During my week in Salt Lake City, I noticed over and over again, on certain issues when individual Latter Day Saints (LDS) lacked answers and they refused to admit it. They primarily utilized certain escape statements. The favorite Mormon response to difficult questions was “I believe it to be true by faith.” When I raised questions all week about how archeology demonstrates the Book of Mormon has no historical support (no artifacts, no actual cities, no ancient transcripts, no Hebrew DNA) this was their standard reply. Even though they believe the Book of Mormon to be accurate historically, when shown there is no historical evidence they say “I believe it to be true by faith.” They make no effort to present counter evidence; they simply make this faith statement and feel they’ve given an adequate answer. When I’ve ask them if the lack of evidence bothers them, they quickly respond no. They say I don’t need evidence for their faith. What kind of faith is this?
This is certainly not Biblical faith. Biblical faith is a conviction supported by knowledge. Knowledge can be defined as justified true belief. The writer of Hebrews says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) Biblical faith is not a leap in the dark. The writer used words like substance (or assurance) and evidence in regards to spiritual issues. The substance of our beliefs is based on knowledge. Evidence in support of our faith forms the basis for our beliefs. Biblical faith is trusting in the truth; it is not wishing it to be so.
However, Mormon faith is a blind leap into darkness. This blind faith has no foundation in truth and is used primarily as a means of escape. “I believe it by faith” has been taught to them since they were kids. I wonder if as adults they find this answer intellectually satisfies them.
Another escape used by many Mormons is to say, “I know in my heart the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this statement in response to my questions about the Book of Mormon. This is another statement that has been drilled into their minds since they were kids. They feel they don’t have to answer your question; they just have to repeat this statement and that satisfies them. The feeling in their heart is their test of all truth.
This weak response is based on a few verses from Moroni 10:3-5, which talks about praying whether or not something is true. God will reveal to the truth to the individual in the form of feelings. I have been asked to pray over the Book of Mormon multiple times. Are feelings a good test of truth? Should we pray over whether or not murder is wrong?
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5 that we should test all things and hold on to the good. It doesn’t say pray over all things and God will make them true. As Christians we realize praying over the Book of Mormon will not get rid of the factual contradictions. There are almost 4,000 corrections to the Book of Mormon; a book Joseph Smith said was the most correct book on earth. You could ask the Mormon, will my prayers cover those errors? What do I do about the missing archeological evidence? Will those go away if I pray over them? Should I ignore the evidence and trust my feelings? Is this your test of truth? These are all good questions to ask the Mormon at your door.
As Christians we know that all beliefs every once in a while are going to be challenged with good questions. Haven’t you been in a conversation where you couldn’t answer the question? This doesn’t mean your beliefs are false. We couldn’t possibly know everything about God and the universe. What should we do? It is appropriate to say I don’t know and I will get back to you. If I find I have been incorrect about an issue I need to admit I was wrong and make appropriate adjustments to my belief system. This is the intellectually honest thing to do.
However, many Mormons won’t do this. I’ve asked Latter Day Saints if I show your beliefs are false would you leave the church. They’ve answered no; the religion has helped them too much. They would rather cling to Mormonism by faith, in spite of the counter evidence.
Next time you get into a conversation with a Mormon don’t be surprised when they can’t answer you they will use a standard line of escape. The evidence against their belief system is overwhelming; this why they continually make an appeal to feelings; in their mind feelings trump truth. We need to help them understand a blind faith is no faith and they need to follow the one true Jesus. He is the only one who can lead them out of the darkness of Mormonism. Only Biblical faith in Jesus can we spend eternity in heaven with the Triune God. A blind leap of faith won’t get you there.