In the question How is one supposed to "know" whether or not the Book of Mormon is true?, the accepted answer affirms:

But the witness of the Holy Ghost is testimony from God's spirit directly to yours. It's a very personal affair, and it didn't happen to someone else. It happened to you, and you know what you received from the Lord, and no alternate interpretation from some other person who hasn't experienced it can change the reality of that witness. Simply put, it's the only truly trustworthy evidence there is, because it comes directly from the only perfectly trustworthy source there is.

As to how one is supposed to recognize the answer, this will probably sound like a cop-out, but the best answer is "you'll know it when it happens." The problem is that any description requires a common frame of reference, and the witness of the Holy Ghost is a unique experience that isn't like anything that would be familiar to anyone who doesn't already have experience with it. It's often described as a strong feeling of peace, and a sensation of warmth, a "burning in your bosom" to use the scriptural language, but it's not the same as physical heat. But once one has experienced it, they truly know that they have received a testimony from the Lord.

Seconding the answer above, mormonwiki (http://www.mormonwiki.org/Burning_in_the_bosom.html) affirms the following:

One of the foundations of Mormonism is its insistence that a person seek the truth by praying for a private, special revelation from the Holy Spirit [1]

"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") [7]

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.

(*) All emphasis mine.

Question: Do other Christian denominations/groups have an equivalent concept to Mormonism's burning in the bosom, or at least acknowledge that similar experiences are legitimate and truly happen from time to time?


In the methodist tradition there is John Wesley. The story goes how he reluctantly attended a meeting in Aldersgate. Someone read from Luther's Preface to the Epistle to Romans. About 8:45 p.m. "while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death." (Maddox, Randy L. Aldersgate Reconsidered. Nashville, Tennessee: Kingswood Books, 1990)


See Luke 24

31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

There are others but this is the one that immediately comes to mind. Contrary to what has been said, this was not the result of human effort or ritual but, that of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God - in this case, Christ himself, being the Word (John 1)


Not only do other Christian denomination/groups have an equivalent concept to Mormonism's burning in the bosom but so do many others.

For example, the Communists, Rosecrucians, Moonies, Aetherians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Daists, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Rastafarians, atheists, Scientologists, Voodoo, yoga and Transcendental Meditation practitioners, the followers of Satya Sai, Heaven's Gate and Solar Temple cults as well as devotees of Krishna, Madame Blavatski, Emmanuel, Sweedenborg, Sri Chinmoy and Mary Baker Eddy. EVen Bible-believing Christians ALL have 'burning bosoms" in response to the proposition that their beliefs really are from God or are at least the absolute truth.

So, if I told you that I really REALLY REALLY knew to the depths of my soul that God had revealed to me that Jesus Christ was a space alien from the planet Kolob, would you conclude that you have good reason to believe me? Why or why not?

Trusting one's eternal life on a so-called, Burning of the Bosom is not only foolish but can lead to eternal consequences. Why would you trust the feelings of your own heart in view of passages such as Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is more deceitful than ALL ELSE, And desperately wicked; who can know it?"

If I said, "Is the Bible true?" Is this not a question of fact, or of knowledge with evidence to support the claim? the LDS want you to invoke James 1:5 when seen in context cannot be taken as authorization for questions like, "which church is true?"

Were ask by the LDS to read the Book of Mormon and then pray according to Moroni 10:4-5, "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus 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. Vs5, And by the power of the Holy ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

Since the Book of Mormon claims to be a historical document it should be examined on that basis to determine its authenticity. They are using the Book of Mormon to confirm the truth of the Book of Mormon. In logic this is know as "circular reasoning." They are asking you to pray "correctly" according to their rules.

Truth must be determined by something not so much apart from a personal subjective experience but in addition to it. That brings us to the realm of empirical evidence and rational thought. Orthodox Christianity easily withstands the highest standards with regard to history, logic and the basic reasoning skills that God gave to men. Mormonism does not. In fact it is refuted by an abundance of cold hard evidence against which claims of a "spiritual witness" of some kind are not persuasive.

  • How is it that prayer, the act of communication with the almighty God, isn't a sufficient guide, and yet the evidence and testimony of corruptible humans is? Aug 29 at 1:46
  • @Haveaniceday I edited my point which is that prayer alone is not evidence but rather subjective. In fact, my faith is not built upon evidence. Evidence only confirms my faith.
    – Mr. Bond
    Aug 29 at 4:10
  • The empirical evidence in your possession that proves Jesus Christ was resurrected would definitely be nice to share with the world
    – Gisheri
    Sep 13 at 3:07
  • @Gisheri I'm a "rational empiricist" like Thomas at John 20:25, "We have seen the Lord! Thomas said, Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe." Read what Jesus said at vs27. The FACT is that when compared to all of the available objective evidence, the BoM fails to pass the test for basic historic truth regarding the people, places and events it PRETENDS to record. Prove to me that the Prophet Mormon was an authorized historian of the BoM? Or Egyptian speaking Jewish American Indians called themselves Christians before Jesus was born.
    – Mr. Bond
    Sep 13 at 23:02
  • 1
    @Gisheri Table thumping, what does that mean? And are you telling me that Thomas at John 20:24-28 are not "objective" facts? Also, define "smart" people? It does not take a rocket scientist to be able to spot "fleece" from "fur." I am also not ignoring arguments, I'm raising logical questions to prove your arguments. In short, my methodology in determining the truth is entirely orthodox, it's called exercising valid reasoning to determine the truth represented in the evidence. It's not by some subjective, emotional reaction like a "Burning in the Bosom" that you think is evidence.
    – Mr. Bond
    Sep 16 at 22:54

Please take my answer with a grain of salt, because I am not from another denomination. I have served a 2 year LDS mission and had in-depth discussions with thousands of faithful Christians of many denominations. From my experience, the concept of consciously leaning on a "burning in the bosom" for a confirmation of truth is at least culturally (perhaps not doctrinally) exclusive to Latter Day Saints. There is usually a typical set of responses when digging into the fundamental reasons for a Christian's faith (I'm talking about lay people here).

The most common for Catholics' being a feeling of authority based on the age and size of their religion, claim to papal continuity, cultural-religious inertia, and a strong sense of familial religious loyalty. Not generally a claim to receiving a spiritual confirmation from God.

For Jehovah witnesses, the arguments are almost always scriptural and evidential, and tends to always boil down to the feeling that the scholars that define the Jehovah Witness viewpoints are more qualified and logical than other denominations. They would perhaps be the most quick to discount a spiritual confirmation as a point of evidence for belief.

For Pentecostals, they often bring up spiritual experiences they'd had of healing, or speaking in tongues. I suppose theirs could be the most similar to LDS as a spiritual confirmation of their belief. Though theirs would live more on the side of external sign-like confirmations rather than internal spiritual confirmations.

For most other protestant Christians, I've found that it's uncommon for them to bring up extra-biblical reasons for their faith. The arguments they give tend to start in the bible, and end in the bible. And to direct the conversation toward the extra-biblical reasons of their faith in things like Christ's resurrection or biblical inerrancy is not an easy task, and usually bears little results.

That being said, there is definitely a concept of 'feeling the spirit' that is common to most. Though it seems to be approached not as an evidential reason for a specific faith, but more as a special experience to seek after, and a reason to keep the faith.

I do apologize if I butchered anyone's fundamental viewpoints, and I am happy to revise my answer. I don't like giving answers in behalf of other denominations, but I do feel like I've had enough in-depth, in-person, open-hearted discussions to give my experience some credence in regards to the viewpoints of lay members of other faiths.

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