Burning in the Bosom
This article came about because of an e-mail I received last month (November 2008). Someone wrote in to comment about another article I wrote called “Mormon Lifestyles”.
The person who wrote in kept telling me they “feel” that my article wasn’t telling the whole truth. That part of his e-mail led into the subject we’re discussing now; feelings.
The LDS Church has taught and continues to teach it is important to rely upon your feelings to know if something is from God or if it’s not from God. They get this from Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-9. We want to know – is this really biblical? It is from verse eight they get the phrase “burning in the bosom” so let’s look at this in context.
“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. 8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. 9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.”
The above passage is part of a supposed revelation from God to Joseph Smith meant for Oliver Cowdery. In Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants 1:85 it tells us that Cowdery didn’t have sufficient faith to translate the symbols with the Urim and Thummim, thus the chastisement from the Lord.
The “commentary” on this part of Doctrine and Covenants goes into detail describing how Cowdery didn’t know his place as being a scribe and should seek out God by paying attention to the feelings in his heart. But what of our passage mentioned above? Are we really expected to “study it out in our minds” and then wait for a “burning in the bosom”? If this is really the case then certainly we can find evidence of such an important subject in the Bible, right?
Oswald Chambers once talked about “taking possession of our own soul”. His message was taken from Luke 21:19. He was describing the new life we live when we first get saved and as time goes by slipping back into our old selves again. The one thing that caught my attention was when he said we shouldn’t always be blaming Satan for circumstances around us as they are usually a result of actions we take because of our moods. Here’s an excerpt from that sermon;
“There are certain things in life that we need not pray about—moods, for instance. We will never get rid of moodiness by praying, but we will by kicking it out of our lives. Moods nearly always are rooted in some physical circumstance, not in our true inner self.”
So are the “feel good feelings” from reading the Book of Mormon because it’s true, or because as my mother pointed out one day it reminds her of grandpa? I am led to believe it’s the latter; and this of course is spiritual suicide.
In addition to this passage the Mormon missionaries will also tell you to pray about Moroni 10:4-6;
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.”
Again, how can we trust our own heart? What if we’re just not in the mood to go to church and worship God or do good things for those around us? What if the feeling for being obnoxious was strong in our hearts? These two examples are ways of denying Christ so how can you be sure of what to do without the word of God who has already established what is holy and righteous? Proverbs 28:26 says;
“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
We must distinguish nice memories in our childhood from truth and sadly enough the truth is that grandpa wasn’t leading his family into the arms of Jesus Christ. For this topic the four key words to look at in this verse would be “trusteth”, “heart”, “fool” and “wisely”.
“Trusteth” in the Hebrew is “baòtÖach” (pronounced baw-takh’) means to “hie for refuge”.
(Isn’t it just like our Lord to place this particular word here to firmly remind us that our refuge is found in His word and absolutes?)
The Hebrew word for fool is “kesŒòyl” (pronounced kes-eel). It means stupid or silly.
The word for heart is “leòb” (pronounced labe). It can literally mean your physical heart or in this case, your mind or intellect.
The last word is wisely. The Hebrew word is “chokmaòh” (pronounced khok-maw’). In the English this means wisdom or wit.
So this verse means “those who takes refuge in his own mind/intellect is stupid or silly, but those who follow with wisdom will be saved”. Imagine; it has nothing to do with your mood, a feeling or a physical sensation!
What if the burning in the bosom is a result of hanging out with friends who are supportive when you’re following their agenda? Dr. Walter Martin once said; “Don’t explain Christianity by experiential reasoning but through demonstrative explanation”. I can personally vouch that goose-bump moments come and go with the wind; God’s truth stands forever.
You can read more of my “proof” on this subject in my own testimony. It stands as a clear example that our behaviors can and do change. In April of 1984 I actually spat on Ed Decker. Besides being very unladylike, not to mention gross, God still performs miracles. I hadn’t been active in the Church for two years at the point I made a lame attempt at defending Mormonism and I didn’t even agree with half of what they taught by that time. I couldn’t articulate why I didn’t agree with it; I just knew something was wrong and I wasn’t looking forward to being eternally pregnant. For thirty years the “burning in the bosom” fueled my behavior in defending a lie.
Christians live out their faith based on what is known, not by what they feel is right.
Here is an excerpt from my response to the person who e-mailed us.
“We make a confession of faith based on the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came here to die for our sins and then was resurrected on the third day so that we may have eternal life. People aren’t given a “general salvation” because He died. Those who believe are seen as pure and clean because of His death and our subsequent individual commitment made on decisions, not feelings.
Faith is different from feelings. Faith is based upon what you know to be true. The old adage of knowing the chair is going to withstand your weight when you sit in it is a classic example of faith. Feelings change from day to day because of human emotions and cannot, nor should they, be trusted.”
A few questions for members of the LDS Church:
If you trust the burning in the bosom theory how do you feel about polygamy today?
How are you going to feel about it when/if you are in heaven?
How’s your spouse going to feel about it?
How do you feel knowing Joseph Smith wouldn’t be receiving a temple recommend if he was alive today?
What about blacks?
Should they be in the Church?
How do you feel with a black president?
You see, the “feeling good” standard has no standing in God’s righteous holy ways. God is unchanging. Now the Church members all say the same thing; “Oh the “anti’s” all beat on the same topics all the time, they can’t come up with anything new…” The reason we “anti’s” do this is because God hasn’t changed. His plans haven’t changed, His righteous ways haven’t changed, but mankind has changed.
Where in the Bible does God condone polygamy?
Where in the Bible does God condemn the black race?
Where in the Bible did God say it was okay to murder babies?
Abortion is murder so why is it acceptable in this world and even in Mormonism?
Ensign, November 1998, pg. 71; “Abortion is an ugly thing, a debasing thing, a thing which inevitably brings remorse and sorrow and regret…While we denounce it, we make allowance in such circumstances as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have serious defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.”
If by this standard I had followed the counsel of doctors and the leaders in my church (LDS), my kids wouldn’t be here. In the summer of 1990 military doctors told me to abort my oldest daughter Jacqui, she’s seventeen years old now. They were convinced they couldn’t find a steady heartbeat for two appointments in a row. They felt that something could be wrong with her future health. Jacqui was born with her father’s engineering mind, graduates from high school this year and is planning on attending college in Germany to become a missionary for troubled teens. She is working towards her pilot’s license, plays violin and the guitar. She started a Bible study at the public school she attends after years of it being non-existent. I cannot imagine my life without her presence each day and aside from an occasional cold, she’s in perfect health.
Axi, my sixteen year old would also be dead. She gets straight A’s, sings in choir at school, sings and plays piano for the youth group at church, attends Bible studies and is a source of joy every day of my life. Her crime? In 1992 Axi was born with a cleft lip and palate and a slight heart murmur. The doctors told me it’d be understandable if I chose to abort and would arrange for my wishes to be carried through. Because a test for Lyme disease came back with a false positive they were convinced she’d have horrible birth defects and serious problems.
God tells us in Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill”; this of course is the sixth commandment! By the way, the Lyme disease test showed a false positive because I have Multiple Sclerosis.
What if I had felt it’d be too much for me to bear?
What about Axi?
What about God?
God knows and understands the daily emotional mountains we face each day, that’s why He gave us His word. Psalm 119:105 says; “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (The first verse Jacqui memorized.) His promises are meant to be a constant source of comfort to us when life presents us with new emotions or questions. The Bible isn’t just a source of mistranslated old works. God has given you a gift and the Mormon Church has tricked you into believing it’s a mistake!
You must test the Mormon “scripture” and see if it lines up with what God says in the Bible. If it doesn’t then you must walk away, as difficult as that may be and usually is, God will give you peace that passes understanding; I’m living proof! Phil. 4:7.
Now even more important than our mortal life is the eternal life that’s at stake when we place our trust in our own heart. While murder is obviously a horrible sin it pales in comparison to living outside of God’s presence for eternity just because you trusted in your own feelings.
If you’re LDS please know that we’re praying for you and know also that you’re not alone!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18