I'm human. I've let the doubts creep in. I've also had to forcibly banish the doubts away. Satan tries to twist the things I know most often when I read the Book of Mormon. I'll come across something like 1 Nephi 1:3
"And I know that the record which I make is true..."
|"I summarized 1,000 years of history,|
and it is true."
Not wanting to let that sit, I argue back, "Well Nephi being a prophet and knowing we would doubt his record obviously felt the need to testify that his own words were true."
"That doesn't prove it true."
"That doesn't prove it false either."
And so these statements of prophets testifying of the Book of Mormon's validity sat funny in my head. I set them aside and moved on, as you do with things you don't understand yet.
Recently, another question has come to me, probably put in my head by the Holy Ghost. Why does God choose to build His kingdom and establish His word through the testimonies of others? Everything we know about God has come through man. Even everything the literal Son of God said and did confirmed the prophecies of all the previous prophets -- men called and chosen by God. He doesn't destroy a great city to create faith in those who witness His power. He destroys a great city for not following the counsel and commandments spoken to them by a prophet.
|"I know that this city will be destroyed because|
of your wickedness."
I don't know perfectly why this is His system. I just know that it is.
I'm gaining an understanding of the power of testimonies, though. This week, I was inspired to read this verse from 2 Nephi 33.
"And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men." 2 Nephi 33:1The words in the Book of Mormon are not the proof of its own validity; it is the Spirit behind them. The Holy Ghost's job is to testify of truth. Things like:
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ exist.
The Book of Mormon is true.
You do need to be baptized by the proper Priesthood Authority to enter the Kingdom of God.
These are my commandments, and you will be blessed for keeping them.
Christ did suffer and die for you. He lives today.
My job as a missionary is to tell the world truths that they haven't heard yet. Then my other companion, the Spirit of God, speaks to the spirit of the person I'm teaching, telling them in their minds and hearts that what I say is true. The Spirit works differently with each person, but universally encourages them to do good.
If a person has (1) faith in Christ, (2) a desire to know truth, and (3) intentions of acting on whatever answer they receive no matter what it is, they can take those ingredients and run them through the experiment of prayer. Ask God. He will then give you an expected outcome which is an answer delivered and confirmed by the Holy Ghost. Sometimes it's an answer you didn't really want --
I know it breaks your heart, but do not marry that boy.
--but that is more proof that the Spirit is real and not a concoction from a "frenzied mind."
Generally the opponents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints want you to think really hard about your beliefs. As Nephi pointed out,
"O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God." 2 Nephi 9:28-29
|"I know that these records will be preserved|
because God cannot lie."
In our church, you still need to think and be wise, but true wisdom can only come from listening to God or the Spirit that He sends. Don't just think about it; pray about it. And you can know as I do that Nephi was telling the truth.
Remember: The Internet lies. Not everything on it has been peer-reviewed or examined for historical accuracy.