Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why Do You Believe?

"Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture? It's to recent to possibly be scripture. Only a relatively few people accept it so it must be pretty out there. There is no evidence that people traveled to the Americas across the ocean. There is no proof of written languagesdating back to the time the records were supposedly written. There is no correlation between the cities named in the Book of Mormon and those identified in ancient America."

These are questions many may ask. They might site scholarly studies and historical research for reasons why the Book of Mormon can't possibly be true. They will likely use the Bible as evidence that the Book of Mormon can't be true. I have come to find this especially ironic.

Anyone questioning the Book of Mormon by using the Bible should ask themselves a few questions.

Why do you believe in the Bible?

Do you accept the Bible as scripture because it is really old?

Do you believe the Bible because so many other people accept it?

Do you believe that the Bible is true because of scholarly research?

Do you believe because the places are labeled on a map?

Hopefully the answer to each of these questions is "no".

Your answer should be "I have read the Bible. I have exercised my faith by applying the teachings found in the Bible and I have been blessed. My faith has grown as I studied those sacred words. The Holy Ghost has born witness to me that the things I have read and studied are true. I know it is the word of God, not because of worldly evidence, but because of spiritual manifestations that can not be denied."

If this is true (and I hope it is) why is it so difficult to accept that a belief in the Book of Mormon comes the same way? Why make arguments against it by using the worldly excuses that can't possibly persuade you to deny the Bible?

Maybe you have read an article or heard a sermon pointing to "proof" that the Book of Mormon is a lie. But have you read the Book of Mormon for yourself? Have you found the "flaws" for yourself? Most importantly, have you asked God to show you the truth?

Several months ago I read something that caused me great concern. It was allegedly a personal story about a young woman who was raised LDS but converted to "true Christianity" after "careful study and comparison of the Bible and Book of Mormon." This account deeply disturbed me. The conclusions of the author were bizarre, certainly not in line with anything I have ever read in the Book of Mormon. I realized that the whole story was a fabrication, a lie to prevent the curious from finding out about the Book of Mormon.

It's sad, even heartbreaking, that so many people in this world fight so hard to keep others from growing closer to their Heavenly Father. What is their reason for such passionate hatred? Wickedness? Arrogance? Pride? Simply misguided ignorance?

We each are responsible for finding truth for ourselves. We can't blame others for our actions...or inactions. We must make our own personal choices to return to our Heavenly Father.

I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, just as the Bible is the word of God. I know that these two volumes give us a fuller picture of God's plan. They compliment one another. They both testify of Jesus Christ. I know because I have read and studied both. I know because the Holy Ghost has testified the truth to my heart. I know that every person who seeks to know this for themselves will recieve answers.


Diann R. said...

Fabulous testimony, Amy! Thanks for sharing!

Heidi said...

I have yet to hear a testimony of the bible from a person not of the lds faith that DIDN'T include those flimsy reasons on your list. Not saying there arent people that know, i just have yet to meet one. It bothers me a lot. I always point out that an answer from God is stronger evidence than supposed scientific evidence. The rebuttle is always a lack of confidence that they wont be decieved by such a manifestation. :( the world NEEDS strong christians that know the bible is true regardless of physical evidence, bc one day it wont be enough!

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Kristi said...

I guess my response would be that your arguement is simply that you believe it because you want to and you have an emotional reponse to it. This is not an intellectual arguement but an emotional one.
I can say that I also believe the writing of Shakespeare to be the word of God by your reasoning.

Your quote adjusted slightly :) "I have read Shakespeare. I have exercised my faith by applying the teachings found in Shakespeare and I have been blessed. My faith has grown as I studied those sacred plays. The Holy Ghost has born witness to me that the things I have read and studied are true. I know it is the word of God, not because of worldly evidence, but because of spiritual manifestations that can not be denied"
What criteria do you use to determine whether or not something is the word of God? Only emotional and spiritual responses? I'm sure that you would say no because our emotions and even spiritual understanding are so easily influenced by outside sources.

He gave us reason as part of how we can understand Him. Mark 12:30 I would be a fool to trust reason alone and I'm sure that you also do not trust emotion alone but that's all that I see in this post.

You have implied that your 5 questions listed here are simple yes or no and stop there. Can't my answer be "No but God gave me the ability to reason and while I would never rest solely on my reasoning and my mind I can rest in the added confirmation of the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart and life.

Kristi said...

Something that I think it is really important for me to say, many Christians treat Mormons (and other Christian denominations different from their own) with gross disrespect and doubt their salvation. I hope that I am not one of those people. I believe many many Mormons rest on Jesus Christ alone for their salvation and you are probably one of them. Romans 3:22-24 I disagree deeply with much of Mormon theology but that doesn't mean that I see you as anything other than a sister in Christ. :) It's really good for me to articulate my own viewpoints and deal with the contrast of another person's viewpoints. So thank you!

Unknown said...

Kristi, I like discusison and debate as well. Feel free to ask or comment on anything.

I am still a little confused about why the Bible must be true but nothing else can be. I have heard from a few sources that we Mormons are really dangerous for encouraging people to listen to their "feelings". I honestly find this bizarre. I had always assumed that people of other faiths had spiritual experinces, too. I thought maybe "y'all" didn't know how to know if an impression was from God. Recently, at our Military MOPS meeting, a woman shared an expereince where she was prompted to do something, prayed, felt the same impression and acted on it because "Then I was sure it was from God." That is what we teach as well. We are encouraged to seek guidance in all things and learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit. Those moments are difficult to deny. It would be unfair for either of us to judge the expereinces of the other. Each person is entitled to personal revealtion. I was told many years ago that only God can give us peace, that Satan can not imitate that feeling. I shared these thought on a facebook forum. You would not believe how hard I was slammed for that! It was really sad that so many people were living in constant doubt about the validity of their thoughts and feelings.

What I am trying to say, what I tried to say more than once on my blog, is that God does answer prayers. If we ask in faith we will recieve an answer. (James 1:5, Matt. 7:7) I have asked if the Book of Mormon is true and the answer was an undeniable yes. That doesn't mean the Bible is not true. I have recieved a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the Bible as well.

Kristi said...

I wasn't saying that ONLY the Bible is true. Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I'm only saying that the Bible is the only written revelation from God. And if it is revelation from God then it is of course perfectly true. By His grace humanity can find truth and express it outside of the Bible too. I did say in another comment that even the BofM has truth in it but having some truth doesn't make the entire book true or mean that it is the Word of God. Like a previous example, The Declaration has truth but that does not mean that the words are the words of God. It all comes down to this. What are your criteria for determining that something is the word of God? I think (tell me if I am wrong) that you are saying feelings are your criteria. Many Christians do have a view of hearing from God that is very similar to yours and is centered on feelings. And many Christians would agree with you but they might find it uncomfortable to agree with a Mormon on something. Hehe :) However, I do not agree with either of you on this one. This is actually something that I've been studying at the chapel. I’m in the minority because the idea of trusting your feelings is so common. I've been doing a lot of reading and studying on this issue. Is it ok if I "cheat" and give you a link again? It's simpler to send you a link that also expresses my viewpoint and gives the supporting Bible verses rather than type the whole thing out here.
Please let me know what you think! I would love the chance to discuss this issue because I don’t talk about it at the chapel to avoid offending others. Would it be better to continue via e-mail?

Unknown said...

Kristi, I have decidede to answer some of your questions in the form of a post rather than simply commenting.
I would like to respond to the comparision with Shakespear. Shakespear does not claim to be a testament of Jesus Christ. There is nothing in a single play or poem that tries to lead mankind to a deeper understanding of their Savior. The feelings or impressions that Shakespear's writing might produce can not be mistaken for the testifying power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Kristi said...

I look forward to reading it but to clarify I was definitely not saying that Shakespeare is the word of God. I was saying that the arguements that you used could be applied to anything even Shakespeare. They were emotional arguements. Emotional arguements can be applied to anything that creates those emotions.