Posted by: Jay | April 30, 2007

Finding the truth through the Spirit?

How do you find truth? Does the Holy Spirit play a role? Where do the good feelings come from that you feel when listening to the words of Christ? I’ve heard many people argue that the “conversions” of LDS people are based at least partially on feelings, not facts from the Bible. I am one of those Mormons that have had spiritual confirmation of my faith (the Mormon faith). I know that some of you may be rolling your eyes when you read that, but I really do believe it.

This is one of the most compelling reasons why I stay in the Mormon Church, despite some negative views people have. I sincerely prayed to God that he would confirm to me the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. I did not receive an answer the first few times I prayed and decided to give it one last chance before I left the Church (I couldn’t stay any longer if it was false and we are promised by the church that God will answer us). Well, I will just say that the answer I received by way of what I believe was the Holy Spirit was so different than any other feeling I had felt before that I am convinced that it was from God. No, I didn’t see an angel or a vision. I’m just a normal person not prone to imagine things that aren’t there.

Although I have had this experience, in the last year I have learned of some events and quotes from past Mormon leaders that have challenged my faith. I continue to try to sift through the hateful, bigoted propaganda and truthful, accurate information on the Internet and in books. My belief that the Holy Ghost answered my prayer many years ago has also been challenged (Though I am still inclined to believe that God did answer me).

My question to you is how do you know if something is true or false? You may want to appeal to the Bible. That is fair enough, but what if you want to know if the Bible is true? Think about you most basic core beliefs. Why do you believe it? Was it what your parents taught you or did you have something happen that convinced you of it? The idea (taught by Mormonism) of the Holy Ghost teaching us truth makes sense to me. We are told what the fruits of the Spirit are in Galatians:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23)

So it is biblical that we actually FEEL something good when the Spirit of God is with us. It is also biblical that the role of the Holy Spirit is to teach us. Some of the more powerful scriptures that illustrate this point are below:

20 Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them… (Neh. 9:20)

11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:11)

Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour. (Luke 12:12)

Holy Ghost also is a witness to us. (Heb. 10:15)

Holy Ghost . . . shall teach you ALL things, and bring all things to your remembrance. (John 14:26)

Acts 2:37 they were pricked in their heart.

So why is that people discount feelings? Is it because they don’t believe that the Spirit functions through feelings (see Gal. 5:22-23 above) or is it because they are convinced that the feelings they feel are from God, but if someone from another faith describes similar feelings they are not? I’m not quite clear on this because I talk to people from other Christian faiths that say they “feel” the Spirit. I don’t doubt that they do, but some how they discount my experience. Help clarify this for me.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I think you misused Galatians 5. Read it in context, if possible read the whole book in one sitting. The fruits of the spirit refer to actions not feelings. Compare them to the fruits of the devil (which are all actions).

    I think feelings make great servants but terrible masters. They play a powerful role in our spiritual lives. But they shouldn’t determine what we believe to be true or real (how many abused wives stayed because their feelings told them that this was love?)

    I became a Christian because my parents were Christians. But as I grew up, I investigated it on my own. I studied the Bible and the history of the Bible. I believe that it has been well preserved in history. Most importantly, I believe the resurrection of Jesus to be a historically sound event. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then he was not the Messiah (I Cor. 15).

    I believe Truth can be known and discovered in the world around me. I also believe that Christianity best explains the truth I see in the world around me.

    The problem with relying solely on feelings is that our feelings can be deceitful. We can manufacture your own feelings. Equally it’s not wise to rely solely on spiritual experience or miracles because every religion in the world can account for real and valid spiritual experiences and miracles. The Bible also makes it clear that demons can instigate these experiences. I think all of those things can be powerful encouragements in our faith, but they are not what we are to base our faith on.

  2. Such hard questions with no easy answers. I think it is also important to seek wise counsel from those in leadership in the church or someone you would consider a spiritual mentor. Feelings are definitely often part of the discernment process, but not the only thing to rely on. It’s far too easy to manipulate your own feelings to give you the answer that you want.

    To answer the question about how to find truth in a situation…yes, I seek the Bible and it’s scriptures for the truthful answers. As to how do I know the Bible is true…that is where faith comes in. Ultimately we must just simply believe and use that as a starting point. That rings true for everything.

    I often know when God has spoken to me because I receive affirmation around every turn in that situation. But, I also often have no idea what the answer is until I step out in faith and do the thing I hoep is right.

    It’s simply never ever easy!

  3. talk of feeling good, scripure and god is kinda meaningless to the 80,000 native aborigonals after the recent church scandals in Canada: Religous leaders must
    stay away from our children. Multi-generational epidemics of sanctioned and church protected pedophilia proves religion and children should not mix

    Stay out of our bedrooms. Work on correcting your own dysfunctional sexual urges

  4. fma7,
    I’m not sure what your comment has to do with the topic.

  5. I would have to agree with Dando. I certainly can be aware of a feeling of God’s presence or moving in my life in some way, BUT, whatever I consider He is saying to me must line up with His Word otherwise I cannot trust it, because He will never provide confirmation of anything contrary to His inspired Word. Thus it is impossible (to me) that He would ever endorse any religion that adds to His Word and puts tradition and false teaching ahead of it. The LDS Church teaches that Jesus & Satan are brothers, the Holy Spirit is another god created by God (how can God create another god – the latter would be a created being just like us in that case!), and that all men can become gods and eventually populate a planet of their own. Such beliefs are totally contrary to anything within the Bible and thus in my view are false. Once you start believing false doctrine to any degree, you are then going to continually believe such because to do otherwise is tough and requires a lot of strength and putting away of pride. But many do thankfully realise that the Bible alone has the Truth and nothing needs to be added to it either by the LDS or Islam or anyone else. Unless you are fully grounded in scripture and the Holy Spirit provides you wtih discernment you are at a high risk of deception – goes for Christians too, – but the role of the Holy Spirit is to point you to Jesus who IS Truth!! But if your Jesus isn’t the One in the bible – begotten NOT created – then you’ve a bigger problem than worrying about your feelings driving your faith! Blessings, TKR 🙂

  6. Dando, divinescribble and Ha Tikvah,
    Thank you for your comments. I believe you made some good points for me to consider.

    Ha Tikvah,
    Though most of what you said about LDS beliefs is accurate, you may want to check out the “God making the Holy Ghost thing”. Never in my 30 some odd years in the church has that been taught, nor have a read any Mormon liturature refering to that.

  7. I have never heard that Jesus was ‘created’ or the Holy Spirit being ‘created’ either. I have no idea what that’s about.

    LDS believe more fully in begotten, not created than anyone! LOL

    One thing Ha Tikvah said is really true, that when you’re believing false doctrine it is really hard to put away. It took a powerful witness of the Holy Ghost to get me to see I was a part of the ‘every wind of doctrine’ churches!! But the good news is I was able to finally see that and let go of those false doctrines.

    It was a huge thing for me to put away my pride and become LDS. I didn’t want to be ‘one of them…’ But when truth is revealed, I have to go with it. Spiritually I’ve never been happier or more at peace. It’s a joy that truly does surpase understanding and brings tears to my eyes daily. I am so humbled and so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…

  8. Ps Jay – While attending the other churches for 20 years I definitely felt the Spirit on occasions, actually many, especially when at home in prayer or worship… but since being baptized into the LDS Church I know I have the *constant* companionship of the Spirit. It’s different. I doubt I can even explain the difference with words, but it is. And before I would have told you I had it… but in hindsight I didn’t. It wasn’t a constant companionship like it is now. And I now have the ‘burning’ in the bosom on a regular basis as more truth is revealed to me. And when I was younger I did a lot of meditation and even drugs I’m sorry to say, but never have I had a feeling like I had both when I first came to know Christ and then 20 years later when I prayed about the Church and the Book of Mormon. Those two experiences (actually three but two were concerning the Book of Mormon and the Church and I don’t have time to type that right now) were unlike anything else ever or since. It’s real and it’s true.

    The same Spirit that first revealed Jesus Christ as the Son of God and my Savior and revealed I had a loving Father in heaven is the same Spirit who revealed the truth of the Book of Mormon and the LDS Church.

    I hope that makes sense to you. And I can tell you this… I have never felt anything before like what I feel in the Temple. The peace and holiness there is palpable.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: