A couple of Mormon gentlemen have been visiting my house on a weekly basis to talk with us about the Book of Mormon and the Bible.We have been having really great conversations as we listen to them and they listen to us.Tonight, we had a conversation about holy Scriptures and how to know if a text is true or not.My Mormon friend gave me a very interested line of logic.He said that it is impossible to convince or persuade someone that something is true. Only the person can decide if something is true for himself or herself by asking God and feeling if it is true or not.He emphasized the idea that you can know something is true by feeling that it is true.
This reminded me of our class discussion on emotions and how they are affected by cognition, physiological response, and the social context.Indeed, emotions are highly variable and moldable.The way a person thinks affects how they feel, as they appraise the event by attaching meaning to the event and attach behaviors to the thinking process.A person’s physiological changes can also greatly affect how they feel about a situation.Especially in thinking about matters of truth, the body can deceive a person into feeling something that is not actually real.The social context is also highly important in how a person feels about a certain situation.
In keeping what is known about emotions in mind, it is easy to realize that truth cannot be based solely on one’s feelings; they are simply too unreliable.In addition, emotions can be regulated and changed voluntarily and involuntarily.This being said, the quest for truth must take a more reliable route.It must be accompanied by facts, logic, research, prayer, and then feelings.My Mormon friends, as well as the rest of us, would do well to seek truth through feelings and testing against the Scripture.As Acts 17:11 says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Testing doctrine against Scripture is important and vital in the search for truth, not simply relying on one's feeling.