Note from Tim: This is a guest post from a long-time investigator of Mormonism. He and I have been conversing about having prayers answered. He had so many good questions on the subject I suggested he write them up for general discussion on the blog. He agreed. I hope you will be kind and consider his sincerity.
Some Shall Be Cast Out
I have studied Christian Universalism much of my adult life. I believe or hope God wants to save all His creations. I don’t want to believe some of God’s creatures will be eternally and irrevocably cast out into a state of unending torment as we read in the Book of Mormon:
“… in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord; Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation.” (Hel 12:25-26)
I would like to believe the Amalekites were right when they said, “…Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men.” (Alma 21:6) It seems to me Helaman also wanted to believe it: “…I would that all men might be saved…” (Hel 12:25.)
A Difficult Doctrine to Accept
This idea of being cast out is much more clearly taught in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants than anywhere in the Old and New Testament. This has made it very hard for me to believe these scriptures and thus, to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet.
There are things he said and taught – things I can read in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants – I don’t really want to believe are true.
Does that mean I don’t have a sincere heart? (Moroni 10:4)
Is this why I haven’t received a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon?
Maybe, I don’t know.
I only know I pray every day, and I sometimes get very confused.
Investigating Mormonism has meant not only looking at your scriptures, but looking inside at my own feelings, and outside at things that could be promptings.
What Do You Consider a Prompting?
If I sneeze, could God be telling me that what I just said or what I just heard or read someone else saying is true?
If I accidentally bite my tongue, could God be telling me what I just said was a lie or untrue?
If something I read online contains spelling errors, could God be telling me that it contains more serious doctrinal errors?
And even if such things mean nothing of themselves, what if they seem to mean something to me at a given time?
Does that make it a prompting?
I seem to get mixed signals, and don’t know how to interpret them, but then, maybe I have OCD. Has anyone here ever seen the TV show, Monk?
So Many Questions I Want to Ask
For example, if Muhammad were alive and claiming here online today he was given a divine revelation by the angel Gabriel, what would you ask him to know it was really Gabriel who came to him?
We are told to prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good. (1 Thess 5:21) If he said Gabriel shook his hand, how would you interpret that in light of D&C 129? Did Gabriel visit Muhammad?
Likewise, when you make claims online that you have received revelation, what should I ask you so I can know for myself? Is it okay to ask you how you received revelation?
Is it okay to ask you specific details about where you were, what you were doing, and if praying, what questions you asked and how exactly you knew it was God who answered you?
Teach me. So many Mormons talk about revelation and testimonies and such and yet, I can’t seem to duplicate the process no matter how hard I try. What am I doing wrong?