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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