Don’t Believe Everything People “Hear from God”

Don’t Believe Everything People “Hear from God”

Introduction (by Natalie)

Sometime after I started attending a nondenominational church, there was a special occasion and I found myself sitting in a Holiness Sunday School class. During the lesson, one of the ladies shared her testimony. She recalled how that when she got saved, no one had to tell her what to do. God Himself let her know to get rid of her cosmetics, get rid of her jewelry, stop cutting her hair, and start wearing skirts. Another lady chimed in in agreement. She said, quite confidently, “People say they didn’t get these convictions, I don’t believe them! If you really get before God with a sincere heart, He’ll speak to you. I know He will, He spoke to me.” As I processed what had just been said, I realized that, according to my friends, either I am not saved, I don’t have a sincere heart, or I am lying when I say God did not speak to me and reveal that cosmetics, jewelry, trimming hair, and women’s pants are sinful. 

This was not the first time I have encountered claims of special revelation being used to defend Holiness standards. When I originally approached church leaders and let them know I couldn’t find their standards in Scripture, I was told that my inability to see them there was a result of struggling spiritually (note: it was not “discerned” that I was backsliding—or at least I wasn’t informed of it—until after I mentioned I didn’t see Holiness standards taught as requirements in Scripture). According to multiple ministers who have spoken to me in the time since, if I would just get right with God, He would reveal their standards to me as He did to them. 

While this spiritually-condescending argument is frustrating (after all, how can you argue with “God told me…”), I got off easy in the grand scheme of things. I have many friends and acquaintances who, when they left their hyper-fundamentalist churches, were met with frightful “words from the Lord” that predicted their doom if they went through with transitioning churches. While some of the alleged revelations were so absurd (and untrue) that they were almost laughable, that didn’t change the fact that they were manipulative fear tactics which caused emotional and spiritual damage in the name of God.

If you are in the confusing spot of being told that God said something about you or would say something to you if only you were spiritual enough, keep reading. Nathan takes a deeper look into what Scripture does and does not say about receiving messages from God, and he points out just how easily it is to be mistaken and claim revelations that God never gave.

 

The Revelation Argument (by Nathan)

One of the most common rebuttals to anything we post on Berean Holiness isn’t a biblical argument. It’s the argument that “God revealed” something special to the speaker. And if we really loved God, He would reveal it to us too.

This type of argument has two benefits to the person who forwards it. First, it is unfalsifiable; it’s nearly impossible to disprove someone else’s personal experience, in the past, and/or inside their own head. Second, it doubles as a personal attack, with the clear and sometimes stated implication being that we do not have as tight a connection with God as the speaker.

This personal revelation is not at all unique to people in the various Pentecostal, Apostolic, and/or Holiness sub-camps. In fact, a significant number of new religions were started using this argument. Islam, Mormonism, and Bahai were all founded on the basis of visions and angelic visitation along with dozens of smaller movements.

Of course, just because someone claims something falsely doesn’t mean it can’t happen for real. However, the track record of beliefs which are claimed to be “delivered directly from God” is checkered at best. At a minimum, we do well to be suspicious and ask additional questions when someone says God shared something with them. Furthermore, we should hold all such claims against God’s Word for evaluation.

Let’s evaluate this phenomenon in more detail and see what the Bible has to say about it.

 

What Is a “Message From God?”

When people say God “told them” or “let them know,” what do they mean? They could mean one of several things. Here they are, ranked from most commonplace (and ambiguous) to rare (and clear).

1) Circumstance: They experienced a circumstance or heard advice from an external text or person, which they attributed to God. This could include reading a verse of Scripture and interpreting it in a non-contextual way.

2) Impression: They had a thought or saw an image in their mind which they attribute to God.

3) Dream: They had a dream which they attributed to God.

4) Vision/Audible Voice: They heard a clear voice or saw an image with their eyes while awake.

5) Angelic Visitation: An embodied spirit being spoke to them while awake.

Of the five of these, the last three are clearly biblical. Dreams, visions, angelic visitations, and audible voices fill the Scriptures. Biblical prophets, as far as we can tell, received verbatim, long form messages from God, which they transcribed. Were these audible? Some of them may have been, others not, but they were all extremely clear. They were long and detailed, not just impressions or one-liners. One assumes New Testament prophets like Agabus (Acts 11:27) and Judas (Acts 15:32) had the same experience. If you’ve experienced that, it fits a clear Biblical pattern.

 

All Biblical Revelation Is Clear

One pattern in the Bible which is well established is that all revelation from God is clear. There is not a single instance in the Bible in which someone says “I believe this is from the Lord” or “I have something to share that I think God laid on my heart.” There are false prophets, of course, but these are liars and/or occultists. They are not misguided Christians who make honest mistakes. That’s why the Old Testament could safely prescribe putting false prophets to death if their prophesies didn’t come true (Deuteronomy 13:5).

Deuteronomy 18:20-22, “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

If not all messages from God were clear, this would be cruel and unjust. You could imagine a sincere prophet trying to say what he “felt like” God told him and being put to death for an honest mistake. That never happened. According to the biblical pattern, if someone speaks a message from God, they will know without a doubt. If there is a doubt, the message is not from God.

This continues in the New Testament as you will see in the examples below. John (in 1 John 4:1) does instruct us to “believe not every spirit” but also gives us the reason. He does not provide the reason not of “honest mistakes” but rather of “false prophets.”

Whatever form you think divine revelation takes, it needs to be a clear one in order to fit the biblical pattern.

 

Is Revelation by Impression Biblical?

We know biblical revelation is clear. But in addition to dreams, visions, and angels, does God use any other means to communicate? What about a strong sense that something is true, or a one-liner thought that you feel impressed by? This might be biblical, but that is less clear.

Verses that people often use to support this include passages like John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The problem is that this has more than one possible meaning. Does “my voice” refer to special personal guidance or the general ability to discern right from wrong? Contextually, this passage is about being able to discern between the true Shepherd and false teachers, not special guidance about dress codes. Additionally, this passage is rich with metaphor already (notice that we are not literally sheep) and that leaves the question as to what “voice of the Shepherd” means. Is it an audible or near audible voice? Is it thoughts in our own head? Is it the wisdom to discern between right and wrong? The “thoughts in my own head that actually come from God” interpretation, is by no means the obvious one.

Other verses which people point to in defense of special revelation are the various commands to “walk in the Spirit,” such as in Galatians 5:16. Here again though, the usage appears to have more to do with avoiding immorality than receiving special revelation. The subsequent verses in this passage detail a long list of fleshly sins followed by the “fruits of the Spirit.”

Another common phrase used to defend revelation-by-impression is in 1 Kings 19:12, where God speaks to Elijah in a “still small voice.” The problem with this reference is that God’s voice here was a literal, audible voice, albeit a quiet one. God speaks nearly 100 words in this quiet voice which include a question, a highly specific commandment, a prophesy, and divine knowledge which Elijah would later confirm. It was not a “strong sense that he ought to do something.” To use the language of 1 Kings 19 to refer to our internal monologue is to misinterpret by analogy. Such bad biblical interpretation is an open door for any heresy.

In Acts 11:12, we see Peter saying that “the Spirit told me,” or in the KJV “the Spirit bade me.” This language is close to the modern usage. Unfortunately for the moderns, we read that Peter was referring to an audible voice complete with a vision detailed earlier in the chapter, not an impression.

The Spirit does say things in Acts, but they are usually very clear, and could be understood as an audible voice. This includes the Spirit’s words to Phillip in Acts 8:29 and the words to a whole room full of people in Acts 13:2.

There are usages that are less clear and could possibly be understood as impressions or circumstances, though they could just as easily be interpreted in the pattern of all the other messages from God.

For instance, in Acts 16:6 Paul was “forbidden by of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia.”

Additionally, in Acts 5:3 we see that Peter knew Ananias was lying. How? The text doesn’t say, but it seems sensible that he had some impression or maybe a sub-audible voice from God. It would have had to been extremely clear for Peter to say this with such confident authority (and then be affirmed by divine capital punishment).

Just because this happened to Peter doesn’t mean it’s normative for all believers. This is the same Peter who told a lame man to walk in Acts 3:6 without any fanfare or prayer. I know no one who claims Peter’s power to heal on command, but many who claim his power to get special knowledge from God. Note that the first claim would be easily falsifiable the second is hard to disprove.

So, the idea that God provides revelation through impressions, feelings, and inaudible voices is possible from the Bible, but it is not at all obvious in Scripture. More clear forms of revelation seem to be the norm, and if the vaguer forms did happen, they happened rarely even in the first century church.

Furthermore, even if the occasional thought in your mind is from God, the vast majority of thoughts in your head are not from God. Whether or not demonic forces have power to plant thoughts in your head (which is not specifically addressed in Scripture as far as I can find), your mind generates plenty of thoughts. I can also tell you “don’t imagine a waterskiing kangaroo” – and by so doing can plant a thought in your head, which originated in mine. One assumes that I could do the same thing with standards; “why don’t you pray about whether God is pleased with that beard.” By so doing, I may be able to plant “conviction” in your mind.

Alas, if God is planting thoughts in our head, it would be very hard to trust them as authoritative revelation, because we have no clear way of knowing which thoughts are from God.

 

Is Revelation by Circumstance Biblical?

The idea that God provides guidance through circumstances is even more tenuous. In 2 Corinthians 2:12, Paul recounts that in Troas “a door was opened unto me of the Lord.” Despite this opportunity created by God, in the next verse, Paul recounts how he did not take advantage of it. That bears repeating. One of the only places in Scripture where an opportunity was called “an open door from God,” Paul didn’t take it. Paul considered circumstances, but did not interpret them as divine instruction. He didn’t let circumstances dictate his beliefs or actions.

That’s not to say circumstances should have no bearing on our actions. For instance, if you are praying about whether to sell your house and you get an “out of the blue” offer for much more than you think it’s worth, that offer should be a factor in your decision. But that is different from interpreting the offer as a message the “God is telling you to sell your house” and therefore, you are obligated to sell, regardless of the other factors. It seems Paul wouldn’t have personally come to that conclusion.

Note that this is a separate issue from whether God exerts active control over some or all circumstances (depending on how much of a factor free will is). In theory, God could personally manage 100% of circumstances, and yet still not use them to communicate messages to you. Even if God controls the timing of a falling leaf or your turning to a random page in a book, that doesn’t necessarily mean He wants you to make a decision based on where the leaf lands or which page you read first.

A skepticism of revelation-by-circumstance also doesn’t prevent us from using the biblical language that God has “ordered our steps” in sovereign ways beyond our understanding. For instance, it may well be that God orchestrated the series of events that led to my current employment. However, it doesn’t follow from that that I could never actively seek employment elsewhere. Nothing in scripture would cause me to believe that.

There is some circumstantial interpretation in the Old Testament – Gideon’s fleece being the most memorable (Judges 6). Another one that comes to mind is when Jonathan determined to attack the Philistines based on whether they invited him to (1 Samuel 14). In both of these instances, there was a stated, predetermined meaning to a future event. In Gideon’s case, that future event also required a miracle and in Jonathan’s case, a miraculous victory was the immediate result of the query. There is no precedent for this kind of behavior in the New Testament. Even in the Old Testament, the Bible’s default method for decision making is wisdom – not signs.

There was also much sanctioned use of “lots” in the Old Testament and at least one questionable use in the New Testament (in that awkward window between when Jesus left and the Spirit came – Acts 1:26). Why do you suppose more people feel comfortable with modern variations of “fleeces” than in rolling dice to determine their convictions? “He loves me, he loves me not” is a fine game for children, but a poor way for adults to determine their beliefs or chart a life path.

But what about things that seem rare or uncanny? Mustn’t that be from God? There is a popular notion in the evangelical world that “there is no such thing as a coincidence.” As noted above, this is doubtless true in the sense that God sovereignly controls all events. However, this still doesn’t mean that we are expected to interpret events, even rare ones, as having a special meaning.

Let’s take an extreme example. Imagine someone is considering whether they should leave their church and is praying about it. One day, they get struck by lightning on the way to church. How could that not be a sign?

Let’s do a little math. 280 Americans get struck by lightning annually.1 22% of Americans attend church weekly.2 That means roughly 62 people who attend church weekly get struck by lightning in a year. Median church attendance is 6.6 years.3 That means maybe 9 people are within a year of a church swap and are likely considering changing churches. There’s a 1 in 7 chance of being struck by lightning on a Sunday vis-à-vis any other day of the week. Thus, we would expect 1-2 Americans to experience this exact thing, every year, by simple random probability.

This is incredibly rare. Let’s take a much more common example. You pray that God would reveal to you what He thinks about nail polish. You pray this over the course of a month. You attend church 15 times and listen to 15 sermons of 45 minutes each. In 675 minutes of sermon, a preacher talks about nail polish for 1 minute, and provides his opinion, which you interpret to be God’s answer to your prayer. This is so likely in some churches that it’s almost laughable to use it as divine confirmation.

In any event, it’s dubious that we can ever use circumstances, fleece, or dice to determine the will of God in our lives, but it’s clear from Paul’s example that circumstances are inadequate without another form of direct revelation (which would include scripture). Yet, this is one of the most common ways that people claim to know what God wants them to do or believe.

For a more detailed take on every single Scripture verse on this issue, check out Decision Making and the Will of God.4

 

All Forms of Revelation Have a Bad Track Record

There is no verse which says that the divine revelation which peppers the Biblical account is inactive today. While this is possible, no sound biblical case can be made for it of which I am aware. If God did it before, He can do it now. This doesn’t mean He necessarily is; it just means He can. However, even if we accept that all five forms of revelation are fully operational today, we would still have much cause to be skeptical of any particular instance. This is because human minds are malleable and thoughts, circumstances, and rare events (coincidences) happen every day, the vast majority of which are clearly not messages from God.

We don’t have to judge people’s motives to say they might be mistaken. A quick search of the internet reveals clearly incorrect “divine messages” which may well have originated from sincere people.

1) Bad Reading of Circumstances: Poor attribution of circumstances as divine messages.

The founder of the cult movement “Christian Science” was inspired by an out of context KJV Scripture verse: “When she went home, Mrs. Eddy opened her Bible to the verse in Jeremiah, ‘Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.’ (Jeremiah 30:2). That clear message to her from God prompted her to write Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”5

2) False Impressions: Thoughts in our heads which definitely don’t come from God.

The following quotes are Latter-day Saint (aka Mormon) testimonies that detail just how big a part of their religion “hearing from God” is [emphasis added].

“Latter-day Saints are big on talking to God for yourself and asking Him questions. But I didn’t know how to do that. It wasn’t like calling somebody up on the phone. Some people say they’ve had prayers answered in an undeniably strong way or even with an audible voice, but I never have. It’s always been more subtle for me. Hearing the voice of God requires me to really pay attention. But even though I was earnestly asking ‘Is this true?’ I don’t think I was really paying attention for an answer. [Original had a long passage of the Book of Mormon here] As I read this, I finally realized: I’d been getting an answer to my prayers all along. All those things were the desire of my heart.”6

“I will make the long story short… I have found pieces of evidence for and against the Book [of Mormon], but none of those were conclusive. But I have also started to experience spiritual manifestation from above. Some parts of the Book made me to seriously start thinking differently about myself. I was not a bad person, but I started to feel that there is so much room for improvement in the areas which were not obvious to me before. I have also started to feel God’s presence in my life – personally. I have started to relate to him to the point where I could discern that He is actually communicating with me. It was enlightening and powerful and pleasant. … The communication from above became so intense and powerful and sweet, that I had no doubts that this is something I want to be part of my entire life.”

“As a teenager, I remember the Joseph Smith story being recited exactly as it is contained in our scriptures by a returned missionary in Sunday School class. At that time the Holy Ghost witnessed to me that the account that I was hearing was true. I have never received as strong a witness of the Book of Mormon or any other modern revelation but I know they are true as a result of this initial witness I received. If Joseph Smith was a prophet and I knew he was, then these other revelations must also be true. To this day I cannot hear the Joseph Smith story without receiving a similar assurance that these events actually occurred as Joseph Smith had recorded.”

“Yet a couple of things concerned me. The concept that a loving God would send his creations to an eternal, literal, fire to burn us in excruciating torture continually forever and ever was (and is) repulsive. This was especially true after I came to love and admire a devout Jew who was my doctor for a while. I knew that Dr. Shear was not going to burn in hellfire for eternity. I knew it deep in my heart.7

3) Bad Dreams: Dreams that are clearly not divine messages.

Of course, it’s not difficult to come up with a list of silly dreams. We’ve all had them. And just like the vague aphorisms in fortune cookies, it’s not difficult to connect them to one’s current situation, make a vague prediction “there is change in the wind” and watch it “come true.” This is especially true, because dreams aren’t entirely random. They are already linked to your current circumstances by your subconscious mind. So, if you’re having a difficult time getting along with a family member, you may well dream about it. In the dream, things will either get better or worse. There’s at least a coinflip chance that such a dream will be “prophetic.”

This website is dedicated to secular/semi-religious dream interpretation, where you can learn helpful tidbits like this:

“To see a haunted car in your dream represents unfinished goals. You had started off on a path or journey, but never reached the end. Perhaps life had taken you on a different direction that you had planned or intended.

To dream that no one is driving a moving car suggests that you need to reassess your level of control over your life. You are unwilling to take responsibilities for your actions.

To see or drive a car that looks like a cat refers to your free and independent spirit. If you are almost hit by a car that looks like a cat, then it suggests that you are hindering someone’s goals or not letting them be who they are.”8

As kooky as this is, some Christians teach essentially the same thing. The folks at Bethel helpfully offer to interpret your dreams for you if you call them by Zoom: https://bethelredding.com/ministries/prophetic/dream9

Some Christians, especially of the Charismatic and Pentecostal persuasions, see God speaking in their dreams. It’s not hard to find dramatic stories of dreams that have “come true.” The problem with this is what economists would call “survivorship bias.” If you call 100 firms to ask if new regulations or taxes have forced them to reduce their business, only surviving businesses will pick up the phone. Even if the regulations forced 50% of the businesses to go under, a phone survey would reveal that no respondents were significantly negatively affected, because only the survivors answer the survey. Similarly, if 1,000 dream interpreters have a dream and the interpretation only comes true for 10 of them, all 10 may write about it on the internet, and the 990 who got it wrong will keep it to themselves.

In reading through threads related to Christians attempting to interpret dreams, one of the most interesting comments I saw was a woman who was experienced vivid bad dreams for years. As she was in the “dreams are messages from God” camp theologically, she was tormented by the idea that the dreams meant there was something wrong with her. She was also hearing tribal singing in the shower and thought she was going crazy. After five years, she finally told a neurologist who confirmed that both were very common side effects of a brain injury, which she had experienced just prior to the bad dreams starting. She cautioned her fellow charismatics not to obsess over all dreams. The other commenters helpfully told her that she might have a demon, and should consider getting it cast out…

4) Bad Visions: A waking dream that didn’t come from God.

Reiki is Japanese mystical healing technique which consists of holding one’s hands above an injured area and transmitting “healing energy.” Hopefully I don’t need to tell you this, but there is no evidence that it works. This reiki practitioner recalls having a vision (for which there are numerous explanations I could present, none of which are “God is pleased with this whole thing”):

“During a Reiki session a couple years ago, it became clear to me that the young lady I was administering Reiki to carried a great sadness with her. I became aware of the spirit of an old man to the right of me during her session, and tried to ignore his image as I was still struggling to marry my beliefs as a Christian minister with Reiki. But his presence came in stronger and stronger to which I finally asked “What do I do here God?” Instantly I was made aware that this man was the young lady’s grandfather who had been inappropriate with her as a young child and he was desperately seeking forgiveness and wanted me to tell her he was sorry and that he wants her to be free and receive healing as well. When I relayed the message she immediately poured her heart out in tears and shared with me that she had even confessed this situation to her folks who did not believe her, but was grateful for this experience as she was truly able to forgive her grandfather and BOTH were freed from the chains of bondage they had experienced together… Hallelujah! This was another confirmation to me of the freedom to facilitate healing for others through Reiki has brought and I am so very grateful to our lineage of teachers who have taken the courage to carry on this practice. God is good. Namaste”10

5) Bad Angelic Visitation: A divine messenger that leads you astray.

The early church father Tertullian heard from an angel (secondhand) that women were not allowed to expose their necks under their veils. He believed this extended to all members of the church in all times and in all places:

“To us the Lord has, even by revelations, measured the space for the veil to extend over. For a certain sister of ours was thus addressed by an angel, beating her neck, as if in applause: Elegant neck, and deservedly bare! It is well for you to unveil yourself from the head right down to the loins, lest withal this freedom of your neck profit you not! And, of course, what you have said to one you have said to all. But how severe a chastisement will they likewise deserve, who, amid (the recital of) the Psalms, and at any mention of (the name of) God, continue uncovered; (who) even when about to spend time in prayer itself, with the utmost readiness place a fringe, or a tuft, or any thread whatever, on the crown of their heads, and suppose themselves to be covered?”11

 

What to Do With Claims of Revelation?

Clearly, there is a lot of “revelation” out there, much of which may be sincere, but is sincerely wrong.

How does the Bible say we are to sort through it? I believe we can use these three principles and cut through much of it.

1) Does the format of revelation conform to Biblical patterns?

As previously established, there are three clearly biblical types of revelation: dreams, angels, visions/audible voices.

There is one questionable type of revelation: impressions. Impressions would still have to conform to the biblical pattern of being clear and unambiguous. Vague impressions and circumstantial happenings would not conform to any New Testament pattern and can safely be dismissed.

It is well to do this with humility, lest we find ourselves “despising prophecy” in opposition to 1 Thessalonians 5:20. However, the very next verse instructs us to “test everything.” So, I won’t mock someone who claims to have heard from God, but I am commanded to be skeptical about it. Looking at whether the revelation follows a pattern in the Bible is a good place to start.

2) Does the content of the revelation conform to Scripture?

Even in the dramatic case of clear revelation, Galatians 1:8 makes it clear the scripture trumps visions. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” If it contradicts the Bible, it’s wrong.

What if it doesn’t contradict Scripture, but adds to it? Let’s say we get a new commandment, like Tertullian’s angel that commanded women to cover their necks (and wear veils). If such an angel appears to you personally with such a request, I would be inclined to follow that instruction (you are free to disagree, but it’s just my inclination). If it’s a “secondhand revelation,” I see no reason to add to Scripture on such a basis. Just because “God showed” the preacher what a passage of Scripture means, doesn’t mean that we must yield to that interpretation.

Romans 14:5 says that we each ought to be convinced in our own mind on how to apply biblical principles to our lives. It does not say we must yield to the biggest claims or most powerful authority.

3) Is the speaker 100% accurate?

People who speak messages from God must be right 100% of the time. If they are ever wrong once, then it means they don’t really know how to hear from God, because God is never wrong. In the worst case, they are heretical deceivers, in the best case, they are foolish and have mistaken their own feelings for the Word of almighty God.

Accuracy would also require a degree of falsifiability in a long series of prophesies. While it’s true that not every prophesy in Scripture was falsifiable, because they foretold events in the distant future or spoke generalities like “God is displeased,” most every prophet also eventually said something which could be proven true or false in his lifetime. If someone who claims to hear from God is a perpetual fountain of ambiguities, this bodes poorly for their credibility.

 

Conclusion

Ultimately, extra-biblical revelation is an interesting topic of debate but it is not necessary for our spiritual development. According to 1 Timothy 3:16-17, God’s written word is adequate for us to be “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” While special revelation may add encouragement now and again, there is no biblical case for it as a “necessity.” Since claimed revelation is often unbiblical in form or in opposition to scripture more often than not, we do well to subject any such claims to extreme scrutiny. The upside value of new revelation is minimal; the downside risk of misinterpretation is heresy. In my personal experience, the more people “hear from God” the further their beliefs drift from Scripture.

We don’t need to “pray through” until God shows us new truth. We need to diligently study what He has already revealed.

—Nathan Mayo

 

Find this interesting? Check out our article, “How Long Do the ‘Last Days’ Last?” For a full list of our articles tap here.

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Sources:

1. “What Are the Odds Of Being Struck By Lightning?” Discovertheodds.com. Accessed 8/22/22.

2. “How often do you attend church or synagogue – at least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom, or never?” Statista.com. Accessed 8/22/22.

3. “Church loyalty reflects length of membership” BaptistCourier.com. Accessed 8/22/22.

4. Friesen, Garry and J. Robin Maxson. Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2004.

5. “Mary Baker Eddy,” ChristianScience.com. www.christianscience.com/what-is-christian-science/mary-baker-eddy. Accessed 8/23/22.

6. Evans, Jenny. “Why Would Anyone Want to Become a Mormon? (And Why I Did),” UnremarkableFiles.com. www.unremarkablefiles.com/2015/04/why-would-anyone-become-mormon-and-why.html. Accessed 8/23/22.

7. “Why did you become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a “Mormon”)?” Quora.com. www.quora.com/Why-did-you-become-a-member-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints-a-Mormon. Accessed 8/23/22. 

8. Dream Moods. www.dreammoods.com. Accessed 8/23/22.

9. “Dream Interpretation Zoom Sessions.” BethelRedding.com. bethelredding.com/ministries/prophetic/dream. Accessed 8/23/22.

10. “Incest Trauma Healed.” Reiki.org. www.reiki.org/stories/incest-trauma-healed. Accessed 8/23/22. 

11. Tertullian. “On the Veiling of Virgins.” NewAdvent.org. www.newadvent.org/fathers/0403.htm. Accessed 8/23/22.