The Word Is in Christ unto Salvation: Do You “Feel the Word” from a Seducing Spirit?

How can you know whether your feelings are from the Holy Ghost or a Seducing Spirit? “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1)

This week’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson asks:

What do you think it means to feel the word “swell within [our] breasts”?” The answer is:

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.” (Alma 32:28, Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 28: The Word Is in Christ unto Salvation)

This same LDS belief is taught in Doctrine and Covenants 8 & 9 where we are told that the Holy Ghost “uses a still, small voice to communicate to our minds and hearts” often by a “burning in the bosom“. Dallin Oaks clarifies that “the word ‘burning’ in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity.” (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Lesson 6: “I Will Tell You in Your Mind and in Your Heart, by the Holy Ghost”)

Have you ever received a “burning in the bosom” verifying that the Book of Mormon is true; or prayed for an answer to this promise in Moroni:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4)

I once had a testimony that the Church was true, but I certainly didn’t have feelings of comfort and serenity. And, I wasn’t sure that the Book of Mormon was true. At the time I thought I must not be asking “with a sincere heart” or “with real intent”. Maybe I just wasn’t worthy enough to have the Holy Ghost bear witness to me. At the temple I sincerely sought the answer I so wanted to hear. I clung to the words of my prophets that if I just lived the gospel, the Holy Spirit would eventually reveal to me that the Book of Mormon was true.

During those years there were two very important things that I didn’t even realize about the claim in Moroni. First off, the promise allows for no result other than having the Book of Mormon’s truth manifested. The passage does not say to pray to see if it is true or not. The prayer is not asking God a question, it is actually asking God to confirm a forgone conclusion—that it is true.

Secondly, using this test to determine if the Book of Mormon is true is a flawed method of discerning truth! The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth who witnesses truth to us. But God’s Word never tells us to test truth through prayer and feelings! Doing what Moroni suggests leaves a person reliant on their feelings as the means to know if something is true.

When the Spirit reveals truth to us there will often be a “burning in the bosom” but that doesn’t mean a burning in the bosom always confirms truth. (If you go out in the rain you will get wet; but that does not mean being wet confirms that you’ve been out in the rain.) Feelings often will confirm falsehood as truth. This is one of Satan’s favorite tactics.

God’s Word tells us that in the Last Days people will give heed to seducing spirits. Many people are easily deceived because they rely on their feelings instead of on God’s revealed method of determining truth. Based on strong emotions, suicide bombers have accepted what they were told as truth and sacrificed their lives for a falsehood.

The most alarming problem with using feelings or an emotional response from a spiritual source as a means to discern truth is that it exposes you to false spirits. God’s Word tells us that there will be deceiving and false spirits and commands us to “test the spirits”.

God revealed how to determine if something is true through the Apostle John:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1-6). Test your feelings by testing the message that the spirit brings. Compare what the spirit has witnessed as truth to you with already revealed scripture. Only then can you know if your feelings are truly from the Holy Ghost.

Anyone who truly tests the message of the Book of Mormon by comparing it with the Bible will find out that the Holy Ghost is not its author.

This book doesn’t agree with what the Prophets of the Old Testament and Christs’ Apostles claimed about forgiveness! “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). The prophesied Christ of the Old Testament has already reconciled man’s debt to sin. All your sins are forgiven!

I know this to be true! It has been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit and yes, this truth does give me a “burning in the bosom”. But that is not how I know this message is true. I have tested this witness with the rest of God’s scripture. Forgiveness has truly been won for you through Christ’s shed blood. It is His gift, freely offered to you. Please, don’t reject it!

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

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10 Comments

  1. La Vonne said,

    July 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Replying to planting a good seed, what I can attest to is that when I was a Mormon and I planted the seeds of Mormonism to my life I reaped what I sowed, I had guilt, oppression, depression, lack of passion in life and so many other fruits that are not of God! Now that I am a Christian I have reaped a harvest from planting seeds of God’s grace, peace, joy, passion, contentment. It is a very different gospel!

  2. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    July 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    La Vonne,

    Amen! Thanks for the reminder of how blessed we are to have been brought to faith in the true Christ!

    Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Pilippians 4:4-7)

    Becki

  3. wyomingwilly said,

    July 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Given that human nature has’nt changed since Jesus established
    His church we must believe that situations like trusting feelings
    to be an inner witness from the Holy Ghost as the means to evaluate
    the accuracy of teachings from those who claim to be prophets is’nt
    a new scenario with people . While the Bible does teach that
    the Holy Ghost can give a inner witness to believers in certain
    situations this is’nt the primary means for evaluating the teachings
    of prophets/apostles.Paul knew this hence he counseled believers
    to compare what he preached as the gospel of salvation with the
    gospel preached by anyone who comes as a prophet rather than
    relying on an emotion believed to be from the Holy Ghost because
    of living a moral life . That is dangerous . Events in the life of Mormon
    leaders give us good reason why this is so. Brigham Young claimed
    that a personal revelation, an inner witness, confirmed that his new
    doctrine of Adam-god was from God. Apostle Orson Pratt disagreed,
    he felt that the Holy Ghost did not confirm that to be accurate
    doctrine, it was’nt scriptural. Young chastised Pratt for not having an
    inner witness else he would agree . Amazingly, after Young’s death
    his Adam-God doctrine was declared to be false, inaccurate, yet
    Pratt’s belief is now considered accurate and of the Spirit !
    Let’s test Mormon prophets doctrinal offerings by the written word
    of God , the Bible and not succumb to trusting our feelings to be
    the primary barometer for believing their teachings.

  4. latterdaytruth said,

    July 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    So how does a person determine what is true?

  5. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    July 31, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Hi latterdaytruth,

    Great question! You asked:

    So how does a person determine what is true?”

    Through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the Apostle John gives us the answer in 1 John 4:1-6. Here we learn the two important aspects of determining truth:

    1) Jesus is the only way: (1 John 4:1-3)

    John testifies that because there are many false spirits, we must try each spirit to make sure whether or not that spirit is from God. We will know it is if it confesses Christ:

    Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (v. 1)

    In verses 2-3 John tells us that if a Spirit confesses that Jesus has come in the flesh, then we can know that that spirit is from God:

    Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

    This very important first step of determining truth tells us that Jesus has the only truth that is truth. John is emphasizing the same message that Jesus taught:

    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

    2) Make sure the doctrine agrees with what the Apostles taught in the New Testament. (1 John 4:6)

    The second part of determining truth is to make sure you are following the true Christ and not a false one. Jesus warned:

    Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:23-24)

    There are many different religions claiming to teach the Christian truth. Going back to 1 John 4 in the next two verses, the Apostle John is speaking to fellow believers who (like all of us today) were surrounded by unbelievers:

    Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.‘ (verses 4-5)

    John’s words in verse six tell us that all who really know God, will hear the message of the Apostles. To ensure that we are following the true Christ, we must test anyone’s words to ensure that what we are being taught agrees with what they taught in the New Testament:

    We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6)

    Hope that helps you understand. Just let me know if you have any other questions.

    Becki

  6. wyomingwilly said,

    August 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    latterdaysaintwoman, you clearly laid out the criteria to evaluate[test]
    those who claim to be prophets /apostles today . May latterdaytruth
    take this to heart. I did the right thing and tested what Mormon
    apostles offered as spiritual truths years ago . Since they claimed to
    preach the same gospel as the apostle Paul , I examined that claim
    by comparing their gospel with Paul’s gospel of salvation. I saw that
    they had altered Paul’s gospel by adding to it , thus it is actually a
    revised gospel not the restored gospel . Since Mormon apostles
    claim that they were appointed personally by Jesus to preach His
    “restored” gospel it is incumbent upon Mormons who seek God’s truth
    for their lives to examine the track record of gospel preaching by
    these “modern-day” apostles to see if in fact they have been truly
    consistent reliable guides in relaying spiritual truth from Jesus.
    What’s so awesome about Paul’s gospel of salvation is that it’s
    the power of God unto salvation–Rom1:16. It’s what the world needed
    and at last it was here—-Col 1:25-29. The gospel Jesus directed His
    apostles to take to the world then was of such quality that it still
    is able to give those that embrace it a complete forgiveness and
    full salvation , eternal life in God’s presence forever —Heb 7:25 .
    Now that’s good news !

  7. latterdaytruth said,

    August 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    That really doesn’t help.

    What you are outlining is simply a description of whom I should believe. But why should I believe you?

    IIsn’t there a way a person can determine eternal truth without having to take another persons word for it?

  8. wyomingwilly said,

    August 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    latterdaytruth, I don’t know if you were responding to me or
    latterdaysaintwoman , so I’ll comment on your question . First
    off let me say that the question you asked is a great question.
    But I have to ask if you are a Mormon ? I’m thinking that you
    possibly are , and if that is true then might we look at not only
    what your leaders say about the question you pose but especially
    can a person know if they are what they claim i.e. the mouthpiece
    of God on earth, the one true channel that God uses since 1830
    to reveal His important spiritual truths through etc. I think that is
    the all important question to address since Jesus warned us all
    to beware of false prophets who will come —Matt 24:11. So if in
    fact you are a Mormon and you sincerely are wanting to know if
    Mormon prophets are false prophets or not then please let me know
    and we can address that vital issue —-Matt 7:15 . Thanks .

  9. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    August 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    latterdaytruth,

    Wow, I looked back at what your original question was and I really didn’t answer your question. I am very sorry. I am really excited to answer your question, but I have a hard time concentrating when I am having some bad days–healthwise. I have a debilitating disease and some days I can’t even think straight. I will answer you as soon as I am able. Thanks so much for asking again and not just “going away”. I appreciate you giving me a second chance.

    God’s blessings,
    Becki

  10. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    August 19, 2012 at 3:35 am

    latterdaytruth,

    Again, I apologize for not answering your original question; and also for being so slow . You asked:

    “Isn’t there a way a person can determine eternal truth without having to take another persons word for it?”

    The short answer: Jesus testified, and showed by example many times that scripture is what we use to determine eternal truths.

    Let me explain how and where I learned this truth. After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith in Jesus, I didn’t trust anything anyone told me. I was ashamed that I had so blindly followed LDS prophets. I vowed never to make that same mistake again. I decided that the only words I could trust were those of Christ’s.

    I attended as many Christian church services and Bible studies as I could. I asked lots of questions of the Pastors and teachers, but I didn’t know how to tell if what they told me was true.

    I realized that the main question I needed answered was your question: “How does a person determine what is true?” So I started asking every Christian how they determined truth. I got lots of different answers, but one Pastor answered my question in a way that led me to my answer. He took me to Christ’s Words, which I trusted:

    Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

    Jesus said that the scriptures testified of Him! I dove into the Bible, searching for Christ’s Words about how to determine truth. After many months of study there was no doubt in my mind as to the answer.

    God gave us scripture as our source of authority. The authority of the Bible is the authority of God Himself. Jesus showed many times that scripture is what we use to determine eternal truths. (I have examples from Christ’s Words, and Bible studies about scripture. If you are interested, I can post the different studies I have done.) But here’s one example from Christ that explains what I mean.

    After Christ’s death on the cross, He met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The disciples talked about how sad they were now that Jesus had died, because they had been so sure that Jesus was the Christ.

    Jesus could have easily told them the truth in His own words. He could have easily explained everything they needed to know about the mission of Christ–He is the Christ. But instead, He pointed them to the source of truth–scripture:

    “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:13-31)

    Jesus also testified: “Sanctify them through thy truth: Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

    Once I understood that scripture is our source for truth, I did a Bible study on it. I discovered that all scripture is “inspired by God”— 2 Timothy 3:16 (The Bible version I prefer says “All Scripture is God-breathed” -the NIV)

    “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

    “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 3:14-4:4)

    The Apostle Peter explained that the Holy Spirit is the author of scripture:

    “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

    Jesus revealed that when we read scripture, God actually speaks to us!

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Matthew:29-31)

    There are many other things about God’s Word, but I know this is getting long. I will let you read what I have written so far, so you can ask any questions you might have.

    Here are just a few passages I love about God’s Word:

    “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31)

    And from the Book of Psalms:

    “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

    Thanks for your patience, latterdaytruth,
    Becki


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