I grew up learning about the Book of Mormon, its stories, teachings and revelations such as; Lehi’s dream, Nephi and the Brass Plates, the miracle conversion of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah, stories about an ancient civilization in the Americas, the poignant writings of the prophet Moroni, and much more. Most importantly, interwoven throughout the Book of Mormon we learn that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Redeemer and Savior of the world. That through Him and by Him, we can be reunited with our loved ones after we die, and we can have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven again, to live for all eternity. Through Jesus Christ, each of us has the opportunity to gain exaltation.
As a child I believed the book to be true because this is what my wonderful parents and church leaders taught me. At some point though, I had to receive my own testimony of the divinity of this book. I do not remember this happening all at once. My faith and testimony in the Book of Mormon came about in different ways, in various degrees and at different times throughout my life. Time and again I have received a witness of the truthfulness of the book through the Spirit of the Lord.
Regarding the prophet Joseph Smith, who translated the Book of Mormon, I remember a visit to Carthage Jail in the winter of 1995. My immediate family and I were visiting extended family in Missouri at the time. My husband, my sister Wendy and I took a day trip to Nauvoo, Illinois. The historical grounds look beautiful under the blanket of snow. It was cold, yet still and peaceful. We could see our breath as we walked on these beautiful and historical grounds. I was surprised at the experience I had within the very room Joseph Smith was shot which led to his martyrdom. As we stood there in that room, the guide pushed the button that began the audio recording, a re-creation of those final moments of the prophet’s life. John Taylor was singing one of Joseph’s favorite hymns, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” I fully expected to feel sadness and perhaps even some bitterness. To my surprise, I felt peaceful and had an overwhelming feeling of love for Joseph Smith and his brother. What was more astonishing was a strong feeling of love and forgiveness for those who killed the prophet and his brother. It was as if Joseph had not only forgiven them, he loved them with all of his heart. That was the impression I received. There was no logical reason for me to come into this place and have those impressions about those who killed a prophet of God. These feelings did not come from my own heart, my own mind. They came from the spirit of God. It was a strong witness to me of the truthfulness that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God. This experience strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon.
If someone were to ask me how the Book of Mormon has blessed my life, I would tell them that reading and pondering the words have calmed my troubled soul, brought answers to my questions and have helped me put my life into perspective. I cannot stress this enough. Even better, I have found that living the teachings of Jesus Christ and other prophets in the Book of Mormon has blessed me (and those I love) beyond words. Supping from these Holy Scriptures is akin to finding the miracle cure to cancer, spiritually speaking. Miracles have come to pass. They are occurring right now. They will continue to do so. To read testimonies by other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, regarding the Book of Mormon and other gospel principles, go to www.mormon.org. I testify of these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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