It is not unreasonable, by virtue of the *Moroni Promises, to ask anything of God: the hows, the whys, the what-fors.
It is not blasphemous, sacrilegious or disrespectful of a mortal to ask The Lord God in all sincerity to answer any question.
Until we do and unless we stop listening to middle men pouring “shoulds” all over us in unrelenting obstinacy, we won’t get any sort of real testimony of real truths. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot in all sincerity ask of our Divine Parent …
Are ALL of your doctrines, church policies, procedures and traditions divinely inspired?
Are they based on and do they include the precepts taught by Jesus Christ as written in the Church scriptural canon?
Do ALL of your policies enhance human life? Or do you, Father endorse the labeling of everyone who dissents or disagrees with your institutional middlemen as aligned with evil-doers? In that regard, do the families of the evil-doers, parents, spouses and children fall into the category of deserving reproach, removal of temple recommends, disfellowshipment or out-and-out excommunication?
As a matter of fact what is Your Divine position on excommunication? Does that in fact mean that the excommunicated are to be cut off from you forever unless or until they repent and follow the prophets?
The mortal Jesus Christ was outspoken in advocacy of human dignity in clear and unambiguous terms.
Do You, Father sustain the sacred institution of marriage by commanding Your Church to get into the business of trying to control one gender’s right to make choices regarding their own bodies?
Do You, Father sustain the sacred institution of marriage by commanding Your Church to oppose and throw roadblocks into the sacredness of marriage between human beings who do not meet the supposed divine criteria that your middlemen preach. Are they telling the truth when they imply that your opposition to gay marriage is real?
Have You, Father declared that our processes of education and scientific study are of the devil and that to encourage responsibility around human sexuality is sinful and displeasing?
Is social justice important to You, Father?
Is it Your will that we as a people leave many of our fellow human being s vulnerable to illness and accident without adequate access to medical care while the rest of the population has something better? Was that Your divine intention 500 or so years ago when you led the Europeans to this continent which you prepared for a restoration of all truth?
Is that how The Lord Jesus Christ approached the problem of sickness and injury?
Does The Lord Jesus Christ believe that profit is more important than compassion?
Have You, Father repudiated Jesus Christ’s’ declaration that the laborer is worthy of his hire?
Is it Your will that working against gay marriage is more important than working to put people back to work?
Is it Your will that an economic point of view that supports business at the expense of the laborer – voodoo or otherwise – is the one and only sacred economic approach to sustaining the people?
Do You, Father support deception as a political tool?
Do You, Father endorse a policy of political mud-slinging rather than reaching agreement with those who disagree with those who pretend to speak for you politically?
What about yea yea and nay nay Father?
Do You, Father want our politicians to put our elderly at economic and health risk?
Do You, Father will that generating massive profits to drug companies is a greater good than relieving human suffering?
How, Heavenly Father, does that align with honoring father and mother?
And finally, is The Lord Jesus Christ really going to come as a thief in the night? Will everyone wake up one morning and learn that a New World Order governed and managed out of Salt Lake City, Utah is now an unavoidable reality?
Do you not have an overly ineffective delivery system for preparing a planet for that eventuality?
Please go ahead, Brothers and Sisters … pray… pray diligently and be unafraid to ask the hard questions.
If you do so sincerely the answers will come … and you can trust the answers. You have a Divine Promise:
*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.
How do I know?
How can you know?
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.
On testimony : Dreams, prompting, light-bulb moments, epiphanies … burning bosoms.
What to do with them?
Whatever we do with them – including our interpretations – the act is subjective for each of us.
When I was in my early 40’s and still struggling with walking away from the Salt Lake church, the bishop of the local ward (congregation) sent the High Priest Group leader to my home to call me to be the Sunday class teacher for their weekly meetings.
I refused (something devout Mormons don’t do too often because a “calling” is presumed to have come from The Lord through his local mouthpiece.)
When asked why, I told them that I was in a state of dissent moving to disbelief.
“Have you prayed about it Brother Ruger?”
“Yes, I have.”
“And did you get an answer? Did the Spirit prompt you that the Church is the true church, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that we have living prophets on the earth today?”
I said that such was not the answer I received.
“Then you didn’t pray for the right thing and got an answer from a source (Satan) other than God.”
This is my concern about what we do with those highly personal spiritual moments that come to us. In the religion of my childhood, youth and adulthood into my 40’s, the meaning and interpretation of dreams, promptings, answer to prayers, etc. were provided for me by church leaders and teachers with a powerful insistence that I accept their definitions and conform.
Mormon missionaries still challenge those to whom they preach to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.
“You will know it is true because God will cause you to experience a ‘burning in your bosom.'” (In other words I’ll tell you what will happen and I’ll tell you the one true meaning of the event.)
The actual definition of that Group Leader’s assertions was this (and I responded to him with the following words):
“Let me get this straight. When in doubt I’m supposed to pray and ask God for truth. And you’re telling me what that truth is and what the answer from God will be … so I’m supposed to ask God a question the answer to which I already know because I’ve already been told the answer by mortal religious authority.
But because I asked, God is going to give me that answer personally. If I get any other answer, it wasn’t God.”The implication here is both monstrous and ludicrous. It makes as much sense as saying “Just for that you’re not going to know what I wasn’t going to tell you.”
This circumstance lies at the heart of most fundamentalist revival meetings where an emotionally psychological moment is set up with the pre-installed definition that “God is about to convince you that I’m preaching absolute truth.” Such has made how many of these mega church proselytizers powerful, famous – even rich?
Millions of believers accept an external definition of something that has always been intimately personal and internal to each of them. Although the ability to discern for themselves has always been within them and needs no brokering by a charismatic preacher, they still suspend part of their belief and buy based on someone else’s magic.
How dare anyone intrude into that kind of personal intimacy with God?
How dare anyone pretend such a middleman (or woman) is necessary?
How dare anyone presume to dictate to another human being the interpretation of an intimate, internal and personal experience of God?
Never assume that there is only one true personal answer with one orthodoxy-approved interpretation.
Never assume someone else should define your prompting or dream for you based on their assumption …
… that some contemporary widely-accepted fundamentalist literal interpretation of what written scripture conveys spiritually is uniquely limited and doctrinally restricted to an absolute and inerrant true meaning.