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In the string @Grunt started about a question by an investigator, the dilemma of how we know when the spiritual sense we have is true--that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us--came up. Immediately my Protestant background kicked in and I thought: sola scriptura. The Bible is the final authority. No prompting of the Spirit will contradict it. Then I considered Catholicism. A friend of mine converted to that faith, and says he no longer claims the right to interpret scripture--that the church leadership has that authority. Then I remembered the beliefs of my friends here. Members do interpret scripture, but they look beyond the Bible. They also follow the modern prophets of the church, sometimes quoting from their speeches and writings.

So...what is the answer when there is uncertainty about a spiritual prompting? Pray? Go to scriptures? Consider the sayings of the prophets? If so, what's the "go to" order?

Edited by prisonchaplain

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11 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Then I remembered the beliefs of my friends here. Members do interpret scripture, but they look beyond the Bible. They also follow the modern prophets of the church, sometimes quoting from their speeches and writings.

So...what is the answer when there is uncertainty about a spiritual prompting? Pray? Go to scriptures? Consider the sayings of the prophets? If so, what's the "go to" order?

Quote

D&C 38:27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

All three must agree.  If they do not, there is doubt.  If you are in doubt, humble yourself and gain certainty from all three.

Edited by zil

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Some gray area here. Interpreting scripture anyone can do through the Holy Ghost. Giving doctrine, or establishing it, only church leaders can do. The gray areas are that a leader can give or expound on doctrine and it may or may not be true. So, it's still up to us, through the Holy Ghost, to discern truth.

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53 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

If so, what's the "go to" order?

The words of the living prophets and the scriptures are confirmed by the Holy Spirit. Living prophets trump dead ones. But one has to know that the so-called "prophet" is, indeed, a prophet.

I'm not sure that answers a "go to" question. None of these things live in a vacuum.

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In the search for knowledge and understanding prayer and the words of the prophets (modern and ancient) are all very important. But at the end of the day it still comes down to the witness of the Spirit to know if you something is true and that you are correctly interpreting it. If we find ourselves having difficulty interpreting or discerning the source of promptings it is usually because we are not sufficiently in tune and we are allowing other sources of influence to cloud ability to receive the desired divine communications. When this happens we need to more fully engage in those activities that will more invite the Holy Ghost into our lives. I think this process is a large part of what it means to come to "know" God.

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1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

In the string @Grunt started about a question by an investigator, the dilemma of how we know when the spiritual sense we have is true--that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us--came up. Immediately my Protestant background kicked in and I thought: sola scriptura. The Bible is the final authority. No prompting of the Spirit will contradict it. Then I considered Catholicism. A friend of mine converted to that faith, and says he no longer claims the right to interpret scripture--that the church leadership has that authority. Then I remembered the beliefs of my friends here. Members do interpret scripture, but they look beyond the Bible. They also follow the modern prophets of the church, sometimes quoting from their speeches and writings.

So...what is the answer when there is uncertainty about a spiritual prompting? Pray? Go to scriptures? Consider the sayings of the prophets? If so, what's the "go to" order?

The Holy Spirit performs many functions, and so not only prompts us to do things, but witnesses of the truth, and comforts, sanctifies, and enlightens us. https://www.lds.org/topics/holy-ghost?lang=eng The scriptures provide examples of each, and the Holy Ghost can bear witness of the truthfulness of the witness they bear and principles they teach.

Your OP seems to be focusing on the function of providing of an authoritative witness, which the Holy Ghost certainly provides, so I will touch only upon that. The scriptures in my mind are also an authoritative witness, but in a slightly different sense in that they witness of the authoritative witness given by the Holy Ghost to and through God’s mortal servants. We can receive an authoritative witness of either and both directly from the Holy Ghost.

I like to borrow Joseph Smith’s words (as in relating Paul’s experience to his) to describe how I know a witness is authoritative, or of the Holy Ghost: “I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it…”

And if I don’t know, I count it as faith, belief or understanding, and I proceed to act in good faith and God will set me straight as soon as I am able to be set straight. To me this advancement from faith/belief/understanding to attitude, behavior and action is at its best in the form of charity (the pure love of Christ in action), which accesses grace (and vice-versa), which is the point of any divinely authoritative witness.

Edited by CV75

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9 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

In the string @Grunt started about a question by an investigator, the dilemma of how we know when the spiritual sense we have is true--that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us--came up. Immediately my Protestant background kicked in and I thought: sola scriptura. The Bible is the final authority. No prompting of the Spirit will contradict it. Then I considered Catholicism. A friend of mine converted to that faith, and says he no longer claims the right to interpret scripture--that the church leadership has that authority. Then I remembered the beliefs of my friends here. Members do interpret scripture, but they look beyond the Bible. They also follow the modern prophets of the church, sometimes quoting from their speeches and writings.

So...what is the answer when there is uncertainty about a spiritual prompting? Pray? Go to scriptures? Consider the sayings of the prophets? If so, what's the "go to" order?

 

I believe your question has more depth than many realize.  If we address this question with any amount of logic – we may quite possibly find our self in an endless labyrinth of contradictions and dead ends.  The reason is quite logical if we understand just a few principles.

The First Principle is that there is truth.  But the problem is; that just as there is truth – there are also lies.  Note that I referenced truth as singular but lies as plural.  This is because; thought truth is singular – lies can be anything else – including something dressed up to look exactly like the truth – or something that looks exactly like the truth we are expecting.  This means that even though we have something we know is different than many other lies – we still may not have the singular truth.  If we are comparing things we may find what we have to be better than thousands of other lies – but that does not make that thing we have – true.

The Second Principle is that there is a G-d of truth that intends and wants us to realize the truth.  The problem is that the G-d of truth has an evil nemesis.  This evil counterpart is Satan and he intends to deceive us into excepting something that is not true as being true.  This second principle of a G-d of truth and a being of deception and lies is critical.  The labyrinth of contradictions I spoke of earlier is the creation of that being that loves and has mastered lies.

The master of lies is constantly trying to convince anyone searching for truth that he is the Holy Spirit speaking to you.  And whatever method you think you are sure of – he will counterfeit it and deceive you.  If you think the Bible is the final authority – he will quote Bible scripture to deceive you.  If you think a church is the final authority – we will provide exactly the kind of church that you are looking for.  If you think prayer is the answer – he will answer your prayers.  If you think living the commandments is the answer – he will provide commandments that look just like the commandments that fit you perfectly.

The Third and Final Principle is that truth is not a destination – it is a way or path.  It is a lie that truth is a destination.  Rather truth comes line upon line upon line and precept upon precept upon precept.  Like the art of being humble – those that think to have obtained it have only obtained a cleaver counterfeit lie.  We must always study scripture, we must always pray, we must always keep the commandments and live a virtuous life and we must join ourselves with a congregation of truth seekers working together in love and harmony.   Oh, and there is one other thing – we must never give up and always be open to learn and embrace truth – especially when we think we have found the path to it.  We must also realize that it is not by our cleaver achievements but by the mercy of that G-d of truth that we can continue to proceed.

And so it seems to me that anyone that thinks they have found the truth and need to search no more or consider nothing new – Whatever it is that they believe – it is not quite the truth. 

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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42 minutes ago, Traveler said:

And so it seems to me that anyone that thinks they have found the truth and need to search no more or consider nothing new – Whatever it is that they believe – it is not quite the truth. 

I agree 100%. I may add that any group, yea,  even our own church may fall into this very thing on certain things. Are we as members willing to truly seek for truth or just accept rather blindly what everyone else is saying?

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10 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

In the string @Grunt started about a question by an investigator, the dilemma of how we know when the spiritual sense we have is true--that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us--came up. Immediately my Protestant background kicked in and I thought: sola scriptura. The Bible is the final authority. No prompting of the Spirit will contradict it. Then I considered Catholicism. A friend of mine converted to that faith, and says he no longer claims the right to interpret scripture--that the church leadership has that authority. Then I remembered the beliefs of my friends here. Members do interpret scripture, but they look beyond the Bible. They also follow the modern prophets of the church, sometimes quoting from their speeches and writings.

So...what is the answer when there is uncertainty about a spiritual prompting? Pray? Go to scriptures? Consider the sayings of the prophets? If so, what's the "go to" order?

All Truth and goodness comes from God.   God speaks to us in a variety of ways: words written in the scriptures, words sent to His messengers, and words we receive individually.  The Holy Spirit testifies of the Truthfulness in all these venues, and we should listen to all of these venues.  

If a person has uncertainty about something, then they should pray and study it out (which incorporates all three venues).  The answer will come.

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10 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

In the string @Grunt started about a question by an investigator, the dilemma of how we know when the spiritual sense we have is true--that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us--came up. Immediately my Protestant background kicked in and I thought: sola scriptura. The Bible is the final authority. No prompting of the Spirit will contradict it. Then I considered Catholicism. A friend of mine converted to that faith, and says he no longer claims the right to interpret scripture--that the church leadership has that authority. Then I remembered the beliefs of my friends here. Members do interpret scripture, but they look beyond the Bible. They also follow the modern prophets of the church, sometimes quoting from their speeches and writings.

So...what is the answer when there is uncertainty about a spiritual prompting? Pray? Go to scriptures? Consider the sayings of the prophets? If so, what's the "go to" order?

I would like to begin my response with the principles mentioned by @Traveler and I would make a minor change to one and add one of mine own:

1) The First Principle is that there is truth.  
2) The Second Principle is that there is a G-d of truth that intends and wants us to realize the truth.  
3) The Third Principle is that truth is not a destination – it is a way or path. (My only change here is that truth is both a way (path), and a destination.)
4) The fourth principle is that a person must have an eye single to the glory of God (real intent, sincerity, without hypocrisy).

Nephi's experience with Laban appears to sum up your question:

1) Nephi received a prompting from the Spirit.
2) Nephi was confused/uncertain about this prompting.
3) Nephi immediately receives confirmation from the source (the Lord), giving three witnesses of how indeed this was from God and that God had delivered himd. I have discovered that if something is uncertain and it is from God, God will provide multiple witnesses for us to know the impression was from Him (If we honor the fourth principle -- an eye truly single to the glory of God).

In likeness, Abraham received an even harder prompting than Nephi:

1) Abraham sacrifice your son, Isaac, on the altar.
2) We have no evidence in scripture, like Nephi, that Abraham even questioned the Lord
3) Abraham acted

The story of Abraham is one of "sure" knowledge that he was doing the will of the Lord. Nephi received this also, but not before his resistance to the prompting. They both "knew." This wasn't an uncertain prompting anymore.

The "go to" also has varied with different times:

1) What was Adam's "go to"? There were no scriptures for him to turn to, or to confirm that he was right. How then did he know?
2) For generations who had the words of the prophets they could "go to" at least two sources.

It would be wise though to first seek the answer directly from the Lord which will then determine our next course of action.

In light of all this, what then is my "go to"?

1) Always first prayer, go to the source. The Holy Spirit will let us know the truth of all things.
2) If I do not receive an answer, then go to scriptures, for the answer may already be there and we just need to do what we have been commanded to do in order to receive our answer - READ SCRIPTURES.
3) Repeat #1
4) Jacob 4:6 - Search the prophets. These are scripture when they have been moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
5) Repeat #1

Above all else - 1 Nephi 10:22 - "And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not." (emphasis mine) One thing for sure, I believe @CV75 was spot on with this thought, "I like to borrow Joseph Smith’s words (as in relating Paul’s experience to his) to describe how I know a witness is authoritative, or of the Holy Ghost: “I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it…” (emphasis mine)

 

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8 hours ago, Anddenex said:

In light of all this, what then is my "go to"?

1) Always first prayer, go to the source. The Holy Spirit will let us know the truth of all things.
2) If I do not receive an answer, then go to scriptures, for the answer may already be there and we just need to do what we have been commanded to do in order to receive our answer - READ SCRIPTURES.
3) Repeat #1
4) Jacob 4:6 - Search the prophets. These are scripture when they have been moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
5) Repeat #1

In my experience, action is, perhaps, more important than anything else. Granted, prayer is an action. Searching the scriptures is an action. But these alone won't suffice without acting on promptings given in response (like Abraham actually going to sacrifice his son).

I'll throw this out for discussion:

Ether 12:6

6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

@Traveler alluded to this when he said "we must always keep the commandments and live a virtuous life and we must join ourselves with a congregation of truth seekers working together in love and harmony".

I would say that of all means to seek truth, acting (obedience) may well be the most important thing.

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

In my experience, action is, perhaps, more important than anything else. Granted, prayer is an action. Searching the scriptures is an action. But these alone won't suffice without acting on promptings given in response (like Abraham actually going to sacrifice his son).

I'll throw this out for discussion:

Ether 12:6

6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

@Traveler alluded to this when he said "we must always keep the commandments and live a virtuous life and we must join ourselves with a congregation of truth seekers working together in love and harmony".

I would say that of all means to seek truth, acting (obedience) may well be the most important thing.

We agree; however, my initial response to PC was aimed toward "uncertainty" of the prompting a person receives. There are promptings where action would be the wise choice even when faced with uncertainty, and there are prompting where "action" may not be the best choice (if one is uncertain/confused by the prompting -- as even the elect are deceived by promptings by the adversary). In this thought though, I see two principles:

1) The uncertainty is rooted in not knowing if you can accomplish the prompting -- action then becomes more important.

2) The uncertainty is rooted in the prompting itself -- action then (in my minds eye) isn't primary.

To begin with the latter. In Nephi's experience, the uncertainty he felt was associated with the prompting itself -- kill Laban. This appears to be a good pause, if a person is uncertain as to the authenticity of the prompt. Nephi then received further witness and then acted. Now, let's be open in this experience as the initial command came from the voice of his father, Lehi. The trial of faith you share with Ether 12:6 was experienced before this prompting and further witness of prompting came before Nephi "acted" on this command to kill Laban.

Overall, Ether 12:6 conforms with Abraham 1:2. If we want more knowledge or to receive more guidance from the Father through his Spirit, then we need to become a greater follower of righteousness and live the principles/prompting we receive.

So, if you are uncertain about a prompting does a person immediately act (obey)? I would say it depends on the prompting, as some promptings may require additional witness as with Nephi.

Example, a person receiving a witness to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and experiences uncertainty, they should "act" (obey) this prompting in order to receive further witness until after this trial of faith. In comparison to Nephi -- kill Laban -- may not be wise to "act" (obey) if you are uncertain as to the prompting I would say do not "act" because that would not be good for you if at this moment a person was deceived.

We are though in agreement, action is one of the most important principles in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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22 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

So...what is the answer when there is uncertainty about a spiritual prompting? Pray? Go to scriptures? Consider the sayings of the prophets? If so, what's the "go to" order?

There is no "set" order.  But there is a "common" order only because that is the most common way that it happens.  For long time members of the Church who have gained a testimony and have a few years of doctrinal mastery under their belt so their pretty familiar with "gospel common knowledge" the pattern is usually:

1) Hear the word from prophets and apostles. Ponder them until we feel that we truly understand what he was saying. 
2) Read the applicable scriptures that go along with the words they spoke (they will usually quote several scriptures as a basis of their words).
3) Pray to know that this is the correct path to go down.  Receive confirmation.

This sequence will be different for those new to the gospel because they have no foundation to start from.  Therefore a foundation must first be built.  And that is quite different.

One question that comes up a lot in these discussions is:

Quote

How can you tell when they are promptings of the Spirit or when they are your own thoughts and desires?

I don't know if others experience what I do.  I've never heard of anyone I personally know having experienced it.

Several times now, I've prayed or have been "in conversation with the Lord."  And I receive a message that either I don't understand or I'm completely surprised by.

1) If they are my own thoughts, well, I tend to know and understand what I'm thinking.  So, they can't be my own thoughts.
2) I really have a hard time surprising myself.  So, if I'm totally surprised at the answer, I tend to think it came from some other source than my own thoughts or desires.

Then the final point one must consider is "If it didn't come from me, where did it come from?"  By their fruits ye shall know them.  It takes time to learn that discernment between the Spirit of God and the spirit of the devil.  Again, the fisherman's float is apropos here.

The devil cannot be too blatant in his temptations because we'd be on to him right away.  The Lord does not reveal himself all at once.  There must be a time of preparation first.  Even Joseph Smith didn't have his First Vision until after much searching, pondering, learning, and preparation.  So, both start out very subtle and increase in certainty as time goes on.

Edited by Guest

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First I want to thank @Rob Osborn, @Anddenexand @The Folk Prophetfor their responses.  This may be a first that this particular group have found such agreement.  I do not intend to spoil this agreement but I actually think there is far more agreement with a great many things than there is disagreement.   There is something in the Book of Mormon that puzzled me for many years of my life that follows my line of thinking here.  This puzzlement was from 3Nephi where Christ talks to the Nephits about the name of The Church.  Among those Christ criticized over the contention for the name was the group that got it right.

I believe there is a problem in that many think we should "contend" for the faith as expressed in Jude 1:3.  I think the table is now set for something about the nature of truth.  Let me try to explain it this way - There may be truth in doctrine but doctrine is not the truth.  It is kind of like a my driver ed teacher in my youth that taught us that we could be dead right while driving - the operative word being "dead".  Example, when the light is green for us we have every "right" to drive through the intersection - if someone is not paying proper attention and by mistake (or even on purpose) runs a red light and hits us - it will be their fault if we are killed.  So the point of my driving instructor was - if you want to return home without a collision at an intersection - then you do not want to "contend" over the principle of who has the right to drive through the intersection.

The point is that contending in such a manner for the right is wrong.  I have learned that it does not matter what the doctrine is - if I become angry - then Satan wins and has gotten control of my heart and mind.  And Satan knows that he will win and so the point is not weather a particular doctrine is connected to truth - the point becomes if Satan can convince me to contend and become angry.  Some have talked about "righteous" anger but if that anger ever overshadows love then we have lost the truth and are in great need of repentance.  Regardless of how right we may think our doctrine - if we do not love anyone as G-d loves them - then we do not know the truth and cannot know the truth until we repent of our lack of love and forgive those with whom we contend. 

 

The Traveler

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19 minutes ago, Traveler said:

First I want to thank @Rob Osborn, @Anddenexand @The Folk Prophetfor their responses.  This may be a first that this particular group have found such agreement.  I do not intend to spoil this agreement but I actually think there is far more agreement with a great many things than there is disagreement.   There is something in the Book of Mormon that puzzled me for many years of my life that follows my line of thinking here.  This puzzlement was from 3Nephi where Christ talks to the Nephits about the name of The Church.  Among those Christ criticized over the contention for the name was the group that got it right.

I believe there is a problem in that many think we should "contend" for the faith as expressed in Jude 1:3.  I think the table is now set for something about the nature of truth.  Let me try to explain it this way - There may be truth in doctrine but doctrine is not the truth.  It is kind of like a my driver ed teacher in my youth that taught us that we could be dead right while driving - the operative word being "dead".  Example, when the light is green for us we have every "right" to drive through the intersection - if someone is not paying proper attention and by mistake (or even on purpose) runs a red light and hits us - it will be their fault if we are killed.  So the point of my driving instructor was - if you want to return home without a collision at an intersection - then you do not want to "contend" over the principle of who has the right to drive through the intersection.

The point is that contending in such a manner for the right is wrong.  I have learned that it does not matter what the doctrine is - if I become angry - then Satan wins and has gotten control of my heart and mind.  And Satan knows that he will win and so the point is not weather a particular doctrine is connected to truth - the point becomes if Satan can convince me to contend and become angry.  Some have talked about "righteous" anger but if that anger ever overshadows love then we have lost the truth and are in great need of repentance.  Regardless of how right we may think our doctrine - if we do not love anyone as G-d loves them - then we do not know the truth and cannot know the truth until we repent of our lack of love and forgive those with whom we contend. 

 

The Traveler

Well, no agreement was spoiled, so the default is that we now further agree.

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2 hours ago, Carborendum said:

1) Hear the word from prophets and apostles. Ponder them until we feel that we truly understand what he was saying. 
2) Read the applicable scriptures that go along with the words they spoke (they will usually quote several scriptures as a basis of their words).
3) Pray to know that this is the correct path to go down.  Receive confirmation.

I would like to modify or add a little bit from my own understanding.

1.Hear the words of the prophets, apostles, and saints. Ponder their words and pray to know the meaning of what they were saying.

2. Read, study, and ponder the scriptures that are applicable in the search of truth.

3. Pray to receive a confirmation to know whether the words they were speaking are true or false or which parts were true or false.

I have used this method over the years because there are times when I hear a prophet or apostle, even fellow saints, say something and immediately I receive a prompting that it is his opinion on the matter and not truth. And so I put forth the effort to read and study and ponder the scriptures and then pray and find that there are times when what they say can't be ratified as truth by the Holy Ghost. It does happen.

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On 12/27/2018 at 7:51 AM, The Folk Prophet said:

In my experience, action is, perhaps, more important than anything else. Granted, prayer is an action. Searching the scriptures is an action. But these alone won't suffice without acting on promptings given in response (like Abraham actually going to sacrifice his son).

I'll throw this out for discussion:

Ether 12:6

6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

@Traveler alluded to this when he said "we must always keep the commandments and live a virtuous life and we must join ourselves with a congregation of truth seekers working together in love and harmony".

I would say that of all means to seek truth, acting (obedience) may well be the most important thing.

This is a very important post - I think we often tend to overlook the principle referenced here by @The Folk Prophet.  I did not include this concept o a trial of faith in my principles.  This is a critical element that I will add to my own understand specific to this discussion.   Moroni is a very interesting character that we really do not know much about - with the exception of the incredible trial of his faith that he faced before he made his comments quoted by TFP.  There is another place Moroni makes powerful comments and that is in his parting thought given in Moroni Chapter 10.  Often we think of our quest for truth as a singular quest.  In essence that each individual is responsible for their own steps to obtain truth.   Moroni makes a reference that clearly indicates that a quest for truth is not a solo exercise.   In Moroni chapter 10 there is a reference to spiritual gifts and that we must respect the spiritual gifts of others as well as our own to achieve truth. 

In recognizing these gifts Moroni uses such words as "exhort" and "deny not the power of G-d" and "to profit them".  He also explains that the profit of the spiritual gifts will be lost by "unbelief".  In short the failure to see the "TRUTH" that comes from others because of their spiritual gift is because of unbelief.  And Moroni says that every man (meaning everybody) has a spiritual gift.  Speaking for myself - I believe this must mean that if I cannot recognize the spiritual gift (genius) in others - the truth I think I understand is not as great as I think it is.

 

The Traveler

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2 hours ago, Traveler said:

In short the failure to see the "TRUTH" that comes from others because of their spiritual gift is because of unbelief. 

I know that great amounts of unbelievers are in the church today, even moreso in the blogosphere and forums. 

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On 12/26/2018 at 10:33 AM, prisonchaplain said:

In the string @Grunt started about a question by an investigator, the dilemma of how we know when the spiritual sense we have is true--that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us--came up. Immediately my Protestant background kicked in and I thought: sola scriptura. The Bible is the final authority. No prompting of the Spirit will contradict it. Then I considered Catholicism. A friend of mine converted to that faith, and says he no longer claims the right to interpret scripture--that the church leadership has that authority. Then I remembered the beliefs of my friends here. Members do interpret scripture, but they look beyond the Bible. They also follow the modern prophets of the church, sometimes quoting from their speeches and writings.

So...what is the answer when there is uncertainty about a spiritual prompting? Pray? Go to scriptures? Consider the sayings of the prophets? If so, what's the "go to" order?

In short, for me, it is where there is no longer a confusion of thought.

When the Sister Missionaries were teaching a single male investigator they asked me, a single female to be there with them. This investigator was having some difficulty with the spiritual feeling that the Book of Mormon was true, that the LDS church had the true gospel of the original church even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

What I told him was, quit the cigarettes, drinking of alcohol and of watching the mild porn movies (yep smelled the cigs and alcohol, saw the movies as I entered his tiny apartment) AND when he insisted on hugging me. THEN he must get on his knees, and to pray sincerely with a broken and contrite heart. Nope, the Sisters had not gotten to that part of the lessons.

Four months later I see him at the post office. By his smell, he is still smoking and drinking. I asked him if he believed the Book of Mormon was true? Yes, he said.

Me: Do you believe that Joseph Smith, Jr. is a prophet of God?  Him: Yes.

Me: Do you believe that all the Prophets/Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were/are true and living prophets of God? Him: Yes.

Me: Do you believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church here on Earth? Him: Yes.

Me: So what is holding you back from getting baptized and becoming an active member of the Church? Him: I can give up the cigarettes and alcohol, they are costing me too much as it is. I already don't cuss, swear and treat others like they are trash. BUT Not being able to hug the women, well that is just sacrilegious!

Me: Seriously! THAT is what is preventing you from joining? You mean to tell me that the handshake that also includes you taking that arm with your left hand at their elbow and shaking gently is not Hug enough for you?? Nope, there is something else that is really preventing you from getting baptized.

Him: Well my friends think you all are a bunch of nuts and a cult. Me: Seriously?? You have been to Sacrament many times, stayed the entire three hours. You have attended at least three baptisms. You have come to three potlucks and mingled and talked with many members. What is the real reason??

Him: I don't have any suits and white shirts. Me: Okay, that one I believe. You don't have to have a suit and white tie. Come in the same clothes you have been wearing. They are clean and devoid of embarrassing holes. If you really want to wear a suit, white shirt and tie ~ then the PH and the RS will get you them, and the shoes to go with them ~ BUT only if you really want it.

That has been about 4 months ago. I see him from time to time at Sacrament, sitting with the PH that the Branch Mission Leader asked to fellowship him. I don't know who has been telling him that he HAS to have a suit, white shirt & tie ~ once I find out I am going to give him/her a *Gibbs Slap* - good and hard!! metaphorically speaking that is.

 

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I really don't think you can get a better answer to this question than the one we have already been given in Doctrine and Covenants 9:7 - 9, which basically says study first, then ask God.

7  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.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 9:7 - 9)

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