How Can We Know the Truth

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Feelings are not always a sure indication of truth?

No matter how deeply felt, our emotions can end up betraying us.

Falling “madly” in love with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that person is right for us.  Certainly, in the moment it feels that way.  But since falling in love can be more emotional than rational, we need to be extremely careful about making an immediate commitment.  Our falling in love may turn out in the long run to be nothing more than infatuation. 

You see how some people think they can trust their beliefs in just about anything, simply because they feel strongly about them. 

Take for example – the Pharisees in the Bible.   Jesus pointed out to them that they were believing in a lie (John 8:43-47).

And, while sincerely believing they were right – their false beliefs led those Pharisees to call for the death the Son of God.

Our convictions – no matter how strong – are insufficient for determining what is ultimately true!

Our thoughts, our feelings, and our desires, are very important.  But we should not place sole reliance on subjective means to determine what is true.

Jesus teaches us that to determine truth we must ABIDE in HIS WORD. 

This is, why Christians love the Bible and are eager to submit our feelings and beliefs to God’s Word … not the other way around.

And relating that to the Book of Mormon which Joseph Smith said was the “most correct of any book on earth” – we have come to discover it has had over 3,913 changes. 

You have asked me to pray about the Book of Mormon to know that it is true.  But rather than relying on a good feeling to tell me it’s true – I only need to read it to see the apparent contradictions, anachronisms, plagiarisms, and lack of physical evidence – to know that logically and scripturally it cannot be true.  

You see, Elders, feelings are not a reliable guide to knowing truth about spiritual matters. 

The Bible frequently tells us to study diligently and meditate on God’s word.  People go into error, not because they lack an emotional experience, but because they lack knowledge of the Scriptures. 
The Bible points out that we should pray for wisdom and knowledge (James 1:5-8). 

Yes, it does say to pray for wisdom and knowledge but, that is different than praying for a feeling or a “burning in the bosom”.  The prayer for wisdom and knowledge is answered when we study God’s word – The Bible.  To ask God to tell us right from wrong by a feeling, would be an unscriptural prayer.  By trusting in feelings, we show a lack of respect for what God has ALREADY told us in His Word.

Then the bottom line is – our MINDS should govern our emotions and feelings.


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Testing the Book of Mormon – Part 1

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How would you define faith?

Latter-day Saints often use Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” They believe that faith is the first principle of the gospel.

I believe faith is the basis of Christianity. Christians believe we are saved by grace through faith. We are justified by faith.

Unfortunately, many people in the world have a wrong impression of faith. They think faith is something that is blind. They think those who have faith are those who believe in something that has no evidence.

Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 5:7 ”For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Notice he did NOT say, “we walk by faith, not by evidence.” Because in Hebrews 11:1, it says that faith flows out of evidence.

And we are told as Christians to only believe something after it has been proven or evidenced.

To give you an example, let’s look at 1 John 4:1
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out of the world.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

To illustrate how faith and evidence work together – though I haven’t seen Jesus with my eyes, my faith is not blind. It is based on the evidence of time, history, and inspiration.

The Bible has been proven through science, archaeology and other literary sources. In fact, when a person examines all of the evidence available, one is compelled to believe the Bible is undeniably true.

Latter-day Saints believe the same thing applies to the Book of Mormon. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they believe the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” inspired by the same God as the Bible. They are in harmony with each other.

The Bible passes the tests of time, history and inspiration. Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

If the Book of Mormon is from God, then it should be able to pass the same tests.

We believe that true faith is also validated by a person’s feelings. M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Religious truth is always confirmed by what you feel.”

Latter-day Saints wouldn’t go so far as to say that seeking archaeological or scientific evidence for the Book of Mormon is contrary to faith. They do promise that if a person is willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, he or she will receive a good feeling in their heart.

Should we accept it is true, despite what the evidence says? Don’t get me wrong – feelings are not bad in themselves. However, you have, to admit they can sometimes be deceptive.

That’s one way the Lord teaches us to trust Him, instead of our feelings. I want us to review what the Bible warns about trusting in the Lord in spite of our feelings.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

And, Proverbs 28:26 “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

The Bible says we should first take the time to examine and investigate; second, believe the truth that the evidence points to; third, feel confident that we have tested all things. And finally, hold fast to that which is good.

While the Book of Mormon says to trust in your feelings with all your heart, the Bible exhorts us to trust in the Lord with all your heart.

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