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. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is—Moroni 10:4-6, Book of Mormon
- Main Article About the Book of Mormon
The Criticism? Edit
Christian critics object to the principle that their adherents should pray about the book of Mormon. They insist one does not pray and ask about the Book of Mormon, but rather dismiss it automatically as “false" and you ought not to pray about some subjects. This perspective believe by critics has lead to various denominational Christian organisations issuing media and advice not to pray on the subject, eg; Alabama Baptists once issued a poster saying “Don’t pray about the Book of Mormon; that’s how they convert you!”. Some Christians may also attempt to dismiss praying about the Book of Mormon as a "psycological trap".
Now, oddly enough on this "Christian" perspective, we question. Why do they not want people to pray about it, are they scared of an answer? Are they denying the Power of Prayer?
The Ministries responseEdit
On the perspective of believing in god, this criticism is ridiculous. One cannot simultaneously hold faith in the powers of prayer and that prayers receive gradual answers, whilst also believing that the usage of prayer in itself is a subtle “Brainwashing” technique which can be used to help convert someone into what you would claim is a “fraud”. Already you can see contradictive points in this criticism as explained further below:
What does the Bible tell us about prayer?Edit
Obviously, those under the self righteous field of “Christian Apologetics” and those belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints hold similar concepts of prayer. The exact method of prayer does not matter, but what does is that they would agree on the following areas:
- We should pray and ask of god to receive wisdom towards to our questions in life (James 1:5)
- All things that you ask in prayers will receive answers (Jer 29: 12-13), (John 14: 13-14), (John 16:23-24), (Matthew 7:7), (John 15:7), (Mark 11:24), (Luke 11:10)
- We should pray with faith (James 1:6)
- Answers will be given to us by the manifestation of the Holy Ghost (Gal 3:2, 14), (Acts 8:15), (Hebrews 6:4), (John 14:26 ), (1 Corinthians 2:10)
As we can say, the areas of prayer both parties agree on are both quoted numerous times throughout the New Testament. So ultimately, it is a safe and established concept to ask questions to god throughout prayer, and it is an established belief that answers will be given. However despite this, they attribute to praying about the Book of Mormon on a different perspective, and say it is “brainwashing” despite it being completely contradictive of all the points and verses stated above. If the lord promises always promises us an answer, and he cannot lie then we are ought to believe his word to us. If Christian critics feel one should not pray about the Book of Mormon, then they are A) Attempting to deny an answer and contradicting their own belief or B) Attempting to accuse the Lord of Dishonesty.
If a critic attributes the process to be false and “brainwashing”, then do they attribute prayers to be of god? Because regardless if the Book of Mormon is true or not, then a prayer would still be addressing god and asking him a question. Because the person who asks is usually curious to know being unsure of the answer (an investigator of the church), and prays because they want to know (they pray in faith), then they are asking an honest question to the lord regardless of the viewpoint. Now, they are usually not stuck heavily by either of the opinions below, to the point that the viewpoint will influence their prayer and thus answer:
- A determination that the Book of Mormon is an absolute fraud
- A determination that the Book of Mormon is the sole work of God
Regardless, there have been numerous occasions where numerous investigators, who have been honest in their question and unsure, have prayed within faith and received a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. Now, how is that answer false as christian critics put it? People have prayed honestly, they have been given an answer. Then, we come to the point that when mentioning these critics, they are denying gods answer and thus denying those biblical verses above. Which means they do contradict themselves, and thus it creates the impression that “they don’t want people to pray about it, because they don’t want people to realise its true, which makes the situation look rather silly.
So what might they try and say in response?Edit
Christian apologetics still may easily counteract with the statement “I prayed about the Book of Mormon, I received the testimony it’s false.” However in regards to this, we can still criticise this response without “denying the lord”. How? Because ultimately, Christian Critics have a massive prejudice and bias against the Book of Mormon, their viewpoint is that the work is an abomination, and a fraud, and they likely have read a great deal of criticism against the Book to support this viewpoint. If they pray about it, they pray not in faith or honesty because in their minds they still hold this powerful bias against it, meaning they cannot receive a proper answer that “it is true”, because they do not pray for an honest answer, they’re holding one viewpoint and are deluded by their thoughts against the Book. (Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.) (James 4:3)
Therefore, if we read that verse we will learn that those who pray for answers within the complete spite of their own personal desires and prejudice receive nothing. Bare it in mind, this bias can still sometimes apply to faithful members of the church praying for a reconfirmation that is true, however as they have already accepted the Book it quite obviously does not matter, and as we believe the church is true we still believe it would be answered). Hence holding these views into account, I mentioned them both above. (a determination that its right) and a (determination that its wrong)
Now, we’ve lain those views aside. We need to remember that the average investigator may indeed have thoughts about the book, but because of their introduction to the church and the BOM it is highly unlikely they will have any bias, but only curiousity. Hence when they pray, they do pray in honesty for a genuine answer, deluded not by pride and prejudice, they are mostly a neutral party at this point as they are only in the first stages of “conversion”. For they have not read large scale vicious propaganda against the church, and have not been bombarded with a list of reasons to why the “Book of Mormon is true” by missionaries aside from a brief wording and a request that they pray about it and find the answer themselves.
Now as mentioned, a "Christian" shouldn’t try and apply any terms like “Brainwashing” to genuine prayers to god by non-members, they simply cannot do it without contradicting their own beliefs. Therefore, absolutely nothing should be said against the neutral parties who have done so. So if they receive a “testimony that it is true”, we would say it is a genuine testimony and the answer has been given unto them by the Holy Spirit. Of course, the critics will then jump to even further techniques to try and deny that these investigators have a testimony, again using “psychological trap” as a weapon, of course considering the concept of prayer which the investigators have undertook is mentioned so many times in the bible, can you really call it a “trap”? Obviously, this is nothing more than a hypocritical, self contradictive emotionally charged attack.
To conclude, these people receive a genuine testimony that the Book of Mormon is true from the Holy Ghost, and ultimately the critics will do anything they can to try and deny, insult and get round this concept. To them, church is not true in their minds, so this cannot possibly be correct, so there must be another way of explaining it. But, sadly for them the majority of neutral investigators who give an honest and thoughtful prayer to the lord asking if the Book of Mormon is true, receive answers must to the disgruntlement of critics. They can pray within their bias and ask the same thing, but their bias ensures always they will receive no genuine answer. For they cannot halt, crash or overturn the works of god, even if they believe that he is on “their side”. They contradict their own biblical verses (which they claim they apply better than us) in doing so, and thus they also deny the holy Ghost.
I urge those who are weary of the Book of Mormon to pray about it and ask the lord if it is true, and I testify that you will have the truth revealed onto you. Despite what any critic says to paint over such a fact.