User:Matthewfaulconer/Testimony related to difficult scriptures
I recently posted a question on why the scriptures tell us that Saul was commanded by God to kill little children, "the infant and suckling." My concern isn't only about this scripture. I have the same concern about other passages in the scriptures (generally the Old Testament), many of which are less extreme but still troubling.
To make sense of this scripture I'll dig back into the foundation that my belief in the gospel rests on.
Why do I believe in the Old Testament? My testimony is founded on the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
How do I recognize the Holy Ghost? When I choose to treat those around me with kindness and love, I feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. The feelings of the Holy Ghost is a good feeling, a warm feeling, a feeling of joy. If instead I choose to treat others unkindly, or when my words are not true, or when I am overly harsh in my reaction to what I perceive as other's mistakes, I feel instead of warmth and strength something taken away; I am not at ease. The difference between these two feelings is unmistakable.
When I am consistently doing what I should, I feel the Holy Ghost's constant companionship. This is a source of strength and peace for me. This spirit is good.
This same spirit has, with incredible force, testified that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Church is true. This spirit is the source of my testimony of all the scriptures.
Now, back to the issue at hand--the commandment to Saul to kill all the Amorites even "the infant and suckling."
As I feel the warmth of my own young child snuggled into my arms I feel love--a love that is reinforced by the Holy Ghost. In contrast, imagine a set of men who fight their way into a city and then go to each home there to kill everything in it. In one home they kill a man, an elderly woman, several children, a toddler, an infant at its mothers breast and the mother too of course (1 Sam 15:3-8). The spirit that reinforces the love I feel for my own young child is an altogether different spirit than one that motivates the actions of men who kill like this.
In sum the same spirit that tells me that the Church is true and the scriptures are true is out of harmony with the idea that God asks Saul to kill a bunch of Amorite children.
It doesn't make sense to me to accept as true something in the scriptures that is out of harmony with the influence of the Holy Ghost since my testimony of the scriptures is based on the Holy Ghost. Should I worry then that this scripture says something I reject? Is there some contradiction in me accepting the scriptures generally but rejecting some particular section? There is no contradiction since in both cases (accepting the scriptures generally and rejecting this section in particular) I follow the same spirit of truth. A word of caution to myself and others: we cannot reject a scripture lightly. In many cases it is better to withhold judgement than to reject a scripture. But in this case, my guide is clear.