My testimony today is on the power of the Book of Mormon. It is a power that comes directly from God, therefore, it IS God’s power. Some of you may think I’m wrong or crazy or demented for even having the gall to say that. Some of you think there’s no way any book could have that much power. Some of you might be indifferent. If you are dead set against the Book of Mormon, I’m letting you know now that you might not like some of what I have to say today. I am choosing to bear testimony of what I know is true, and I feel that I need to share a few things that might singe your eyebrows a bit and possibly make you uncomfortable because of the boldness that I feel I need to use.
Whether it be because you believe it comes from Satan or that it teaches about Satan or that it might be a good book but still don’t consider it to be God’s word, whatever it is you think about the Book of Mormon, I’m not here to convince you otherwise. And I’m definitely not here to disregard the Bible because I fully believe that to be the word of God as well. However, I’m choosing to focus on the Book of Mormon because how much it has added to my testimony of scriptures in general and how much it specifically has changed my life. I’m here to share with you how I’ve found that it truly is the word of God and that I know it contains the power of God without any shadow of a doubt in my mind. I’m here to share with you why I would defend that book if my life depended on it and why I think you should take a little time to learn more about it if you are opposed to it. Why? Because if you think it comes from Satan, you either haven’t read it or you don’t understand it (see scriptures below) because the whole point of this wonderful book is to testify that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer and that the only way to find eternal life, joy, salvation and exaltation is through Him.
Throughout my life, I’ve read from the Book of Mormon on a regular basis, along with the Bible. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes both books to be the word of God – “out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (Matthre 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1). But I never really studied either of them until I served a mission for 18 months. During that time, I read them together, which strengthened my testimony of both books and how much we need both of them TOGETHER. I mostly focused on the Book of Mormon, though, since that’s what we were teaching people about and I was able to read it completely through about four times. Even then I didn’t fully understand the significance of it in my life because I was immersed in it all day, every day. When I returned home and started to learn to adjust back to life as a regular person instead of a missionary, I began to struggle. Kind of a lot. Nothing terrible happened, I just realized I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wasn’t succeeding with what I wanted to do. Life just wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be, particularly after being blasted by the Spirit of God for a full 18 months every day that I chose to let it. I felt a bit lost and pointless. I knew what was missing though – good daily scripture reading. I sometimes would go an entire day without realizing it until I was hopping into bed that I hadn’t yet read my scriptures that day. Some days I’d just say “well, I just don’t have time to study my scriptures the way I want to, like I did on my mission” (which was a full hour of personal study and then another hour of studying with my companion).
One day I was voicing my troubles to my bosses and one of them said “You know the best advice I ever got when I got home from my mission? A friend told me to ALWAYS read from the Book of Mormon every day, even if you don’t have time to do anything else but read even just a couple of verses. Read the Book of Mormon every day and you’ll be just fine. And I did that and it was the best advice I ever got because guess what? I’m doing great!” So I took that advice and did just that. Every day that I read from the Book of Mormon, I have a better day. I can’t explain it except to say this: Almost every single page of the Book of Mormon mentions something to do with Jesus Christ. And because I made a point to read as much as I could every morning, every day began with my thoughts centered on the Lord. Now when I have a day where I get up late and can’t get to my scriptures until after I’ve gone through a couple classes, some practice hours and homework, I can literally FEEL the difference. I feel more stressed, more weighed down by the cares of the world rather than lifted up by faith, hope and love. I feel a lot more selfish, annoyed and frustrated with the people around me instead of willing to serve and love them the way I know I should. And all because I didn’t read the Book of Mormon.
So you think the Book of Mormon isn’t true, doesn’t teach righteous things or is something that goes against the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I testify that that is everything the Book of Mormon is NOT. The Book of Mormon is a book which testifies of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a book which uplifts, heals, strengthens, encourages and teaches good things. It is a source of comfort, peace, joy and guidance. Are any of those things good? Don’t all good things come from God?
“Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.” (2 Nephi 32:4)
“Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old.” (Jacob 4:13)
“And I said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures? And he said, Yea. And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ. And this is not all – it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost…” (Jacob 7:10-12)
“And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tonges; Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them. For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.” (Mormon 9:7-10)
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)
In closing, I want to just bear simple testimony – I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It fills me with such joy each day. I know that it was written to bear witness of Jesus Christ – who He is and what He’s all about. I know that because of what it teaches it can change your life in the same way (and in many other ways) that it has changed mine – for the better. It has been a major part of shaping me into who I am today and who I can become. It, most importantly, has taught me how to follow my Savior and become like Him in every way, though I’m still working on putting what I’ve learned into action and I am definitely still learning more every day.
Towards the end of the book, a prophet named Moroni shares his thoughts and asks us to do one thing:
“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. 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. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:3-5)
I love this book with all my heart and I add my testimony to the many prophets, apostles and other disciples of Jesus Christ that it is TRUE. All of it. I know that without a doubt. I add my own personal invitation to that of this great prophet, Moroni – read the Book of Mormon with an open heart and mind and a desire to know if it’s true. Ask God specifically after you’ve read at least some of it and He will answer you if you are sincere and willing to listen for His answer. He wants His children to have truth and truth is all this book is about. I promise you that with all the power of my being and in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.