Tag Archives: Testimony

The New Nazis – Mormons

Something usually happens to me once or twice each time General Conference rolls around. We’ll be a session or two in, and everything will be rolling smoothly. Then, all of the sudden, a speaker says something and I think, “Yep, that’ll get folks riled up.”

It always makes me smile, in a light eye-rolling sort of way. NEWS FLASH – Mormon Leaders Still Believe Mormon-y Stuff!

I had a similar experience just a few weeks ago, when Elder Neil L. Andersen gave a talk in General Conference called, simply, “Joseph Smith”. Sure enough, people heard him talk about Joseph Smith and immediately went here:

A reenactment of a common scene in the basements of Mormon church buildings.

Someone even wrote, in effect, “I’m not saying that Neil L. Andersen is like Hitler, but… he’s kind of like Hitler.”

Totally not even joking. Continue reading The New Nazis – Mormons


Tolerating the Weeds

Not Free Willy

My wife and I watched Blackfish a few months ago. Going into it we knew it was about SeaWorld and orca whales and the issues that arise from their captivity, but we didn’t know much more than that. Thinking that our two year-old son might find it interesting to see killer whales, my wife invited him to join us.

“Hey, do you want to watch a show about whales?”

*turns on Blackfish*

(From the television) “…Um, we need someone to respond… the whale just ate one of the trainers…” *ominous music* Continue reading Tolerating the Weeds

A Response to “Biblical” Criticism of Spiritual Witnesses Part 10

Go back to Part 1.

1 John 5

In TBC’s third volley, there is more wresting of the scriptures (it’s like they can’t help themselves). They write,

“The Apostle John reaffirms these principles by stating, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. . .” (1 John 5:9). He goes on to identify “the witness of God” to be that which he was writing, New Testament Scripture! The pressing importance of this discussion is also included in his narrative. It is only when feelings and predispositions give way to God’s objective written revelation, the Bible, that the truth about eternal life can be positively known.

” “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in
His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God
hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of
the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life. . .” (1 John 5:11-13).”

1 John 5:9

What does John say about confirming truth?

Like Isaiah, John does not say that the only source of truth is the New Testament or the Bible (the Bible was not even compiled in his day!). He does not say that we must subjugate personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. Instead, he says the Spirit bears witness of truth, and if we believe the witness of man, surely we should believe the witness of God. He says,

“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth….

“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son” (1 John 5:6,9).

The “this” of “this is the witness” does not refer to the New Testament, or even to the book of 1 John. Two other translations of 1 John 5:9 make this clear.

  • NIV: We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.
  • NLT: Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son.

These verses show that the “this” is simply a reference to what the witness of God is – that Jesus is his Son.

And as verse 6 states, this truth is borne witness of by the Spirit.

Clues from the Context, Again, Again

1 John 5:9 is part of a wonderful close that John gives to his book of 1 John. Let’s look at some contextual clues so that we can appreciate the theme that runs through the chapter. We’ll be looking most closely at verses 6-13.

Yet this will be somewhat more involved than when we looked at Jeremiah because of something called the johannine comma.

The Johannine Comma

In this part of 1 John there is a portion of scripture that isn’t found in any manuscript before the 5th to 7th century. Most scholars believe that Erasmus of Rotterdam inserted it himself, likely to give more credence to the doctrine of the Trinity (which, mind you, was not incorporated into the ancient church until 360 AD, at the Council of Constantinople).

Did you get that? This portion of scripture was not written by John, but was added to the Bible long after his death. The affected verses, with the johannine comma in bold, reads,

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one” (1 John 5:7-8).

Why is this important to bring up now? This text is right in the middle of John’s closing words, and is important when considering the meaning of the passage as a whole.

John’s Closing Statement

John desperately wants us to believe in Jesus Christ, and thereby inherit eternal life. In fact, that is the very reason that he wrote 1 John, that we “may believe on the name of the Son of God” (vs. 13).

How do Spirit, water, and blood relate to Jesus Christ, and to salvation? We’re taught,

“Inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified (Moses 6:59-60).

Being born again, of water and of the Spirit (see John 3:5), and being sanctified by the atonement and blood of Jesus Christ, is the only way to eternal life. How important this is to make known to the world! Lehi writes,

“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of  grace and truth.

“Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah (2 Nephi 2:6-8).

That’s why both the Father and the Holy Ghost bear record of this truth, as John tells us below. John himself also bears that same witness, for it is only though Jesus Christ that we can be born again and receive eternal life.

Without the johannine comma, let’s read 1 John 5:6-13, which has absolutely nothing to do with the sufficiency of the Bible. John says,

“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

“For there are three that bear record,

“The Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

A Response to “Biblical” Criticism of Spiritual Witnesses Part 9

Go back to Part 1.

2 Peter 1:16-21

Remember TBC’s second volley? They write,

“Is there any absolute way to know the truth? Yes!… It is also highly informative to note that though Peter received direct revelation from both the Father and the Son, he emphatically declared the Bible to be “. . .a more sure word of prophecy. . .” (2 Peter 1:16-21).”

Clues from the Context, Again

When Peter speaks of “a more sure word of prophecy”, what is his intent? Let’s look at some contextual clues. Earlier in the chapter, Peter makes his intent clear. He says,

“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ….

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:8, 10).

As any good minister, Peter wants those he teaches to be saved through Jesus Christ, and he is going to accomplish this (also as any good minster) by preaching about the Savior.

But he wants to head off a concern he expects from his listeners. Is Christianity just a fancy trick? He tells them,

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:16).

If they were not following cunningly devised fables, from where did their testimony come? Peter continues that their testimony is based on their eyewitness accounts (including at the baptism of the Savior and on the Mount of Transfiguration) and the words of the prophets, found in the scriptures, which we should also heed.

But is his intent to promote the written prophecies above personal revelation, or modern revelation, as TBC suggests? No! Look at how Peter continues.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Because scripture is given by the Holy Ghost, it must be interpreted by the Holy Ghost. This includes inspired teachers like Peter, and this is why Peter is so concerned about false teachers in the next chapter who “deny the Lord that bought them” and “with feigned words make merchandise” of parishioners (2 Peter 2:1, 3).

TBC would like us to believe that when Peter says “a more sure word of prophecy” he means the Bible, the closed cannon that most Christians believe it to be today. What evidence do they have to substantiate this? In short, nothing.

As shown above, the scriptures are a vital part of our testimony, and they must be interpreted through revelation from the Holy Ghost, for they were given by the power of God through the Holy Ghost.

A Response to “Biblical” Criticism of Spiritual Witnesses Part 8

Go back to Part 1.

The Authority of the Word of God

TBC’s second volley continues the trend of wresting the scriptures. They write,

“Is there any absolute way to know the truth? Yes! The prophet Isaiah has said, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Here the only reliable testimony is identified as the written Word of God. That certainly explains why the Apostle Paul commanded his readers to study the Bible, the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).”

The Circular Argument

Can you see the problem with their argument? I’ll give you another chance. TBC argues,

“Is there any absolute way to know the truth? Yes! The prophet Isaiah has said, “To the law and to the testimony….” Here the only reliable testimony is identified as the written Word of God.”

Do you see it? I’ll give you some more help.

  • Christian – “The Bible is the Word of God!”
  • Non-Christian – “How do you know?”
  • Christian – “Because it says in the Bible that the Bible is the Word of God!”
  • Non-Christian – “?”

Anything? Maybe it would help to see things from a different perspective.

  • Mormon – “The Book of Mormon is the Word of God!”
  • Christian – “How do you know?”
  • Mormon – “Because it says in the Book of Mormon that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God!”
  • Christian – “Oh! I want to be baptized!” 😉

See it now?

This is an unfortunately frequent, and horribly circular, argument used by mainstream Christians. One Latter-day Saint, speaking of how many Christians today practice what could be referred to as “Bibliolatry”, said, “The Bible is not the object of our faith; it is one of the sources of our faith.” This “Bible Worship” at the center of Christianity may be why mainstream Christians cling so tightly to this fallacious argument.

Unless we can first know whether or not the Bible is true, we cannot know if anything it says it true, including that it is God’s word.

So how do we know that the Bible is true? What can confirm the truthfulness of God’s word?

Certainly we have physical evidence to  support the people and places of the scriptures. We can find evidence that Moses lived and wrote what the Bible says he did. Yet this does not prove that what he wrote was true. We can find evidence of the historical Jesus, but how can we know that Jesus is the Son of God?

Only God can confirm his word, and he has chosen to do this through the Holy Ghost. Matthew writes,

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 16:13-17).

Isaiah 8:20

What does Isaiah say about confirming truth?

He does not say that the only source of truth is the Bible (the Bible was not even compiled in his day!). He does not say that the only way to confirm truth is to see whether or not it is in accordance with other revealed scripture. Much like Paul in Galatians, Isaiah is only saying that God is consistent, and that, for example, the truth he reveals in the New Testament will be according to what he revealed in the Old Testament. He says,

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

For Latter-day Saints, what God revealed in the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants is according to what was revealed in the Bible. Silly, misinformed Christians may contradict this claim, but obviously we would have to investigate these objections on a case by case basis, and it’s not my purpose to do so here.

Clearly, Isaiah does not help TBC’s argument in this case.

2 Timothy 2:15

What does Paul teach Timothy about confirming truth?

He does not really teach anything about confirming truth. He doesn’t really teach anything about studying the scriptures, either, as TBC suggests. Instead, he teaches about using the scriptures. Paul says,

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

The last phrase, “rightly dividing,” could be translated, “setting forth without perversion, distortion”. It’s unfortunate TBC does not heed Paul’s counsel, and set forth the truth without perverting it or distorting it.

Clearly, Paul does not help TBC’s argument in this case.

A Response to “Biblical” Criticism of Spiritual Witnesses Part 7

Go back to Part 1.

Jeremiah 17:9

The first wave in TBC’s attack comes in the form of a twisted Jeremiah 17:9:

“A basic Bible fact is Jeremiah 17:9. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. . .” Therefore, it may be concluded that even a burning conviction or “testimony” is totally untrustworthy. Tragically, even many “answers to prayer” fall under this description when based primarily on feelings.”

Whew, I hardly know where to start.

Clues from the Context

When Jeremiah speaks of the heart, to what is he referring? Let’s look at some contextual clues. Earlier in that chapter Jeremiah teaches,

“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord…

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jeremiah 17:5,7).

Jeremiah contrasts those who trust in man with those who trust in God. One’s heart departs from the Lord, and one’s “heart” is with him. Of the heart of he who “maketh flesh his arm”, Jeremiah then teaches,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

He then promises that

“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10).

Clearly, the heart is related to where we put our hope or trust. What else can we learn from the context?

Throughout the chapter Jeremiah uses the word “heart” four times, and each time as a symbol for innermost desires. Clearly, “heart” here is not a symbol for “feelings”, or even for revelation from the Holy Ghost. Our heart is a symbol for our innermost desires, and those who put their trust in God will find that he will test and try their hearts so that they become purified and centered in him.

There is a fantastic sermon here, but it has nothing to do with revelation. As such, we cannot draw the conclusion that TBC draws, that testimonies or answers to prayer connected to emotions are “totally untrustworthy”.

Heart – Our Innermost Desires

Surely this must be some fringe Mormon interpretation, right?

Not at all. From the Bible Tools page for Jeremiah 17:9, we get a similar interpretation. John Ritenbaugh teaches,

“A person breaks the second commandment when he exalts himself against God by trusting in his own or another’s reasoning and lives that way rather than the way God ordained and commanded.  Too often, the heart is easily led to satisfy its own desires rather than follow revealed knowledge. But God faithfully searches and tests our hearts to rid us of all idolatries so we will follow His way as closely as possible.

He continues,

Human nature, the law of sin within us, is always seeking to pull us again into the defilement of sin, seeking to destroy our hope of sharing life with the holy God. That is why God counsels us in Proverbs 4:23 to keep — that is, guard, preserve, and maintain — our heart. It is very easy to become defiled by lapsing back to old habits…. The normal human mind deceitfully convinces each person that they are good and love God, men, and law. But the reality is just the opposite: It is at war with God and men, and hates God’s holy, righteous, and spiritual law. It loves itself and its desires far more than anything else. It is this deceitful, self-centered enmity that exerts constant influence, pulling us into the defilement of sin.

This kind of legitimate commentary is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg.

More from the Scriptures

And what do other scriptures teach about the heart? I’ll offer just two references from a myriad examples.

Paul tells us,

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).

And the Savior himself promised that

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

The heart is not condemned in scripture. Just the opposite, it plays a key role in our salvation.

A Response to “Biblical” Criticism of Spiritual Witnesses Part 6

Go back to Part 1.

The Question We are After

TBC continues, off their straw man distortions in the first paragraph might I add,

“But does feeling something is true make it so? Does profound belief assure truthfulness? Can feelings be depended upon to be the witness of the Spirit? When, for example, two opposing religionists both “know” their respective viewpoints are “true” because of personal “revelation” or an inner warm glow, how can it be determined which, if either of them, is correct?”

These rhetorical questions, while being used to set up a deathblow to the LDS perspective, are generally on the right track. Does feeling something is true make it so? No. Does profound belief assure truthfulness? No. Can feelings be depended upon to be the witness of the Spirit? Not always, certainly.

Yet Latter-day Saints would not answer any of these questions in the affirmative, nor would we need to in order to remain on solid theological ground. Any assumption otherwise is just incorrect.

And of course, the last question is what I’ve been trying to get at this whole time. It’s just another way of asking, “How can I come to know spiritual truth?”

TBC’s answer to this question is to rely only to the Bible. This is problematic in many ways, not least of which is that this technique to knowing spiritual truth is fundamentally dependent on how men interpret the Bible.

What makes this problematic? The pastors, teachers, and preachers of mainstream Christianity are all men, flawed men, mortal men, men who deny that God still speaks to us.

What does that mean, really? Whether they be modern pastors, or Church Fathers, or early reformers, none of the men teaching us what the Bible means claim to be, as Peter puts it, “holy men of God [speaking] as they [are] moved by the Holy Ghost” (see 2 Peter 1:16-21).

That’s problematic.

A Response to “Biblical” Criticism of Spiritual Witnesses Part 5

Go back to Part 1.

Reason and Logic

Remember TBC’s first paragraph? They write,

” ‘Testimony’ is understood by some to be… essentially an inner experience not given to explanation or based on reason or logic.”

What of this criticism, that a testimony is “not… based on reason or logic”?

The Lord tells us,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so surely shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive….

“Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

“Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation (Doctrine and Covenants 8:1-3).

And then later in the Doctrine and Covenants he 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” (see Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-9).

Using all of our faculties to study out the gospel, including our minds, is an important part of the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Consider this blog! Consider the Church sponsored universities! Consider FAIR and FARMS (now the Maxwell Institute)!

To be frank, I have a difficult time taking this criticism seriously, particularly from this group (you know, the group that can’t interpret a simple Bible verse and uses terribly circular logic).

I find the teachings and history of this Church completely logical and reasonable. There are some things that others cannot accept, for one reason or another, and that is just fine. What is acceptable for me doesn’t need to be acceptable for everyone else, and vice versa. Yet this does not make those things others find unacceptable unreasonable or illogical.

A Response to “Biblical” Criticism of Spiritual Witnesses Part 4

Go back to Part 1.

Not Given to Explanation

Remember TBC’s first paragraph? They write,

” ‘Testimony’ is understood by some to be… essentially an inner experience not given to explanation or based on reason or logic.”

What of this criticism, that a testimony is “not given to explanation”?

This is partly true. It is difficult to entirely explain revelation from the Holy Ghost to someone that has not felt it. And yet, it is likewise difficult to explain the color red to someone who is blind, or the sound of a bell to someone who is deaf, or the taste of salt to someone who’s never tasted it.

Why don’t you try it for yourself? Pretend you’re with someone who has never tasted salt, and describe the taste to them.

Elder Boyd K. Packer told a story illustrating this principle. He said,

“I will tell you of an experience I had before I was a General Authority which affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”

“He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.

“When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate….

“When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”

“I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience! Something came into my mind… and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.

” “Of course I do,” was his reply.

” “When did you taste salt last?”

” “I just had dinner on the plane.”

” “You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.

“He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”

” “If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?”

” “Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience—I know it as well as I know anything.”

” “Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”

“After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”

” “You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”

“After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!

“As we parted, I heard him mutter, “I don’t need your religion for a crutch! I don’t need it.”

“From that experience forward, I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually. The Apostle Paul said it this way:

” “We speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

” “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:13–14).

Can those who’ve tasted salt convey perfectly that experience to those who haven’t tasted it? No, they can’t. Others would have to taste it for themselves to fully appreciate that experience.

But we can still convey what we feel like when we taste salt, or how we react when we taste salt. These explanations will of course be incomplete, but they will be the best we can do. Talking about my experiences with the Holy Ghost, my experiences receiving revelation, is the same way.

Because TBC, and others like them, criticize me and my Church for our (completely biblical) view of revelation, I can only assume that they have never “tasted salt”. Had they tasted it themselves, they would know exactly what we mean when we talk of our experiences with the Holy Ghost.

How sad it is that TBC and other mainstream Christians have never had the Holy Ghost communicate with them! How tragic that they have never tasted “spiritual salt” in such a way that they can understand what Latter-day Saints say and write!

Yet just as we can help others know how to taste salt if they want to taste it themselves, we can lead others to have their own experiences with the Holy Ghost. I can only hope that one day they accept the invitation to “taste salt” so that they too can experience the wondrous joy that comes from receiving personal revelation.

A Response to “Biblical” Criticism of Spiritual Witnesses Part 3

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Equivocating Feelings and Revelation

Remember TBC’s first paragraph? They write,

” ‘Testimony’ is understood by some to be sure knowledge received by revelation accompanied by a warm feeling of calm unwavering certainty.”

This stance of equivocating “feelings” and “revelation” betrays a gross unfamiliarity with how Latter-day Saints view their testimonies. Certain feelings do sometimes play a part in the testimonies of some Latter-day Saints, but lasting testimonies are made up of far more than warm-fuzzies.

True to the Faith teaches,

Your testimony will grow stronger through your experiences. It will expand as you show your willingness to serve in the Church, wherever you are called. It will increase as you make decisions to keep the commandments. As you lift and strengthen  others, you will see that your testimony continues to develop. As you pray and fast, study the scriptures, attend Church meetings, and hear others share their testimonies, you will be blessed with moments of inspiration that will bolster your testimony. Such moments will come throughout your life as you strive to live the gospel.

The “moments of inspiration” mentioned above, moments that come as we strive to live the gospel, are communications from the Holy Ghost.

Revelation from the Holy Ghost

What is communication from the Holy Ghost like?

It is true that the Holy Ghost can convey feelings of comfort, peace, and joy (see Romans 14:17Galatians 5:22-23John 14:26), or even a burning heart (see Luke 24:32).

These feelings have purpose. Joseph Smith taught,

“Tell the brethren to be humble and faithful and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, that it will lead them aright. Be careful and not turn away the still, small voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their heart open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits — it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts, and their whole desire will be to do good.

But these fruits of the spirit are not the only way the Holy Ghost interacts with us. How else does the Holy Ghost speak to us?

I hope you’ll forgive some laziness on my part. You see, I’ve answered this question three times already in the posts I mentioned in Part 1:

For those interested in investigating this question further, I commend those three posts to you. There is ample doctrinal discussion using both biblical and uniquely Mormon sources, and they are neither long nor difficult.

Those three posts will show at least two things. First, they will show that expecting certain feelings out of our interaction with the Holy Ghost is completely biblical. Second, they will show that revelation from the Holy Ghost involves far more than just these feelings.