Thanks to my friend Jason Wallace for producing an excellent video on an important issue pertaining to LDS epistemology. The title of this 14-minute video is, “Was the Burning in Your Bosom from God?” Mormons claim that the truthfulness of their doctrine is confirmed in an individual by an experiential burning in the bosom. This “feeling” is given by the Holy Spirit and, therefore, cannot be questioned. Personally, I believe that most Mormons are sincere when they claim to have this experiential feeling of certitude concerning the trustworthiness of their religion. However, I also believe that they are sincerely wrong. The fact of the matter is that virtually all religions appeal to a spiritual experience or a feeling of certainty to validate their system of beliefs. The problem is that all of these religions teach doctrines that are mutually exclusive and therefore cannot all be right. Anyone with even the slightest amount of intellectual credibility will admit that.
Life’s most important question is, ‘How can I, a sinful creature, be right with God?’ How you answer that question will have eternal ramifications. I challenge everyone who is basing the answer to that question primarily on a subjective feeling or experience to examine the truth claims of their religion. Are you willing to entertain the idea that your feelings might be leading you astray? Are you willing to examine the lives and teachings of your apostles and prophets to see if they were true men of God? Are you willing to examine the content of your scriptures to test them for internal consistency? Are you willing to read the Bible to see if what it says actually conforms to what you have always been told by others? Will you base your eternal destiny on a feeling? Will you blindly follow a certain religion just because Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma all believed the same thing? Will you take the time to carefully study these issues and genuinely consider the arguments from the opposition?
In my conversations with Mormons about the gospel, I have had some of them tell me, “Look you are not going to convince me and I am not going to convince you, so let’s not talk about it.” My response is simple: “If you have the truth, you can convince me! I am after the truth. Eternity is at stake.” Obviously, none of them have been able to convince me. Neither Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon can withstand the test of scrutiny. Only the Bible has withstood the test of time and continues to authenticate itself generation after generation as God’s word. Truth can be known. Search it out for yourself. Set your feelings aside and read the Bible to discover the answer to life’s most important question: How can I, a sinful creature, be right with God?