I have grown up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is often inadvertently misnamed the “Mormon Church”). Despite having been born into The Church of Jesus Christ, I have had to gain a personal witness of the truthfulness of the gospel. Through continuous spiritual experiences, I have an unshakable personal testimony, or evidence, that the gospel is real and complete. A great deal of this certainty has come from personal experiences with the Book of Mormon.
Unique History of the Book of Mormon
I have always been taught the importance of the Book of Mormon, which is a companion book of scripture to the Bible and is a second witness that Jesus is the Christ. While Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) believe firmly that the Bible is the word of God, they—we—also believe that through the transmission of the ancient text, many truths were lost from the Bible. The Book of Mormon is a separate record of Jesus Christ’s dealings with some of the people of the ancient Americas. The record was preserved untouched for nearly 1500 years before it was given to Joseph Smith to translate, which he did through the power of God. Because of the Book of Mormon’s unique history and preservation by the hand of God, it is “the most correct of any book on earth” and its readers can “get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon).
Mormons are encouraged to read from the Book of Mormon daily. No one who has read the book with a heart earnestly seeking truth, open to the witness of the Holy Ghost, can deny the power of its words. I often fail to read from the Book of Mormon daily, but I do read from it and the other scriptures frequently. I always find words of wisdom and sources of comfort in its pages.
Answers from the Holy Spirit
As with any book of scripture, when you read the Book of Mormon with an honest heart, opening yourself to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, it is through the Spirit that you can be taught, not solely through the words on the page. This allows a person to read the same words several times throughout his or her life and to draw different lessons from the same words uniquely suited to a current situation. I have found this to be true many times, which has strengthened my conviction that the counsel to read the Book of Mormon daily is prophetic guidance.
Some of the most stirring questions of this life apply to our understanding of what lies beyond this life. The doctrine that is contained in the Book of Mormon teaches me of my inherent, eternal worth as a child of God. I never need to doubt that I am of infinite value, both now and in the eternities. The words of the Book of Mormon remind me that I am loved beyond my own comprehension and that to become like God, I need to learn how to love others, and to show that love, in the same way.
This world is very cynical about religion and about there even being an existence after this life. And if there is no existence, why should any of us bother with selflessness here? Shouldn’t we each do all we can to make the most of this existence? Earn money by any means necessary, because money rules this life; selflessness is simply weakness, allowing other, strong people to exploit you; don’t waste time cultivating meaningful relationships, just satisfy the desires of the flesh, because ultimately, that’s all there is. How do I know these things are false? Because I have read the words of the Book of Mormon and other holy scripture, and when I do my best to live by the teachings in them, I feel peace, joy, and happiness. These are feelings which carry much more weight than temporary satisfaction of mortal desires.
Drawing Nearer to Jesus Christ through the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon helps me to draw nearer to my Savior, Jesus Christ. It helps me to better understand both His sacrifice and His love for me as an individual and for mankind as a whole. When I read and study the Book of Mormon, I am reminded that “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32). This means much more than just doing our best to follow God’s commandments. This means realizing that this life is an opportunity to learn to become more like God. Mormon doctrine teaches that we are children of God with the potential to become like Him. We are all imperfect, but we must learn to keep God’s laws if we want to live in His presence, because He cannot “look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (Alma 45:16).
Not only has the Book of Mormon answered questions of the soul for me about the purpose of this life, who I am, and what I can become, but it also helps me in my day-to-day struggles and trials. It gives me strength and encouragement to repent when I mess up, to call upon my Savior for His healing power, and to recommit to try to be more like Him.
I invite you to read the words of the Book of Mormon for yourself. Come to it with your own questions of the soul. If you approach it with an open heart, seeking the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost will speak to your heart. He will give you your own undeniable witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and He will speak peace to your soul, giving you the answers you need and seek.