As many of you know, we start the study of the Book of Mormon in the Come Follow Me manual this week as a family centered curriculum guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is an activity in the manual under the “Ideas for Family Scripture Study…” section regarding the testimonies of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon; “Your family members could write down their own testimonies of the Book of Mormon…”
I want to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon with you. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. It truly testifies of Christ. I believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon and its divine mission to bring both Jew and Gentile to Christ.
I know that if I had continued to seriously study the Book of Mormon after I returned home from the mission field nearly 15 years ago, I would not have gone down some of the paths that I had gone down. I know that if I had continued to make it a consistent study, I would not have found myself in a position to be excommunicated from the Church. My faith crisis began while I was a missionary, but I had no words for it and it silently festered for years.
After I was excommunicated, I became a serious student of the gospel and have read this sacred book numerous times and have seen the promises given by ancient and modern prophets. I have received a witness from the Spirit that this book is divine (Moroni 10:3-5). I drew “nearer to God by abiding by it’s precepts” (Joseph Smith). I have found greater power to resist temptation, avoid deception, and stay on the strait and narrow path, finding life in greater abundance (Ezra Taft Benson). I have received in my heart a greater abundance of the Spirit, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to God’s commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God (Gordon B. Hinckley). I have made better decision, not just in regard to right and wrong, but in moving forward with career, personal and family endeavors, finding answers and direction in life that I didn’t have before. I have found myself protected from the evil substances I once was plagued with. (Russell M. Nelson).
One thing that I never gained while I was away from the Church was a testimony of Thomas S. Monson as a prophet of God. To be honest, I wasn’t inspired by him or enthused by the things that he taught, which is more likely a reflection of the life that I was living than the things that he was teaching. However, his final testimony in General Conference (which he gave right before I was excommunicated), regarding the Book of Mormon struck me hard. “My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully read the Book of Mormon each day. As we do, we will be in a better position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.”
I always thought the word “implore” meant to strongly encourage, but it means to “beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something.”
So after coming forward wanting to change, knowing it would lead to a likely excommunication, waiting for that disciplinary counsel to take place, I hear this man of God deliver a final invitation, earnestly and desperately begging us to prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, and promising wonderful outcomes…. and I accepted that invitation and those promises were realized very quickly.
We began reading it as a family and after reading some of the not-so-family-friendly events in the Book of Mormon, I turned to my wife and asked her why would such stories be necessary for us to read to our kids, and the Spirit immediately told me that without conflict their would be no solutions. This sacred book is a book of conflict allowing it to be a sacred book of solutions rooted entirely in the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
A careful and prayerful study of the Book of Mormon helped me come out of my faith crisis and I reentered the covenant path, though I wasn’t sure if I would ever be rebaptized. It helped bring me to Christ in a way that I had never experience before.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The Book of Mormon brings us to Christ through two basic means. First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and his gospel. It testifies of his divinity and of the necessity for a Redeemer and the need of our putting trust in him. It bears witness of the Fall and the Atonement and the first principles of the gospel, including our need of a broken heart and contrite spirit and a spiritual rebirth. It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness and live the moral life of a Saint. Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.”
I cannot deny the testimony I have gained of the Book of Mormon and how it has changed me and my family in such a short period of time. We went from nearly separating to surviving an excommunication, severe medical complications and surgeries of our youngest and severe medical diagnosis of our middle child, among other things. It has brought us peace through Christ, and I am excited to read and reread it.
I implore you to read the invitations, with their promises, found at the beginning of the Come Follow Me manual and prove them by reading the Book of Mormon. If you must, please consider reducing or eliminating things in your life that are not essential and simplifying those things that are essential so that you can make room for scripture study and sincere prayer, and God will endow you with spiritual protection and fulfillment of prophetic promises. That is how I gained a personal witness of this sacred record and how I have drawn closer to my Savior.

What are your favorite stories, verses, or characters from the Book of Mormon?

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