Burning in the bosom
- Nihil turpius quam cognitioni assertionem praecurrere. [Cicero, Academica, i. 45. "Nothing is more shameful than to affirm before knowing."]
- "In answer to our prayers, the Holy Ghost will teach us through our feelings and thoughts... Heavenly Father will answer their prayers, typically through feelings of their hearts and thoughts in their minds." (Preach the Gospel, p. 39; this is the "2004 handbook utilized by the Mormon missionaries") 
What they receive is sometimes called a burning in the bosom as a confirmation of truth. Mormons frequently appeal to James 1:5 for this, especially given that their founder, Joseph Smith, claimed that this was the verse and method he used for finding the truth. This is often accompanied by the insistence that one suspend judgment of his or her religion (even in the face of its historical and theological problems) until he or she has read the Book of Mormon and received, by prayer, a special revelation from the Holy Spirit of its truthfulness.
Missionaries, for example, ask Temple Square visitors, "How do you feel when you are on Temple Square?" Missionaries are instructed to teach potential converts that certain feelings are from the Holy Spirit (any negative feelings about the religion are presupposed to be not of the Spirit). They are also discouraged from investigating Mormonism's history, doctrine, and the claims of its detractors. Supreme emphasis is put on the prayer and the subsequent "burning in the bosom". If one prays and does not receive the appropriate "testimony", one is encouraged to pray more sincerely. The absence of an emotional confirmation is seen not as a testimony against Mormonism, but rather against the sincerity of the one praying. Most missionaries of mainstream Mormonism usually will not discuss the more controversial or problematic doctrines of its organization until this "testimony" is acquired.
 "Internal testimony of the Holy Spirit"
The Mormon idea of the "internal testimony of the Holy Spirit" is such that a person feels new information and identifies it as the Spirit. Such an internal testimony over the truthfulness or the inspiration of scripture is essentially viewed as independent from the content of scripture itself. As an example, consider the words of H. Bryan Richards at the October 2004 conference:
- I recall an experience with a zone leader in England who came to me during the lunch break at zone conference. He said, "We are teaching a lady who is blind and nearly deaf. She wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true. What shall we do?" I did not have an answer at that moment, but I said, "I will let you know after our conference." During the afternoon session I had the distinct impression come as to how to help her. After the meeting I said to the zone leader, "Have this sister hold her copy of the Book of Mormon and turn its pages very slowly. When she has done this, have her ask if it is true." Though she could not read nor hear the words, she felt the spirit and power of the Book of Mormon, and it changed her life.
- "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered." -Proverbs 28:26
Many critics of Mormonism and its relentless method of ensuring allegiance to the organization argue that this is nothing more than the pursuit of the euphoria of a self-induced emotional epiphany (or worse, that it, having shut the self off from objective truth, opens one up to a demon-induced euphoria), and that it distracts from a proper Biblical emphasis on examining the various sources of external testimony that point to the truthworthiness of God, the Bible, the gospel, and other objective reality (Luke 1:1-4; John 14:11; Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 15:5-9). The Holy Spirit's primary method of inwardly confirming and testifying to truth is the illumination of public revelation that God has provided. A Christian would encourage a person to investigate the various things that point to the trustworthiness of Christ, and to pray that the Holy Spirit would illuminate such (Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law."), while the Mormon would often be content for a person to simply pray and receive a special euphoria. While Mormons emphasize subjective truth (truth discerned by mere feelings), it is important for Christians to help explain the nature of objective truth (something that often challenges our feelings).
Ironically, propping up an invincible faith is a way of telling God he is not trusted, and leaving our faith vulnerable is a way of trusting him that it won't be surprised with fatal information.
- âYou cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible!â (Ezra Taft Benson, âTo âthe Rising Generation,ââ New Era, June 1986, 5).
- "[I]f I were to follow the advice in Moroni to find out whether the LDS doctrines were true, I'm already assuming that the test (prayer) Moroni gives is the way to test whether something is true or not. This of course is begging the question. It is one of those presuppositions that the LDS bring to the table that need to be defended from the Bible - this they can not do." -Jeff Downs 
- "I would never tell anybody to try to prove the Book of Mormon is true through physical evidence, just because of the way metaphysics and epistemology workâit's not possible. And so, you have to get the testimony some other way, and then the evidence will become very clear." -John E. Clark (Professor of Anthropology and Director of the New World Archeological Foundation, BYU) 
- "I felt the Holy Ghost burn within me when I bore my testimony. At times I touched my hand to my chest to see if my shirt was on fire. I had never felt anything like that before." - John Bytheway, What I Wish I'd Known Before My Mission, p. 25 (ISBN 1573452076)
- "Latter-day Saints maintain that knowledge of the truth comes ultimately through 'testimony,' understood as spiritual manifestations that transcend normal intellectual activity. Out of this belief has grown a discourse that tends to denigrate intellectualism and to represent reason and scholarship as irrelevant to questions of faith... Apologetics [they say] is therefore a pointless endeavor when directed at nonbelievers; if we hope to persuade others of our faith's claims, our only option is to bear testimony and invite listeners to gain testimonies of their own." - John-Charles Duffy
- "I am unwilling to accept with my heart a faith that fails to convince my mind. A compelling faith, and nothing short of it, is required if I am to give myself, heart and soul, to its claims." - Michael Horton, Putting the Amazing Back into Grace
- "Well, I hope your testimony isn't based off of what you read. Especially not the Old Testament."
- “Curtis bears frequent and fervent testimony concerning the divinity of the Book of Mormon throughout his book; I do not doubt his testimony nor question the sincerity of his witness. He also testifies that several landmarks in the Great Lakes region are those mentioned in the Book of Mormon and that these identifications were spiritually confirmed to him. These claims are a different matter. I do not doubt that Curtis sincerely believes his claims, but his beliefs are not binding on anyone else. It is poor practice to accept lay testimony as fact, and I will not do so here. The entire history of the Church, and my personal experience with numerous peoples' personal witnesses concerning the location of the Nephite repository of gold plates, suggests that we should treat such diverse and contradictory testimonies with extreme caution. Here, I do not consider the evidence of personal testimony as relevant to scholarly argument.”
John E. Clark, “The Final Battle for Cumorah” [review, Curtis, Christ in North America], Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6/2 (1994): 80 (79-113). http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=6&num=2&id=153
 See also
- D&C 129:3-8
- ↑ Examples: , , , , 
- ↑ H. Bryan Richards . "Remember the Teachings of Your Father". Available online here. See also "Conference Voices" in Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 4, 2004.
- ↑ Part of the Q&A session following the presentation, "Archeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief" 
- ↑ "Defending the Kingdom: Rethinking the Faith: How Apologetics is Reshaping Mormon Orthodoxy", by John-Charles Duffy. Sunstone, May 2004, 22-55. Available online here: http://www.sunstoneonline.com/magazine/issues/132/Defending_the_Kingdom.pdf
- ↑ http://theboard.byu.edu/index.php?area=viewall&id=36902
- Religious Feeling and Truth, by Grant Palmer (Midwestern Journal of Theology, Spring 2010:115-118)
- How can I distinguish the difference between the promptings of the Holy Ghost and merely my own thoughts, preferences, or hunches?, by Dallin H. Oaks
- Why Trust in "Burnings in the Bosom", by Stephen R. Gibson
- Can We Trust Our Feelings?, by J. Cooper Johnson
- Discerning Answers to Our Prayers, by Grant E. Barton
- Hearing the Still, Small Voice, by Diana Dunkley
- I need help in praying for and receiving guidance and personal revelation, by Gaylen Hinton, âI Have a Question,â Ensign, Oct. 1993, 60
- Have I Received an Answer from the Spirit?, by Jay E. Jensen
- Do Latter-day Saints Only Trust in their feelings and ignore facts and common sense?, by W. John Walsh
- Reason and Revelation (PDF), by Noel B. Reynolds
- Trusting a Feeling (DOC) - "What is the Holy Ghost, and how can we recognize it?"
- âKnowingâ & Other Leaps of Faith, by Andrew Ainsworth
- Young Mormons work to detect feelings of the Spirit, by Molly Farmer (Mormon Times)
- The One True Hot Dog Stand, by Dane Laverty
- Revisiting “A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!”, by Blair Hodges
- What critics don't understand about testimony