THE MORMON TESTIMONY
HOW THE LDS DETERMINES TRUTH
The LDS church has an extremely effective indoctrination system that is second to none. Right at the very start their members are persuaded to determine the truthfulness of Mormonism in the following manner:
They are shown LDS scriptures that assure them that if they pray to God and ask Him to reveal the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to them, He will give them confirmation through a warm feeling in their bosom (Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:4; Doctrine & Covenants 9:8). And they are urged to do just this. (If they don't experience this feeling, the insinuation is that they couldn't have been sincere in their prayer.)
But discerning truth by using our feelings as a gauge is very dicey thing to do. Feelings are not facts. So there is no logic in this at all. What is more, feelings are notoriously unreliable, as they are easily influenced by virtually anything and everything that goes on around us. Psychologists tell us that auto suggestion is an extremely powerful thing, as it's all too easy to imagine that something we really want to happen has actually happened.
The situation here is that Mormons have been persuaded (in such a way that at the time it seemed to be the right and proper thing to do), to lay aside common sense and sound judgment in favour of emotional convictions.
But the Bible tells us exactly the opposite to what the LDS church teaches. It warns us that the heart is deceitful and cannot be trusted. And for that reason we need to prove all things:
The heart is deceitful above all things ..... (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)When confronted with the undeniable fact that reliance upon one feelings is neither a logical nor a trustworthy means of discerning truth, and that the Bible teaches us not to trust our feelings, the LDS leadership justifies this practice by insisting that Mormons don't merely rely on their feelings alone, as they are also encouraged to study. However, this excuse is invalidated by the fact that they are exhorted to study only literature that is supportive of Mormon teachings and to avoid anything that is critical of either their beliefs or their history. And to top it all, the LDS's interpretation of the Bible is neither valid nor accurate. Added to that, they are notorious for their habit of sanitizing, covering up or even denying outright anything that could cast a negative light on their church or on their teachings, both past and present. They even have a name for this. They call it "Lying for the Lord." So we are right back to square one, indoctrination.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12, KJV)
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool ..... (Proverbs 28:26, KJV).
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV).
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures [i.e. the Bible] daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11, KJV) (Italics inserted by author.)
Indoctrination is subtle, and it works at a subconscious level.
Once they have gained a testimony they are encouraged to bear it, and are even given the approximate wording that it should take:
"I believe that Joseph Smith is the true prophet of God, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Editor's comment: Their God is not the God of the Bible, and nor is their Christ — see the relevant articles here: The Mormon Gods, Past and Present and The LDS Jesus Christ is Not the Saviour of the Bible .)Somewhere along the way the testimony about the Book of Mormon has transformed itself into a testimony about everything else in Mormonism as well. And once they have it, Mormons are warned both about the dire consequences of losing their testimony and of the necessity of nurturing and safeguarding it. (Their teaching is that losing one's testimony is the first step to apostasy. And Mormon apostates are consigned to outer darkness for eternity.) So if anything makes them question their faith in the LDS church, in Mormonism, or in Joseph Smith, they are taught to regurgitate their testimonies. They are told not to listen to or to read anything that is critical of Mormonism. And their missionaries are instructed to immediately bear their testimonies if anyone opposes the LDS gospel on their rounds. This effectively reinforces their minds with the data that Mormonism is the truth and at the same time nullifies anything that may have suggested otherwise.
Then too, on the first Sunday of every month, members of the congregation are expected to stand up individually at the Fast and Testimony Meeting and bear their testimonies to the truthfulness of the Mormon gospel. Once again, and this time on regular monthly basis, and for quite a lengthy stretch of time, they all reinforce their minds collectively, over and over again, with the LDS mantra that Mormonism is the truth, that Joseph Smith is the true prophet of God and that the LDS is the only true church. Eventually, for most Mormons, it becomes second nature to rely on their testimonies whenever there is any doubt about, or opposition to LDS beliefs.
The way they have been taught to discern truth, the fact that they are encouraged to bear their personal testimonies at every opportunity, the ongoing repetition of testimonies at Fast and Testimony Meetings, and the very effective system of indoctrination used by the LDS church, gets their membership to the place where, even when they are confronted with sound evidence to the contrary, the majority will generally ignore it for the simple reason that they "know" that Mormonism is true. They no longer feel the need, or have the desire, to use their God-given discernment or common sense. Right or wrong, their faith is firmly fixed on the LDS church.
The problem here is, that nowhere does the Bible tell ever us that he who feels the Book of Mormon is true, is saved. On the contrary, it says that whosoever believes in Christ as their Saviour is forgiven all their sins and granted the gift of eternal life (John 3:14-15, John 6:47, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 4:12, Acts 10:43, etc.)
The Book of Mormon has nothing whatsoever to do with our salvation. It is a red herring designed specifically to take our attention away from the one and only way of salvation that God has provided for us, through Christ, in His Word, the Holy Bible.
PRAYING AGAINST GOD'S REVEALED WILL
God has given us the Bible as His standard of truth against which to measure all else. In Ephesians 6:10-17 the Apostle Paul refers to it as a spiritual sword to be used as a weapon to protect ourselves against spiritual deception.
Besides contradicting the biblical doctrine of justification by grace through faith (2 Nephi 25:23, c/f Ephesians 2:8-9), the Book of Mormon also declares that anyone who thinks the Bible of itself is adequate as a spiritual guide is a fool (2 Nephi 29:6, 10). That derogatory statement is a direct attack on the Bible. And it automatically places the Book of Mormon firmly into the category of spiritual deception, because God has already told us not only that His Word is adequate, but that we should use it as our standard of truth against which to test all other spiritual teachings. So there is no need for us to have to pray to Him in order to find out whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. We already have the answer. The fact that it denigrates the Bible and contradicts its teachings, tells us that it is a tool of deception.
In light of the above, asking God to give us confirmation of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is equivalent to telling Him that we would rather trust in Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon, than trust in what He Himself has already told us in the Bible that He gave us for our spiritual guidance and protection.
There's a theme running through the Bible to the effect that when we ignore what God has told us, He "gives us over" to our own foolishness. In Psalm 81:12 He puts it like this: "So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart".
And God is no different today. When we insist on relying on our own feelings and fulfilling our own desires rather than relying on and following His Word, He gives us over to the stubbornness of our hearts. This is what happened to the nation of Israel. Each time they were out of His revealed will, God took His hand of guidance and protection off of them and left them to their own disastrous devices. And in the same way, folk who trust in doctrines and literature that oppose what God has already revealed to us so clearly in the Bible, open themselves up to deeper and deeper involvement in spiritual deception and error.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF MORMON INDOCTRINATION
To illustrate just how effective Mormon indoctrination is and also how God gives us over to our own devices when we ignore His warnings in the Bible, the following is an extract of an email I received from a Mormon missionary who had been sent home from his mission on sick leave. He wrote to tell me that I couldn't have been sincere in my prayer life, otherwise I would have known that Mormonism was true. He went on to say:
"I have found that I must pray over and over until I am definite that what I am feeling is right and in accordance to the teachings of the [Mormon] gospel. Just as in schoolwork, you can't be studying for a math test and expect to memorize formulas perfectly if you only study it one time. It takes repetition ......." (Italics inserted by editor.)This poor Mormon soul prays over and over again, until his feelings eventually fall into line with LDS teachings; a perfect example of the fruit of successful brainwashing. He no longer has the desire to think logically or freely, and when the truth stares him in the face, he smothers it to death.
Bear in mind that one cannot reason with a person who refuses to think logically. But isn't this the whole objective of brainwashing — the control of the minds of its victims?
Frequently Mormons will argue the validity of a warm feeling in the bosom as God's confirmation of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, by citing the following scripture:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5, KJV)But this scripture has been taken completely out of its context, so that the meaning can be distorted to fit in with the LDS's penchant for relying on their feelings as the best way of discerning truth from error. James was not talking about how to judge whether something is true or not, but about praying for wisdom to cope during times of trial and temptation.
At that stage in history, the church was suffering terrible persecution, and James was addressing Jewish Christians who were scattered abroad amongst the Jewish dispersion. If you read right through the whole of James chapter 1, you'll notice that he never even once so much as mentions the subject of spiritual discernment. He was talking about a completely different subject; about the problems encountered when going through trials, and the wisdom God will give us when we call upon Him, in order to cope under these circumstances. James reminds them in verse 2 that the trying of their faith will produce endurance (the KJV calls this "patience"). And the rest of chapter 1 is about withstanding temptation and trials.
Plucking James 1:5 out of its context and then claiming that this proves that the way God wants us to discern truth is through the feelings we experience after prayer is a gross distortion of what James 1 is teaching, to say the least. We can make the Bible say anything we want it to, if we take odd verses out of their context in this manner, and deliberately apply them to a completely different subject.
When it comes to discernment between truth and spiritual deception, God has instructed us to use the Bible as our standard of truth. The sections that deal with this are Ephesians 6:10-17, 2 Timothy 2:15 and 3:13-4:3 (c/f Psalm 119:89, Matthew 24:35, 1 Peter 1:25, Isaiah 40:8, Proverbs 30:5, John 17:17). We are also instructed to use the Bible for doctrine, reproof and correction. Nowhere in the Bible does God ever tell us to discern spiritual truth through our feelings after prayer, only through His Word, the Bible.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:14, KJV)When Satan tempted the Lord Jesus spiritually in Matthew 4, He didn't pray to the Father for a warm feeling in his bosom to confirm if what Satan had said was true and right. Instead He quoted relevant verses out of the Bible, relying solely on the standard of truth that God has given us to guard Himself against spiritual deception. And as a consequence, the devil left him (Matthew 4:11).
DETERMINING WHAT IS OR IS NOT TRUTH
The logical way to determine whether a supposed historical record is "true" would be to conduct a proper investigation into its origins, and to consider whatever credible evidence there is, that gives support to its content. For instance, in the case of the Bible there is overwhelming archeological and historical evidence revealing that the rivers, races, tribes, customs, individuals, plants, animals and cities mentioned genuinely existed, that the battles claimed to have been fought actually took place; and so on. Ancient coins, artifacts, ruins and other evidences are discovered at regular intervals, on an ongoing basis. (Some of the cities mentioned in the Bible are still in existence.)
But not a solitary thing has ever been discovered that lends any credence at all to the Book of Mormon having been a factual, historical record. Animals, plants and metals mentioned have been proved not to have existed at that time in history. And animals that are known to have existed during BOM times are not even mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Then too, specialists in genetics have proved conclusively that the American Indians have descended from east Asians, not from the Jews, as is claimed in the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, despite the length of time this book has been in existence, no archeological evidence has ever been discovered to verify any of its claims, even although it describes an advanced civilization of millions of people, who had spread themselves over the entire continent, had manufactured metal implements of war such as swords and shields, had a magnificent temple similar to Solomon's, advanced architecture and industries, and also a monetary system that used coins. No evidence has ever come to light either, concerning any of the the cities mentioned or that proves the existence of a single one of the characters mentioned. (See the link at the end of this page to a relevant article on the Book of Mormon.)
Archeologists maintain that had the type of civilization described by the Book of Mormon truly existed, it is utterly impossible that a mass of evidence would not have been uncovered by now. But none of this means a thing to members of the LDS. They insist that regardless of all the evidence to the contrary, they "know" the Book of Mormon is true, and that no one will convince them otherwise, because after they had prayed about it, they had a warm feeling in their bosom.
Although zealous members of the LDS church have come up with what they claim is proof of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, in reality this evidence relates to a much later civilization than that of the Book of Mormon. Because of the vast amount of false information being circulated amongst members of the LDS, in the mid 1970s President Spencer W. Kimball made a statement that was published in The Church News, to the effect that people should stop looking for archeological evidences for the Book of Mormon, as there were none. And the following statement was issued by LDS Professor Dee Green:
The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists. Titles of books full of archaeological half-truths, dilettante on peripheries of American archaeology calling themselves Book of Mormon archaeologists regardless of their education, and a Department of Archaeology at BYU devoted to the production of Book of Mormon archaeologists do not insure that Book of Mormon archaeology really exists... no Book of Mormon location is known ..... (Dialogue, Summer, 1969, pages 74 to 78.)Not only is there no proof that the Book of Mormon is what it is claimed to be, but scholars and Egyptologists insist that the Book of Abraham is also fraudulent. (A link to an article on this subject is provided at the end of the page.)
As a matter of interest, there are over 100 splinter groups that have broken away from the LDS church, who all also believe that each one of them is the only true church. The problem here is that their members obtained their testimonies in exactly the same way as did the LDS Mormons. Hmm.
When Mormons become aware of some of the uncomfortable facts concerning the Book of Mormon, they are urged to have more faith as without faith they cannot please God, or to pray more about it, or are told that the reasons for these problems will be revealed to us later, and so on.
Unfortunately being sincere doesn't guarantee us that we won't be spiritually deceived. And there comes a time when we need to seriously take into account the mounting evidence against the likelihood that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is the true prophet, and that the LDS church is the true church.
You are welcome to write to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
The following links lead to relevant articles:
The Amazing Power of the Word of God, by Dan Slyter (An ex-Mormon's testimony of how the Bible opened his eyes to the truth.)
The Book of Mormon Exposed (fully referenced)
The Book of Abraham and its Rejection by Egyptologists and Scholars
Copyright 2007, Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.