How can you really know what is true?
I had been taught by church leaders and my parents that you can know truth if you have a warm feeling in your chest or a feeling of peace, or goose bumps on your arms, or thoughts come to your mind.
I was taught that the key to truth was my feelings.
Only if those feelings confirmed what my Mormon leaders had been teaching me.
Elder Oaks taught this principle very clearly in General Conference. He said:
“Unfortunately, it is common for persons who are violating God’s commandments or disobedient to the counsel of their priesthood leaders to declare that God has revealed to them that they are excused from obeying some commandment or from following some counsel. Such persons may be receiving revelation or inspiration, but it is not from the source they suppose. The devil is the father of lies, and he is ever anxious to frustrate the work of God by his clever imitations.”
There is that devil again with his subtle craftiness.
But here is the problem.
If I am supposed to trust my feelings as the ultimate testator of truth, but only if it confirms what I had been taught by the church, then how is that feeling of any value?
There would be no way to get any valid answer to any truth claim from the church other than yes.
The book of Mormon is true. Pray about it and you will get a spiritual witness of its truth.
Well what if I don’t get a spiritual witness?
Then keep praying until you do.
What if it never comes?
Then you are doing it wrong. Keep praying.
What if I received a spiritual witness, but it tells me the Book of Mormon is not true?
Then you are being deceived by the devil (per Elder Oaks and a myriad of other church leaders).
Yes is the only valid answer.
There is only one answer in this situation. The Book of Mormon is true, no matter what.
There is no valid answer that it is NOT true.
As a believing Mormon, this is not a problem. Because you already KNOW that the Book of Mormon is true. So what is the problem?
But what if your starting point is that you are a Muslim and you are praying about the Koran?
If you use the Mormon test of truth, you would never leave Islam. You would always stay a believer in Mohammed and would never consider the truths of Mormonism.
So there you have the dilemma.
If your beliefs are unverifiable from an objective viewpoint, you can never be 100 percent positive that you really have the truth.
If you are a Mormon, you will stay a Mormon.
If you are a Muslim, you will stay a Muslim.
Which for the majority of the world’s population, this doesn’t appear to be a problem. Most people are very comfortable to stay in the religion or belief system in which they are born.
If I were wrong about my faith, would I really want to know?