The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many beliefs that are similar to other Christian churches’ beliefs, which makes sense because each of these churches uses the Bible as a base evidence of their doctrines. However, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has some different beliefs as well, and one of the most prominent is our belief in the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is a book of scripture that we view as a partner to the Bible, and it testifies of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. It’s a book that requires faith from the reader in every page and verse. Even if you’ve read the Book of Mormon before and believe it, you know that there are all sorts of questions you and others have about the Book of Mormon that can test your faith.
So today, I want to talk about building a testimony of the Book of Mormon because, yes, I’ve had questions about it and still do. And I’m sure many of you reading this post feel the same way, whether you’re familiar with the book or not.
These are not ordered steps to building a testimony of the Book of Mormon; they are simply various ways to learn about the Book of Mormon and strengthen your testimony through different avenues. Maybe you’ve tried all of these, maybe only one or two. But these are methods that are worth repeating throughout our entire lives as we build our testimonies.
Read and Ask
The most obvious and most necessary thing to do to learn about and build a testimony of the Book of Mormon is, of course, to read it. Simple as that. I’ve met people who have never read the Book of Mormon, but who refused to accept it as the word of God. I’ve also met people who accepted it as the word of God without ever opening it.
However, none of those people really knew or had a testimony of what the Book of Mormon was or what it could do for them. The people who have taken the time to read it are the ones who really found truth in its pages and they are the ones who began to have a real testimony of why these scriptures matter to them.
Reading the Book of Mormon is the most important thing you can do to build a testimony of it – but asking God if it’s true is equally important. You may feel, as you read, that it’s true, but when you ask God for confirmation of its truth, He will give you a witness that is undeniable.
The Book of Mormon itself directs the reader to ask. It’s the great promise of the book – that you will receive an answer from God when you truly ask Him if it’s true.
That promise has held true for me. Every time I ask God if it’s true, I always receive the same answer. It is true. It’s a book of great power, and it’s influenced my life in so many ways. When you read and ask, you’ll find that to be true as well.
Listen to Testimonies of Others
As important as reading the Book of Mormon and asking about its truth is, sometimes you want to strengthen your testimony in other ways. I’ve found that hearing the testimony of others so helpful to my testimony.
Hearing the testimony of others reminds me of the answers I’ve received throughout my life. It also reassures me that others have received the same answers I’ve had. Even though I don’t doubt the answers I’ve received, it’s still comforting to know that I’m not the only one receiving those answers. We’re all in this together, and when we share our testimonies we can strengthen each other’s faith.
I think it’s also important to not only listen to the testimonies of others, but to also share your own testimony as well. When I stand up to declare what I believe, it forces me to look at myself and ask, “Do I really believe this enough to honestly tell others that I believe it?” It’s comforting to find that I do believe it and am confident enough to share it with others. Plus, my testimony might be enough to help someone else, and that alone makes it worth sharing.
Learn from Inspired Teachers
Teachers are a great source for building testimonies. I learned so much from my seminary and institute teachers about the gospel and the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, that I never would have learned anywhere else.
I’ve also learned a lot from teachers at church – gospel doctrine teachers, youth teachers, Relief Society teachers – and their teachings coupled with the discussions that I’ve had in their classes have made for a great learning environment.
Even though most of these teachers are not scholars in the gospel, they are faithful and willing to share their testimonies and knowledge. I’ve been able to ask questions and discuss concerns with these teachers and received wonderful answers. The experience of being in classes discussing scripture with others is irreplaceable to my testimony, and I believe it can be beneficial to your testimony as well.
Consider the Scholarship
The last thing I suggest doing to expand your knowledge and build your testimony of the Book of Mormon is to study the scholarship. The scholarship is interesting because it digs deep into the complexity and history of the Book of Mormon to give you understanding and validation about things that might not be talked about in church very much.
As useful and interesting as the scholarship about the Book of Mormon is, I do want to say that it’s not what we should use as a foundation to our testimony. Instead, it should build on the foundation of our testimony that has come from actually reading the Book of Mormon.
That being said, there are a couple of sources that I find to be really useful supplements to my scripture study and testimony. (These are not affiliate links, just interesting ones.)
My first recommendation is a new resource called Evidence Central, and it has all sorts of articles that address commonly debated topics connected to the Book of Mormon. If you want to check it out, I suggest the article about Egyptian Writing to start you off. It’s a really interesting explanation about Nephi’s mention of writing in reformed Egyptian.
Another good resource is Book of Mormon Central. They make all sorts of content – videos, blog posts, etc. – that give background and research about the Book of Mormon. I really like using their KnoWhy articles when I have a question about something in the Book of Mormon.
These are my two favorite resources for learning the scholarship and research about the Book of Mormon. Let me know if you have any others! I’d love to hear what you use.
All of these methods of learning about the Book of Mormon work together to build our testimonies of this book of scripture as well as of Jesus Christ. Faith is the first step, but there’s so much to learn. It’s truly a lifelong process, and it’s such a worthwhile one.