I was raised in the faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My grandmother always had the Book of Mormon on the end table next to her chair so she could read it every day. It was well marked and worn. I saw her read it often. I had my personal copy that my primary teacher had given me. It was shiny gold resembling the golden plates from which it was translated. I remember walking home from primary on a Tuesday afternoon in the summer and the sun reflected in the shiny golden cover. It thought it was spectacular.
I finished reading the Book of Mormon again from cover to cover yesterday. I have probably read it around 20 times. I have lost count. I’ve read it several times in French. I have never read another book anywhere near that many times. I don’t think I will ever stop reading it over and over again. Why? What is it about the Book of Mormon that makes me want to start over right after finishing it? There is more than meets the eye.
I’m no scriptorian nor theologian. I cannot rattle off scriptures or even remember where they are. My brain doesn’t seem to work that way. But I have been blessed with being receptive to the feelings that come from the Holy Ghost which testifies of Jesus Christ and witnesses truth. I know what I am reading is holy, written by ancient prophets of God, and it brings me closer to Jesus Christ through its writings and the teachings of these ancient prophets.
I won’t go through the entire book, but it is simply records that were kept by a group who left Jerusalem around 600 BC. Their prophet-leader was called Lehi. His son Nephi becomes their prophet-leader when Lehi dies, and his older brothers resent him and break away and they end up fighting in terrible battles and thousands die throughout the years. The book spans until around 400 AD when most of these followers of Nephi, or the Nephites, as they are called, are dead. Mormon, whom the book is named after, gives the records to his son Moroni. Mormon has been a prophet and a military leader. Moroni has seen the entire destruction of his people, and records a few last things before he seals the record and buries it.
We live in a world where we are very skeptical. With all the fraud and scams, we need to be cautious. But if we believe in God and we believe that He spoke to ancient prophets like Moses, Abraham, Noah, Adam, etc. why wouldn’t He speak to prophets today? He is unchanging. So with that in mind, with the bible in mind where angels appear and God speaks to prophets, think of what happens next. Set aside your skepticism for just a minute.
Joseph Smith, a young boy in upstate New York is visited by an angel named Moroni. This is the same Moroni who buried the plates containing the record of his people. It has been preserved for the latter-days as another witness of the divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It contains His gospel, to compliment the Bible. It also clarifies some doctrines which have been misunderstood as things have been changed over time in Christianity. The plates are eventually given to Joseph Smith, and he translates them by the gift and power of God. The book is printed. The translation and printing of the Book of Mormon alone is a miracle. But there is a secret at the end of the book which begins a marvelous work and a wonder on the earth in the latter-days before Christ’s second coming.
As you read the very last chapter in the very last book in the Book of Mormon, you have Moroni who knows that his people will never read what he is writing. He is writing for us to read at a future time. He is burying the plates following the direction from God. So what does he say? What can he say to help us overcome the skepticism of our day? How could we possibly know if it’s all true? Angels speaking to the young Joseph Smith in 1823? Well that is the secret.
This verse reveals the secret. I will paraphrase it. When you receive the Book of Mormon and read it, as strongly as I can possibly convey with words, I ask you to pray to your Father in Heaven and ask Him if this book is true. Ask Him if Joseph Smith really is a prophet and translated this book. You must ask God sincerely, really wanting to get an answer, have faith in Jesus Christ, and be willing to act on what that means to receive the answer to your prayer. In other words, honestly be ready for God to lead you on His path. If you do that, God will answer you through the power of the Holy Ghost. A very important element to this prayer is the sincere intent. It means to be willing to follow God if you receive an answer, and all the while hoping that it is true.
What does this mean? Well, it means you can know for yourself that this is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. You don’t have to take my word for it. It also means that there are still prophets on earth today who receive revelation and direction from God as in the past. God is aware of us and we are in the latter-days preparing for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ. When it all starts to sink in that this is really God’s work, that angels are speaking to us on earth, that God is directing a prophet in the latter-days in preparation for His Second Coming, it is majestic and awesome to comprehend.
You can read the Book of Mormon online. You can ask for a free copy. But think of Moroni. He was put in charge of keeping these ancient records that spanned 1,000 years. He saw the destruction of his people. God told him that he needed to keep the record safe and bury it. He makes another plea in vs. 27, and again I paraphrase, but he says that the time will quickly come when you will know that he is not lying. You will see him at the bar of God. His words are like one speaking out of the dust declaring the word of God to us. Then he invites us to Come unto Christ.
I love this book. I remember finishing reading the Book of Mormon for the first time and praying to know if it was true. I wanted a testimony for myself. The interesting answer I got, was that I already knew it was true. I have maybe what you might call believing blood. From my earliest memories, I have believed in the Book of Mormon and never questioned it. It has always rang true to me. As I have studied it and read it over and over again as an adult, the strength of my testimony of the veracity of this book has only solidified. Of course I can tell you that it is the word of God. But remember the secret. Don’t just take my word. Ask God for yourself. He will give you the answer.