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Montgomery Price

Why Is Moroni'S Promise, A Mormon Belief, Considered A Valid Epistemic Test Of Mormon Belief?

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It is based on the assumption that the person addressed has a basic faith in God, and in His ability and willingness to answer sincere questions of the believers. That is the justification for it. If you want scriptural proof, here are some:

Matthew 7
:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Luke 11
:

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

James 1
:

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

See above. Having such a faith is neither credulous nor unjustified. On the contrary, it is the unbelieving and faithless that are condemned. You have the truth backwards.

That is what you like to call it. It shows that there is something wrong with your understanding of true Christian doctrine. I am guessing that you don’t really believe in any religion at all; or else you are pretending to. That is not the talk of someone who genuinely believes in God.

Well, you've guessed correct, and can most likely anticipate my next objection...

What is specific about the prior belief in God that leads you to Mormonism, and not another faith? What exactly bridges the gap between the basic belief in God to a specific belief in the reliability of Moroni's Promise?

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Read, search, ponder, contextualize properly, remember (realizing the implications of "remember in the Hebrew covenant tradition), experiment, observe, live so as to become tuned to the spirit, which can enighten the mind, and expand the understanding, speak in a still small voice, or voice in the mind, and may even provide vision, as well as bring peace, comfort, joy, forgiveness and guilt.

A shallow reading of Moroni's promise may not provide much of an epistemic test of Mormon belief, but I've found that by searching and pondering and experimenting widely, what I do find in the LDS scriptures strikes me as impressive compared to any competing epistology. For instance, I've compared Alma 32 to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and have pondered that in my heart at length. I performed many experiments on my own, published many articles, and have read widely the results of other experiments, pro and con. I have personal spiritual experiences and have consulted and compared others, in and out of the LDS faith.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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It isn't blind faith and it isn't a blind test. There are specific things that one must do:

If you aren't doing all these things then the promise is of no avail. Receiving implies that one has read the work and not with the purpose of disputing it but with the purpose of knowing if it's true.

If your purpose is to know whether something is true, this requires a critical examination. Critical examination indisputably requires dispute. The prerequisites you've provided only described how to take the test, and not why the test is presumed to be reliable.

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The point you seem to be missing is that Moroni's promise is actually an experiment with a predicted outcome. We cannot determine whether someone gets a particular answer, any more than we can determine whether they ask in faith and with real intent.

So perhaps the larger question before us is this: why is experimentation, a scientific method, considered a valid epistemic test of scientific theories?

Regards,

Pahoran

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I don't see why justification is necessary. Humans make decisions without justification all the time and it doesn't say anything about whether or not their choices are valid.

Yes, humans are credulous. The problem is when you hold a worldview in which a God rewards this credulity.

I'm saying that those experiences show that the faith being utilized isn't blind.

I said "what seems to be blind faith". Can you answer the question now?

As long as they were done in faith and sincerity, i think they can be equally applied to another faith.

Then how do you reconcile the contradiction between claims that are each supposed to be divinely revealed as the superior belief?

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If your purpose is to know whether something is true, this requires a critical examination. Critical examination indisputably requires dispute. The prerequisites you've provided only described how to take the test, and not why the test is presumed to be reliable.

Why? If I have a scientific hypothesis I am looking for ways to prove that hypothesis. I'm not looking for things that will cause dispute. The steps to the scientific method are simple scientific method:

Ask a Question (is the Book of Mormon true)

Do Background Research (read and study the BOM, read the Bible and review the claims of Joseph Smith)

Construct a Hypothesis (the BOM is true)

Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment (study, pray and ask)

Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion (based on what you have read and the answer you got the BOM is true)

Communicate Your Results (bear testimony)

Where in there is looking for something to dispute your hypothesis?

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Oh yes, of course, you're doing this because you care....

Thank you for pointing out that the test is invalid... I'll keep wasting my life the same. Thanks.

I thought we were all here to discuss and not dismiss each other based on intentions. My intentions have nothing to do with the validity of my arguments, and I'm here to discuss arguments. If you're not, you don't have to accept my invitation. I have plenty of people to talk to.

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Yes, humans are credulous. The problem is when you hold a worldview in which a God rewards this credulity.

Why is that a problem?

I said "what seems to be blind faith". Can you answer the question now?

I thought i did.

Then how do you reconcile the contradiction between claims that are each supposed to be divinely revealed as the superior belief?

I don't.

I rely on the answers i have received and let other people worry about the answers they have received.

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My only issue with the use of Moroni's promise it that the LDS Missionaries tell investigators that if they feel the spirit when praying about the Book of Mormon that they should extrapolate that to "The LDS Church is True". That is a little misleading. The LDS Church is not the only faith to use the BOM.

But what if that confirmation includes the Book of Mormon and the restored Church?

Bernard

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The point you seem to be missing is that Moroni's promise is actually an experiment with a predicted outcome. We cannot determine whether someone gets a particular answer, any more than we can determine whether they ask in faith and with real intent.

I don't understand what you mean. Do you or do you not believe Moroni's Promise must be evaluated and justified as a reliable epistemic test? Do you mean by "We cannot determine whether someone gets a particular answer", that it therefore can't be evaluated properly?

So perhaps the larger question before us is this: why is experimentation, a scientific method, considered a valid epistemic test of scientific theories?

Regards,

Pahoran

Because it has been demonstrated as reliable. This doesn't need to be spelled out. If you think otherwise,

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Why? If I have a scientific hypothesis I am looking for ways to prove that hypothesis. I'm not looking for things that will cause dispute. The steps to the scientific method are simple scientific method:

Ask a Question (is the Book of Mormon true)

Do Background Research (read and study the BOM, read the Bible and review the claims of Joseph Smith)

Construct a Hypothesis (the BOM is true)

Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment (study, pray and ask)

Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion (based on what you have read and the answer you got the BOM is true)

Communicate Your Results (bear testimony)

Where in there is looking for something to dispute your hypothesis?

I am disputing whether the experiment used to test the hypothesis is properly constructed. It has been far from demonstrated. You can conclude anything you want if the evidence is produced by a poorly formulated experiment.

And on the necessity of dispute... I suggest you read up on some Socratic Philosophy. Avoiding dispute during critical analysis is counterproductive to that analysis. It's possible that dispute can be counterproductive, but it is more often very productive within the context of critical evaluation.

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I rely on the answers i have received and let other people worry about the answers they have received.

2 points for Bluebell. I am not concerned with what other people have done.

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Well, you've guessed correct, and can most likely anticipate my next objection...

What is specific about the prior belief in God that leads you to Mormonism, and not another faith? . . .

My “prior belief in God” doesn’t “lead me to Mormonism”. It leads me to putting Moroni’s promise to the test. It is the successful result of the test that leads me to Mormonism.

. . . What exactly bridges the gap between the basic belief in God to a specific belief in the reliability of Moroni's Promise?

That question was already answered in my previous post. The reliability of Moroni’s promise is implicit in my prior belief in God. My prior belief in God contains and includes the belief in His ability and willingness to answer sincere questions of believers (as promised in Matthew, Luke, and James for example). That is already inherent in my prior belief in God. Therefore there is no contradiction between Mroni’s promise and my inherent belief in God.

Let me try and explain it with an analogy. Suppose I had a younger brother, and our mum and dad went out to a function in the evening, and gave me the key to the house and told me not to let my younger brother out of the house after 10 at night. At 10 o’clock my younger brother asks me for the key to go out and play in the street. I tell him that I am not allowed, because mum and dad have told me not to let him out. When he sounds unconvinced, I say to him, “If you don’t believe me, telephone dad on his cell phone, and he will confirm to you that what I am telling you is the truth.” Why should he doubt, when all he needs to do is to dial a number? The only time when he might doubt would be if he had never heard of a cell phone before, or never even heard of a telephone; or else if he didn’t have the faith in his dad to believe that he would answer him, or tell him the truth, or even that he might get angry with him for asking. Excluding one of those possibilities, there is no reason why the younger brother should be fearful, incredulous, or unwilling to phone his dad to confirm if his older brother was telling him the truth or not. I don't see a difference between that analogy and the promise of Moroni with regard to the Book of Mormon.

Edited by zerinus

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Why is that a problem?

Why is it a problem that a person is given reward for being gullible? You can't imagine what I mean by this?

I thought i did.

I'm sorry. I didn't see any answer... you only misunderstood the question.

What you missed was this: "Then what justifies those experiences?"

I don't.

I rely on the answers i have received and let other people worry about the answers they have received.

But because you each believe that you have the superior belief, how do you know that you're the one with the superior belief? Simply withholding your judgement of others beliefs doesn't establish yours as superior. Why would you withhold judgement to begin with? To be nice?

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Because it has been demonstrated as reliable. This doesn't need to be spelled out. If you think otherwise,

It has? AGW anyone.

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But because you each believe that you have the superior belief, how do you know that you're the one with the superior belief? Simply withholding your judgement of others beliefs doesn't establish yours as superior. Why would you withhold judgement to begin with? To be nice?

This is false. I do not believe my beliefs are superior. You seem to be constructing a straw man here.

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.Does Moroni's Promise require justification as a reliable epistemic test?

Yes. The instruction to “remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things” provides the requisite validation. This is because the Lord’s mercy has always been shown by answering mankind’s need to know the truth. If one cannot remember these things, then he needs to educate himself properly, and in this way see how the promise has played out throughout history. Granted, it is a religious, faithful and spiritual perspective, but the approach is perfectly honest and forthright because it instructs whoever is praying to remember (or learn) that this kind of “test” or “promise” has yielded results before.

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Why is it a problem that a person is given reward for being gullible? You can't imagine what I mean by this?

Why should whether or not a person is gullible impact the validity of the reward?

I'm sorry. I didn't see any answer... you only misunderstood the question.

What you missed was this: "Then what justifies those experiences?"

The outcomes of such experiences, justfiy them.

If you've ever been in love, or had someone love you, then you should understand what i'm saying.

But because you each believe that you have the superior belief, how do you know that you're the one with the superior belief?

I don't, that's why faith is invovled.

Simply withholding your judgement of others beliefs doesn't establish yours as superior.

My experiences make it superior for me.

Why would you withhold judgement to begin with? To be nice?

To be fair.

I would withhold judgement because there is no way for me to accurately judge someone else's experiences.

They could be lying about them. They could understand them or interpret them in a way that i have no knowledge of and no way to accurately compare to my own. They could be wrong.

From their perspective, they could say the exact same things about my experiences.

Under such circumstances, worrying only about my own experiences is the only legitimate way to approach the circumstances, in my opinion.

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My “prior belief in God” doesn’t “lead me to Mormonism”. It leads me to putting Moroni’s promise to the test. It is the successful result of the test that leads me to Mormonism.

I don't see how this justifies the test as reliable. How did you "put Moroni's promise to the test"?

That question was already answered in my previous post. The reliability of Moroni’s promise is implicit in my prior belief in God. My prior belief in God contains and includes the belief in His ability and willingness to answer sincere questions of believers (as promised in Matthew, Luke, and James for example). That is already inherent in my prior belief in God. Therefore there is no contradiction between Mroni’s promise and my inherent belief in God.

The belief in the reliability of Moroni's Promise implies that you believe in a Mormon God. Only a Mormon God would create a world in which Moroni's Promise would be reliable. If you believed in a Mormon God prior to taking the test of Moroni's Promise, why didn't you just skip the test and believe what logically follows from the belief in a Mormon God?

Let me try and explain it with an analogy. Suppose I had a younger brother, and our mum and dad went out to a function in the evening, and gave me the key to the house and told me not to let my younger brother out of the house after 10 at night. At 10 o’clock my younger brother asks me for the key to go out and play in the street. I tell him that I am not allowed, because mum and dad have told me not to let him out. When he sounds unconvinced, I say to him, “If you don’t believe me, telephone dad on his cell phone, and he will confirm to you that what I am telling you is the truth.” Why should he doubt, when all he needs to do is to dial a number? The only time when he might doubt would be if he had never heard of a cell phone before, or never even heard of a telephone; or else if he didn’t have the faith in his dad to believe that he would answer him, or tell him the truth, or even that he might get angry with him for asking. Excluding one of those possibilities, there is no reason why the younger brother not be willing to phone his dad to confirm if his older brother was telling him the truth or not. I see a difference between that analogy and the promise of Moroni with regard to the Book of Mormon.

What I would add to your analogy is that the younger brother must verify that the telephone produces results that can be relied on as the basis for knowledge. Unlike the telephone in your analogy, Moroni's Promise has far from established itself as a reliable method of attaining the relevant results.

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This is false. I do not believe my beliefs are superior. You seem to be constructing a straw man here.

Well, I'm sorry. I thought that you, like most anyone, would make the choices that you felt were optimal. And therefore, all else being equal, others who are presented the same choice, yet choose a different path, are not making the optimal choice... otherwise, you would have made the same choice yourself.

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Granted, it is a religious, faithful and spiritual perspective, but the approach is perfectly honest and forthright because it instructs whoever is praying to remember (or learn) that this kind of “test” or “promise” has yielded results before.

...and the results yielded have often contradicted one another. But, as I told zernius... Only a Mormon God would create a world in which Moroni's Promise is reliable. So, if it's established that you believe in a God that would make Moroni's Promise reliable, then you already believe in a God that inspired the BOM, so why test it?

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Only a Mormon God would create a world in which Moroni's Promise is reliable.

What do you mean a "Mormon" God? I worship the God of the Old and New Testaments, the same one apparently many others believe in though we may understand him differently.

In case you aren't familiar with the Bible Christ asked his disciples to follow him though they knew nothing about him. Why do you think they did that? People followed him just listening to his words and feeling his spirit. Why is the BOM test any less valid than that?

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So, condensed into a few questions...

Does Moroni's Promise require justification as a reliable epistemic test?

Since it can easily be called into question, yes, it requires much better justification.

If it does, what is it and how do you explain the credulous, unjustified acceptance of Moroni's Promise by a significant number of Mormons?

...well, people can easily be deceived. I don't think this is news to anyone.

If it does not, and you accept that blind faith and the credulous conversions of others are somehow valid, what explains the use of blind faith as conversion specifically to Mormonism?

You've read my answer of "it does" but I think you are incorrect in phrasing this third question as you are doing. "Blind faith" and "credulous conversions" are NOT faith and they can't be any more than walking through the streets means you have faith in that an infinite number of disastrous events that can kill you won't happen in your trip (an evil intelligent-driven UFO will vaporize you while you are on the street, King Kong will come and smash you, etc). If you have NO good reason to doubt X being correct, then you can't have faith in that X is correct.

Also, the point wouldn't necessarily have to be that Moroni's promise is a valid test for anything but that it doesn't need to be justified any more than believing what my immediate sense experience is telling me needs to be justified.

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Why should whether or not a person is gullible impact the validity of the reward?

You really can't wrap your head around this objection... I'm in disbelief. Sorry.

The outcomes of such experiences, justfiy them.

If you've ever been in love, or had someone love you, then you should understand what i'm saying.

I don't understand. Please explain what you mean by the outcome, and how this validates whether the outcome is reliable.

I don't, that's why faith is invovled.

If you don't know whether your belief is superior, what led you to the belief that the Mormon church claims to be superior?

My experiences make it superior for me.

I just asked: how do you know that you're the one with the superior belief?

And you responded: I don't.

Which to me means, "I don't know that my belief is superior."

But you go on to say... "My experiences make it superior for me."

Which to me means, "I do know that my belief is superior in some way."

Did you forget some qualifiers?

To be fair.

I would withhold judgement because there is no way for me to accurately judge someone else's experiences.

They could be lying about them. They could understand them or interpret them in a way that i have no knowledge of and no way to accurately compare to my own. They could be wrong.

From their perspective, they could say the exact same things about my experiences.

Under such circumstances, worrying only about my own experiences is the only legitimate way to approach the circumstances, in my opinion.

The fact that someone can use your own justification against you should trouble you. It should bring your justification into question.

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What do you mean you took the promise and tested it? Did you test the test itself, or just take the test? You seem to be missing my point. How did you establish that the test can "work"?

Montgomery, be careful that this doesn't take you to an infinite regress. The "test for the test for the test for the test", ad infinitum. There must be a point in which you say it must not continue and a Mormon could very well make the point that spiritual experiences are of the sort that do not require further justification. I don't think they would have a leg to stand on if they so chose to argue but how you are approaching this is even less correct.

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