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How Can We Be Sure?

Frankly, I wish I knew how to be sure a suspected spiritual witness was actually true.  But here is the guideline I follow:

Truth doesn’t have contradictions

Truth never contradicts itself.  It may be rediscovered, enlarged, or modified to encompass more truth.  But it does not ever contradict.

Charles Larson:

“While spiritual insight or faith is one valid measure in spiritual matters, true spiritual insight never directly contradicts valid intellectual insight or facts in the physical world. Faith may go beyond reason, but does not go against it. It never blatantly contradicts the facts which we perceive with our God-given common sense. Faith and fact point in a single direction. Whey they do not, something is seriously wrong…A willingness to accept facts as they exist, and to learn to use them to test the views one holds rather than falling back on subjective experience or rationalizations, is the first step towards discovering genuine truth.”

Truth is not afraid of being discovered

If a source is telling you not to search out truth, not to investigate its claims or to do so only from approved or controlled avenues, it is likely hiding the truth.  The truth stands triumphant and bold against serious intellectual inquiry.  People or organizations that attempt to silence dissenting voices are often hiding something and are not based on truth.

Truth fits all the facts and evidence

Falsehoods are able to fit some evidence, but rarely all of it.

Actual data and evidence trumps emotions and feelings

I’m not discounting the importance of feeling the Spirit.  But it has to be taken with some caution (see my two previous posts).

Truth is not subjective

We may draw subjective conclusions from truth, but it is in itself not subjective.

It’s incredibly difficult to admit to being wrong

After so long believing the church was true, it was a herculean struggle for me to finally admit that I was wrong about it.

Two other takes on it

As Elder Hugh B. Brown put it in An Abundant Life,

“I admire men and women who have developed the questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as stepping stones to progress. We should of course respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent – if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression… This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.”

I wish that was true in the church today, Elder Brown.  Another take on determining the truth:

Next step: Assumptions, Judgments, and Persecutions

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