Mormons typically challenge non-Mormons to pray about the Book of Mormon and ask God if it’s true. What’s the best way to respond when put in this situation?
Mormons commonly give their personal testimonies when they’re asked how they can be so sure that the Book of Mormon is true. Citing a passage in the Book of Mormon itself, Mormons promise that you can have the same inner assurance — they call it the “burning in the bosom” — if you simply pray to God about it. Furthermore, James 1:5 is regularly quoted to argue that the Bible supports the practice of praying to God in order to confirm the truth of Mormonism. Well, next time you’re confronted in this fashion, there are a number of things you can do.
First, tell Mormons that James 1:5 can’t be legitimately quoted when they urge non-Mormons to pray about the Book of Mormon. The obvious reason is that the passage talks about Christians asking God for wisdom when they’re facing trials and temptations. It has absolutely nothing to do with praying for some sort of revelation to determine the truth of the Mormon church or the book of Mormon.
Second, you may also want to explain that praying about the Book of Mormon is unnecessary because God’s answer has already been revealed by the Bible. You can show, for example, that there is no need to pray about Sun Myung Moon’s counterfeit book entitled Divine Principle, because it, too, obviously contradicts Scripture. Point out that passages like 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and Acts 17:11 instruct us to test all things by the Word of God, rather than relying solely on our own feelings.
Third, you, too, can offer a testimony — that is to say, your testimony concerning the truth of the Bible and the historic orthodox Christian faith. Share your own inner assurance about having eternal life with God, mentioning such passages as John 5:24 and Romans 8:38-39. By combining the subjective element of your personal experience with the strategic response when asked to pray about the Book of Mormon. And remember, you need not only to be equipped to deal with the deviations of the Mormon church; you also must be prepared to sensitively and effectively communicate the Good News that salvation is not by works but, rather, by grace alone through faith in Christ. We are saved by grace, and by grace alone; we are saved unto good works (Eph. 2:8-10).
On praying about the Book of Mormon and the “burning in the bosom,” that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.