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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Follow Christ’s example to know if the Book of Mormon is true!

As a Mormon I never understood why so many “anti-Mormons” tried to prove the Book of Mormon was false. Now, as a Christian, I still don’t understand the majority of arguments used as evidence against it. When asking the question “Is the Book of Mormon true?” one needs to clarify “in what way?” Is it a “true” historical account of peoples who lived in the Americas, or, are the beliefs expressed in it “true” to God’s Word? It is apparent that some apologetics are merely trying to prove that the Book of Mormon is a false historical account. They claim the Book of Mormon can’t be true because horses, steel or silk weren’t supposed to have yet arrived in the Americas during the time the Book of Mormon peoples lived. Or they claim that DNA testing of Native Americans is proof that the Book of Mormon is false. But, even if one could prove the Book of Mormon is a true historical account, this proof does not make the beliefs expressed in it God’s Word.

In the Bible God promised that there would be false Christ’s, false prophets and apostles, and false spirits. We have been warned about such deceivers many times by the Prophets of the Old Testament as well as by Jesus and His Apostles. Thankfully, God told us how to determine if a prophet, spirit, or in this case, a book, is truly from God. We are told to “test” their fruits. The “fruit” of anyone, or, any book for that matter, claiming to speak for God is their words. The “test” is to compare their words with already revealed scripture. Do they agree with it? Even if an angel appears to us and preaches another gospel than the one taught by Christ’s Apostles, we are not to believe him (Galatians 1:6-9). We are to use revealed scripture to test any new words.

Jesus is a shining example of using scripture to test if words are false. He quoted from the Old Testament many times. Here are just a few examples: In the dessert Satan tried to tempt Him by twisting scripture. Jesus used scripture to test Satan’s words by saying “It is written…”. He used the same words with the false money changers who bought and sold in the Temple. When the Pharisees accused His disciples of breaking the Sabbath, Jesus said “Have ye not read…” to prove them wrong. He also used these words with them when they tested Him about divorce. When the Sadducees asked him a doctrinal question about marriage in Heaven, Jesus said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures…

There is another shining example of using scripture to test a person’s words in the book of Acts. Luke tells us that the Bereans used scripture to test if Paul and Silas’ words were true. He claims that they “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) I am sure that during the time following Christ’s death many Israelites would have “tested” the words of the Apostles to see if they were true. Today, every Christian should use this “test” on anyone claiming to speak God’s Word.

Using God’s method for testing the Book of Mormon, we find that it fails the test! One simple example can be found by going to 2 Nephi 25:23b, which reads: “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” Compare this Book of Mormon verse with the Bible verse found in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Both books claim that a person is saved by grace. But, the Book of Mormon claims a person is saved by grace, plus works. The Third Article of Faith summarizes this LDS doctrine: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

Comparing this Book of Mormon verse with already revealed scripture, we find that it fails the test! God’s truth claims that a person is saved by grace, through faith, and not works. Scripture also explains that you can’t add your “works” to God’s “grace”. Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

I plead with you to follow Jesus’ example! Test the Book of Mormon with God’s already revealed scripture—the Bible. When you do you will find that the Book of Mormon fails the test! Using God’s method of testing proves it is not from Heavenly Father!