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I Felt A “Burning in my Bosom” When I Read The Book of Mormon!

June 5, 2017
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When I read the Book of Mormon a number of years ago there were some beautiful passages I read about Jesus. My favorite verse was 2 Nephi 33:6 which says, “I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.” While reading some of these passages that align with the truth of God’s Word, I experienced a warm, “burning” sensation in my chest that felt familiar – it was a sensation I had experienced a few other times quite recently prior to this. Because of the close connection with the other times I had felt it (which had been during times of spiritual encouragement) I thought for a moment that perhaps this was the “burning in the bosom” experience that Mormons had told me about. They had said this was how the Holy Spirit would testify to my heart that the Book of Mormon was true.

However, as I continued to pray and ask the Lord about what I was experiencing, He impressed on my mind very clearly that this was a deception. Then He brought to my mind several specific reasons why this “burning in the bosom” test was not legitimate:

  1. Feelings/sensations are not a reliable source of knowledge. God has already revealed to us in His Word that feelings can be deceptive. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
  2. He never commanded us to test anything in this way. The scriptures always point us to the scriptures as our source for spiritual knowledge. The Word of God, not our feelings, is to be “a lamp” and “a light” to our path (Psalm 119:105). We are instructed to be diligent to study the scriptures so that we can “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2 :15). (From my previous study of scripture, I knew of many contradictions between Mormonism and the Bible’s teaching.)
  3. There is no evidence in history or archaeology that any of the Book of Mormon peoples or places ever existed. A sensation in the bosom is not a legitimate reason to overturn these facts. We are commanded to love the Lord with our mind, as well as our heart, so we should not dismiss the mounting evidence that the Book of Mormon is a 19th century work of fiction.
  4. There is a mountain of evidence that Joseph Smith was a very sinful man who failed the biblical tests for a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:22, Matthew 7:16-17) and was biblically disqualified from a leadership position in the church based on the very clear command that leaders in the church could only have one wife (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6).
  5. The “burning in the bosom” test is a deception because The Book of Mormon does not even teach most of the unique, unbiblical doctrines of Mormonism.  So getting a positive test for the Book of Mormon is not a legitimate test for the entire religion of Mormonism.

(There are a lot of other reasons I think the Book of Mormon is not from God and I blogged about those previously here and here. I also wrote some rather lengthy reviews about my analysis of the Book of Mormon here and here and here.)

It’s been many years since I wrote those previous posts so I can’t remember for sure if I ever shared about the “burning in the bosom” experience I had. I certainly never wrote a provocative title like this one, drawing attention to it. To be honest, I was a little creeped out after the Lord impressed upon me that it was a deception.

I’m sure some people would say my experience was merely psychological (I was expecting to feel something because that’s what Mormons had told me would happen) or emotional (tons of familiar words/phrases and even huge direct quotations from the King James version of the Bible are woven throughout the Book of Mormon) or physical (maybe I had just eaten a spicy burrito). I acknowledge that any or all of these could be true (it’s been so many years I have no idea what I had for lunch).  But I also wondered how much my Mormon roots may have contributed.

My grandma was born into a large Mormon family (her grandparents were even personal friends of Brigham Young). She left the religion as a young girl and became a Bible-believing Christian. I have sometimes wondered if my ancestors’ spirituality made me more vulnerable to the same deceiving spirits.

Thankfully, Jesus has authority over all the spirits and they are all subject to Him!  The Bible says Satan can appear as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) so just because something feels good or right doesn’t prove it’s from God. The following verse gives some of the Bible’s teaching on how to overcome deceiving spirits:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… (Ephesians 6:10-18)

I highlighted a couple of words above which underscore the importance of having our foundation firmly planted in the truth of God’s Word.

I got to meet Micah Wilder recently, a former Mormon who now travels the country sharing the gospel of salvation that is found in Jesus Christ alone. He says that he discovered Mormonism was wrong after he went back and read through the New Testament like a little child – not reading it through the Mormon lenses, but from as unbiased a perspective as possible. My prayer for any Mormons reading this is that you will also take up this challenge of reading the New Testament cover-to-cover like a little child.  As you read, pray.  Ask Jesus to teach you His truth from His Word and to untangle any lies or deceptions you might be believing.

Thank you for hearing my heart and listening to my personal perspective and experience.

Blessings,

Jessica

Most Religions are Alike…

April 23, 2013

…in the sense that all religious people are pursuing the same main goals – 1) they want to please God and 2) they want to have their sin debt paid.[1]

What are you doing in your religion to get your sin debt paid?

When I recently asked a religious person this question he started going into great detail to explain to me how he tries to obtain forgiveness on a regular basis and to maintain as much as possible a state of perfection.  I asked when he could know that his sin debt had been paid and that he was headed for heaven when he died, and he said he could never know that.  He had just been to church and had prayed and asked for forgiveness for everything up to that point, but he could not know if he was clean right then because he might have sinned in his thoughts since that prayer.

This opened up the perfect opportunity for me to share why I believe something different.  The Bible says we can KNOW that we have eternal life [2].  We can have assurance that we are going to heaven.  Not because we have achieved a level of perfection by our own effort, but because God has provided the ultimate sacrifice for sins.  We are trusting in the Lamb of God who was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

When I got done sharing the beautiful good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ he was very quiet and thoughtful and said, “You mean all I have to do is believe Jesus Christ died for our sins and that’s it?  I’m clean?”

Read more…

Rethinking My Theology

March 28, 2013
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This blog has been silent for many moons as I have traveled to the other side of the globe and back.  While I was working in the Middle East, I encountered people who had been raised in a religion very similar to Mormonism.  Many of these people have serious doubts about their religion and a growing number of the younger generation are becoming agnostic or atheist.  Some of them are very interested in following Jesus, but intense fear, family and social pressures, and a lack of basic human rights are huge barriers for them in responding to the gospel (or from admitting it to anyone if they do believe).

I found the similarities between Islam and Mormonism striking when it came to their objections to the gospel.  I sometimes felt like I was having the same conversations I have with Mormons – it was like the same soup reheated.  Their objections centered on three main things: Read more…

Looking Unto Jesus

June 11, 2012

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Heb. 12:1-2)

At the beginning of this year I began to read a chapter from Proverbs every day.  Proverbs is immensely practical and the general advice found there has proven itself helpful for me.  Practices like holding my tongue, striving for wisdom, and choosing the right friends stand out immediately.  But a more troubling character flaw revealed itself to me lately.  Proverbs also deals with the issue of pride.  How easy it is to see pride in others but never to admit to our own!

Read more…

My update

April 9, 2012

The past year has found me completely disengaged from the blogosphere.  I have happily contented myself with finding a wonderful young man, and, in due course, marrying him.  I have since moved out of Mormon country and find myself living in the Deep South, far away from everything LDS.  I’ve been living here six months and have not even seen where the local ward meets, let alone a temple!  I have only met Mormons (non-practicing) since my relocation and I miss chatting and dialoguing with my Mormon friends.

I hope that I can post more frequently now that I am done wedding planning and writing a multitude of thank-you notes! I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter celebrating the resurrection of our Lord!

My Mormon Dermatologist

February 9, 2011

I love my Mormon dermatologist.  He helped me get my acne cleared up and I am extremely grateful to him for that!

I am going to be moving out of the area for awhile and so I wanted to make sure I took the opportunity to share with him before I leave about my concerns with Mormonism.  We were talking about the mission he had served and I decided to ask him if he was a hard-core Mormon or more of a doubting Thomas.  He said he thought he was more of the hard-core type.  I then asked him if he would be open to watching a DVD if I sent it to him.  He wanted to know what it was about so I explained it compares the prophecies of Joseph Smith with the prophecies in the Bible.  He looked a little skeptical and uncomfortable and said he knew there was a lot of “anti-Mormon” information out there, but he felt he had received his answer.  He said I could send it to him, but that he probably wouldn’t watch it.

He then jokingly asked me if he could send me a Book of Mormon. Read more…

Martha’s Testimony: Religion Destroys, Jesus Restores

January 25, 2011

I have not had time to blog lately so I asked a friend of mine who was raised LDS if she would like to share her testimony for a blog post.  This is her testimony in her own words:

I was born into the Mormon Church and raised going to Sunday school and Seminary. I went to church regularly. I attended Brigham Young University. I had a brother who did the same. My brother was a bit more rebellious than I was, but met a woman and married her in the temple. The marriage was short lived and they divorced. After a time, my brother met another woman and moved in with her. My father was the Bishop at the time and my brother was in the Ward. The LDS church required my father to excommunicate my brother. My brother and his future wife moved away to a place only I knew of. I was devastated. I could not believe a God would destroy a family like that. I became agnostic. Even to the point of finding the nicest atheist I could find and marrying him – to spite God and my parents.

At one point, the Mormon Church began harassing me. They consistently sent their 14-year-old boys to collect tithing and calling me. One day the Bishop showed up at my door and I asked him if he had a piece of paper. He gave me one and I wrote down the request to take me off the Mormon list. They held court, which I did not attend. Read more…

Inspired by fallen men

December 4, 2010

Perhaps nothing stirs the hearts of believers more than learning about the human nature of saints of old.  The leaves of Scripture are filled with stories of men who both served God and also failed miserably to match His holiness.  Some of the tales read like a modern tabloid magazine.  Judah sleeping with his daughter-in-law.  Noah lying naked in a drunken stupor while his son mocks him.  Jacob deceiving his father and stealing his brother’s inheritance.  Solomon amassing a legion of wives.  David hiring the military to murder a man to conceal his own adultery.  Paul violently persecuting Christian believers.  No student of the Bible wears rose-colored glasses when looking at the people portrayed in it.  The struggles that they lived through and the choices that they made were fleshly–just like the men themselves.

In the New Testament James urges believers to confess their sins to one another and to pray for each other (5:16).  The ideal church model is not for pious Christians to put on a facade on Sunday morning.  Like the believers in Acts who came and “openly confessed” their sins, we too are to be authentic and expose our faults to our brethren.  Confessing sin is a humbling process that requires great humility.  But it is the process of overcoming sin that truly magnifies our Savior.  What a blessing it is to hear of someone caught in an addiction, in a lifestyle, in a horrible situation who cried out to Jesus for help and was rescued.

Read more…

Worshiping Jesus

November 21, 2010

Hi,

I haven’t been blogging here much lately, but I am very busy worshiping and serving Jesus.  I just wanted to say hi to anyone who still occasionally checks in here.  Here’s an inspirational music video I ran across today that was a blessing.

May you all reflect on the Savior’s awesome love and mercy as you prepare to worship tomorrow.

The Bible vs. Joseph Smith DVD

October 22, 2010

…is now available!!  Get your copy here.

I can’t wait to see it!  I just learned from someone who has seen it that it’s the best one yet by Joel Kramer & Co.  I have been impressed by the quality of their previous DVDs and am really excited to see this one!

Trailer

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Grappling with God’s Love, Justice, Omnipotence, Foreknowledge, and Hell

October 17, 2010

Katie’s reflections at the end of her post on Romans 3 stirred me to work on a post on this topic.  I can completely relate to her wrestlings on the doctrine of hell as I have long grappled with this doctrine myself.

The question is far deeper for me than “Why would a loving God send people to hell?”  At first glance, this question appears difficult because God’s redemptive love has to be reconciled with His divine justice.  But upon further reflection, it’s actually much harder to comprehend how a thrice-holy God could reward unrepentant, evil creatures with eternal pleasures.  That makes Him seem more than a little bit evil and creepy Himself.  My mind makes the human comparison to an earthly judge who would let a rapist or murderer off without requiring any consequences for their crime.  I would consider that judge creepy and immoral in the extreme.  In addition, it has also been pointed out that unrepentant persons would not enjoy heaven.  In their unregenerate state they would have no desire to join with saints worshiping God forever and ever.  That would be like hell for them.

No, the deeper question for me has been why He would have created eternal beings with free wills in the first place, knowing that some would eternally reject Him and end up suffering eternal separation from the Source of all that is holy, loving, and good.  On its surface this question also seems to be fairly easily reconciled when one considers that God has made provision for all to be saved, everyone is given a free choice, some choose to perpetually rebel and so, as C. S. Lewis said, “all that are in hell choose it.”

But the problem goes a little deeper than that for me when (in my limited human comprehension) I ponder why, if He desires that all would be saved (2 Pet. 3:9), and if He is all-powerful, why would He not use His power to draw all to Himself?  Is His omnipotence somehow limited by human freedom, and if so, why?  Further, how is it ultimately more glorifying to God that sinners go on existing forever (albeit eternally quarantined from saints)?  Would it not demonstrate His power better or bring Him more glory if sinful people were completely destroyed (Annihilation) or if everyone was brought to repentance (Universalism)?

Read more…

How a Man Should Love a Woman

September 15, 2010

In my devotions today I was pondering the relationship between Christ and His Church.  By using the human illustration of how a man should love his wife, the scriptures intimately reveal the nature of the love that the Savior has for His Bride.  The scriptures say that Christ

“loved the church”

and

“gave Himself for it”

so that He could

“sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”

so that He could

“present it to Himself a glorious church”

“not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”

“but that it should be holy and without blemish”

In speaking of the kind of love that a man should have for a woman the apostle Paul says, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Eph. 5:29).  When a man is joined to his wife they become one flesh (Eph. 5:31).  So it is between Christ and His Church.  When He laid down His life to purchase His Bride He became forever intimately connected with her.  “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:30).

A question for LDS came to my mind as I was studying this passage.  Is it possible that Christ could ever become disconnected from His own flesh and bones?   Read more…

Dwelling in The Holiest Through the Blood of Jesus

September 3, 2010

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)”-Heb. 10:19-23

I often kneel or lie prostrate on the floor when I pray, and in my mind I often picture myself kneeling or prostrating myself before God’s throne in heaven.  Theologically, I know that I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:3) and my spirit is not limited to time and space. So, spiritually speaking, I have access at all times to heaven itself and the glories that are there in my Heavenly Father’s presence.  God is of course not limited to time or space either and He is with me everywhere I go – comforting me when I’m sad, convicting me when I sin, and enlightening my mind to understand Him more clearly as I study and meditate on His Word and spend time with Him in prayer.  But sometimes I take this all for granted.  I seldom sit and reflect on what an awesome privilege I have to enjoy the healing presence of my Heavenly Father everywhere and at all times.  I was recently reminded of what an amazing blessing God has given to His children that we can rest at all times in His comforting embrace.  Like little chicks can hide in their mother’s wings, we can hide in the shelter of God’s presence, safe in His habitation (Ps. 91:5-10; Matt. 23:37).

Read more…

Hudson Taylor and his Mormon Contemporaries

August 30, 2010

My pastor has been recommending a book of the month at my church and so this month I am participating in reading Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.  I have been challenged and inspired by reading this historical account of Hudson Taylor’s devotion to Christ and his life of sacrifice for the people of China.  During his time of preparation for going to China, he moved away from his family to a very poor neighborhood where the solitude allowed him to set himself to prayer, studying God’s Word, visiting the poor, and evangelistic work. By living mainly on oatmeal and rice, he found that he was able to sufficiently pay for his own needs with a third of his income so he could use the rest to give to those in need.  He experienced more blessing and happiness when he gave more and spent less on himself.  When he set sail for China he fully believed he would never see his family again. Read more…

Controlling Everything from Headquarters

August 19, 2010

I ran across a curious article that was published last week in Deseret News.  This article claimed to be reporting a change in how the Church History Department collects, preserves, and disseminates the church’s historical information to LDS members.  After reading the article, however, I cannot figure out what the changes were or how the process was “decentralized” as the article claims was the goal.  I will quote the relevant sections and highlight the areas that jumped out at me.  Maybe someone here can help me figure this out.

“Last year, it was decided that they [the Church History Department] needed to implement a decentralized model and start making church history more accessible to the world. Under the direction and approval of area authorities, options will be given to preserve area histories locally — and hopefully, in the future, digitally.

“We wondered, ‘How do we fulfill the commandments of the Lord to keep a history of the church continually and do it in a way that we weren’t asking the brethren for millions more dollars in head count by controlling everything from headquarters?'” Crosby said.

Read more…

It all happened in a garden…

August 4, 2010

The Christian tradition is rich with terminology and language that is accepted by all the adherents.  A typical message from any church service, LDS or traditional Christian, includes a wealth of phrases and words that both faiths accept—sin, death, Christ, God the Father, heaven, Satan, the atonement, grace, faith, works, righteousness, and justification.  To an outsider from another religion, our two faiths could seem identical—the same words and expressions are used in both.  But even a simple examination into the faith of either group reveals stark differences in semantics that are impossible to ignore.

Read more…

No Motorized Couches at BYU

July 27, 2010

Add this to your list of things NOT to bring to college: motorized couches. Note the student’s observation that his invention really makes him a hit with the ladies.

Do you agree with Glenn Beck’s soteriology?

July 26, 2010

Wow!  This looks very promising!  I am praying for Thomas Monson – that he will soon start preaching this same gospel.

Mormon Ceremonial Laws

July 11, 2010

Mormonism claims to be a restoration of original Christianity and yet the many unique doctrines of Mormonism cannot be found in ancient first century texts.  The Mormon response has been that the scriptures containing Mormon doctrines have been lost.

I started the inductive Bible study on the book of Galatians with the challenge that we could test this LDS claim of “lost” scriptures by comparing the books of scripture we do have to see if these books would allow for the simultaneous existence of doctrines that would have to have been present in the alleged lost texts. For example, could the overarching themes of the book of Galatians co-exist with a “lost” letter to the Galatians that would have included the Mormon gospel?

Read more…

Comparing Presidential Salaries

July 8, 2010

In the year 1873 the congress of the United States passed a bill that provided a large wage increase for the President and other senior members of Congress.  The congressmen received a salary increase from $5,000/year to $7,500/year.  President Ulysses S. Grant faired even better–his salary increased from $25,000/year to $50,000/year.  These numbers seem paltry by today’s standards, but in the late 19th century the President’s wage would have been comfortable indeed.  Using the Consumer Price Index to show the difference in salaries that inflation makes, Grant’s salary today would have jumped from just over $460,000/year to $925,000/year.  By comparison, President Obama collects $400,000/year.  Grant’s signing of the bill might be considered somewhat greedy, perhaps excessive.  The same year that he signed his raise into law there was a stock market crash and a rise in inflation that sparked a six-year depression.  The following year congress was forced to repeal the “salary grab” bill, but the presidential salary remained unchanged and Grant continued to receive his cushy paycheck.

Read more…