Mormons: Is a burning in the bosom really the best way to discern truth from error?

In Acts 17:11, Paul commended the Bereans for searching the Scriptures to see if what was being said was true. Why didn't Paul recommend seeking a physical feeling to discern truth?

Have you ever had something "feel" like it was true at some point in your life, only to discover later it wasn't? Remember in Judges 17:6 where it mentions that "men did that which was right in their own eyes"? And what about Proverbs 14:12 where it says "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Both of these passages were written about times when God's laws had been shoved aside and replaced with subjectivism.

I ask this question because it seems to me that a "burning in the bosom" is subjective at best and downright unreliable at worst. It's like regulating one's life by a coin toss.

9 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    What I find interesting is the thought that a feeling is unreliable. This idea I believe is a direct result of an attempt to discredit Joseph Smith's teachings.

    Our entire existence is based on decisions we make based on feelings. There are some out there that actually question the feelings we have, I find this astonishing. Certainly some feelings are correct and some are incorrect. But a human makes every decision based on a feeling, every one.

    2+2=4, when I answer that question I FEEL it is the right answer!

    When we rely upon God, or prayer, then it is common sense to realize that a majority of our decisions will be more correct, but still not every one. God doesn't lead us around like a puppet on a string. He doesn't make all our decisions for us, and sometimes a wrong decision is a learning experience that we need to go through.

    The real irony of this question is that if I don't base my decisions on something within me (a feeling), then there are only 2 alternatives. Have someone else make the decision for me or to toss a coin!

  • 5 years ago

    You are confused as to what the "burning bosom" is and feels. It is not an emotion...it is something that you feel just like you would feel the softness of a cats fur. It isn't an emotional feeling it is more of a physical feeling. See the difference? When the Holy Ghost testifies to you, sometimes it feels like your spirit is too big for your body and is trying to get out. If you haven't felt this...it is really hard to describe any better. But it isn't an emotion. It is a knowledge.

  • April
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Well, a person can make the wrong choice by choosing what they want instead of really doing what God is telling them would be best. The burning in the bosom is accurate, and you'll know that is the true answer. That is the power of the Holy Ghost, given to us when we are baptised and confirmed members of the church. When you ask God with a sincere heart, really looking for the truth, then he'll let you know what is right, and you'll know that he's answering your prayer.

    Source(s): A member of the LDS church
  • Clover
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    You have to search ponder and then pray.

    The "burning in the bosom" is something unlike any other thing felt. It can be mild or strong as I have had it both ways. It is something that you learn to recognize. Sometimes it is so powerful that there is no "learning" to recognize. You just know because it is so strong.

    A person must have a pure heart and a desire for righteousness. A person who wants to be right is not going to be led. A person who has never had a relationship with God, tho they consider themselves religious because they study scripture, is not going to be led by this Spirit. A humble, submissive, pure hearted person is the one that receives this proof most often from God.

    PS 39:3 My heart was hotwithin me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,

    JER 20: 9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

    This one is my favorite. The apostles did not recognize Christ as he taught them from the scriptures at first. After considering that burning of the bosom which burning they recognized, which you think is unreliable, they then KNEW who he was and that they SHOULD have recognized him because of that burning.

    LK 24: 32 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?

    The reason why the "burning" is subjective and unreliable to you is because you have not had it happen to you. If you had, you would not make a post like this discounting the power of the Spirit. Paul had a lot of advice for us and you quote a few things but Paul received revelation about who Christ was, undeniable proof, which was accompanied by the power of the Spirit (burning). When he heard/saw what he did while traveling along the road, he knew without a doubt the source of this revelation. When you have it happen to you, it speaks to your whole body and soul, not just your ears.

    Jesus taught many people in person and not all believed him just because he spoke. That Spirit which burns within the heart, only burns in the hearts of the pure in heart.

    "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"

    The way that they know and see God and truth is by that burning that accompanies them as they read, study, hear, and understand a true thing.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The reason for Paul encouraging someone to read a scripture is to get them to consider his point of view. If you think that you can know the truth just form physical evidence, the philosophies of other men and reading the scriptures, you are just fooling yourself. Spiritual knowledge can only come form God, The reason a person condemns revelation as a means of receiving guidance is becasue they have not experienced it themselves. Thiose who have experiences true revelation KNOW.

    From the last chapter of Book of Mormon " And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever". "and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God".

    Also, Christ said "An evil and adulterous generations seeketh for a sign".

  • 1 decade ago

    There is nothing objective about one's faith. You either have it or you don't. You can say that Proverbs 14:12 is telling Mormons that they're wrong, but I see it as the exact opposite.

    The Bereans, before they searched the scriptures, received what was said with all readiness of mind. That doesn't sound to me like scepticism and doubt. It doesn't sound like they search the scriptures to make sure it's wrong.

  • 1 decade ago

    If 99 times out of a hundred, the spirit told you which way the coin toss would go, you would grow to trust it. I have had literally hundreds of spiritual experiences. I know for a fact that there is a God who answers prayers and gives direction.

    "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

    Matthew 16:17

    "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?"

    Luke 24:32

    "Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:"

    Acts 1:2

    "7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

    8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

    9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."

    Acts 15

    It is through the witness of the Holy Ghost that men gain a sure knowledge.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Either that or your body is trying to reject the implants

  • 1 decade ago

    It is not a physical feeling at all, it is a spiritual feeling. Jesus talks about it and the apostles later recognized it...

    Luke 24

    25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

    26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

    27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

    28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

    29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

    30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

    31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

    32 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?

    2 Corinthians 3

    2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

    3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

    Acts 5

    32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

    33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

    34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;

    35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.

    36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.

    37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

    38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

    39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

    Luke 9

    49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.

    50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

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