my brother-in-law posted a picture on Facebook of a sign at a church
that read "don't pray about the Book of Mormon . . . that's how they get
you!" Though I have seen and laughed at this sign many times before,
this time I felt a need to address this topic. Even if the sign had been
photo-shopped, the sentiment has been expressed in my conversations
with critics and pastors of other churches in the past.
reason this topic even comes up, is because the Book of Mormon gives
this promise in it:
"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these
things . . . and ponder it in your hearts . . . I would exhort you that ye
would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these
things are not true; and 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." (Moroni 10:3-4).
What problem could the critic possibly have with this statement? If
something claims to come from God and you don't know if it does or not,
praying to God would be the logical choice to find your answer.
problem for the critics of the LDS church, is that this promise has
been fulfilled so many times by the Lord. These critics try to
discourage people from joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints by teaching them not to pray to know the truth!
Should we Read, Study, and Pray to know Gods truth?
James 1:5-6 states
"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. But let him
ask in faith, nothing wavering . . ." That seems very straight forward. If
you are seeking to know what God’s word is, then ask Him! Paul also
"Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is
the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:17-21, emphasis added)
Prove all things? Like the Book of Mormon? How would one quench the Spirit? If you didn't pray and seek God for an answer then wouldn't the Spirit surely be quenched?
Why do we need to Pray to know God’s truths?
Paul informs us why it would be important to pray to God to know his truth:
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which
God ordained before the world unto our glory. Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of 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." (1 Corinthians 2:7, 9-10, emphasis added).
According to Paul, God’s wisdom is hidden in mystery and since they are
given by the Spirit, the Spirit is needed to search out these truths.
Paul continued to teach in this chapter:
"Which things also 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 Cor 2:13-14, emphasis added)
The critics seems to be fulfilling Paul's warning by convincing others
that it is foolishness to pray for the Spirit to reveal God's truth.
In the Old Testament the Prophet Azariah warns the house of Israel:
". . . the Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.
But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel,
and sought him, he was found of them." (2 Chronicles 15:2-4, emphasis added)
Here we can see how important
seeking the Lord was in Israel's search for the truth. When they were
without the true God, without a teaching priest, and even without the
law, how could they seek the Lord? They would find him in prayer! In
Jeremiah the Lord explains the important role prayer would play in their
search for truth, "Then shall ye call upon me, and I will hearken unto
you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with
all your heart."(Jeremiah 29:12-13).
If Christ promises to answer our prayers, would that include knowing whether the Book of Mormon is truth?
During Christ’s ministry, he repeatedly told his disciples he would answer all
their prayer requests! A few examples are listed below:
"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 22:21)
whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may
be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will
do it." (John 14:13-14).
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."(John 15:7)
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:24)
whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments,
and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22)
in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily,verily, I say unto you,
Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive,
that your joy may be full." (John 16:23-24)
this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing
according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us,
whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of
him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
what kinds of things could we ask? The Lord informs us:
"Ask, and it
shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is
there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if
he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil know how to give good gifts unto
your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give
good things to them that ask him?" (Matt 7:7-11)
According to this scripture, if you pray to know the
Book of Mormon is true, will God say: That is a dumb question ask me
something else? Of course not! Paul
teaches the Philippians:
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made
known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7).
From where does the idea that we should not pray come?
The critics truly believe that it is foolishness to ask for the Spirit
of God to answer our prayers to know whether the Book of Mormon is true.
I'm sure that many of them are sincere, but this is not a Biblical approach. They
would rather have you believe that you should just know for yourself
that the Book of Mormon is false without ever having read it for
yourself or praying! Really?
Book of Mormon prophets foresaw the error of these critics and wrote to
"Wherefore I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ
will tell you all things what ye should do. Wherefore, now after I have
spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye
ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark." (2 Nephi 32:3-4)
Then, prophet Nephi informs us which spirit leads men not
to pray to the
"And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if
ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would
know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray." (2 Nephi 32:8)
In light of the Biblical scriptures given above, what scriptural argument does the critic have for not praying to know the truth? None!
choice seems very clear: We can listen to the Lord, pray to know His truth, and hearken to the Spirit of the Lord . . . or we can trust the
critic and refuse to pray and be led by that spirit which teaches a man
not to pray.
The choice is yours!