In John 20:24-29 and Mark 16:14, Jesus seems to rebuke unbelief and the request for direct evidence when indirect testimonial evidence has already been provided:
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. (Mark 16:14 ESV)
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29 ESV)
However, Moroni 10:3-7 seems to encourage the search for direct evidence:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would 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, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of 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.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.
How do Latter-day Saints reconcile Moroni 10:3-7 with John 20:24-29 and Mark 16:14?
Is it okay to seek personal confirmation (Moroni 10:3-7), or should one just be content with what others have already witnessed and testified to (John 20:24-29, Mark 16:14)?
Note: It would be interesting to see a discussion on the epistemological value of testimonial evidence from the Latter-day Saint perspective. Should the testimony of the 3 & 8 witnesses be enough (testimonial) evidence to warrant belief in Mormonism (which would be consistent with the epistemological value that Jesus seems to place on the testimony of his witnesses in John 20:24-29 & Mark 16:14), and if so, wouldn't that be at odds with Moroni 10:3-7's exhortation to seek additional evidence? Is Moroni 10:3-7 offering an exceptional route to believe for those who are more skeptical and struggle to believe based on testimonial evidence only?
- Is believing based on evidence good or bad?
- Has any Latter-day Saint published a very detailed description of how the Holy Spirit confirmed to them the truth of the BofM, as per Moroni 10:3-7?
- According to Latter-day Saints, what are the strongest arguments for the credibility of the 3 & 8 witnesses to the golden plates?
- Why do non-LDS Christians accept the testimonies of the apostles but reject the testimonies of the 3 & 8 witnesses to the golden plates?
- According to Latter-day Saints, what are the strongest apologetic arguments for the divine inspiration of the Book of Mormon?