By Bill McKeever

Mormonism Research Ministry

Posted:  May 20, 2002

"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."   Moroni 10:4

It is indeed a rarity to finish a discussion with a Mormon without being challenged to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Following numerous discussions regarding the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, I have been asked by the zealous Latter-day Saint to forget what I have learned in order to pray about truth. On several occasions I have asked my LDS acquaintance if praying about the book is going to remove all the evidence which clearly shows this book is not from God.

When I refuse to pray about the Book of Mormon's authenticity, I am often accused of not believing in prayer. The truth is, it is because I do believe in the sacredness of prayer that I don't pray about Joseph Smith's 19th century novel. As a committed Christian who believes explicitly in biblical guidance, I see praying over the Book of Mormon as nothing less than sacrilegious. Nowhere does the Bible ever direct the believing Christian to take any religious book and pray about the truthfulness of its contents.

I recall a conversation I had with a sincere Mormon missionary in my home. He told me he knew the Book of Mormon was true and invited me to pray and know this for myself. I asked him when he came to this conclusion. He said the Holy Ghost revealed this to him when he was eight years old. I explained to him that I was amazed at how he could discern when the Holy Ghost was speaking at such a young age. I am sure many would agree that discerning the will of God can be tricky at times for even the most spiritual of adults. Still, I proceeded to ask if his mother believed the Book of Mormon was true. He said yes. In fact, it appeared that just about everyone close to him believed this as well. I then queried, "How do you know it was not your mother's faith in the book that led you to this conclusion and not the Holy Ghost as you presumed?"

Is it not possible that this Mormon's decision could have been based in wanting to be accepted by his peers rather than a genuine experience with the Holy Ghost? On a broader scope, could it be that many people embrace the Book of Mormon because those they love and trust also believe it? If not, what evidence is used to come to such a conclusion other than pure subjective feelings?

In essence, the test of Moroni 10:4 is a no-win situation. The one who is challenged must accept the book as true otherwise his integrity is placed under suspicion. If a person does accept the challenge (albeit unbiblical as it is) and concludes that the Book of Mormon is not of God, it is obvious to the Mormon that he either did not have a sincere heart, real intent, or a faith in Christ. Otherwise the test would have revealed positive results. Since it is not possible for the book to be wrong, the one who prayed must be wrong.

I have even been told that if a testimony of the Book of Mormon is to be gained, the person must want it to be true. This strikes me as odd given the fact that my faith in the Bible did not come in such a manner. In fact, because of the strong message the Bible had for me as a lost sinner, I didn't want the Bible to be true

Of all people, the Christian should know that the heart of man is desperately wicked and cannot be trusted (Jeremiah 17:9). Because we are sinful creatures, we can be swayed by our emotions and sinful desires. To believe something is true merely because we feel it to be so is no guarantee of truth. Therefore, such a test would never be condoned by the Bible. Proverbs 14:12 tells us, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Clearly, God's Word demonstrates that feelings can be deceptive. Because of this, the sincere truth seeker must base his decisions using more objective means.

Does it not makes sense that if Satan wants people to believe the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture, he would incorporate an unbiblical method in order to come to such a conclusion? The Bible never says to pray about the matter. Instead, I John 4:1 reads, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

Some Mormon missionaries have erroneously told prospective converts that this means we should pray concerning the Book of Mormon. To assume such an interpretation is to ignore the Greek language used by the Apostle John. The word "try" in this verse is the word dok-im-ad-zo which means to examine, prove, or test. When it comes to making a decision of whether or not the Book of Mormon is from God, we are to test what it has to say. If it contradicts what God has already revealed, it fails. The real Holy Spirit will not contradict the Words of the True God. Unfortunately many sincere people fall for this ploy, not heeding the warning set forth by the Apostle John, and have, in essence, "gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon" in an unbiblical manner. It makes perfect sense that the father of lies would employ a false testing standard in order to seduce a person into believing a lie.

Let us look at this from another angle. Ask your LDS friend if it would it be proper to pray whether or not it is permissible to commit murder? adultery? theft? "Of course not," they might answer. "Why?" you ask. "Because the Bible already speaks out against such sins." Exactly. God has already given us His revealed will regarding such matters, and therefore no amount of prayer is going to change that fact. No matter how sincere a person may believe otherwise, anyone who claims God gave him permission to murder, steal, or commit adultery only proves to the one familiar with the Bible that this man did not hear from God.

Why should it be any different when it comes to the Book of Mormon? What difference is it to pray concerning the Book of Mormon if the Bible has already spoken out against it? Do you think the all-knowing God of the Bible is so inept and forgetful that He would approve a book and religion which is diametrically opposed to what He has already revealed? Never! In violating the rules of sacred writ, The Book of Mormon, and Mormonism as a whole, meets the criteria of being 'another gospel.' No amount of semantics or prayer will change the matter.

Though I would not go so far as to charge every Mormon missionary with premeditated deception, I will say that it is highly deceptive of the Mormon Church to use the Book of Mormon as a lure to get people to join the LDS Church. Using the Book of Mormon is the classic bait-and-switch. Many people assume that if the Mormon Church promotes the Book of Mormon, it must surely adhere to its teachings. This is not the case. There are numerous passages in the Book of Mormon which contradict modern Mormon thought.

A person could read the Book of Mormon from 1 Nephi to Moroni and not get an accurate picture of what Mormon doctrine really entails. A person can read the book from cover to cover and never read about the unique doctrines which clearly separate Mormonism from biblical Christianity. (See our "Test Your Knowledge of the Book of Mormon."). Because of this, we strongly urge prospective converts to closely examine every aspect of Mormonism before making a decision to join this organization. To do less would be foolish.


Bill McKeever is the founder of Mormonism Research Ministry, which is a missionary/apologetics organization that was organized for the express purpose of propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to expound the differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity.  This article was reproduced with permission of Mormonism Research Ministry.


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