I guess I should start by saying that I didn’t always believe the Book of Mormon to be true… My Father is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and my Mother is a Presbyterian. I grew up going to church with my Dad, but I spent a fair amount of time once I really began thinking about my faith wondering whether or not any of the stuff I was being told was true. It’s a little fantastic to think, isn’t it? A boy named Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ, then being instructed some years later to translate a story of people here in the Americas and their religious experiences… You have to admit, it’s kind of hard at first glance to believe that a story like that could be true.
My testimony is that it IS true. When I was in high school I decided that it was time for me to figure out whether or not this book really was what everyone told me it was. I grew up in the Chicago-land area, so I had my church friends telling me it was true and my school friends telling me it was written by Satan. The only way I could think of to prove it one way or another was to read it and to pray about it-trusting that God would never lead me astray if I were to pray in full faith, asking for enlightenment. (Remember John 11:22 – “But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”)
When I read the Book of Mormon, I felt a great peace and sense of faith come over me. Knowing my Bible pretty decently, I thought of the scripture Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” At that point I knew something was right.
After reading I would pray and ask if the book and its words are true, and I would always feel at peace, filled with love, and with a desire to continue reading more. After consistently feeling that way for an extended period of time, I knew I was doing something right. I continued in the Book of Mormon until I had completed it. In the final chapter, the prophet Moroni promises the following (Moroni 10:3-5):
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.
I had been praying all along, but at this point I knelt down and asked one more time if the Book of Mormon is true, and I can testify that it is!
The Book of Mormon has been a strength to me throughout my life. At times I struggle with the complexities of life, and I realized a long time ago that the teachings in Ecclesiastes are true, and that a life filled with good things is still empty and futile if it is without God. When I read in the Book of Mormon (and the Bible for that matter), I feel the Spirit of God in my life and I can make it through the hardest trials and feel the greatest joys when things seem to be going my way. One of my favorite Book of Mormon scriptures is found in Helaman chapter 5, when the prophet Helaman spoke to his sons, saying in verse 12:
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”
As an LDS Missionary I saw the Book of Mormon change people’s lives. These weren’t simply non-believers that finally found Christ, but devout Catholics, Baptists and Jehovah’s Witnesses that began reading the Book of Mormon and discovering the truth of it for themselves. The teachings in the Book of Mormon drive us to become better disciples of Jesus Christ, and that was the challenge that each of these converts took upon themselves.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and it has changed my life and made me a better man. Alongside the Bible, the Book of Mormon helps us understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ more clearly. If you’re curious for yourself, take the time to validate the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon for yourself!