I was once married to a bona fide, white-shirt-and-tie, bike-riding, garment-wearing Mormon missionary. And not just any Mormon missionary—a master soul-winner for this Christianesque cult.
Of course, I had no idea when I met him that he was even a Mormon. All I knew was he had just returned from a two-year mission to Europe, he never said an unkind word about anybody and he had a sweet heart.
He seemed righteous enough—more righteous than me. But I wasn’t born-again and I didn’t know the difference between a false religion that incorporated Jesus into the mix and true Christianity. My Southern Baptist grandfather tried to warn me, but I just couldn’t see the harm in a Jesus-centered religion. So I ended up marrying a Mormon.
I learned plenty about the secret rituals that Mormons practice, but that’s not what I want to share with you. You can read about bizarre Mormon beliefs in many places on the Internet these days. What I learned being married to a Mormon—a Mormon who later abandoned his wife and baby to have an affair with a woman just more than half his age in a foreign country—was the danger of false religions.
Doctrines of Demons
We know that there are deceitful spirits and teachings of demons that will lead some to depart from the faith (see 1 Tim. 4:1). We know that there are false prophets and teachers who proclaim Jesus but don’t truly serve Him (see 2 Peter 2:1). We know that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light to deceive people (see 2 Cor. 11:14). And we know that some are perverting the grace of God into sensuality (see Jude 1:4).
We know all of this and yet some in the body of Christ—born-again, blood-bought and yes, even tongue-talking—are embracing aspects of false religions. It’s a subtle deception and one about which I will continue sounding the alarm until Jesus tells me not to. I’ll keep sounding the alarm and speaking this truth in love in hopes that some will avoid the great falling away.
What I learned being married to a Mormon is how these deceitful spirits work. My ex-husband used to urge me to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover and then pray about whether or not it was true. Mormons promise a “burning in the bosom” will come as a confirmation when you release that prayer.
Mormons also cite James 1:5 to back up their carnal claim with actual Scripture: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Mormons teach that any positive feelings you have after that prayer are from the Holy Spirit and any negative feelings are not from the Holy Spirit. And if you don’t get the “burning in the bosom,” they suggest you pray more sincerely until you do.
Don’t Follow the Goosebumps
This demonstrates a grave danger. We cannot base truth on how we feel, whether it’s a goose bump, an emotional high or a burning in the bosom. Proverbs clearly states, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Prov. 28:26). And God warns us that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (see Jer. 17:9).
I believe an unbalanced pursuit of supernatural experiences opens the door to demon-inspired encounters and emotions that validate a person’s erroneous theology. Some in the prophetic movement claim to hold regular conversations with angels, which become the source of their prophecies and sermons. Yes, angels are prophetic messengers but most often the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us into all truth Himself. And our sermons should be based on the Word of God—and our prophecies from the Spirit of God—not mystical revelation that doesn’t line up with the Bible.
Chasing the supernatural above the God of the supernatural is not the only example of emotionalism gone amuck. The prosperity gospel can also get out of balance. I’ve read about merchandising evangelists leading people into financial devastation after a so-called supernatural promise that gave them false faith to believe their debt would be canceled in 30 days. Yes, I believe in supernatural debt cancellation but there is an abuse of this gimmick. People fall for it because they are in their emotions rather than in the Word of God. They tap into the hype and the shyster taps into their pocketbooks.
Idolatrous Prophecies Abound
If you’ve been following my work for any length of time, you know that I’m all about prophetic ministry—true prophetic ministry. It’s vital in this hour. But false prophecies that tap into the idolatry in people’s hearts may cause them to get married to the wrong person, get divorced against God’s will, quit their jobs and pursue other wrong moves because of a “feeling” they got when the heard a prophecy. Yes, God gave us emotions but our emotions should be submitted to the Word of God and, I might add, some common sense.
Above all, my concern is a greater deception that leaves people with greater troubles than just bankrupcy, divorce or talking with angels of light. My concern is that exalting “feelings” over the Word of God will lead many into eternal fire. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect,” Jesus said. “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt. 24:24-25).
See, I am telling you beforehand. The New Testament is overflowing with warnings not to be deceived. Even with the Word of God, we are charged to rightly divide it (see 2 Tim. 2:15). We are in the last days. Can we really afford to let charismatic preachers tell us what the Word says? Shouldn’t we be students of the Word ourselves? We all have a responsibility to guard ourselves from deception and staying rooted in the Word of God is the best way I know to do that in this hour. It may not give you goose bumps, but it will set you free. Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including Did the Spirit of God Say That?. You can email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.