Tag Archives: Biola Univrsity

Is having a burning bosom a good test for truth in religion?

Here’s a good post from Biola University professor Clay Jones.

He’s talking about how Mormons embrace Mormonism because of a burning in their bosom. (A subjective feeling) In the quote below, I reproduce the main thrust of the post – which he makes as part of his conversation with some Mormon missionaries. If you ever run into Mormons, this might help you.


I pointed out that the Mormons base the truth of their religion on a subjective personal experience—namely, they base the truth of Mormonism on praying a prayer to ask God whether the Book of Mormon is trustworthy and if they get a warm feeling, which is described in some of their works a “a burning in the bosom,” then they conclude that Mormonism is true. They agreed.

I said that we evangelicals base our faith in historic Christianity on the evidence of Jesus being raised from the dead.

[…]But then I pointed out that the Mormons base their beliefs on a subjective personal experience that has led them to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that historic Christianity is mistaken, that there was a great falling away, that there are many gods, that Mormons one day believe that they are going to become gods (just the males, actually), and that the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods still function today (they didn’t disagree with even one word of this). I explained that you couldn’t get any of these ideas from the New Testament.

He goes to explain why subjective experiences are unreliable for determining truth.

When facing Mormons, and other cults, I also argue against subjectivism. But I supplement that with evidence. For Mormons, I use scientific evidence for the creation of the universe out of nothing. Mormons think that the matter in the universe existed eternally. They don’t accept the Big Bang theory! So you just roll through the scientific advances, show that the cause of the universe was non-physical, eternal, powerful and endowed with free will (to create an effect in time without antecedent conditions), and that’s the end of that.

I think that people in cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Science have similar ways of forming their beliefs. They just filter out evidence falsifying their religion. JWs made all kinds of silly predictions about the end of the world that are not true – they’re false prophets, in other words. And Christian Science thinks that Jesus didn’t actually die, which no credentialed historian believes. (Just like Islam)

UPDATE: ECM freaked out at me and he demands that I say that Mormons are my political allies on every issue. I just want to point out that this is true, although Mitt Romney is nothing but a big fat RINO.