The principle of Faith requires a correct understanding of the perfections, attributes, and characteristics of God. It also requires that you know that the path you are on is pleasing to God. This Joseph Smith taught in the lectures on faith. Such a requirement to know these attributes require intensive study to lay hold upon it. However, when study does not solidify this understanding of God’s correct perfections, attributes, and characteristics, then we are left to our emotions to direct our understanding, and our power of discernment is weak.
Often times modern saints associate the presence of the Holy Spirit by the emotions that they feel. While emotions can indicate the Holy Spirit, emotions can also be caused by many other things as well. Watching the movie Braveheart can stimulate the emotion of bravery. The movie Steel Magnolias can stir feelings concerning death, friendship, and love. But movies, while they use emotions to convey a story, are not necessarily promptings of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, when people share stories that entertain, it can be easily confused with being associated with the Holy Spirit.
Moses, after Christ visited him, had Satan come to him in the form of an angel of light. This was not by any means a demonic form. Rather it was attractive, and desirable. But Moses was able to discern that this being, in the form of an angel of light, was Satan, and Moses cast him out. What allowed Moses to discern Satan? It was the content of the message! Moses was familiar with the perfections, attributes, and characteristics of God, such that he knew the content of God’s message, and Satan’s message was so far off, that Moses could detect him and cast Satan out.
When the words of Christ is added to the softness of the heart, it does not require emotions to dictate the presence of the spirit. All that is necessary is to recognize the further light and knowledge being given. It will give you a better understanding of the words of Christ. It will add to your previous knowledge, thus expanding your understanding, correcting false beliefs, and increasing your knowledge of the mind and will of God. That is why whenever angels appear to man, they always expound the scriptures. The natural effect of this situation is an increase of confidence in the presence of God, due to understanding. That is why Joseph Smith said, “no man can be saved in ignorance.”
Joseph Smith taught that if we don’t have this correct knowledge of the perfections, attributes, and characteristics of God, then our faith will grow weary in the trial, and will fail us. He says that in this condition of ignorance, it will be insufficient for us to have the power to develop the faith necessary unto life and salvation.
When we choose to lay hold upon the words of Christ, we are told by Nephi, that the words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do. I repeat this in most of my blogs for that very reason. The word will expand from the page, to include words from angels, and then finally words from the presence of Christ. The words of Christ were always meant to bring it’s readers to the presence of Christ.
When we finally lay hold upon the words of Christ, then we don’t need to depend upon emotions to identify the spirit. You will be able to perceive the light coming from the windows of heaven. It will be pure light to your soul, and you can feel confident that the path you are on is acceptable to God, even when the entire world rebukes and rejects you. Such a knowledge is invaluable in a constantly changing world. But the price all must pay to obtain this knowledge is the time studying the words of Christ, and pondering His mind and will.
Conclusion: Emotions will not be sufficient to endure the upcoming day. If you disagree, you can try your way instead. But for those who recognize the truth here, lets study together to know the correct perfections, attributes, and characteristics of God, so that we cannot be led astray by men, so that our faith will not grow weary, so that emotions don’t confuse us, so that we become followers of the way (what the ancient Christians called themselves), rather than followers of men, no matter their office.