Feelings, gods, and Joseph Smith

by Matt Slick

This dialogue demonstrates a major problem with witnessing to those in Mormonism.  They think that their feelings are as valid, if not more so, than biblical revelation.  In fact, they often subordinate the Bible to their "testimony", their feelings.  Mormons contend that they received a confirmation from God in their hearts that Mormonism is true.  The problem with this is, that their testimony contradicts the Bible.  But, when you put feelings above scripture, it doesn't matter.

Greg: Hi. I visited your site the other day and I just had some questions.
Matt: Okay.
Greg: I was just wondering what the purpose of the site is.
Matt: To glorify God, get people out of cults, and equip Christians.
Greg: So it's not actually to teach people true beliefs about different churches?
Matt: Of course it is. What church do you go to?
Greg: Well, I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about a year ago
Matt: Thought so... and you believe it?
Greg: Before either of us say anything more, I really don't want this to be any sort of argument and I don't want anything said that would offend either of us
Matt: No problem.
Greg: Ok. Thanks. I really have no problem with anybody disagreeing with what I believe, but I would hope that it's for the right reasons and I really don't think that the web site explains my church's beliefs fully and truthfully.
Matt: I understand...
Greg: like, when I was reading the page about what Mormons believe, a lot of the things were not explained or taken out of context.
Matt: It was intended to be brief.... but... it is accurate....
Greg: And I mean, the KKK uses passages from the Bible to support their beliefs, but everybody understands that they're taking them out of context
Greg: All I really wanted to say was that if you want something even shorter about what Mormons believe, here's the 13 Articles of Faith. You should go to the LDS web site and read them. And I hope that you would take the opportunity to better understand other's beliefs
Matt: I'm sorry... but there is a lot you do not understand about this issue...
Greg: Like what
Matt: Like God, for example.... When your articles say you believe in one God, that isn't true.
Greg: In what way?
Matt: There is a goddess mother in Mormonism, Jesus is a god as well. The Holy Spirit is another god...that's four if you include God the Father himself. So what you are doing is misrepresenting yourselves. You use the right words, but have the wrong meaning.
Greg: As far as the trinity, many Christians believe in that.
Matt: Nope. Not so.
Matt: Mormonism does not teach the Trinity. Mormonism teaches a triad... quite different. The Trinity is ONE God. A triad is three gods.
Matt: There is only one god in the universe according to the Bible. But, Mormonism contradicts that.
Greg: Actually the Old Testament talks of others.
Matt: It speaks of false gods.
Greg: It's not until later in the Old Testament that God is not just the best god but the only one
Matt: No. That is not true.
Matt: Isaiah 44:6 says, "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I m the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me."
Matt: Isaiah 44:8 says, "Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none."
Matt: God says there is no other God... that he doesn't even know of any others. Therefore, there is only one God.
Greg: Well, I really don't see this going anywhere now, but all I want is you to not misrepresent the church.
Matt: Could it be that your church is misrepresenting Christianity?
Greg: Well, I wouldn't be a member if that were any type of issue with me. I took a lot of time in deciding.
Matt: You decided based upon what they told you and the way they told you. Sure, they are nice. But, are they true? Can you really become a god? Is there really a goddess mother in heaven? Was God really a man on another world at one time?
Matt: Do you believe these things?
Greg: And you know? Whatever arguments you have, there's nothing you can say that would contradict the feeling it gives me when I read scriptures. And everything about it feels amazing to me.
Matt: But, the Bible says not to trust your feelings.
Greg: Where? And it what context?
Matt: Jer. 17:9 says, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?"
Matt: Mormonism wants you to trust feelings. But God wants you to trust His word.
Greg: But what about faith?
Matt: Faith is only as good as who you place it in. Faith in something false is powerless to save.
Matt: God says to trust His word...
Matt: Acts 17:11, "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so."
Greg: But how do you get his word -- you don't get it written in the sky. It's a feeling.
Matt: The Word is the Bible. The Mormons have told you it is a feeling. God has told you to compare truth to His word, the Bible. Who are you going to listen to?
Greg: I read the Bible, and I agree with it, but what is really amazing is how I feel when I read it. I believe it is a feeling.
Matt: You are using feelings to judge that feelings are true.
Matt: God's word says that there are no other gods, that you cannot become a god... etc. Therefore, Mormonism is wrong.
Greg: You said that Mormons have told me it is a feeling and I'm saying it's me who thinks that, even before I had any clue what Mormons taught.
Matt: Mormons very often use the "feeling" thing as a way to get you to agree with them. They often say, "How do you feel about this"... at least the missionaries I've spoken to have said this countless times over the years.
Greg: Well, I don't think that religion should be totally intellectual. Is it wrong to feel love from God?
Matt: Not at all. Is it wrong to believe what God has said in the Bible?
Greg: No not at all. But how can you say it's right to feel love from God when you say it's wrong to trust feelings.
Matt: Feeling love and trusting feelings are different.
Matt: It is good to feel love. But is it wise to trust a feeling about spiritual truth when God says the heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9)?
Greg: But the whole thing about other gods and everything you disagree with is so much bigger than what God tells us about this world. In this world, right he is the only god.
Matt: Other gods? Then read this... Gal. 4:8, "However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods."
Matt: 1 Cor. 8:5-6, "For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him."
Matt: Notice how Paul says they are "so-called" gods and that they are not really gods by nature.
Greg: I really believe that God gives us what we can handle. First there were the beliefs in the Old Testament for those people. Then Jesus came along and perfected that. And so why is it so outrageous for Joseph Smith to perfect it even more?
Matt: Really? And you trust Joseph Smith?
Greg: Yes
Matt: Would you trust someone who said he'd done more to keep a church together than even Jesus?
Greg: Well, I would like to see where that was actually said and in what context.
Matt: Joseph Smith said, "God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil--all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet . . . " (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408-409).
Matt: Joseph Smith said this. He boasted mightily. This is the man you are trusting to tell you spiritual truth.
Matt: Joseph Smith also said, "A question may be asked, Will mothers have their children in eternity?' Yes! Yes! Mothers, you shall have your children." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, page 10). "Eternity is full of thrones, upon which dwell thousands of children reigning on thrones of glory, with not one cubit added to their stature." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 10).
Matt: and he said, "I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods." (Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith p. 370).
Greg: Well, I would like to see that in the book first of all, but even if that's what he said, why is it so horrible if Latter-day Saints have believed him more than people did in Jesus' time. What is wrong about that?
Matt: But the Bible says in Isaiah 45:5, "I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God...."
Greg: You know, I really don't see this getting anywhere.
Matt: But Smith boasted he did more than Jesus to keep a church together. Doesn't that bother you?
Greg: You don't know with what inflection of voice he said that.
Matt: It doesn't matter, God says that pride goes before a fall. Joseph died one month later.
Greg: You definitely haven't convinced me of anything, I haven't you, so I don't see any point in this. All I wanted was to show you a site where the beliefs are explained more
Matt: I understand. But I think you need to examine God's word more completely.
Greg: Well I think the same about you
Matt: Eternity is a long time to be wrong.
Greg: And I agree
Matt: Please, check the references and get back with me. Okay?
Greg: Ok, but I would hope that you would look through the site I gave you
Matt: I already have.