Friday, December 4, 2009

Questions to Ask a Mormon

A scene from a Star Trek episode finds Captain Kirk posing questions to a computer that is determined to exterminate all carbon-based life forms. Kirk poses a question to the computer that the computer cannot resolve. Finally, the computer begins repeating the phrase, “More data please. It does not compute. It does not compute….” Kirk’s questions cause the computer to lock up in a never-ending struggle to resolve the logical conflict.

Mormons are not computers or Star Trek aliens. They are not like the Romulans, Klingons or Ferengi. I have already linked those alien species to other cult groups. :-)

On the other hand the use of a question can highlight a logical fallacy for any cultist. It can send the mind into what is called cognitive dissonance, a state of confusion caused by the perception of two conflicting truths. The resolution is found only in the acceptance of one and the dismissal of the other.

There is a significant problem, however, in using logical arguments with Mormons. They do not decide what is true on the basis of logic. They determine the truth of Mormonism by prayer. In the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:4) an “investigator” is challenged to read the book of Mormon and pray that God will show the truth of it. To a Mormon the proof is in a subjective “burning in the bosom” response to their reading. This is a physical/emotional/spiritual experience. Those Mormons who have experienced it have a stronger resistance to objective evidences. That is not to say that objective evidences, or logic, are worthless because God opens the closed mind. We are simply to present the truth and leave its impact to Him.

The Objective Challenge

Though Mormons test truth by prayer Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth President of the LDS church, gave an objective criteria for determining the truth or fallacy of Mormonism. He said in his book Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, page 188,

Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an impostor cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures.”

The “accepted standards of measurement” have always been objective. They include the written revelation of God in the Bible, the natural revelation in His creation, and a rational mind that can logically weigh evidences. When the Holy Spirit speaks to the human heart His words will always be in agreement with those objective evidences. Though prayer is good it is not one of the “accepted standards of measurement” because Satan can impersonate the Holy Spirit through what the Bible calls “seducing spirits”. This presents us with the first question to ask a Mormon.

Questions About The Book of Mormon

If you have a “testimony” of the truth of the Book of Mormon how do you know it is not from a “seducing spirit” (see 1 Timothy 4:1)? Would not a “seducing spirit” be seductive, or in other words, feel good?

Why rely on a subjective test when the Biblical test of truth claims were always objective? Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony (scripture up to that time) if they speak not according to this word there is no truth in them.”

Aren’t the scriptures “the accepted standards of measurement” according to Joseph Fielding Smith in Doctrines of Salvation (quoted above)?

Do you know that the Muslim scripture, the Koran, is not scripture? How do you know? Have you read it and asked God sincerely whether it is true or not? Or, is it not true because you know it teaches doctrines that are not true? Isn’t that why the Book of Mormon should be tested by the same criteria, the “accepted standards of measurement,” the scriptures?

Next time you have a couple young missionaries at your door thank them for coming and say, “I’m glad you’re here. I’ve had some questions I have wanted to ask. Let me get them (print this out and put it in your Bible).