Usually out of high school, young Mormon men will live for two years, postponing college or work or marriage for the sake of sharing Mormon theology. They work from dawn until dusk knocking on doors and conducting Bible studies. Upon doing so, they will usually invite the participate to read Mormon literature, that is, they will provide a pamphlet and then they will provide the Book of Mormon for you to read. They will invite you to pray and ask God if this revelation is really the truth. This raises the question: should Christians pray about the Book of Mormon?
When I say that they want Christians to pray about the Book of Mormon, I mean that they want us to pray and see if they receive good feelings from one of the gods (Mormons believe in multiple gods). If they receive good feelings from one of the gods, then this will confirm that this revelation is indeed from them. That is why many Mormons are unable to justify their belief in Mormon theology, because it often comes down to their good feelings rather than what is true. As a proof-text for this epistemology, they will say that the Holy Spirit (one of the gods) is referred to as the Comforter (John 14:16), and thus, since he provides one good feeling, we can expect him to provide other good feelings.
Is this a valid approach to coming to know biblical truths? Do we find examples of this in the Bible? Should Christians pray about the Book of Mormon?
Should Christians pray about the Book of Mormon? No. It is an insult to God. Suppose your in-laws came over to stay for the weekend, and while they were in your house, $100 went missing from your father-in-laws wallet. This obviously distressed you, because that means that somebody in your house stole from him. Then you overhear them talking, and you find that the couple suspects that you are the one who stole it. What a grievous insult to your character. Later, your spouse comes to you and asks you, “did you steal this money?” Even worse, because this person should know you and trust you. You are in a relationship together. They should know that you would never steal money, much less from your own father-in-law. But then your spouse comes to you repeatedly asking, “did you take the money?” several times a day, assuring you, “I just need to know. Please tell me if you took it. We can work through it.”
I would like to suggest that you would find this offensive and hurtful. In exactly the same way, when we come to God and ask him if the Book of Mormon is true, we are calling his character into question. For a Christian to pray about whether the Book of Mormon is true is a grievous affront against the character to of God. Just as your wife is asking if you are a thief, so we are asking God if he is a liar. We become like the spouse who asked repeatedly if you stole money.
There are certain things that God has already answered. We do not need to ask if there are multiple gods, as the Mormons believe, because God tells us (Isaiah 43:10), “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” Should Christians pray about the Book of Mormon? No. Further counsel is unnecessary and for us to ask if there really are multiple gods is to ask God if he lied in his word.
Should Christians pray about the Book of Mormon? It is not a biblical practice. When Jesus and the apostles wanted to resolve a theological quarry, they did not say, “pray and see if God reveals to you that this is true.” Jesus said, “Have you not read?” (Matthew 19:4). Jesus appealed to the Scripture, because the Scripture testified of him and the Scripture was the ultimate authority about what God had said. Jesus said of the Pharisees which can be rightly applied to the Mormons, “Thus you nullify the word of God by the tradition that you have handed down.” (Mark 7:13). Tradition must conform to the Scripture.
That is precisely what we see the apostles doing. When Paul was reasoning with men, he told them the turn to the Scripture, and the Bereans were noble because they studied the Scripture daily to see if what they were saying really was true (Acts 17:11). That is the practice, that is how we determine truth: if it aligns with what the word of God says. Even if somebody comes performing miracles, but preaches that we are to follow other gods, we must not follow them (Deuteronomy 13:1-4). If an angel comes down but preaches a gospel that differs from the apostles gospel, the curse of God is upon them (Galatians 1:8).
Thus the authority for men is not the good feelings that we receive. The authority is not even miracles or even angelic figures from heaven. The authority for men is that which proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). That is why Paul wrote (2 Timothy 3:16-17), “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
Should Christians pray about the Book of Mormon? No. For us to pray about whether the Book of Mormon is true would be an affront against God’s character and an assault against his righteousness. God does not lie. If the Book of Mormon is true, it follows necessarily that God lied in his word. That is why it is not a biblical practice to simply pray and see what feelings we receive. We test the spirits by their behavior (Matthew 7:15-20) and by how they align with the word of God (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
If you would like to get in on the discussion about this, join my Theology Discussion Group!