I was raised in Little Rock, AR. Living in the Bible belt is where I began to face questions about the LDS church. I served a mission in Pocatello, ID where I met many faithful LDS people, but also came across a few critics who had been Mormon. My purpose is to answer questions honestly and shine the light of reason on false criticisms about the church.View all articles by Gary Bailey
I have never understood why the critic uses this argument in light of the scriptures. How can someone know the things of God unless God reveals it to him. As an LDS people we know that God does answer our prayers by the Holy Ghost. As the scriptures below will show, one way the Holy Ghost can speak to us is with the feelings of the heart.
The LDS often share a scripture with those who are looking into joining the church. Moroni 10:3-5 which encourages the readers of the Book of Mormon when "ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your heart(s)... I would exhort you that ye would ask God...in the name of Christ, if these things (are) true." Then the qualifier " if ye shall ask, with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost." This seems like straight forward direction for having God reveal his will to us. But many critics try to claim that this method is not biblical and that God never worked this way.
Paul tells us in 1 Cor 2:7-10 "we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory....But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." Here we learn that Gods wisdom is a mystery and hidden before the world. We also see that man doesn't have the ability according to this verse to think in his heart the things of God. (This point is important, because either man's heart will think of falsehoods, or Gods truth will be placed there.) As Paul says God reveals them to us by his Spirit.
So how are we to gain an understanding of the wisdom of God. James 1:5 says "if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." How will it be given? By the Spirit (1 Cor 2:10) (this sounds strangely
familiar, oh yeah, Moro 10:3-5) 1 Cor 2:14 says "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." So how does the Spirit communicate these truths to us?
In Acts 2:37 the apostles have been teaching a gathering of Jews about the truth of Jesus Christ. When they are done speaking the Scriptures say "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto....the apostles, Men and brethren what shall we do?" The Spirit here touches the heart of the people that they feel a need to follow Christ.
The question should be asked, what is the heart for? In the
strictest sense it is an organ used to circulate blood through the body. But in
the scriptures it seems to imply the feelings of our hearts. Though the critic
may say the heart can deceive a man, ie...feels good to invest but you go broke
on the deal, falling in love but the person doesn't love you back, etc. This doesn't
void the fact that God uses the Spirit to communicate to men through the
feelings of the heart. Our job is to live in such a way that the Spirit of the Lord can be with us so that we can recognize when God is communicating with us.
Look at Luke 24:27-32 here the Lord appears in disguise to two of his disciples. In verse 27 Jesus "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" What was the result of Christ teaching them out of the scriptures? Verse 31-32 says "and their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way. and while he opened to us the scriptures?" So we see that the Spirit confirmed the truth that Christ was teaching them out of the scriptures, through the feeling of their hearts.
Listen to the words of Jesus himself "therefore speak I to the in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." (Matt 13:13) Then he continues "by hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see and shall not perceive; For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should ...understand with their heart and should be converted, and I should heal them." (Matt 13:14-15) The Lord explains that those who rely on hearing and seeing in order to understand the gospel are missing it. (much like our critics who say we must not listen to feelings) But the Lord gives them the remedy, they could "understand with their heart and (be) converted, and I should heal them."(Matt 13:15)
Paul informs us in Eph 4:17-20 how not to be like the unbelievers
"that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of
their mind. Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of
God through the ignorance that is in them, Because of the blindness of their
heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto
The truth is that if people took the experiment of praying to God with a sincere heart, God would make the truth known to them by the power of the Holy Ghost. They would feel that their answer was correct.
Paul showed how the critics of his day were blinded in their hearts too when it came to understanding the scriptures and how to gain knowledge of Godly things. "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart." (2 Cor 3:14-15) All one needs to do in order to know the things of God is to open their heart, and allow the spirit of God to fill it with the feelings of the Spirit, "but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith." (Gal 5:22)
Paul reminds us in Rom 10:10 "for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness." The question to ask is, why are the critic's trying so hard to keep people from praying to God to know the truth? Maybe the prophesy of Paul to Timothy is being fulfilled right before our eyes, "in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves...without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, in continent, fierce, despisers of those that are good...having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Tim 3:1-5) And why does Paul warn to turn away from such as these, because they are "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim 3:7)
It is true that God uses the heart of man to confirm His truths by the Holy Ghost. The question to ask, is will we listen?