Since I was a little boy, I have read, and reread the Book of Mormon. When I was little, I had no idea that not everyone held this book in the same esteem as the Bible. They had always gone together for me. So much so that I remember watching a show on TV as a five-year-old, when one character mentioned the Bible. I remember thinking to myself,"...And the Book of Mormon." Even though I was taught to include everyone, and regularly had play-dates with non-Mormon friends, it wasn't until I was a little older that I realized not everyone on earth was a Mormon, or even Christian (and a little older to realize that not all Christians were Mormons). I was taught from an early age by my parents, that everyone, no matter the circumstances, deserved love, that we were all brothers and sisters. Though, being human, I could not do this every time. I have, however, always tried to some degree.
As the years went on, and my innocence began to fade somewhat, I slowly came to grips with the  fact that the world was not as sunny and bright as I thought it was. I also realized that not everybody thought that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) was as wonderful as I did. I was shocked to learn that some even hated it. As I processed this information, I contented myself with the knowledge that everyone has their own viewpoint, and they had the right to choose that view. One of my best friends in grade school was not a member of the Church, and had had some bad experiences with it.  After a couple years of friendship, he told me about how the missionaries had visited his family and one of his sisters was considering baptism, but was turned off by the pushiness of the missionaries, who kept asking her to set a date. That experience, seemed to shape his opinion of the Book of Mormon, and the LDS Church as a whole. We stayed friends for many years and I we didn't really broach the subject much. When we did talk religion, we both did our best to be respectful, but I could tell he was a bit cynical of the whole thing, which I didn't mind too much. I mostly labeled the subject as a "sore spot", something we ought not get into. We eventually drifted slowly apart, our lives taking different detours and both of us finding different groups of friends. We hung out on and off, but it eventually tapered off. We still occasionally say hello every now and again, and reminisce about the "good old days", but those encounters are far and few between.
Throughout middle school and high school, I kept the Book of Mormon on my nightstand, reading a verse or two before going to sleep. In those days, I knew on some level that it was a special book, but the words seemed so stale. My teenage brain just couldn't concentrate on the "thees" and "thous" for longer than about a minute before putting it down. The thing was, I was a great reader from an early age, but I didn't have the patience for long, archaically written books. I couldn't relate. At the time I was only reading to form a habit of study.
Sadly, it wasn't until recently that I truly started to study the Book of Mormon. A few months ago, as I became a Missionary, I realized, that if I wanted to truly understand this book, I would have to read it more actively, not just skim a couple token verses and drift off to sleep. My study has become more in depth, I pray before each reading session, and sit at a desk, taking notes. Since I've incorporated this beautiful book (in conjunction with the Bible) I have noticed a difference in my life. I feel a deep love for my fellow man. I have more of a desire to share this beautiful Gospel with others. I wish I had discovered the Book of Mormon's real power sooner. I have always had a fondness for it on some level, even if I found it boring, but for the first time, I really understand the sweetness of its words and have more of an inclination to act upon its teachings. I hope in the future I can be more willing to share it with those who want it, those who need it.
I hope that, if you haven't, you can also experience what this book has to offer. I offer you these humble words in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ--Amen


05/03/2012 6:58am

Sean, I cannot, I WILL not promise you that your testimony of the Book of Mormon or the Church will remain unchanged through your life, especially as you learn more about church history. But you recognize that the Book of Mormon has power, that it has good. I once believed it was a true history, and though I do not anymore, I have not rejected the good it has to offer. So I offer my hope and prayer that should you lose your assurance that it is a true history that you would not reject the good that you've found within its pages.

Your brother in Christ,

05/03/2012 8:35am

Thanks for your support and concern. Of course you can't promise that my testimony will remain unshaken. Only I can see to that. I am glad that you too see the goodness of the Book of Mormon. I'll send my own prayers your way, and wish you all the best. I've been learning a lot of Church history recently, and frankly the "dark spots" of Church history really don't bother me that much. Mortal men are not perfect. Things happen, mistakes are made, stories are told and retold, and pretty soon critics distort facts, look at circumstances with the wrong eyes in order to tear something down. I don't believe that the "scandals" of in the Church's past detract from the veracity of the Joseph Smith's claims or the Book of Mormon at all. Again, thanks for your love and concern.
Please hold firm.
Your brother in Christ,

06/09/2012 10:52am

Just stumbled onto this site. Great job! Your testimony is a special one. I agree with you; the history of the Book of Mormon and the Church is not perfect; no history is. But the precepts and doctrines taught are true, and they rely on no date or specific historical figure to be true. Keep up the great work!


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