth. This is why the Bible claims at 2 Peter 1:3 that He has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” Through Christ, we already possess all that we need to know for “life and godliness;” so there is no need for further revelation on how to live a spiritually godly life.
Another principle we see concerning spiritual truth is that God does not contradict Himself. Isaiah 8:20 says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Thus, a person cannot excuse away physical evidence against a certain belief simply because he or she thinks the “feeling” received was “from God.” The Holy Ghost does not contradict Himself by giving revelation inconsistent with His revealed Word.
The final principle we see about determining spiritual truth is that God expects us to use the mind He has given us to evaluate what we are being told. For example, at Acts 17:11, Paul commended the Christians of Berea for searching the “Scriptures” to determine if something was true, rather than just relying on feelings. As you correctly noted, the Bible speaks of the Holy Ghost as our teacher, however He is said to guide believers “into all truth” by speaking of the truth (John 16:13) and bringing to remembrance what has already been taught (John 14:26). While the Holy Ghost may comfort us with feelings of peace in times of anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7), nowhere does Biblical Scripture advocate using feelings to determine truth. On the contrary, it warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) and “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26).
Not only are we warned that our hearts can deceive us with feelings that are not from God, but Scripture warns against deceptive messages from false spirits:
- “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”—1 John 4:1
- “…in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”—1 Timothy 4:1
When it comes to Mormonism, did you know that Joseph Smith himself agreed that not all “revelations” are from God? Here is a story you might find interesting about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon Copyright.
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