Today’s Reading: Moroni 10: 1-17
3 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.
4 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.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
I remember as a teenager, building a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ that included many principles. . .but didn’t include Joseph Smith. I rationalized this deficiency in my testimony, assuring myself that I believed in a lot of good things and that was good enough. I believed in prayer, The Word of Wisdom, The Law of Chastity, eternal families, The Atonement of Jesus Christ etc. And that was a plenty well-rounded testimony in my opinion. Surely, having a testimony of a young boy who lived more than a century ago didn’t matter. But a nagging feeling from the Spirit kept telling me that it did.
So I set out to study about Joseph Smith in the best way my 16-year-old self could think of. . .by reading “The Work and The Glory” series.
So, did it work? Did I gain the testimony I sought? Well, I thought so–I learned about Joseph’s life, his character, and his trials. I felt the Spirit as I read the compelling stories that depicted his journey as a young boy, a husband, a father, and a prophet of God. As I felt the Spirit, I determined that Joseph must be a prophet of God and I was satisfied with that.
Fast forward a few years later when my twin brother and I stood in a weeping embrace at the MTC. They began to whisk the missionaries away through one door and encourage family to go through another door and my twin brother ran back to me and said “promise me something. Promise me that you’ll read the Book of Mormon!” You can bet I wholeheartedly committed to read that book. Despite my determination to finish it, I was slow at doing so. But I read it–all of it. Then I knelt down and did as Moroni exhorts–I asked God if it was true.
When I prayed, I knew. The Spirit filled my heart. My testimony burned brighter than ever before. Other sources were able to teach me about Joseph Smith. But nothing could bear witness to me of the gospel he stood for, lived for, and died for like the Book or Mormon–the fruit of his prophetic calling. My eyes were opened to the fact that it is important to have a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet, as so many elements of my testimony hinged on that simple truth!
The introduction to the Book of Mormon echos Moroni’s promise in a way that was especially relevant to me:
We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.
I know that Christ is our Savior, I know that Joseph Smith was his prophet, I know that The Book of Mormon is true, and I know that “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things”.