Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You Must Study It Out in Your Mind

It is a straw man argument to claim that we LDS base our belief on “feelings” alone without any thought based on some magical prayer given on some solitary occasion. As a matter of fact, according to our own doctrine it can’t happen that way. A section in the Doctrine and Covenants says:

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:7-8)

My testimony of the divine calling of Joseph Smith as a prophet and of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as being the restoration of primitive Christianity has come in this way. To suggest that LDS testimony is built on some post-movie like emotions without any thought or study is blatantly false. As for me, my testimony is the product largely of much thought, study, pondering, and prayer. Such truth-confirming revelation doesn’t come in a vacuum, but comes as a natural reward for our efforts to commune with and understand God.

“If any man wants to do God’s will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak on my own authority.” (John 7:17). That’s what Jesus taught. I can tell you that there has never been a person who has wanted to know and do God’s will more than I, and I can confirm that God has confirmed in me that the fullness of the everlasting gospel is exclusively found in the teachings and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

4 comments:

Jeremy said...

I was wondering where you went on that "Math Proves the Bible" post. I thought I was one of the only ones left there.

I said my peace, though. There are too many examples in the Bible itself that demonstrate what we are promoting.

I did, however, enjoy your circular reasoning argument.

Andrew I. Miller said...

Jeremy,

It's pretty much a lost cause dealing with them on this issue. They're argument reduces to: I'm right because my interpretation of the Bible says so, and my interpretation of the Bible as well as the Bible itself are self-evidently true.

Zen said...

the issue is, logic by itself is not convincing. It should be, of course, but in practice, when something is at stake, it is not. Someone once said, "it is very hard to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on not understanding it".

That is what we have here. It would take a great deal of humility and spiritual hunger for them even to acknowledge the possibility. And until they have that, little progress can be made.

Anonymous said...

LdS who think well may indulge the conceit that "Mormons don't" just celebrate a piety based on existential flights of intuition gratuitously credited to the Holy Spirit. Alas, it's a demonstrable observation that this does not hold as a generalization; LdS are no less likely to lack intellectual rigor than many Catholics are to lack superstition about relics.

I think your generalizing remark is best seen as a hope for LdS, because it's not valid as an observation.