You can read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon here. The Introduction is…well, it’s an introduction, and I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time on it. I really want to start reading the Book of Mormon tomorrow.
One thing I really like about the Introduction, though is this:
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Joseph Smith, as quoted in the Introduction to the Book of Mormon)
I know that this statement is true. I know that the Book of Mormon will get nearer to God by reading this book, and then living in the way that it teaches us to live.
Through reading the Book of Mormon, I have been able to draw closer to God, know more about my Savior, and I have been able to feel their gentle guidance in my life.
The Testimony of the Three Witnesses
You can read the Testimony of the three witnesses here.
This witness is simple but powerful. Martin Harris, David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery witness that they saw the Book of Mormon in it’s original form – the golden plates.
I have no reason to doubt this witness. These men lived in the mid 1800s, and because of this witness, we remember them now. We remember them for their witness. If it wasn’t a true witness, why would they want to be remembered for it? Though I haven’t seen the golden plates, I have felt the power of the Book of Mormon in my life. And I’m glad that there have been witnesses of the Book of Mormon, physically. I’m grateful that we have their witness.
The Testimony of Eight Witnesses
You can read the testimony of the eight witnesses here.
Again, a powerful witness that these plates were both seen and even “hefted.”
“And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.” – Testimony of Eight Witnesses
And again a witness that would carry grave consequences for each of these eight men if it were not true.
Even though it is interesting and nice to read these witnesses, I will say that for me, these witnesses don’t really convince me of the truth of the Book of Mormon. It is the Book of Mormon, itself, that has done all of the convincing.
The Testimony of Joseph Smith
You can read the testimony of Joseph Smith here.
I’m always surprised by how much I like reading the front matter of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith’s testimony tells of how he found out about the Book of Mormon – through a visitation from the angel Moroni – who was the last of the authors of the Book of Mormon.
I grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was baptized when I was eight. I have always had the Book of Mormon in my life, and I know this story.
Today, the thought came to me – Joseph Smith was 17 when he first was visited by Moroni. I have a 17 year old daughter.
I was struck by these paragraphs:
“I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.
“The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger standing over my head, surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.
“I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.” – The Testimony of Joseph Smith
I found this so striking because I have a 17 year old daughter. She is good, she is kind. She is a hard worker. I trust her.
Because she is my daughter, and because she has been my daughter for 17 years, I know her. Yes, there have been times when I have “discovered something to be wrong” with her – just like Joseph Smith Sr. felt about his son – whom he had known and raised for 17 years.
I can totally relate to Joseph Smith Sr. I can imagine myself saying, “Tiger, do you feel okay? You seem to be tired. Maybe you’re getting sick. Why don’t you go and lie down and get some rest.”
I can see that.
Joseph Smith didn’t object. He headed home, where he saw the Angel Moroni for a fourth time. This time, the angel told Joseph to tell his dad.
I can imagine that Joseph Smith might have felt a little bit of trepidation when telling his father, but ultimately still telling him what had happened.
And I can imagine what my response would be – “It’s of God, you need to do what the angel has instructed you to do.”
This is very touching to read as a parent. It is also quite compelling.
I can’t imagine why Joseph Smith would lie about seeing God, the Father, and this Son Jesus Christ. I can’t imagine why, 3 years later, Joseph Smith would then lie about seeing an Angel and receiving a commandment at his hand. I can’t imagine why Joseph would then wait 4 more years before finally obtaining the plates. It only makes sense to me if it is true.
In any case, as I’ve said before, ultimately, I feel a testimony of the Book of Mormon through its words. We have modern testimonies – and they are comforting, but their testimony isn’t meant to be our testimony.
Their testimony is meant to inspire us to get a testimony of our own.
And we can get one as we begin to study, ponder, and pray about the words of the Book of Mormon.
Tomorrow we begin! We will read 1 Nephi 1. I think that I will also post a reading chart either later today or in tomorrow’s post. Join me if you would like!