I’ve been having long conversations with someone who is not yet a Mormon. He has received a firm witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His restored Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church.) He believes Gordon B. Hinckley to be a prophet of God, the Mormon Church to hold the truth, principles, practices and precepts that Jesus Christ taught in the meridian of time. The Holy Ghost has testified to him of the truthfulness of all these things. But he hasn’t prayed about the Book of Mormon yet.
He asked if there was archaeological proof of the Book of Mormon. I told him there was, but that the
Elder Russell M. Nelson told Mormons in the last General Conference:
Scriptural witnesses authenticate each other. This concept was explained long ago when a prophet wrote that the Book of Mormon was “written for the intent that ye may believe [the Bible]; and if ye believe [the Bible] ye will believe [the Book of Mormon] also.” (Mormon 7:9) Each book refers to the other. Each book stands as evidence that God lives and speaks to His children by revelation to His prophets. … An angel proclaimed that the Book of Mormon shall establish the truth of the Bible. He also revealed that writings in the Bible available in our day are not as complete as they were when originally written by prophets and apostles. He declared that the Book of Mormon shall restore plain and precious things taken away from the Bible. (1 Nephi 13:40) (Russell M. Nelson, “Scriptural Witnesses,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 43–45)
So what can I say to my young friend? Exactly what I did say. I testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as a book of scriptures. I explained “other sheep have I which are not of this fold,” and that the Lord would not deny them prophets and revelation just because they didn’t live in Jerusalem or Bethlehem. I explained that the Book of Mormon was a record of some of “those other sheep” on the American Continent and 3rd Nephi, found within the Book of Mormon, was the record of Jesus Christ’s visit to America.
I encouraged him to put Moroni’s Promise to the test:
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.
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.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:3-5)
There is only one way to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Read it and then go to a quiet place and with a sincere and pleading heart, ask Heavenly Father if this book be true in its entirety. The answer will come to you. This is a prophetic promise given to you by Moroni.
But if archaeological proof of the existence of cities such as Zarahemla, and peoples such as the Nephites, Lamanites, Jaredites and more is what you require . . . then I recommend going to the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and reading every single issue. “The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies is a scholarly journal devoted to the latest research on the Book of Mormon, including articles on the geography, names, terms, and events in the Book of Mormon, as well as archaeological finds in the Old World and the New World. The Journal also highlights new scientific methods and technologies that may aid in Book of Mormon research.”
In closing, may I offer my testimony of the Book of Mormon. It is true. Yes, Nephi, Lehi, Alma, Captain Moroni, Helaman and others lived on this continent beginning in 600 B.C. to this very day. They are the forebears of the Native American Indian, as well as other peoples across the oceans. The Book of Mormon was written by prophets during those times to be brought forth in this latter day and serve as a second witness of Jesus Christ. It is to be held, hand in hand, in companionship with the Holy Bible. I testify that within its pages are the plain and precious truths removed from the Bible, and with it you have the complete gospel of Jesus Christ. Alma Chapter 40 teaches of where a spirit goes when someone dies. 2 Nephi Chapter 4 teaches us to rely on the Savior and constantly be reaching forward. Mormon 9 teaches us to “condemn me not for my imperfections,” so that we might understand that none of us are perfect and all we can do is get up every day and serve the Lord the best we know how, constantly praying for the strength to be the disciple he needs. Moroni 10 teaches of answer to prayer and gifts of the spirit described abundantly in the Bible. Alma 32 gives us a treatise on faith second to none. 1 Nephi teaches of goodly parents, faithful children and obedience to God.
I testify that these plates were created by early American prophets who painstakingly engraved the things of God on these plates for their posterity. I testify the prophet, Mormon, abridged them, added his own book and then delivered the plates to his son, Moroni. Moroni writes ten brief chapters, but packs each one with gospel principles. We hear no more of this people until 1823 when he appears, as an angel of the Lord, to a 17-year-old Joseph Smith. At this time, Joseph was given the charge to translate these records and deliver the translation to the world. In 1830, the Book of Mormon was published and released to the world. Joseph had fulfilled the sacred charge given him by Moroni, the last prophet of the Book of Mormon. I testify this is truth eternal and if you sincerely ask, you will receive the answer.
Do as young Joseph did, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (James 1:5-6) Ask, with simple, pure faith, and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened.
And when armed with this knowledge, what will you do then?